How Can You Relieve Engorged Breast After Stopping Breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding is often the best option for feeding your newborn baby, it can be uncomfortable and painful for the mother. When the breasts become too full of milk, they become engorged. This fullness of the breast can be painful and uncomfortable, leaving many moms asking how to relieve engorged breasts when stopping breastfeeding? To learn more about why this engorgement occurs and what you can do about it, continue reading.


Why Does Your Breast Engorgement Happen?

Breast engorgement can occur for a number of reasons. After giving birth, your breast will begin to fill with milk, causing the tissues of the breast to swell. This swelling can be from blood, lymphatic fluid or as milk that has collected in the ducts. This swelling can be quite painful but is normal, especially between the second and fifth days after giving birth.

Engorgement is very common when you first begin breastfeeding. This engorgement can last for about a week or until your body adjusts to how much milk it needs to produce to satisfy your baby's hunger. Once you have gotten into a routine with breastfeeding, you will find that engorgement will also occur when you miss a feeding as well as when you baby's feeding schedule is changed or you change how often you pump. You will notice that you will need to pump or feed your baby in the middle of the night, while out running errands or even when you start back to work. Engorgement can also be the result of clogged ducts.

When you begin to wean your baby off, the breast engorgement is often most likely to occur. Allowing the process of weaning your baby off breastfeeding to take a few weeks is ideal, but not all babies have this in mind. Some babies will simple stop nursing on their own, leaving the mother to be in a lot of pain and discomfort. While it is a common occurrence, how to relieve engorged breasts when stopping breastfeeding is something you want to be aware of. There are ways to relieve engorgement pain as well as some helpful tips to prevent engorgement from happening every mother wants to know. Keep reading to learn that.

How to Relieve Breasts When Stopping Breastfeeding

  • Nurse or pump frequently throughout the day and night. Nursing or pumping every 2 hours can help reduce breast engorgement. Often times, this will require waking in the middle of the night to pump or nurse.
  • Warm compresses can be applied before or after feeding to reduce engorgement. Applying a warm compress prior to feeding will help the milk flow while applying a warm compress after will help promote the production of oxytocin which hormone is associated with assisting in milk letdown.
  • Cold compression will also help with breast engorgement. Applying a cold or frozen compress to the breasts after feeding will help reduce inflammation and provide relief from breast engorgement. Leave a frozen bag of peas or a cold pack wrapped in a towel on the breast for about 20 minutes after you have nursed.
  • As you are breastfeeding, be sure to massage the breast while feeding. If you feel any lumpy areas in the breast, then massaging these areas can help drain the milk.
  • Wear a bra that is comfortable and well fitted. Avoid bras that contain underwire and instead chose a nursing bra that will provide you with support and comfort.
  • Cold cabbage can also be used to help with breast engorgement. How to relieve engorged breasts when stopping breastfeeding using cabbage? Simply wash, core, and place the head of one raw green cabbage in the refrigerator. When needed, take several leaves and roll them with a rolling pin to crush the veins. Place the leave on the breast but keep the nipples exposed. Wear your bra over top of the leaves to keep them in place and simply through the leaves away after 20 minutes.
  • If nothing seems to help relieve the pain from engorged breast, consider taking an Ibuprofen but discuss this with your doctor beforehand.
  • If you also have flu-like symptoms with breast engorgement or have a fever, then call your doctor right away as this can be a sign of a breast infection.
  • When weaning your baby from breastfeeding, reduce the pumping or feeding by one feeding at a time. This will gradually slow down your milk production and get your baby used to not nursing as often. Wait a few days before taking out another feeding and begin to lengthen the time in between feedings to help with the weaning process. Leave the first and before bedtime nursing sessions as the last feedings to wean your baby from.
  • Allow your baby to nurse completely on one breast before you switch. If your baby is finished feeding after one breast, then start them on that breast for their next feeding session.
  • When weaning from breastfeeding, consider pumping just enough to relieve any discomfort. Avoid emptying your breast completely as this will only cause your body to produce more milk and you, instead, want to decrease the amount of milk your body produces.
  • How to relieve engorged breasts when stopping breastfeeding can be more difficult since you will be introducing a bottle. Giving your baby a bottle or pacifier over your breast can cause nipple confusion and can result in your baby having a harder time to nurse. If you are not weaning your baby from breastfeeding, then you do not want to introduce a bottle or pacifier to avoid this confusion and avoid breast engorgement. If weaning, then it is a good idea to introduce the bottle in place of the nursing session they would typically have.
  • In some cases, weaning slowing off the breast is not possible and engorgement may be unavoidable. In these cases, you want to find relief from the pain and swelling by using one of the methods listed in the previous section.

How to Prevent Engorged Breasts

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