Today, December 14, is an anniversary of sorts. Two years ago was 4 days after E was born, the day my milk volume increased (aka “came in”) [side note: I’m not a fan of the term milk coming in because technically, it’s been in there since pregnancy but in a different stage. #boobnerd]. Ironically, my milk volume increased on the same day that we found out E had lost almost a pound after birth. It came in just after the visit with the hospital LCs.
I got home and my breasts were hot, hard, and painful. I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t remember what I had learned and didn’t think to go online. Since E wasn’t latching very well, nursing him didn’t do much to relieve the pressure. Looking back, he may not have been able latch correctly because of how engorged I was. Thankfully my mom knew just what to do. She filled a sink with warm water and had me place my breasts int he sink. She used a warm compress and helped me hand express a little bit out. I felt a little better and E was able to latch better.
Pretty sure these were in my bra
Engorgement 3-5 days after birth is typically a good sign that your milk supply is increasing! It can be quite uncomfortable, but there are some things you can do to help:
– Nurse nurse nurse! Put your baby to breast as much as possible, as often as baby wants. Babies should nurse frequently during the first days of life, even overnight.
– Express a little bit of milk for comfort. This is a great time to hand express milk. If you use a manual or electric pump, do not pump for more than a few minutes or until you take the edge off.
– Use a warm compress while nursing. You can also take a hot shower and hand express in the shower. Unfortunately you milk will literally go down the drain.
– Gentle massage while you’re nursing will help as well.
Want more info?
– Kelly Mom’s information on engorgement
– Dr. Jack Newman’s section on engorgement, featuring step by step instructions on reverse pressure softening
– Stanford School of Medicine’s video on breast compressions while pumping
– Your local IBCLC. Don’t know how to find one near you? Click here to find an IBCLC