An Anniversary of Sorts

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


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