Engorgement is a common and usually temporary condition where the breasts are tender, swollen, firm and warm to the touch. It is most common in the first 2 to 4 days of breastfeeding. Before the need for milk and milk production have coordinated.

  1. Notify doctor or nurse-midwife if engorgement has not improved within 24 hours.
  2. Nurse or express frequently, at least 8 times each 24-hour period.
  3. Alternate position of infant at each feeding until breasts are no longer engorged. Warm compresses on the breast for 5 minutes right before nursing may relieve discomfort and help the baby to empty the breast more easily.
  4. If fever (>100.4° F) and chills develop, notify doctor or nurse-midwife.
  5. Use cold packs, cold gel packs or cold cabbage leaves applied to breast right after nursing or expression.
  6. Use hand expression or a fully automatic intermittent breast pump until infant is able to latch and engorgement is relieved.
  7. Limit pumping time to 10 minutes if breast is extremely engorged (10 minutes every 2 hours).
  8. Use Tylenol or Motrin to relieve pain.

Contact your doctor office if you have any concerns.