Breast engorgement and Management


Q: I decided to stop breastfeeding my 11 month old daughter, she only ever feed off the left breast. I have tried to gradually wean her off the breast over the last week, replacing 1 breastfeed for a bottle feed per day. I have now stopped completly and my left breast has become very engorged and is about 5 cup sizes bigger than the right breast so is extremly lobsided and painful, what shall i do?


A:   Breast engorgement is a common problem after birth and during breast-feeding. Once you stop breast feeding, breast engorgement will improve as your breasts stop producing milk. Pain and discomfort should go away in 1 to 5 days. You can manage engorged breasts with cold compress on your breasts for a few minutes. Apply a frozen wet towel, cold gel or ice packs, or bags of frozen vegetables to your breasts for 15 minutes at a time every hour as needed. To prevent tissue damage, do not apply cold to your bare skin. Place a thin cloth between the cold pack and your skin. Gently pump or use your hands (manual expression) to let out a small amount of milk. Be careful not to injure your breast tissue. An automatic cycling breast pump with the suction adjusted to low is best for relieving engorgement. Consider taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve discomfort or pain.

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