Breastfeeding and Engorgement

Congratulations on your desire to nurse your little one. It is an absolute wonder that goes by faster than you can imagine.

You have this precious bundle who is the joy of your life. Being up all day and night with a hungry baby is starting to take it’s toll on you. Then…your milk comes in. Your breasts turn rock hard, the baby is unable to latch on and nurse. You are sore and leaking milk everywhere…yikes.

Here are somethings to remember to help smooth things along:

  • Get a well fitting nursing bra that you can easily latch/unlatch with one hand. QT brand has an all cotton bra that fits well and has great clasps. Ginger & O’ Malley have some pretty bras that open easily. They are all under $20 too. Check out Amazon and read all the reviews, you’ll find that expensive doesn’t always mean it’s better.
  • Try not to use underwire bras, they may pinch the milk ducts and cause it to clog, then get infected.
  • You don’t have to buy expensive nursing shirts, T shirts that pull up work and button down shirts work.  But I really like having a nursing cami under my shirts, it keeps your tummy covered while nursing.
  • Drink LOTS of water! Have large cups filled with water at various places throughout the house. Have a pitcher full next to where you nurse at night, it will be handy when you need to refill. Nothing is worse than sitting down to nurse and your mouth goes dry and you just sit there the whole time thinking…”I want a drink!”.
  • Trouble with milk coming in? Try drinking “Mother’s Milk Tea”. But the best milk builder is “Brewer’s Yeast”. Honestly though, it tastes yucky. Some people sprinkle it on food, but I like to enjoy my meal. So what I do is heat up about 1/2 of water, stir in 2 heaping tablespoons then stir, stir, stir, until it is dissolved. Then add chocolate milk powder and milk, it tastes a little like a chocolate malt. You can also try soaking rolled oats in water overnight and drink the liquid.
  • Once your milk comes in, you may experience engorgement. To remedy this, rub the hard spots on your breast while nursing. Yes, it hurts, but once it’s rubbed out you will feel relief. Switch sides and repeat. Do this with every feeding until your body has regulated the milk supply. The hardest spot to reach is under your arm and a little below the breast, so I recommend to start there, then go counter clockwise all the way around.
  • Positioning is very important. Hold the baby parallel to the floor. Bring the baby to the breast, hold breast and slip into baby’s mouth. You can also nurse while laying on your side in bed. To burp, scoop baby onto your chest then roll onto your back. If the baby latched on wrong…and you’ll know it when you jump off your chair from pain, then slip your pinkie into the mouth to break the suction then try again.
  • Keep in mind that babies go through growth spurts. On average it’s at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year. During these growth spurts, your little one will nurse like crazy and this is when many women give up thinking they don’t have enough milk. Eat a few extra nourishing snacks drink more water and nurse, nurse, nurse. Your body will register that it needs to make more milk…and it will. If you just keep nursing even though your breasts feel empty, you will be amazed that you will get a second or even a third let down. Then when your baby goes back to normal nursing your milk will regulate again with less milk.
  • Even though I am a stay at home mom, I use a breast-pump. It is great to have extra milk handy. I can go to a movie or out to dinner and know my little man will be fed. I have tried several kinds- from hand pumps to hospital pumps. I rate them from worst to best in that order too. I have found that the Ameda, Purely Yours pump is, comfortable and pumps well. I pump in the morning when milk production is high. I nurse on one side and pump on the other. I just get about 2-3 oz then refrigerate and freeze it. I do this so I am not overly stimulating my milk production, which can lead to engorgement and leaking later.
  • Please give it at least 8 weeks before giving up. Everyday there are new changes to you and your baby, you may get overwhelmed. But after 8 weeks things start to smooth out and you’ll start feeling better.
  • I also have books laying around where I usually nurse. It is slow but steady reading. Reading I may not have time for otherwise.
  • For more help or info. visit

Just relax, really you need to relax, being tense keeps the milk from coming in. Remember many moms before you have braved it, you are not on uncharted territory. Go somewhere quiet and private put your feet up and enjoy.

Congrats again on your precious little one!


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