Breast Engorgement - Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Breast Engorgement - Causes, Prevention and Treatment

  Autor I.O.M.C. Data: 01.09.2005

Breast Engorgement - Causes, Prevention and Treatment

The engorged breasts are painful, edematous (swollen), shiny, with a stretched skin around the nipples, eventually red colored, the milk won't flow and the fever is possible. The breasts engorgement shouldn't be confused with full breasts with milk normally flowing, which are heavy, warm and without fever. The engorgement often causes early weaning.

Causes and prevention:


  • increased milk production
  • late breastfeeding
  • wrong position of the baby when sucking, so that the breast cannot be emptied efficiently
  • rare breastfeeding
  • reduction of the sucking time


  • start breastfeeding immediately after birth
  • make sure the infants is correctly positioned
  • encourage breastfeeding without restrictions, without schedule, on request.

Don't let your breasts rest. If the infants are able suck, feed them more often. If the infant is not able to suck, milk yourself manually or with a pump. Before sucking, in order to stimulate the oxytocin reflex (the production of the hormone which stimulates the milk flow increases):

  • apply warm compresses on your breasts.
  • massage mother's back and neck
  • massage the breasts gently
  • stimulate the nipple skin
  • relax yourself.

After sucking, apply cold compresses on your breast to reduce the edema.

The Institute of Mother and Child Care: PROMOTION OF BREASTFEEDING I

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