Treatments for engorged breasts
When the milk 'comes in', about 2 to 4 days after the baby is born, the woman's breasts become heavy and warm, feeling 'firm' or 'full'. They also increase considerably in size, although this is only temporary, for a few days. Most of this breast 'fullness' is due to an increase in blood supply (called 'vascular engorgement'), as well as an expansion of the lymph
supply and the start of the mature milk production.
It is crucial at this time for the baby to feed 'on-demand'. This keeps the milk flowing and prevents the normal 'vascular engorgement' from turning into painful 'milk engorgement', as the alveoli
in the breasts start to distend with milk. Over-distension of the alveoli causes the milk secreting cells to become flattened and drawn out, with further milk production starting to become suppressed, and drainage of the milk more difficult, as the breasts swell. If milk engorgement does occur, the breasts will feel hot, hard and tender, become swollen and be quite painful to touch. Breast engorgement can also happen at later times, when your baby is older.
The causes of milk engorgement can include: