Breastfeeding problems

Engorgement and breast inflammation

Throughout the breastfeeding period, but especially in your first weeks at home, your breasts can become hard and painful after feeding. You feel as if you have flu (tired, aching limbs, a headache). These symptoms point to engorgement.

If this happens we recommend that you react as quickly as possible in the following ways.

  1. Put a warm, damp compress on your breast for about 10 minutes before breastfeeding so that the milk flows better.
  2. Position your baby for a feed so that her chin points towards the hard patch.
  3. Gently massage the hard places while you breastfeed.
  4. If the breast still feels hard after breastfeeding, use a gentle breastpump (e.g. Carum) and massage the hard places at the same time.
  5. Cool your breast for about 20 minutes after breastfeeding/expressing by using a cold compress, e.g. a Temperature Pack.
  6. Make sure you get enough rest. The best thing to do is to go to bed with your baby. Drink a lot.

If the symptoms don’t subside within a few hours or if you develop a fever, contact a doctor, a breastfeeding and lactation consultant IBCLC or a midwife as there is a risk of breast inflammation. Contrary to earlier opinion it is not necessary to wean your baby if you have breast inflammation or take antibiotics.