After about the first week or so of full-time breastfeeding, moms may feel their breasts becoming hard and heavy. This fullness is caused by additional blood and fluid traveling to the breasts, which prepare for the production of milk, and also by the increased volume of the milk itself. A mom can also get engorged when she nurses her baby for short periods of time only. Or when a baby is extra sleepy and dozes off for more than two hours without nursing, the mom’s breasts can become overly full and uncomfortable.
The best solution is for Mom to breastfeed frequently! Before a feeding, she can apply a warm compress to soften her breasts a bit. When breasts are softer, it will be easier for the baby to latch on correctly and get all the milk.
Another common nursing discomfort is clogged ducts. How does this occur? Breast milk is produced in the breast and flows through milk ducts out the nipple. When one of those ducts becomes clogged for some reason, milk can back up, causing a tender lump. If not remedied right away, a clogged duct can lead to a mom’s getting a breast infection.
First solution: breastfeed the baby from the affected breast first. Let the baby nurse from that breast until the breast has become very soft. Moms should also check that their nursing bras fit well. A tight bra can constrict the breasts and cause plugged ducts. Another solution is for moms to vary their breastfeeding positions so that all the milk ducts around the breasts get drained.
In between feedings, the mom can apply a warm compress over the affected breast to help decrease the swelling of the duct. Taking a shower with warm water can also help. And to prevent future occurrences of clogged ducts, the mom should drink a lot of water and other fluids. If the clogged duct persists and if the mother starts to get a fever, she should immediately see a doctor.