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Majority of new moms who breastfeed – either exclusively or not – know what it is like to experience breast engorgement. Unfortunately, more often than not, it is extremely unpleasant to deal with. Not all moms can keep feeding their baby with breasts that crack and feel like they are on fire. Due to this, engorged breasts can give moms trauma to the point they immediately plan to stop breastfeeding.
Luckily, there are many ways you can treat engorged breasts. You may take pills if you’d like, but if you prefer more natural ways to go about it, here are three methods you should definitely try!
Do you remember how you would hold and press an ice pack to your cheek when you have toothache, and how much that soothes the pain? That’s what compression does.
Compression is a good first step to relieving most muscle or physical pain. In treating breast engorgement, it is also effective to stimulate milk flow apart from just relieving the discomforts. But, should you opt for hot or cold compression? Why not both! You don’t necessarily have to try both of them at once, but if one does not work for you, at least you can go with the other type.
To apply heat, you may use a warm pack or make your own by filling a bottle with warm water and wrapping it with thick cloth. Apply the heat to your breast for about 5-10 minutes before you start breastfeeding. Alternatively, you can just step into a warm bath. Remember to keep the water at a warm temperature and NOT steaming hot.
In case that does not relieve the engorgement, you can opt for cold compression. Give it some time and do not try it immediately after you do the heat compression. For this, you may use a wrapped ice pack. Apply it to your breast for a few minutes where needed. This can especially help to reduce swellings and inflammations.
Wait…cabbage? The same cabbage you would shred and throw into soups? Yes, THAT cabbage. This unsuspected method has helped many mothers to relieve their acute breast pain. How does it work? This unusual form of therapy is effective because the cabbage leaves are able to absorb some of the fluids from the glands on the breasts, hence reducing the fullness or swellings of the tissue.
You may notice some improvements like reduced inflammations within 12 hours of starting it. Here’s how to do it, from A to Z!
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using. Like an ice pack, the cabbage works best when it is cold.
- Remove the outermost layer of the cabbage and use the leaves on the inside. Store the rest of the cabbage for future use.
- Clean 3 cabbage leaves thoroughly with running water, and ensure there is no dirt residue.
- Use a clean cloth and dry the leaves.
- Slip a leaf into your top, covering as much of your breasts as possible.
- Leave the leaf there for not more than 2 hours or until it starts to feel warm. If you wish to breastfeed, remove the leaf as soon as you start feeling better. Leaving the cabbage leaves on for too long may affect your milk supply.
- The used leaves cannot be reused and are to be immediately disposed of.
If discomfort continues, you can practise this cabbage leaf trick. Try not to overdo it and if you must, only do it a maximum of 2 times a day.
Last but certainly not least, what better ways to relieve most common types of body discomforts but to massage them away! Massaging your breasts can help to stimulate breast milk production and prevent the risk of issues like blockage of milk ducts, breast engorgement, and mastitis. You may massage your breasts or have your partner do it once or twice a day!
Simple steps of massage you can practise before pumping:
- Hold up your breast and lightly rub the bottom part of your breast.
- Use one hand to lightly rub the top part of your breast.
- Lightly rub the left part of your breast.
- Lightly rub the right side of your breast.
- Using 2 fingers to form a “scissor”, place your nipples in between, slightly pinch and shake lightly.
- Palm your entire breast and lightly shake.
If you are looking for how to clear engorged breast the natural way, you can always consult us at PNSG. We have a team of massage therapists who are certified and skilled to get rid of your engorgement through our postnatal massage.
You May Also Read this : What is Pregnancy Massage?
Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Engorgement
Q: How to do breast massage for engorgement?
Start by massaging around the areola in circular movements. Gradually massage from the outer sides of your breast with the movement still going towards the centre, this time switching it with light tapping and kneading. If you are experiencing blocked ducts, try locating the clog and massage it towards the ducts. For a more effective breast engorgement massage, you can consider opting for our postnatal massage so that our therapist can help tackle your engorgement and get rid of it.
Q: Does massaging breasts help engorgement?
Massage can certainly help in treating engorgement and unblocking clogged milk ducts. It is in fact one of the more recommended and preferred treatments for engorgement among new mothers in Singapore. Make sure to go for a certified masseuse rather than a regular therapist who may not be as experienced in treating such issues. At PNSG, breast massage for engorgement is an important part of our postnatal massage. Our professional therapist is trained to assist mothers in clearing milk ducts and ensuring smooth flow.
Q: How do you relieve breast engorgement?
To relieve engorged breasts, there are several methods that new mothers generally swear by. The first is none other than getting a postnatal massage itself. It is one of the effective treatments to stimulate and unclog blocked milk ducts, improving your milk flow and relieving any breastfeeding discomforts. When not feeding, try pumping regularly to ensure smooth flow. Using both hot and cold compressions is also recommended, as well as taking a warm shower. You could also try applying cabbage leaves, but take note of the guidelines such as for how long you should leave them on.