Since we just talked about colostrum, we thought it was a good time to bring up engorgement. Although engorgement does not happen to everyone, when it does it can feel painfully full, tight and uncomfortable. On day 3 to day 6 your milk ‘comes-in’. I never liked this phrase, because it makes moms think that there is no milk before this process, which just isn’t the case. Anyway, when your milk comes-in you may experience engorgement, which is not just the milk in the breasts feeling full, it is also a reaction your body has to this process which causes some inflammation or swelling. If you experience engorgement the first thing to do is often the answer to most questions or concerns… feed your baby. If your baby is not ready to feed, hand express some of your milk out or use your pump or hand pump until your breasts feel softer, usually about 10-15 minutes. Relieving this pressure will not make engorgement worse. If you still feel full after your baby has fed (if you are engorged you will likely still feel full after your baby feeds!), you can put a little bit of cold on your breasts to help decrease the swelling.
Lowdermilk, D, Perry, S., Casion, K., & Rhodes, K. (2012). Maternity and Women’s Health Care. (10thed.). St: Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc.