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What Should I Do If My Breasts Get Very Full And Uncomfortable?

After the first 1 to 3 days your breastmilk changes in colour and amount.  As the amount of breastmilk increases, your breasts may become full. This is called engorgement.  This full feeling should go away in 1 or 2 days.

Try these steps if your breasts feel very full or hard, or your baby has trouble latching:
  • Feed your baby more often.
  • Have a warm shower or bath before feeding your baby.  In the bath or shower, gently massage your breasts towards the nipples.
  • Express enough breastmilk (using guidelines on page 29), to make the areola feel softer. You may express breastmilk by hand or with a breast pump.  If you need a breast pump ask a health care provider which type you should use.  Do not use a pump with a rubber bulb.
  • Continue to feed your baby often, at least 8 or more in 24 hours.  This is about every 2 to 3 hours.

Wear a cotton bra that supports your breasts. Use cold packs on your breasts for 10 to 15 minutes between feedings.  If you are very sore or your breasts are so hard that your baby cannot latch on, ask your health care provider for help.