Engorged or nah?!


Did you know that throughout your breastfeeding journey your breast may become engorged for different reasons?

Let’s talk about the types of engorgement a woman can experience after giving birth.


Vascular Engorgement:

This type of engorgement happens once the placenta is delivered which in return signals the body to increase in prolactin and a decrease in estrogen and progesterone. Because of this process, the breasts are prepared for making your milk. This is what causes an increase in blood and lymph to the breast area which results in the fullness in the early days. Many notice that the breast is hard, hot to touch and blood vessels are visible beneath the skin. During this time you may assume your breast are FULL OF LIQUID GOLD, however, that is not the case.  The interesting thing is that this type of engorgement will never happen in later stages of breastfeeding, unlike when you’re engorged from milk…  which is called Milk Engorgement. 

How long does this type of engorgement last?

This type of engorgement lasts a few weeks after giving birth and is totally normal. Once lactation is fully established, and your supply has regulated, your breast will become soft and pliable even when they are full of milk which is a relief. =)


Although this type of engorgement shouldn’t last for long, it is very painful.  Taking a breastfeeding approved pain reliever can help. Also, wearing a well-supported bra is a good tip during this stage. Cold compresses can help to reduce swelling, while hand expressing milk can also relieve tightness and pressure. I would also recommend feeding the baby on demand. After reading an article online I learned that lymph massage is very helpful in preventing and relieving engorgement during this stage. 

Milk Engorgement:

This type of engorgement can happen at any time during lactation whenever milk is not removed regularly or properly from the breast. It may happen if baby hasn’t been able to feed at the breast freely or if the baby isn’t latched on properly. Many moms experience this when they return to work and their baby isn’t able to feed on the regular schedule and time to pump is not permitted as often as needed. Remember,  the breast empties as the baby feeds. If suddenly you stop feeding or removing milk regularly, the milk then remains in the breast and eventually, the volume of milk becomes too much for the breast to store comfortably and that is why you will have milk engorgement. You can breastfeed for 1 month or 3 years and this type of engorgement can happen.

How long does this type of engorgement last?

This type of engorgement can last for days. If not cared for properly, you can cause even bigger issues like mastitis, milk blister, clogged ducts, and abscess.


Massaging the breast downwards toward the nipple will help with your let down. Hand expressing milk is a good trick also. Pumping for a short amount of time after a feeding to remove access milk is very popular for relieving milk engorgement. A cool compress or shower can help too. Another tip that many moms are trying is using cabbage for engorgement. Many have reported that it helps with the pain as well as engorgement.


Knowledge is POWER!! Share, Repost. Let’s support each other on this breastfeeding journey. Education is key! #Breastfeedingwithoutfear 


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 




Was this Informative?
User Review
5 (3 votes)

Leave a Reply