When I was pregnant I went up a few bra sizes. My last few weeks before Emily was born I got measured and my boobs were measured in at 36E. As soon as I gave birth Emily was put on me straight away and I breastfed her, giving her the colostrum that she needed in her first few hours. But I noticed a difference in my boobs. I felt a little like a cow ready to be milked, I could feel the changes within as my hormones, said goodbye to estrogen and progesterone, and hello to prolactin, the milk-producing hormone. 3 days after Emily was born, early in the morning my boobs decided to let the milk come to the yard. I soaked my side of the bed, my pillow, my clothes, it all. My boobs had managed to go from a 36E to a 38F (when I got measured a few days later) and it was like an instant boob job. I mean I wasn’t complaining, hello cleavage! But they were tender, like really tender and they were there, like right right there in your face. Pamela Anderson eat your heart out. This was the start of breast engorgement which generally begins around two to five days after delivery whether you’re planning to nurse or not. And if you’re not going to breastfeed, they turn hard, rock hard. It’s the weirdest feeling. I told Sam to feel my boobs and he couldn’t believe how rock solid and swollen they went after I decided breastfeeding was a no go and it was formula from that point on. When I was breastfeeding, it was m a strange feeling, having that feeling of your boobs filling up with milk.
Thankfully engorgement was temporary. Within a week I decided against breastfeeding (as mentioned in a previous post) and for a few days after they were very swollen, rock hard and very sore making pretty much anything uncomfortable including picking up Emily for cuddles, bottle feeding her, hugging Sam and sleeping on my side. But it subsided within a few days. If you are breastfeeding this goes away within 2-3 days as your boobs devise a good supply and demand relationship (this doesn’t happen straight away, it will take a few weeks to get into a routine- be patient!).
Breastfeeding & Engorgement
- As natural as it is to breastfeed it can be confusing and quite stressful for any new mum as the colostrum may not look as you expected but then neither does breast milk.
- Your baby may fall asleep during feeds or after latching on and not eat at all.
- It takes some time for supply-and-demand to take a routine in breastfeeding. Your supply-and-demand will increase as your baby grows.
- Her feed stimulates nerve endings in your breast, sending a message to your brain that results in the release of the hormone prolactin.
- Your midwife and doctor will recommend you eat 3,000 calories to ensure both of you are getting everything in your diet to support your health and support your baby’s growth and development.
To make sure supply-and-demand is met make sure you feed your baby frequently (your midwife will recommend you feed her every 2-3 hours), if they ache use warm compresses to ease the pain and cold compresses after each feed to soothe them. If your nipples are sore and are cracked, express a little of your own milk and rub in the sore area and/or use Lanolin which is a thick Vaseline like gel that helps soothe sore boobs.