The moment you deliver, your body stops producing pregnancy hormones and starts with prolactin- that makes your breasts produce milk. It is common to feel some puffiness in breasts when you start lactating. Your breasts may feel heavier, larger, and a lot tender when you begin to produce milk. This fullness is also due to extra blood and lymph fluids in the breasts. You will feel this fullness from second day to sixth day of lactating period. Such kind of puffiness goes away as the flow of milk eases into the breasts within first two weeks of nursing your baby.
If your breast feels hard, swollen, lumpy, painful or uncomfortably full and throbs while nursing your baby, then it can be a case of breast engorgement. Engorgement causes swelling in your breasts, and can cause light fever. The swelling sometimes can also be observed till your armpits. Engorgement in breast makes it difficult for you to nurse your baby. The milk supply will not be free flowing and your baby may find it difficult to latch on your breast. If not taken proper care frequent engorging of breast can cause serious health problems.
Engorgement is caused by obstructed milk ducts and if you do not get to nurse your baby frequently. It is important to empty your breasts by nursing your baby to avoid engorgement. Wearing tight bras obstructs the blood flow in your breasts and can also cause engorgement.
To avoid engorgement a mother should nurse its baby frequently after one or two hours. It is very important to breast feed your child within two hours of birth. After your baby finishes nursing from one breast switch to other. Make sure that your baby is well fed on both your breasts. If you skip a feed or the breasts still feel full after feeding, try expressing your milk, in a warm shower. Do take care that you express only a little, too much will make the breats produce even more milk. Avoid using pacifiers and bottles at least the first month unless any medical reason demands using of pacifiers.
To treat engorgements place a warm compress on your breast for few minutes and release. Gently massage your breast while your baby is feeding. Pump some milk out of your breast to soften them and help your baby latch on your breast properly. Engorgement passes in less time, maximum a few days, if it does not then seek for medical help.