I saw two posts on twitter recently that made me realize I need a post about engorgement and breastfeeding. The two tweets that inspired this are post were:
from @mdans “wonder how long i’ll be able to keep #bfing. My boobs rarely are full is that normal?” on September 21st
from @jayesel “so bfing moms: anyone ever had success bfing without ever being engorged? baby is 9 days old, nursing great, lots of wet/dirty diapers” on September 23rd.
I responded to both on twitter – but thought I would write a little more here. First off, let me just say that EVERY woman is different and every woman’s body responds differently to breastfeeding. There are lots of “cues” that you should monitor when you are breastfeeding to determine if everything is going smoothly and “fullness” of your breasts or “engorgement” is only one of those cues. Additional cues include:
- having a baby who is content and falls asleep after a feed
- having 5-6 wet diapers per day (after the 4th day post partum)
- having 4 yellow seedy stools per day (after day 4 post partum and during the first 4 weeks post partum only)
- after day 4, gaining 25 grams (or 0.8 ounces) per day for the first 3-4 months
- regaining their birth weight by 2-3 weeks post-partum
Some women never feel engorged. I personally was one of those women. I never had to wear nursing pads (I actually leaked more before giving birth than I did after my milk came in), I never felt a let-down and my breasts never got overly engorged. And yet, I was able to nurse my son for a very long time – he gained regularly and never needed supplementation of any kind. So don’t let soft breasts or lack of leaking make you feel like you aren’t making milk. It’s there, and as long as your baby is having wet diapers and gaining some weight – have confidence in your body that it is doing its job.
Did you ever feel engorged? What techniques did you use to reassure yourself that your baby was getting enough?