Breast engorgement is the overfilling of the breasts with milk. This can happen when milk isn't being removed well from the breasts by breastfeeding, pumping, or expressing by hand. Severely engorged breasts become increasingly hard, swollen, and tender. The nipples and areolae can become hard and flattened, making it difficult for a baby to latch on to the breast properly.
A mother with a regular breastfeeding routine can become engorged if she cannot nurse or pump as much as usual or suddenly stops breastfeeding. A mother who doesn't begin breastfeeding after childbirth will have several days of mild to moderate breast engorgement. This gradually goes away when the breasts aren't stimulated to produce more milk.
Severe breast engorgement can cause a slight fever and tender lymph nodes in the armpits. Without treatment, severe engorgement can lead to blocked milk ducts and breast infection (mastitis).
Clinical Review Board All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.