There are two ways to think of engorgement and I feel like it is important to understand the differences. If you have given birth in a hospital setting and have had IV fluids for an extended period of time, you could have a form of engorgement that stems from too much fluid filling the tissues of the breast from your IV. Or 2-3 days after birth when your milk transitions from colostrum to milk your breasts can become full, heavy and warm. They can be painful and hard as more milk is made than is removed at this point.

If you are experiencing excessive swelling that is keeping baby from latching well you can do what is called “reverse pressure softening” where you make a flower shape with your fingertips and form them over the areola (the dark part of your breast and nipple) and push gently in and back. Your goal is to gently move the fluid back and away from your nipple towards your armpits. This “softening” should allow some room for baby to be able to latch on. Here is a video you can watch on Reverse Pressure Softening.


Hand expression is always a great way to relieve some of the pressure so you will feel more comfortable and baby can latch better. Here is a video showing how to do hand expression if you need it.


You can also stand in a warm shower, allowing the water to run over your breasts(avoiding direct spray onto the breasts) which can stimulate milk to flow out enough for baby to latch on once you are out of the shower. Pumping a little milk off just to comfort will also help baby to latch, especially hand expression. You really want baby to take what he wants and be the one to “empty”(although the breasts are never truly empty) the breast if possible as his nursing will start setting the stage for your milk production.

Soon the demand of milk will regulate the production of breastmilk through the frequency of feedings and the amount baby takes. But engorgement can sneak up on you if baby sleeps longer than normal or if baby is fed expressed milk while mom is away.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with engorgement from the La Leche League:

KellyMom.com has some great additional information on engorgement here including the use of cabbage leaves for engorgement. But beware that cabbage leaves are also suggested for helping to dry up milk so you want to just use them until you are comfortable. https://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/engorgement/

As always, if you have concern, fever, chills or reddened warm areas please check with your care provider. Engorgement can lead to mastitis if not corrected. If you feel that baby is not latching on appropriately or draining your breasts adequately, please reach out to a Lactation Specialist to determine how they can help.

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D- The Dirty on Diapers

Every new mom asks herself the question, “Is my baby getting enough?”

Thankfully there is a solid way to answer this question beyond taking baby in for a weight check all the time. Dr. Marvin Eiger says in the book “The Complete Book of Breastfeeding”, that if you can answer “yes” to these questions then your baby is most likely getting enough:

Does you baby have 1-2 stools per day for each day of life up to day six and then 6 or more each day from days 6 on up? You can count them as 1 poopy diaper if the diaper contains at least a quarter size spot.

Remember in a previous post I said that input = output. That is just a quippy way to say that what goes in pretty much comes out. Color of the stools is important as well. Days 1-2 they will be blackish and tarry, days 3-4 brownish-blackish, days 4-6 brownish-yellowish and days 6 and beyond yellowish. If a baby over 5 days old is having dark stools and less than what is discussed above this is a warning that baby is most likely not getting enough milk.

The next question is, Does your baby have 6 or more wet diapers each day by the time he or she is 3 or 4 days old? In this day and age of disposable diapers it can be difficult to tell but they do come with a wet strip now that didn’t exist in the early days of disposable diapers.

Does your baby seem satisfied and content for an average of two to three hours between feedings? The two to three hours part can be difficult as babies don’t necessarily eat on a regular two to three hour schedule. I would focus more on whether baby seems satisfied and eats on average of 8-12 times in 24 hours.

Which leads to the question, Does your baby nurse 8-12 times in 24 hours in the first month or two, for ten to twenty minutes?

Is your baby’s skin soft and supple and his or her eyes bright and alert?

Did your baby regain birth weight by two to three weeks of age?

Is your baby gaining an average of 4-6 ounces a week, about 1/2 ounce a day?

Can you hear swallowing sounds when your baby is nursing?

Do your breasts feel fuller before a feeding and softer after?

These are all great questions to consider and to help you to determine if baby is getting what he or she needs. If at anytime you have concerns, I urge you to seek help from a Lactation Specialist or your pediatrician. It is very easy to get a quick weight check from your pediatrician.

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B is for Breast Compressions & Breast crawl

Using breast compressions in breastfeeding

Babies are hardwired to breastfeed. After birth babies exhibit over 20 neonatal reflexes that help with breastfeeding. Some of these reflexes move the baby to the breast and others help baby attach and get milk from the breast. Click on the link to read a great blog post by scarymommy.com and watch the video on the breast crawl. https://www.scarymommy.com/breast-crawl-newborn/

Breast compressions are an important thing for all new moms to learn.

Sometimes when you are nursing your precious bundle they will start to drop off to sleep before you feel that they might be finished. Breast compressions can help to wake up a sleepy baby by giving him or her a bolus of milk to stimulate more breastfeeding. They can also help to more thoroughly empty the breasts which will in turn help to make more milk. Watch the following video to see how to do breast compressions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBrLYhABUlM

I am purposefully keeping these blog posts short if possible so that you won’t feel that you have to read through scads of words before coming away with something you can hang in your mental file folder.

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A is for Adjustment

I love to teach! One of my goals as a Lactation Specialist is to teach expecting parents, well, what to expect. Studies have shown that women who attend prenatal breastfeeding classes had significantly increased breastfeeding rates at 6 months. With both of my daughters they readily admit that a prenatal breastfeeding class would have benefited them greatly.

So since I love to teach I am going to doing posts here on the blog with the basic outline of my breastfeeding class. Although I do firmly believe that a hands-on class where you can participate and ask questions is the best way to experience this, I also know that some people just prefer to find an online way to learn or maybe just want some information at their fingertips.

I call my Prenatal Breastfeeding Class “The ABC’s of Breastfeeding”. There is so much information out there to get your feet wet with when it comes to breastfeeding that I was able to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet. I am planning on trying to keep my post short and succinct with this so that you won’t feel that you have a ton of things to wrap your brain around and remember but I want to at least touch on things.

We are finding that most moms want to know what issues they could possibly run into with breastfeeding rather than not knowing so I will be introducing some things that you may never even experience in your breastfeeding journey.

So after all of that I want to jump right in with the letter “A”

A” is for Adjustment

There are a lot of adjustments during this time. Your body needs to adjust to not being pregnant anymore, maybe you have some extra healing that needs to take place. Your sleep is most likely being interrupted and you and your partner need to adjust to being parents and adding a new family member.

Another adjustment is your milk. You may feel like you have no milk at first. That is because of the very important substance called “colostrum”.

Your baby doesn’t need very much of this “first milk” since his or her stomach is the size of a marble with a maximum capacity of 5-7 ml (about 1/4 of an ounce). It does not have the ability to expand to accommodate more milk yet so our body isn’t producing much yet, just what baby needs.

prenatal breastfeeding education
Photography by Stanley Ong


Don’t be fooled into thinking that your baby needs to be taking ounces of breast milk at this point. That could lead you to feel that you need to supplement with formula. But your body is producing just what baby needs. We will cover how great colostrum in when we get to the letter “C”.

By day 3 baby’s stomach has grown to the size of a ping-pong ball, holding about an ounce.

By days 5-8 baby’s stomach continues to grow and by day 10 and beyond it is about the size of a chicken egg, holding about 2-3 ounces.

Around day 3 your milk will start to “transition”, sometimes said to be “coming in” but technically you already had milk, it is just changing from colostrum and increasing in volume. Now you are going to have some adjustments of your own which we will cover in more detail when we get to the letter “E” and talk about engorgement.

That is all we will touch on for today. As I said, I don’t want to overwhelm you and give you too much to read through in one post. I will be back soon to move on to the letter “B”.

Feel free to leave any comments or ask questions. I will answer them to the best of my ability.


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Come learn with Me

Photo by Luiza Braun on Unsplash

I am super excited to be hosting my very first breastfeeding class. I am calling it The ABCs of Breastfeeding since I will be covering something related to breastfeeding for each letter of the alphabet. There are so many things to cover about breastfeeding and I want you to come away feeling like you were prepared for whatever may come your way as you start out on your breastfeeding adventure.

Join me Friday, November 22nd from 6:30-9:00 pm in the beautiful cozy space at 405 NE 3rd St., McMinnville, OR 97128. We will be up the stairs next to Union Block Coffee in suite 6/7.

I am keeping this class small, only 4 couples or eight individuals so that it will be an intimate atmosphere where we can discuss your individual concerns. I am planning on this being a hands-on class and hope to teach to each learning style represented in the class.

As I have talked with others and thought about the subject of breastfeeding education I am realizing that from the time we find out we are expecting a baby we start dreaming and planning for our pregnancy, delivery and even our nursery but we spend very little time preparing for how we will feed that baby. Education is such a huge investment into your breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is natural and what your body was created to do but just like walking or riding a bike, there is a time of adjustment and a learning curve as two individuals (mom and baby) learn to do this amazing thing together.

So I hope you will join me, if not in this month’s class then in an upcoming class as I seek to support your breastfeeding experience through education and encouragement.

You can reach me through my Contact Me page here, through email at mamabeelactation@gmail.com, message me on Facebook at Mama Bee Lactation or through Instagram at Mamabee_lactation.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have and can even schedule a private breastfeeding class if you desire.

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The ABCs of Breastfeeding

I love to teach. I have been homeschooling my children since my first was in first grade a very long time ago. So the opportunity to teach breastfeeding classes to expecting parents is especially exciting to me. I will be hosting my first class on Friday, November 22nd from 6:30-9:00pm. We will be meeting at 405 NE 3rd St. suite 6/7. You can contact me through my webpage, emailed at mamabeelactation@gmail.com or find me on Facebook at Mama Bee Lactation

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