Engorged breast

Often mothers misunderstand a full breast as engorged one. Engorgement can be very painful and may discourage a mother from breastfeeding . It is also one of the common reasons for babies crying at the breast. We must remember that here also good attachment plays an important role. Babies who can latch on well are able to empty the breasts fully preventing engorgement

Full breast    vs    Engorged breast

Hot                          Painful

Heavy                     Oedematous/ swollen

Hard                        Tight with shiny nipples, may look red

Milk flowing           Milk not flowing

No fever                  May cause fever for 24 hrs



  • Plenty of milk
  • Delayed initiation of breastfeeding
  • Poor attachment to breast
  • Infrequent emptying of breast
  • Restriction on length of feeds


  • Initiate breastfeeding within 1 hour of delivery
  • Ensure good attachment
  • Encourage unrestricted breastfeeding


Source:  IYCF training course manual – developed by BPNI, IBFAN