This post is part of our complete guide on treating engorgement and clogged ducts. Refer back to the guide if you want a complete list of topics covered, from prevention to diagnosis and treatment. If you're specifically interested in understanding what you can do to avoid getting engorged during the night, please read on!
How do you stop breasts getting engorged at night?
Your breasts likely get engorged during the night because your body expects you to breastfeed your baby during the night and therefore fills your breasts accordingly. The best way to avoid getting engorged during the night is therefore, you’ll have guessed it, to breastfeed your baby during the night! That way you never let your breasts get filled with so much milk that they end up getting engorged.
If breastfeeding during the night is not an option for you, a way you can help mitigate the issue is to breastfeed (or pump) right before you go to sleep and straight after you wake up. The less time you allow between two breastfeeding sessions, the better. That way you avoid your breasts getting too overfilled.
In any case it’s crucial that whatever you do, you do it consistently. Like this you give a chance to your body to adapt to your rhythm. If for instance you decide not to breastfeed during the night and you do so consistently, you’ll observe that your body will progressively send less milk to your breasts during the night. Your body learns that there is no point sending milk to your breasts during that time-span. The worse you can do is confuse your body by changing your breastfeeding schedule all the time. If you do so you never give your body a chance to adapt and your engorgement issues will linger.
On top of keeping a steady rhythm, you can also help mitigate your engorgement issues by drinking a specialized herbal tea like our very own Unblock Nursing Tea. It’s an all-natural tea based on a recipe used for centuries by Chinese women to deal with engorged breasts and plugged ducts. We recommend you drink at least 3 cups a day while you deal with the issue.
Lastly you can also get your breasts massaged by a specialist (like a lactation or a Gua-Sha massage therapist). Specialized massages have been proven scientifically to reduce engorgement1.
So to summarize, how do you stop breasts getting engorged at night?
- The best way to avoid engorgement during the night is to breastfeed your baby during the night.
- If you can’t breastfeed at night, consider breastfeeding right before sleeping and straight after waking up. The less time you allow between two breastfeeding sessions, the better.
- In any case, it’s important that whatever your breastfeeding schedule, you do it consistently so as to let your body adapt to it. The worst you can do is to sometimes breastfeed at night, sometimes not.
- To help mitigate your engorgement issue, consider drinking a herbal tea designed for the purpose or getting your breasts massaged by a therapist.
1. Chiu J-Y, Gau M-L, Kuo S-Y, et al. Effects of Gua-Sha therapy on breast engorgement: A randomized controlled trial. J Nurs Res2010;18:1–10