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 if you should pump to relieve engorgement, please read on!
Should I pump to relieve engorgement?
Like we saw in the article on preventing engorgement, your breasts get engorged because they get filled with more milk than what they can bear. The main way to deal with engorged breasts is to therefore empty them, via breastfeeding or pumping.
That being said, it’s also important that you don't pump too frequently when dealing with engorged breasts. If you do so you send a signal to your body to produce milk more often than necessary. You should only pump or breastfeed on a schedule that produces enough milk for what you need. Like that you teach your body to produce just the right amount of milk and you won't face further engorgement issues down the line. Of course if you pump very frequently and feel that you can keep up with that rhythm going forward, go for it. The key is to avoid facing a situation where your breasts get filled with milk that won't be emptied.
On top of breastfeeding or pumping on the right schedule for your baby, there are other things you can do like we saw in the article on relieving engorgement. For instance you can drink a herbal tea designed to help you avoid blockages in your breasts, like our very own Unblock Nursing Tea. Also you can go get a breast massage from a specialized therapist.
So to summarize, should you pump to relieve engorgement?
- Yes, pumping or breastfeeding do help since your engorgement is likely caused by an overflow of milk in your breasts.
- It’s important however that you don’t pump too often as doing so would tell your body to produce more milk than necessary. Pump or breastfeed at a rhythm that you can sustain.