When your baby is 2 to 5 days old, your breasts should become fuller and heavier – which means your milk has come in! Nurse your baby frequently to keep your breasts from becoming too full or engorged. If your breasts become too full, take a warm shower or place a warm, wet towel over your breasts and nipples for a few minutes before each feeding. Gently massage your breasts toward your nipples. Hand express or gently pump your breasts to get the milk flowing. The idea is to soften your breasts so that baby can latch on.
Ice packs can be used between feedings to keep the swelling down. Green cabbage leaves can be used along with or in place of ice packs.
- Remove leaves from a head of cabbage and wash them.
- Remove the large center vein and cut a hole for your nipple.
- Place cabbage leaves inside your bra or over your breasts, covering all of the swollen area.
- Leave cabbage on breasts for 10 minutes.
- If your breasts are still very firm, change leaves and repeat up to four times a day or until breasts begin to soften.
- The use of cabbage leaves should be discontinued after four uses or when breasts begin to soften or feel tingly, or when milk begins to drip from your nipples.
- Overuse of cabbage leaves may decrease your milk supply.
If your breasts have become so full that your nipple and areola become very flat and your baby cannot latch, try this softening method, then try feeding your baby again.