New mothers will often experience breast engorgement in the first few days and weeks after birth. Hormonal changes kick in and influence breast milk production right around the time of the baby's birth. Its natures answer to providing the food supply for the new arrival. Engorgement is the result of more milk production than the needs of the baby at any given point of time. When the breast milk supply is greater than breast milk demand, the breasts may become swollen and feel very “full” or “heavy”… they may go up a cup size or more overnight…feel hard and swollen … they may be very sensitive to pressure and touch.
Most of these issues are temporary. The body adjusts to the demands of increased or decreased needs of breast milk but engorgement during this adjustment is painful but can be managed.
Lactation consultants recommend using cold compress after and between feedings to relax the milk ducts and warm compresses to expand the ducts prior to breastfeeding. Massage is often recommended in addition for relief
Always wearing a nursing bra that is not tight but comfortable or a simple compress that you can take a shower with like The Shower Hug Nursing Bra can help ease the discomfort and be therapeutic
For more information on breast engorgement or nursing your child and pain management Dr. Sears is a great resource.