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DIY engorgement relief - Amiena

My name is Amiena Pinas and I am the proud mother of two. I am still breastfeeding the little one of 17 months. He still feeds on demand.


I started working in December after being at home for almost two years and it was a big adjustment for me and my baby, who had me with him all the time before that. He adjusted well because he was already eating solids, but he still breastfed beautifully.


At the beginning of January, I heard that I was to go away for a few days’ training in Johannesburg. I was devastated because I was never far from my baby before. I tried pumping, but work was so demanding, and I could barely get a few millilitres out. 


Frustrated and sad, my husband suggested that we get him some formula milk to help him for the few nights that I was away. I was in denial until the day before I left. Eventually we went and got the formula milk and a bottle. That night I breastfed him all night and the next day our goodbye was teary and sad.


The first night away was torture. In my rush, I forgot my breastpump, so I was engorged, and my call home made me so sad, because my husband was telling me that my baby knew I wasn’t coming home so he took the bottle that was offered. He drank himself to sleep, and he even drank of that same bottle the next day. The next evening was the same; he took his bottle and slept as if it was his new playmate. 

I was so engorged; I was in tears. I turned to Rahmat Bagus, the La Leche League leader who has been my rock since the birth of my first child, and she assisted me with reducing my engorgement, by using the hot jar method and also hand expressing in the shower.


On my flight back home, I was conflicted thinking that when I land my son would not want to breastfeed anymore. Turns out I was so wrong. As soon as I walked through my front door, my baby was all over me and wanted his milkies. I could barely get my breasts out in time. We fed all night and when I gave him the bottle to take a little break, he would have nothing of it. So, we breastfed on and off all night.


We have not turned back since then. I tried to wean him a month or so ago. That did not work because he would not take no for an answer so here we are seventeen months down the line still feeding on demand. 


Thank you Le Leche League. I do not think I would have come this far without your help.

Written by Amiena Pinas (July 2019)


“Juice Jar” DIY breast pump – (adapted from Kellymom)

This simple pump can be useful to help with engorgement, and to draw the nipple out when baby is having a difficult time latching on.

  • Find an empty glass jar (e.g. large mayonnaise jar) or bottle at least 1 liter in size with a 5 cm or larger opening.

  • Fill the jar nearly full with very hot water. The glass will get very hot and you will need to hold it with a towel.

  • Pour all the water out of the jar.

  • Use a cool washcloth to cool down the rim and upper part of the jar so you can touch it without burning yourself (test it with your inner arm).

  • Place your breast gently into the mouth of the jar so that it makes an airtight seal. Some moms lean over a table to do this, others put the jar in their lap on a pillow and lean forward. Expect this to take a few minutes, so make yourself comfortable.

  • As the air slowly cools inside the jar, it creates a vacuum inside the jar and this gentle suction expresses milk from the breast. Break the suction immediately if you feel discomfort – if the jar cools too quickly it may create excessive suction which can damage breast tissue.

  • Repeat for the other breast.


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