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Thread: Quick question about emptying breasts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default Quick question about emptying breasts

    If after baby finishes nursing I can still hand express a bit of milk, does that mean baby hasn't emptied the breast properly? I can't express a lot - sometimes just a drop or two, sometimes it'll squirt from one or two 'holes' for a few seconds - but I don't try that hard either. I'm wondering if baby isn't emptying breasts properly and so that's contributing to my supply issues.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    21,103

    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    No, what you describe is normal. Moms are often told that they need to "empty" their breasts when nursing or pumping, and this is inaccurate because milk is always being made. Therefore you can never completely empty the breast. The faster you remove milk from the breast, the faster milk is made to replace it. Think of it like a bathtub where the tap is always running. Only this is a special tub: every time you open the drain, the tap senses that the tub is emptying out and starts putting out more water.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Ah that makes sense, thanks! But another question now - how do I know when baby is finished nursing? He will fall asleep easily so we've been doing compressions and switch nursing to keep his interest, and eventually I 'give in' to him sleeping and let him be. But I never really know when to do this! I feel my breasts but they often feel soft (other than at night and in the morning) so I can't tell that way. He's not likely to pop off the breast himself - loves the boob!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Has a Dr told you he's not gaining enough? If not then relax and know that your baby knows what feels right. Enjoy your time! (Maybe even take advantage and get hubby to pass you the remote!)
    July 30, 2010-6lbs 2oz- 41w 4d (emergency c-section.) Known dairy, eggs, dogs and cats allergies, eczema, and asthma
    Bonus June 22, 2006 (is 50/50 Custody ) (born 32w) Sensitive to changing temps.
    We BF, BW, Co-sleep and use cloth diapers/pull-ups!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*samuella View Post
    Ah that makes sense, thanks! But another question now - how do I know when baby is finished nursing? He will fall asleep easily so we've been doing compressions and switch nursing to keep his interest, and eventually I 'give in' to him sleeping and let him be. But I never really know when to do this! I feel my breasts but they often feel soft (other than at night and in the morning) so I can't tell that way. He's not likely to pop off the breast himself - loves the boob!
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding recommends letting baby nurse on one side until they either fall asleep or unlatch. Then, take them off, burp them (helps wake them a bit) and offer the other side. Then at the next feeding, offer that side first. I wouldn't go by how soft your breast feels or anything like that. As your milk regulates more (and as you breastfeed subsequent babies) your breasts may never feel "full" the way they did at first. Diaper output is the only way to really know because what goes in must come out


    Jeanne (my middle name IRL)


    Mommy to two girls (M & M), born Sept. '07 and Sept. '09

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*codepink View Post
    Has a Dr told you he's not gaining enough? If not then relax and know that your baby knows what feels right. Enjoy your time! (Maybe even take advantage and get hubby to pass you the remote!)
    Oh don't worry - remote beside me and laptop in front of me! But he isn't gaining well - both doc and I agree. I'm on domperidone, fenugreek and blessed thistle - supply is going up but not enough. Prob still waiting for the dom to kick in. But at the moment usually the only time he comes off on his own is when he's upset and crying about lack of milk or after he wakes up. The reason I'm asking about this is with the supply/demand aspect of milk production, and since my baby seems to need some help with his role of demanding, I'm not sure when it's OK to stop 'helping' him and let the poor lad sleep!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jeannie.bean
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding recommends letting baby nurse on one side until they either fall asleep or unlatch. Then, take them off, burp them (helps wake them a bit) and offer the other side. Then at the next feeding, offer that side first.
    I was feeding that way for the first few weeks, but because of weight gain issues and sleepy baby switched to switch nursing. He often falls asleep after just a few minutes of nursing, so that way doesn't really work for us.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    how old is the baby? (maybe i missed it somewhere) have you ever tried changing a diaper between sides to really wake him up? you mentioned he is very sleepy..how long do you let him sleep between feeds if he is not demanding? i know you just wanted a quick answer to your emptying question, but if anyone can help regarding the supply prob. you're mentioning more info would help (again, unless you posted somewhere else and i missed it, if so, ignore)
    Christine
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*oakdryad5 View Post
    how old is the baby? (maybe i missed it somewhere) have you ever tried changing a diaper between sides to really wake him up? you mentioned he is very sleepy..how long do you let him sleep between feeds if he is not demanding? i know you just wanted a quick answer to your emptying question, but if anyone can help regarding the supply prob. you're mentioning more info would help (again, unless you posted somewhere else and i missed it, if so, ignore)
    He's 13 weeks old. I haven't done the diaper trick in a while, since it didn't seem to help much (would wake him up of course but as soon as back on the breast he'd go to sleep quickly). He's a sleepy baby but doesn't really sleep that well - meaning he only sleeps on the breast (or with easy access to the breast to relatch whenever he stirs) or in a sling. On the breast he can do the sleep/nurse/sleep thing for hours, or sometimes he'll only do it for 30-40 minutes and then wake up unhappy. In the sling he used to sleep for a couple of hours but for the past month or so only 30-40 minutes a go and wakes up unhappy. And then he's likely to fall asleep quickly on the breast.

    Would certainly love your thoughts on the supply problem! I have posted our full story in another thread, but it was looooooooong. Short version is:

    birth weight - 7lb 2
    day 5- 6lb 11
    2.5 weeks - 8lb 6
    7.5 weeks - 8lb 8 (starting doing breast compressions, eating oatmeal, working on latch again)
    9.5 weeks - 9lb (was happy with gain considering previous 'gain' but wanted it to increase over next few weeks since so behind, started switch nursing, continued with other stuff)
    11.5 weeks - 9lb 6 (starting taking domperidone, blessed thistle and fenugreek during this time, continued with other stuff)
    13.5 weeks - 9lb 15 (biggest gain - 9 ounces in 2 weeks - since 2.5 weeks old)

    No soothers, no bottles, no birth control, no pregnancy etc. Shallow latch from the beginning but that's improved with time. During the 5 weeks of low gain I was sick and suspect that, combined with the shallow latch and sleepiness, has led to the slow weight gain. His diaper output is OK but he's certainly not a heavy wetter. He's happy, strong, alert (when awake!). Head and length are growing. So that's all reassuring.

    The past few weeks he has become increasingly frustrated and upset at the breast - coming on and off, moaning and groaning with boob in his mouth, crying when he comes off, crying when I put him in a nursing position. That's what has me worried now. Before I wasn't happy with weight gain because we hadn't been watching it enough to see if the 3-4 ounces a week would be his norm, and while certainly below average, if he's growing in other ways and is strong, happy, alert, I think that'd be OK. But now it seems like maybe it is his norm, EXCEPT that his unhappiness tells me he wants more milk than he is getting, which is why I started the dom and herbs.

    OK so that wasn't really a short version!! Sorry!!

  9. #9
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Are you a SAHM? Do you have time to pump when not feeding? Are you drinking enough water? Have you resolved the shallow latch?
    July 30, 2010-6lbs 2oz- 41w 4d (emergency c-section.) Known dairy, eggs, dogs and cats allergies, eczema, and asthma
    Bonus June 22, 2006 (is 50/50 Custody ) (born 32w) Sensitive to changing temps.
    We BF, BW, Co-sleep and use cloth diapers/pull-ups!

  10. #10
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    Mar 2011
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    39

    Default Re: Quick question about emptying breasts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*codepink View Post
    Are you a SAHM? Do you have time to pump when not feeding? Are you drinking enough water? Have you resolved the shallow latch?
    Yes, I'm a SAHM. There's not much time to pump since he only naps in arms amd nurses a long time, but I'm considering it. I asked a question about it in the milk supply section, asking if replacing the nap nursing with pumping would make sense or not - dh is home so could wear him for some naps while I pump.

    I'm drinking lots of water.

    The latch is much better, but not perfect. I did have someone look at it who said it looks fine now. The more he comfort nurses the worse it gets, but it never hurts. I still think it could be improved, but I'm not quite sure how.

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