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Thread: Emptying the breast?

  1. #1

    Default Emptying the breast?

    hello Ladies,

    I've been told that i should make sure that one breast is empty before feeding from the next to help avoid blocked ducts. But, LO feeds for about 20 mins a time, coming off naturally but the breast never seems empty, there is always milk there when i squeeze the nipple.

    LO has had his last three feeds from the same breast. it's never empty. Should i be swapping sides at each feed? Some people say yes, others no. Should i do two feeds per breast, or pump off the excess after a feed? Any suggestions would be very welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    ironically enough, I was JUST getting ready to post a similar situation. I have oversupply and have a plugged duct. Haven't had this happen since very early in the BF'ng experience. Wondering if perhaps my shields are actually too large, and I'm causing myself issues..... The lactation consultant said that they looked good, but when I just pumped now, I noticed that I still felt quite full and have a definite blockage on one side. I single side feed, and sometimes I feed off the same side once or twice in a row. I do know that milk is always being made, so you won't ever truly be "empty" until you are no longer getting any stimulation at all from LO, nor pumping. I know that for me, block feeding has been working well to this point, so I'm going to keep at it, and try to see if LO can unblock me tonight w/o having to take a hot shower!
    Full time working mama to a precious
    Due date was 05/02/2011 - born 04/04/2011 at 36 weeks exactly.
    and 14 months and still going strong

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    A few questions:

    1. How old is your LO?
    2. How many wet and poopy diapers?
    3. What does the poop look like? Is it yellow and seedy or green and mucousy?


    If your LO is tiny, you may just be in the process of adjusting to his needs. As long as his poops are normal (yellow and seedy) and you have plenty of wet diapers you should probably alternate starting breasts with each feeding.

    This article is about oversupply and overactive let down and may help you.http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html
    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
    Thing 2 6/6/05, bf 12 mo, obsessed with dynamite
    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    P.S. If OALD and OS are your issues, I wouldn't pump but maybe just hand express enough to feel comfortable. Pumping would tell your body to make MORE milk, thus making your problem even worse! Are you actually experiencing blocked ducts? Are poopy diapers yellow and curdy or green and foamy?
    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*coco82 View Post
    hello Ladies,

    I've been told that i should make sure that one breast is empty before feeding from the next to help avoid blocked ducts. But, LO feeds for about 20 mins a time, coming off naturally but the breast never seems empty, there is always milk there when i squeeze the nipple.

    LO has had his last three feeds from the same breast. it's never empty. Should i be swapping sides at each feed? Some people say yes, others no. Should i do two feeds per breast, or pump off the excess after a feed? Any suggestions would be very welcome.
    Full time working mama to a precious
    Due date was 05/02/2011 - born 04/04/2011 at 36 weeks exactly.
    and 14 months and still going strong

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,939

    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    Good questions from scienceteachermommy. The answers to those will help us determine the right advice to give you.

    It is actually not possible to ever completely empty the breast. Milk is always being produced, and the faster you drain the breast the faster the milk is replaced. So it is completely unsurprising that you can still get milk out at the end of a session. Also, thorough emptying of the breast does not gaurantee that you will be free of blocked ducts. They can crop up for a lot of different reasons.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    if you are not having any problems, just switch sides every feeding.

    if you are not producing enough, then try to have baby feed off both sides during a feeding to get your supply up.

    if you are over producing, have baby feed off the same side for 3 feedings, then switch for 3 feedings , and so on.

    sounds like you are doing fine, keep up the good work!!
    SAHM of Baby Dominic, we

  7. #7

    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*scienceteachermommy View Post
    A few questions:

    1. How old is your LO?
    2. How many wet and poopy diapers?
    3. What does the poop look like? Is it yellow and seedy or green and mucousy?


    If your LO is tiny, you may just be in the process of adjusting to his needs. As long as his poops are normal (yellow and seedy) and you have plenty of wet diapers you should probably alternate starting breasts with each feeding.





    This article is about oversupply and overactive let down and may help you.http://kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html


    Thank you everyone for your replies

    LO is 16 days old. He has lots of wet and poopy nappies, in fact, every nappy seems to have both. His poos are yellow, quite runny and seedy looking.

    I dont have any blocked ducts, but i did have problems initially breast feeding. I lost quite a bit of blood during delivery and had to have two blood transfusions. This resulted in my milk coming in being delayed, LO lost 14% of his body weight by day 4 and had to go back into hosp. He had to have a little top up of formula via a cup for a few days while my supply established. The advice from the hosp was to breast feed him, pump my breasts, cup feed him the EBM, then top him with a few mls of formula if necessary. But, i've not had to top him up in over a week now and he's gaining weight very well.

    Maybe i've gone too far the other way now and all the pumping i've been doing to get my supply going has resulted in me now having too much? oh the irony!

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    Oh yeah, a lot of early pumping can result in oversupply! Are you frequently engorged, or experiencing frequent feelings of fullness?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9

    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Oh yeah, a lot of early pumping can result in oversupply! Are you frequently engorged, or experiencing frequent feelings of fullness?
    yes, the night feeds my breasts are very full, and they both drip milk everywhere! LO can't latch on because they are so full, i have to go to the bathroom and squeeze out enough to make my nipple "out" enough.

    I'm coming up to feeding time soon, and the fullest breast, (the one i didn't feed from last time) is very heavy and hard. In fact, just looking at my top, i've soaked through the breast pad, and i've got a big wet patch on my top!!

  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Emptying the breast?

    Oh boy, sounds like the hospital forgot to tell you when to stop! Okay, first things first: if you are pumping at all at this point, now is the time to stop. Every time you remove milk from the breast, you tell the breast "Make that same amount again". If you empty the breast really thoroughly, you tell your body "Make that same amount again, plus a little more as insurance". So you want to do your best to put up with the fullness and engorgement, because every time milk sits unused in the breast it sends this message "You made too much. Time to decrease production a bit".

    Now, leaving milk sitting in the breast can be very uncomfortable. If you are in serious discomfort, you can either pump or hand express just enough milk to restore comfort. Removing the minimum amount of milk from the breast will allow your supply to decrease- just slightly slower than if you simply put up with the fullness.

    Leaving milk sitting in the breast also increases your risk of coming down with a plugged duct or mastitis. But you kind of have to take that risk: the longer you maintain an oversupply, the harder it is to get rid of it, and it is the oversupply that is really putting you at risk for plugs and mastitis.

    An excellent way to get rid of an oversupply is to block feed- which is precisely what you have been doing- feeding off one side at a time for one feed or for several feeds in a row. So keep it up!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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