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Thread: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and I'm only 5 days pp. My little man has latched since birth but unfortunately did it improperly the first couple of days, so I'm dealing with cracked nipples on top of all of this.

    My milk came in 2 days ago in FULL-FORCE, I'm constantly leaking and I'm so engorged that he's having a hard time latching due to flat nipples. When he finally does latch, he feeds for about 5 minutes and falls asleep. I've tried everything to keep him awake, skin-to-skin, tickle his toes, touch his hand, neck, etc... I was so worried that he wasn't getting enough milk but at our pediatrician appointment this morning he's already back up to his birth weight, 7 lbs. 15 oz. When we left the hospital, he was 7 lbs. 8 oz. So I know he is getting enough and he has PLENTY of dirty diapers.

    My problem is with my engorged breasts. I can hardly get him to feed from both breasts in one sitting and if he does, it's usually about 10 minutes on one boob and maybe 3 on the other. I have a double-breast pump that I haven't even opened yet, is this something I can use now to help the engorgement? I don't want to mess up my milk production and I'm terrified of not being able to breast-feed him, because it's so important to me.

    Any advice would be so greatly appreciated, I'm feeling extremely frustrated and emotional to the point of tears. Thanks in advance for sticking through this long post!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Congrats on the new baby!

    I wouldn't break out the pump just yet -it could just worsen your oversupply. Try hand-expressing to relieve the fullness if you need to. And there's no rule that baby has to nurse from both breasts in one sitting. Mine hasn't yet, except for during growth spurts. Just use the opposite breast for the next feeding, but of course offer the second one if you think baby is still hungry. Your supply should sync up with your baby's in a couple weeks.

    Are you using anything on your cracked nipples? Also, if you're using breast pads, change them frequently when they get moist, and avoid the plastic-lined ones, as they can be a breeding ground for nasty bugs.

    This is the place to come if you're feeling frustrated and emotional! We've all been through it, and the moms here are always so helpful and encouraging.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Welcome to he forum and congratulations on the brand-new baby! I can totally understand your frustration, but please don't let it overwhelm you. What you're going through is very common and usually very temporary. Most moms start out making too much milk for a very good reason: the more milk you have, the easier it is for the baby to get a meal while he masters the tricky art of nursing. To solve the problem of overproduction, all that is usually required is for a mom to feed on demand. After a while, your body should detect the fact that your baby isn't emptying the breast and cut back on the extra milk it is making. Eventually, your supply should reach the point where you make just the right amount, and the baby will be able to maintain production at that perfect level by simply feeding on demand.

    Your baby is gaining adequate weight and having plenty of wet/poopy diapers, then you know he's getting plenty to eat. That is true even if he feeds very quickly- when a mom is overproducing and the milk is consequently coming out very rapidly, it's very common for babies to get full meals in just 5-10 minutes. Overproduction also means that your baby may not always need both breasts at a feeding, because he gets enough milk from the first breast to meet his needs. Instead of aiming for X number of minutes per breast, try this approach: allow baby to finish the first breast at his own pace, and then offer the second as dessert. Don't stress if he doesn't take the second breast; just offer it first the next time he wants to nurse. That will help production stay even on both sides.

    Leave the pump in the box for now. As long as your baby is gaining enough weight and having sufficient diapers, you don't need it. And pumping is a great way to perpetuate an oversupply situation, and you don't want that. A lot of new moms are concerned about losing supply, but believe me when I say that pumping yourself into a robust oversupply is almost equally troublesome!

    What mostly concerns me from your post is the cracks and the flat nipples. I'd love for you to get some hands-on professional help from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Help with positioning might save you a lot of pain. Until then, check out this link on reverse pressure softening: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...oft_cotterman/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Thank you so much, I feel a huge sense of relief already. I am looking to meet with a consultant this week, the offices are closed this weekend near me. Again, I'm glad that I posted because everyone was telling me to pump and I had a feeling that wasn't the solution.

    I'm so glad I found this community, what a support for a first-time mom!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Cabbage leaves can help relieve engorgement - put them directly on the breast. With my first baby (when I had the worst engorgement) I found I was most comfortable walking around topless.
    Here are some more tips from kellymom - a great breastfeeding resource! http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/engorgement/

    Also, totally normal to feel really emotional post-partum! If it persists or you feel worried about it, bring it up with your ob/midwife.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    Hi there. I was the same as you -- very full and tender, baby would only eat from one breast per feeding, for 5 mins only, and he was well over birth weight by day 6! It was an indication of a health supply for the future which has been great, but it did take 1-2 wks for the swollen, sensitive phase to pass, and another 1-2 wks for my supply to calm down and sync up with baby. (FWIW, my guy still only eats from one side 95% of the time, 7 mos later.) Agree with PPs not to pump -- it will ramp UP production and you don't need that! Some ladies feel most comfortable braless -- personally I was so very tender and sensitive to movement, I needed the support, so I felt most comfortable in a light sleep bra (not constricting, but enough to keep the girls in place) and I wore one 24/7. So you can experiment with that and see what feels best. I hand expressed before baby fed so that he could latch more easily, and also hand expressed a little at other times just to relieve pressure. I took warm showers and let the water run over my front ... if you are really engorged, you might have to stand with your back to the shower head and let the water run over your shoulders. I didn't try the cabbage leaves but I know one woman who did and it worked almost TOO well ... she put them in her bra at bedtime and woke up in a puddle later that night, so sleep on some old towels if you try it ;-) Hang in there, I know it's uncomfortable but it will pass

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Won't empty my breasts, so sore and frustrated!

    I'm terrified of not being able to breast-feed him, because it's so important to me.
    This can be such a difficult, overwhelming time-these early weeks. For all moms of newborns, even experienced moms, even if there are no problems at all.

    I know the pain and the leaking super full breasts is discouraging but that truly won't last long. I know it does not feel this way right now but you are actually in great shape. You clearly have plenty of milk, and your baby can latch and nurse. Some tweaking is all that is likely needed.

    Here are a couple other thoughts-
    Waking a sleeping baby can be really hard. If you are trying to nurse on a schedule-every two hours, for example, you could instead try letting baby sleep until baby naturally wakes, (but not more than say, 5 hours) and then start feeding on cue as often as baby likes, which may be more often than every 2-3 hours at least part of the time. Also, keep baby close to you-as much as possible in your arms-even as baby sleeps. This will allow you to see baby’s first stirrings or ‘cues’ more easily.

    Many times, mothers are instructed to nurse every such and such hours. This may work fine for some babies. But what can happen when a mom trys to nurse every such and such hours is baby cannot find his or her own sleep/wake rhythm. And it's not really important or needed to nurse every such and such hours-what is important is for baby to nurse frequently enough overall, which at the age is usually 10 or more times per each 24 hour period.

    Avoiding the pump is probably a good idea but if you are in pain from overfulness it is very important to get enough milk out to get relief. Have you tried hand expression? Or just getting in the shower and massaging some milk out?

    It is not needed for baby to actually empty the breast. You may have way more in there right now than you baby needs! This should regulate nicely in just a few weeks with frequent effective nursing. Frequent nursing should allow for good milk intake and normal production.

    I agree with mommal, help fixing the latch issues will probably get you on the right track there sooner rather than later. And part of the latch issue may be due to the engorgement, so I second the reverse pressure softening idea. you could try some hand expression prior to nursing to see if that helps.

    hand expression http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...expression.pdf

    feeding cues http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

    waking sleepy newborn http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 5th, 2013 at 08:45 PM.

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