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Thread: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7

    Question Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    I was unable to nurse my KD from my breasts and has been using the pump to express milk. I started pumping 10x/day in the beginning to build my supply but now am in the process of weaning.

    I am getting plugged ducts almost every week and the plug would last ~3 days before resolving. I am now at 5 pumping sessions per day and would pump for 30-45 minutes per session. This stresses me out a lot! I would really like to spend more time with my KD rather than with the pump .

    I was wondering if it is necessary for me to make sure the plug resolves even though I am pump weaning or would the body eventually reabsorb the milk anyway.

    Would leaving milk stasis in my case cause infection even if my KD does not nurse directly off my breasts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    1,987

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    No, you don't want to leave plugged ducts without doing anything with them. You could end up with mastitis (infection) or even a breast abcess (which often has to be surgically drained.) Have the plugged ducts just started as you have tried to reduce pumping? I'm just wondering if something like a too tight bra might be contributing to the plugged ducts. You might try pumping for a shorter time at a session before dropping it altogether. How long are you going between dropped sessions? It might just take your body longer to even out than you are allowing. (For example, if you are dropping a session every 2-3 days going a week might help.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    Your suggestion of pumping for a shorter time at a session before dropping it sounds like a good plan.

    I have had plugged ducts on and off even before I started reducing the sessions. But lately the plugs seem to get worse (i.e. taking longer to resolve).

    I have noticed when I started pumping that the bra causes plugging and thus have refrained from wearing them altogether.

    I have somewhat modified one of the recommendations to pump wean. Instead of dropping a pumping session at a specific time, I drop a session and re-adjust and spread out the time between sessions. For example, if I were doing 6 sessions every 4 hours previously, now I am doing 5 sessions every 4 hours and 45 minutes. Could this have been causing the problem? Should I drop a session for a specific time?

    I had observed that I get plugged duct when I do not completely empty out my breasts when pumping - which was why I was reluctant to go with the two recommendations for pump weaning (i.e. cut back the amount of milk expressed or drop a specific pumping time).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    6,959

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    Hi mama,
    You got two recommendations to pump wean? Are you going to try breastfeeding directly? Are you weaning altogether? How much milk are you removing. Where are the blocked ducts located at? Where on the breast do you feel a lump? How full are you leaving the breast? Are you doing any baby wearing?

    Sorry so many questions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    I am weaning altogether. I have attempted to breastfeed directly initially but had opted to express breast milk to supplement formula instead. The recommendations I mentioned are on how to pump wean which I have read on leaflets and on the internet.

    My supply has already decreased to 1.5 oz. each side but whenever I get a plug it decreases further to ~ 1 oz.

    I find that the lumps occur on the same areas of the breasts - on the side and at the top. And when they do get plugged, ~ 1/4 - 1/3 of the breast gets affected. I also notice that I now see milk streaks more often than before in the milk.

    Each time I pump, I try as much as possible to empty my breasts to minimize the plugging.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    it sounds like your doing the right things...
    have you tried to express/pump after a nice warm shower?
    that helps some moms something about the heat and relaxing part of the shower gets plugs moving.
    The slower you go with the weaning the less the plugs are going to pleg you.
    IF you get to fealing bad get some rest, thats your bodies way of saying slow down!
    many moms find they can still express milk long after they wean so don't be worried if that happens to you.

    How many times a day are you pumping?
    The idea of pumping for shorter times before you cut out a pumping altogether sounds wise to me.

    good luck!
    andrea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    I am now down to 5 pumping sessions a day.

    I have been reducing the sessions by one per week or longer.

    I will try reducing the pumping duration and see how it goes.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    1,987

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    I wonder if since you seem to get the plugged ducts in the same location each time if it would be helpful to do some preventative massage while pumping when the duct isn't plugged to help move that milk out more efficiently. Don't know if it would work, but I can't see that it would hurt anything, either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    7

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    I do massage my breasts at each pumping session to help express most of the milk.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    6,959

    Default Re: Plugged ducts when pump weaning

    Are you rotating the pump head? In my manual pump it has these ridges, I rotate so the suction goes around the breast equally as I progress.

    How are things going for you now? Have you thought about using any cabbage leaves on your breast to reduce your supply or peppermint tea?

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