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Thread: Engorgement! Does it get better???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Salt Lake City
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    Exclamation Engorgement! Does it get better???

    My twins are 10 weeks old and I'm engorged most of the time. Nights are the worst. We cosleep and I feed them on-demand, but I still wake up with rock-hard breasts in a pool of milk. My poor babies will have milk-soaked outfits.

    A week ago they were still waking up every 2 hours at night, and now they are sleeping 4-6 instead. Is that the reason? Will my body adjust to this schedule? Sometimes I try to wake them up in the middle of the night because I'm in pain, but they just aren't hungry. Maybe this is just life as usual with twins?

    In addition to the pain and leaking, I worry about infection and other problems. Is that a concern?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Illinois
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    I don't have experience with twins but I would think that your body will adjust. I would say if it is too uncomfortable then hand express a little to releive some of the pain. Don't pump or wake the babies because that will tell your body to just make more milk and the enorgement will still be an issue. Whenever I felt engorged this is what I would do and it helped.
    Happy Mama of 4 beautiful boys ages 14, 10, 7 and the newest member of the family:
    Damian Gabriel 2/13/13 , , twice a day at work, and finally successfully. We never gave up and we are as happy as can be !!

  3. #3
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    Many mamas start off with some degree of oversupply - nature's way of making sure baby has enough. In your case, that may be amplified, since you have two. Usually oversupply does calm down over time; exactly when will of course differ from person to person, but by around 3 months many will see their supply better regulated. However, some mothers have a more active supply than others, and will continue to see oversupply for longer periods of time. In your case, the increased sleeping stretch can definitely explain your morning engorgement. If it continues, then your supply should adjust (decrease). In the meantime, you can try hand expressing as iritita suggests. Personally I did often wake up my babies when I was painfully full - I mean, I don't think it's harmful to them in any way - but if they're not interested, they're not interested! And yes, I do think it's good to be attentive to your breasts in these situations - for example if you start experiencing plugged ducts (which can manifest as a hard lump that doesn't get relieved after nursing), or a red tender area on the breast, with or without or mastitis symptoms (fevers, achiness) then that needs to be addressed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    First of all, way to go on nursing twins! I found it challenging with one. Agree with PPs that supply will regulate itself and that it may be over-exaggerated because of twins. Also agree with hand expression--I did this often when LO would nurse on one breast, then fall asleep without draining the other. I just leaned over a sink and did slow, gentle compressions for a few minutes until it felt more comfortable. Also know that their sleeping 4-6 hrs will probably not last that long. If they are early teethers, then they will wake more frequently and want to nurse.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    I am a little worried you are still so engorged at this point. Rock hard is not good, I am also concerned about plugs and mastitis. You are back at work, right? Have you been pumping to build a freezer stock when home with babies? If you have, stop. Pump when away from babies only. Is your pump working effectively?

    Yes letting breasts be full will tell your body to slow down production. But meantime, it is important to relieve pressure. Personally I woke my baby up and encouraged her nurse when I was getting full (BEFORE engorgement set in.) If that does not work for you, Hand expressing to relieve pressure is a good idea. You don’t even have to get out of bed. hand express into a towel. Faster and simpler and less possibly problematic than pumping. But no matter how you do it, I would suggest expressing milk somehow to try to avid that rock hard feeling.
    Leaking will probably take longer to go away. Think of it this way...leaking is good. you would be in much MORE trouble engorgement wise if you did not leak!

  6. #6
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    Apr 2013
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    Yes, I am back at work. I never did pump to fill the freezer.

    Pumping isn't going great, but I'm not sure if there is a problem with the pump. It's a Lansinoh double electric. It empties my breasts pretty well, though not as well as nursing. I get about 15 ounces in eight hours (two pumping sessions). It hurts my nipples, sort of like an electric shock. I've started pumping on the lowest setting to see if that helps, but so far it's still a problem. The pain goes away over the weekend and it doesn't hurt when the babies eat. I have to massage my breasts throughout the session to get it all out and it takes at least 20 minutes each time. I also have breast tenderness, which I guess could be from the massage or from the engorgement (doesn't go away over the weekend). I don't know if these are normal annoyances with pumping or actual problems...

    I haven't been able to hand express without pain, but I admittedly didn't read much about it or watch any videos, so I'll do that and see if I'm doing it correctly.

    I get some painful lumps, but they go away after nursing or pumping (better with nursing).

    The only time my breasts feel empty and comfortable is in the evening, when my babies take turns nursing from 6-10pm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,846

    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    I'm not familiar with that particular pump, but judging from how it looks online I'm thinking it's a lighter weight machine. You might want to try going a step up to something like a Pump in Style, or at least looking for different shields for the Lansinoh. A larger/smaller pair of shields might improve milk removal and reduce pain from pumping. Like nursing, pumping isn't supposed to hurt.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Apr 2013
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    Salt Lake City
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    Thanks, I just ordered a larger set of shields.

    That is concerning, then. If this doesn't help, then I'll need to look at getting a different pump. I've already had to reduce the length of my pumping sessions and am getting less milk. And it has started hurting when the babies eat, which upsets me a ton. For my own mental health, I desperately need to be able to keep enjoying feeding them when we're together!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    I'm wondering about plugged ducts... I'm thinking about that because of your description of the lumps, as well as the engorgement. They can definitely lead to painful nursing/pumping (I've been having a lot of plugged ducts lately!). The key is to get good drainage with frequent nursing and thorough pumping (so that your breasts are most of the time in that nice soft state you describe after your evening nursing), and it sounds like your pump may not be up to snuff in that regard. In general it can be harder to get good drainage with a pump than with nursing but you want to give it the best possible shot with the pump, too. Here are some links for dealing with plugged ducts:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/mastitis/

    Lately it seems like the most effective "trick" for me has been hot shower with massage/hand expression, followed by nursing in a "dangle" position (basically me on hands and knees over baby).

  10. #10
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    Apr 2013
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    Salt Lake City
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    Default Re: Engorgement! Does it get better???

    Well, looks like I do have a pump issue. I was able to hand express quite a lot AFTER this afternoon's pumping session. So there's at least one thing I can fix!

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