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Thread: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

  1. #1

    Default 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    I really want to exclusively breastfeed. My original goal was six months. Now I feel every day is a miracle. I have made it past the nipple damage stage - that's not the issue. It started when my milk came in. I became so engorged that baby was not latching and the nursing people at hospital always have the same suggestions - pump a little then try different positions. (Thank you for that recommendation for the fourth time).

    I finally got lactation consultant and had to feed baby with medicine dropper and completely drain breasts with pump because baby had not eaten in like ten hours. Right breast stayed hot and engorged though. Baby started being fussy when I tried to nurse her AT&T (hospital gave same suggestions as before).

    I decided to pump it dry. All sorts of blood came out and this super thick inch long goop. It looked like a third of string cheese in thickness. Baby started nursing at that breast again. Then she started preferring left again. I decided to pump right again and it had another 'clog' come out (less scary than the first lol). Then I had a glorious day of baby alternating breast each feeding.

    Then last night she ate at each breast for ten minutes but never settled down. She kept acting hungry for three hours off and on but wouldn't really latch on breast, then would get mad about being at the breast (I guess). Finally got her to sleep and she nursed fine three different times every 2.5 hours.

    Now she has only eaten about 3 minutes at one breast the last three feedings. I had to pump a little at both breast just so she could latch. My breasts were hot and achey again because she was eating ten to fifteen minutes the last several days and these little feedings obviously aren't draining breast. I pumped the excess - about 2.5 ounces.

    I just don't know if I am doing the right thing. She has been sleeping fine after these little feedings and has wanted one every two hours. But I am sick of pumping all the time and sick of my breasts being hot and achey. I don't have a fever or flu symptoms. I am worried my supply is never going to match her feeding because of all this pumping, but I don't want the sickly blood/clogged duct again. Hospital warned I might lose my supply if she wasn't draining breast. Well this get better? I need to know it will because the stress is making me miserable.
    Last edited by @llli*tassle7; September 24th, 2013 at 10:34 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Tried to nurse het at right breast* NOT AT&T lol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Welcome to the forum! I think you should change your screen name to AT&Tmom, ! Can't tell you how many times autofill has let me down...

    It's normal for moms to overproduce when they start nursing. Nature is conservative and wants to make absolutely sure there's enough milk for the baby as she learns to nurse. What if you have triplets? Gotta make sure there's enough for them, right?

    Most of the time overproduction is a short-lived phenomenon. Within a few days or weeks, the body "reads" the baby's demand and adjusts supply downwards so that it's not too far in abundance of what baby needs. Every time the baby doesn't completely drain one or both breasts, the extra milk sitting in the breast tells the body to throttle back on production. Bat throttling back doesn't mean you're going to lose your supply! As long as you feed on demand, the baby can increase your supply by nursing more often and draining the breast more completely.

    When you pump, are you just pumping to soften the breast and enable baby to latch, or are you also pumping after the feeding and taking out the milk that baby leaves after nursing? If you're just pumping to soften the breast, then you're probably doing what you should be doing, though you might want to try hand-expressing rather than pumping, as hand expression is supposed to be less stimulating to milk supply. You probably want to avoid pumping after nursing, because every time you thoroughly drain the breast, you're telling your body that all the milk it made was needed, and it should probably make the same amount all over again.

    The caveat here is that if you're developing plugged ducts or mastitis, you want to empty the breast as much as possible. It's more important to keep milk flowing than to reduce supply. It sounds like you had one very close brush with mastitis, or at least a very nasty plugged duct. If you sense that sort of thing happening again, get the pump out and empty the breast. Otherwise, I think you avoid the pump as much as possible and let your body discover how much extra milk it's making.

    When it comes to nursing, it is fine to allow baby to nurse for short periods and very frequently. In fact, it's ideal; small, frequent feedings keep the breast from getting too full and also maintain throughput of milk, which will reduce the incidence of plugs.

    Some things you might want to do in addition:
    - Try taking soy lecithin- it's supposed to be good for preventing plugs
    - Avoid bras for now, particularly underwire or poorly-fitting bras, as they can contribute to plugs
    - If you've had a recent course of antibiotics, take a good probiotic to help restore your normal flora, as that should help combat any microorganisms which could set up as mastitis or make plugs more likely

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    OK, has anyone showed you how to do Reverse Pressure Softening? That is usually the best trick for helping baby latch when mom is engorged-NOT pumping, which brings fluid into the areola and thus may make it even harder for baby to latch. See this article and go to end for info on RPS: https://www.llli.org/faq/engorgement.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    It sounds like you have a degree of oversupply going on, which is not uncommon early on. And it's leading to plugged ducts. So first I want to reassure you that these are things that can be dealt with and should not impair your ability to feed your baby over the long term!

    The first key to dealing with this is to nurse as often as possible. Which it sounds like you are doing, but just want to reinforce that. So if baby is sleeping for more than a couple hours, you may need to wake her and offer the breast. Here are some tips for waking a sleepy newborn: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...py_newborn.pdf You may have to continue doing what you're doing in terms of emptying the breast a bit first to soften up the breast so baby can latch. However, you might also want to experiment with hand expression rather than pumping as a means of achieving this, because you're right that pumping might be making things worse. Same thing with after the feeding - if you are still very full, you might want to try some hand expression to relieve some of the congestion. But, sometimes pumping might be necessary to help drain the breast in the case of a plug to prevent things from progressing to mastitis. It sounds like you are aware and alert about mastitis symptoms, so that's good.

    There are different maneuvers to deal with plugged ducts. For me different "tricks" have worked at different times, so just try some different things. Here are some articles with suggestions:

    Usually oversupply calms down over time. If you continue to have problems, there are measures that can be taken, like block feeding, to reduce supply. However block feeding can sometimes cause an excess reduction in supply, so it needs to be done carefully. Is the LC you are seeing an IBCLC? Will you be able to continue seeing her? It would be great if you can continue working with someone on this who can look at your breasts and baby in a hands-on way.

    Rest assured that this WILL get better! But you do want to be proactive about it due to the risk for mastitis.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    EDIT OK I see mommal & bfwmomof3 posted so I may be covering the same ground, I typed this up already so for what its worth-

    It sounds like you are dealing with some major engorgement, which can make it hard for baby to latch, which then means baby cannot extract milk well, which then leads to continued engorgement-and around we go.

    Engorgement is a temporary situation and fairly common in the early days. But it is very important to deal with it very proactively.

    The trick is to keep removing milk FREQUENTLY from the breast. At least 10 times in 24 hours, and some mothers will certainly need to remove milk more often.

    If baby can be encouraged to nurse frequently, that is best. I will give you more suggestions for latch below.

    If baby will not/cannot nurse and you are feeling full, what about hand expressing? What about getting in the shower or just getting a towel and massaging milk out? Some mothers leak and this is easier, but even if you do not leak, you can try hand expression. Link on HE below.

    If you simply cannot get milk out any other way, you may need to pump. But you need not pump a ton, or to emptiness. Pump "too comfort"-basically, until you feel relief.

    Watch out for mastitis. Hot, painful breast could just mean engorged. Pluggs are plugs. You want to get them out. But if you start feeling sick, feverish, chills, then you may need antibiotics.

    Here is latch/positioning info and also some other links to arrticles that may be helpful for navigating the early weeks:

    latch and 'Breast sandwich' article http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvfebmar04p3.html (probably only needed if baby cannot latch or latch is hurting mom)

    Tips with pictures on latch and different positioning ideas (includes side lying) http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html

    Laid back position http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    Laid back video http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

    Here are two simple pictorials, you want the one on latch. Notice that the mother is in a “slightly” laid back position, looks like on a couch? This is a very “adjustable” position, play around to find how you and your baby are most comfortable. http://cwgenna.com/quickhelp.html

    What is normal in the early weeks with a breastfed baby http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

    Feeding cues: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 24th, 2013 at 12:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

  8. #8

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Guys thanks so much for your help. I learned so much from the documents and have had great latches since!

    Maybe you can help me with this next question too?

    I am so freakin engorged still. My milk came in on Friday. My breasts hurt and are hard. Other than the pumping described earlier I have tried to avoid that as much as possible, but still it has been days and my supply does not seem to have leveled off. I am leaking everywhere. Hand massage doesn't really help. I can't wear my nursing bras because my breasts are so swollen. Any suggestions for that? I have been taking ibuprofen and started using the reverse pressure method to prepare for latch instead of pumping like I used too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Engorgement is typically 2 things- congestion/fluid in the breast, plus the first rush of milk. So there is actually swelling. If you had IV fluids during labor you may also be dealing with edema.

    Remember again this is almost surely temporary. One week is VERY early days. In all likelihood, you will not be feeling like this much longer.

    For the leaking and giant breasts, I suggest keeping lots of cloths around. Don’t wear a bra in the house. You can wear a t-shirt and stuff it with cloths or towels. If you have to go somewhere, what about a tank top or cami, or just a soft, loose stretchy bra for now. I know the leaking is a pain but it is a good thing you are leaking, things would be much worse if you did not leak.

    Another comfort measure for engorged breast is a cold pack, such as a bag of frozen peas, 20 min on 20 min off (or as feels right to you.) Avoid heat directly on the breasts as that may cause more swelling. If you find heat helps with letdown or feels good, try putting heat on your back instead of right on the breasts.

    Cabbage leaves, pounded a bit, on the breasts reduce swelling as well. They reportedly also reduce milk production so be aware of that.

    If frequent milk removal and the various comfort measures are not helping, it may be time to see an IBCLC as an outpatient IF that is possible.

    If you have true overproduction there are things you can do. But at such an early date and with the engorgement so severe, block nursing to reduce milk production is potentially very harmful and premature. So I would like to see you under the care of a professional in attempting that.

    With my baby who is now a year old, those first couple of weeks I had to set my alarm so she could nurse really frequently, I was so overfull. I tried to make sure she nursed every hour when awake and every two hours when asleep. But we also were dealing with a poor latch that I needed help from an IBCLC to solve.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: 1 week breastfeeding with an issue almost daily

    Excellent advice from LLLMeg. Be patient, mama- this is still really early days and you only just started avoiding the pump. Your body probably needs a few days to "read" the lower level of stimulation. For a while there it thought it was feeding newborn twins and it's unlikely to want to throttle all the way back overnight.
    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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