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Thread: Too much milk in one breast!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    4

    Default Too much milk in one breast!

    My son is 4.5 months old, and has been breastfed exclusively. I've been pumping since he was a few weeks. Now I've returned to work I'm pumping more, and there is the problem.

    My right breast is producing milk five times faster than my left breast, the normal one, and the engorgement, leakage, and pain has been unbearable.

    I've tried pumping the engorged one just to get the pressure off. I thought that by not draining that breast it will send the signal that it doesn't need to keep producing milk. But it hasn't helped. In fact, I got the sense that not draining it makes things worse. The problem is that every time I pump my normal breast the over-engorged one lets down and starts leaking.

    Since not pumping isn't really an option, what other options do I have?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    You might try hand expressing rather than pumping to relieve the engorgement without giving the full breast the signal to make more milk. And if you do pump, pump just enough to relieve the fullness. Be careful about getting a plugged duct or mastitis in that breast as you try to back down on stimulating it - be vigilant for lumps & bumps and red or tender areas, and make sure you are still nursing off that breast. When you do pump the normal breast, it's actually probably beneficial for the full breast to start leaking - helps relieve some of the fullness. Have a cloth at hand or multiple breast pads in your bra on that side. I always had issues with oversupply and I would always leak on the breast opposite from the one baby was nursing from - I found I usually needed at least two pads in my bra on the non-nursing side. It WILL eventually help to decrease pumping on that side, but it takes time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,355

    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Overproduction can be persistant, and you may need to put up with fullness, engorgement, and leaking for some time before your body gets the message and responds by reducing supply. The keys to dealing with oversupply are, generally, patience and time.

    Obviously you can't not pump at work! But you might want to try the following:
    - Instead of pumping the overproducing breast, hand-express when it gets too full. Hand expression is thought to be less stimulating to supply than pumping.
    - Proactively offer the left breast to the baby when you're home. Use it first at every feeding. Overproduction may stem from the baby's preference for the fast-flowing, high-producing breast over the slow-flowing, lower producing breast. Get the baby to even out production by giving the left side more stimulation, even when you're home with the baby.
    - Wear patterned shirts to work- they'll make the leaking less noticeable.
    - Use fridge-cold, clean cabbage leaves to treat the engorgement. Just tuck them into your nursing bra. Cool compresses should also help.

    How much are you pumping each time?
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
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    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Thank you! I try to limit pumping to about 5 oz from both breasts together. I usually get 2-3 oz from my left one, and can get up to 10 oz from my right side but I never let it drain that far.

    I always offer the lesser one first to my baby, and he usually gets pretty full on it alone. But the problem has always been that my right breast gets the message from my left breast, and gives a giant let-down. I always end up with an over-engorged right breast whenever I nurse with my left one.

    I'll give hand-express a try. Should I keep pumping from the engorged breast, or hand-express only?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,355

    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Wow, 10 oz- that's a LOT of milk!!! Sounds like your right breast thinks you have triplets or something. No wonder it's uncomfortable.

    It's normal for one breast to let down when the other one is receiving stimulation from the pump or the nursing baby. But even if the right breast has a huge letdown every time you pump/nurse on the left, continued fullness and reduced stimulation on the right will eventually give your body the message you want it to hear. If your right is producing 10 oz at a go, it's likely to take some time before it throttles back all the way. So, again, the key here is patience!!!

    I would pump the engorged breast as little as possible. Hand express for comfort, but other than that... Just let it fill up. It's likely to be an uncomfortable experience, so use cabbage leaves and cool compresses.

    The one big caveat here is that if you feel those mastitis symptoms that Bfwmomof3 talked about- lumps, tenderness, and also fever, chills, flu-like feelings, aches and pains, and red streaks/splotches on the skin of the breast- then you want to get out the pump and really try to empty the breast, even though emptying the breast may result in more oversupply. It's always more important to treat mastitis than to fix an oversupply.
    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
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Yup! I agree!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Mommal and bfwmomof3,

    I tried hand-express today and it really made a difference! I pumped 3 oz from my normal breast and hand expressed 3 from my engorged one. Tried it twice and my engorgement is almost gone. It really has helped. Thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,355

    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Awesome!!!

    Keep being patient with yourself- oversupply can come and go for a while, so if you see the engorgement/fullness return, it's not an indication that you did something wrong.
    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Too much milk in one breast!

    Glad to hear the hand expression is helping!

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