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Thread: Pumping Hurts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Pumping Hurts

    Help?!?
    Pumping seems to hurt no matter what I do. I've tried different sizes of flange (from small, medium, Large and XL Medela.)
    I've tried lubricating with some edible oil but so far even when I wash it off, the baby objects to three different oils I've tried and the oil.
    The oil seemed to only help a tiny bit anyway. Most of the pain seems to be from the suction and pulling.

    I'm having trouble figuring out how anyone manages to pump at all let alone get enough milk out to pump exclusively.

    Are there ways to make it painless?
    Or is it just too painful for some people?

    I know some people don't respond well to the pump and don't manage to extract much milk with one but I haven't been able to find answers about pain and pumping other than some mention of finding the right size flange.

    I'm not really trying to store up milk, I'm really just trying to use the pump to increase my supply but the pain is probably a bit counterproductive.

    Are there any threads that discuss painful pumping and remedies?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2014
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    I have pain with pumping also. How high of suction are you using? I can't turn mine up past 3. Also do you ever get nipple or breast pain when you aren't pumping? Any chance you could have thrush?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    I don't think I have thrush. The pain seems to be worst while actually trying to pump. If I have just pumped not too long ago (or have pumped more than a few times in a day), my nipples will be very sore and the aerola tender. This can make nursing uncomfortable when babe first latches on or if he gets a bit impatient and starts pulling or fussing or playing with the nipple.

    I have an OLD pump in style pump with the little rubber strength dial. I can hardly feel the difference between medium and low, it is all a bit uncomfortable.

    My nipples seem to move pretty freely in all the flanges.
    The medium leaves me feeling a bit bruised.
    I have the small that fits inside the medium which doesn't seal perfectly so I wind up with a dark red ring on the outside of that flange where it is inside the medium which doesn't seem good and it still leaves my nipples/aerola feeling bruised.
    The large on the personal fit connector seemed maybe slightly better as far as bruising but it leaves my aerola really swollen/sore along with the nipple and I don't think I get as much milk out using it.
    I also tried the extra large but that wasn't any better than the large.

    I do lots of massage but I've never been able to get more than a drop at a time from hand expression. My letdown reflex seems to be really weak. Only twice in the past five weeks have I ever squirted milk more than a drop by hand (only on the right.) Since my flow always seems very slow, I also don't seem to stop, it is like I could sit here all day (well if it didn't hurt) getting just one drop at a time out of a breast. Leaves me with a very vague misunderstanding of how the "letdown reflex" is supposed to work I think. Even when I tried the oxytocin nasal spray, I never really felt a "letdown" nor really observe one while nursing or pumping or hand expressing. It is like I can always get my slow drips when pumping or hand expressing. I know the baby gets more when nursing but I am still working on resolving a small shortfall in my milk production.

    I'm trying to figure out of continued pumping is helping or hurting the situation. How do I tell?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    I have an OLD pump in style pump with the little rubber strength dial. I can hardly feel the difference between medium and low, it is all a bit uncomfortable.
    But did you have the same issue with a different pump? Hospital grade, new pump? I thought you did?

    Generally, age of pump matters. Yes some seem to go years and years without a hitch. But in many cases, an older pump can seem to work but actually be malfunctioning, causing both painful pumping and/or poor milk removal, (not necessarily both together.) I was helping a mom a few years ago who had EPd with her older child for over a year. After having latch issues again, she decided to ep again WITH THE SAME OLD PUMP. She got ok milk extraction, but it was very very painful to pump. I told her it might be due to pump motor malfunction but she said the pump had always worked fine etc. Anyway, then she went away on a trip and forgot her power cord, and had to run the pump on batteries. Result-much more comfortable pumping! Who knows why, but it certainly indicates the pump was malfunctioning. The point is, pumps are machines and machines break down. A breast pump is supposed to extract milk efficiently and not hurt mom while doing so. If it is not doing those things, isn't it likely the issue is the pump, at least partly? But moms always blame themselves.

    I also wonder how much you need to be pumping at this point. Are you still reducing supplements? I am really concerned that this pain means continuing trauma to the nipples and breast tissue and that is a potential issue for many reasons.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    I did not get to try with a different pump (apparently since I have a pump, I can't get one through WIC and even if I could I would only be able to borrow it for a Month, but that would require giving me a whole different accessory kit and since resources are limited......bla bla bla.)

    But I have one of those hand operated piston things that can pump manually, even at the lowest setting it is a little uncomfortable. Perhaps that is because the electric has left me bruised or tender??? Perhaps I would have to wait a couple days without pumping and try that again to see what happens?

    Since I have extra tubes for the pump, I think I'll do an experiment. Cut a couple tubes and use an irrigation fitting T and a bit of the extra tubing to be able to reduce the suction more. Won't cost anything but a couple of spare bits of tubing which I have and won't hurt to try that.

    I managed to reduce the supplement down to 4 oz without issues but when I try to reduce down less than that the weight gain stalls and I have a fussy hungry baby. I may need more help getting to the 100% breast fed stage if it is possible.

    I have my 6 week OB appointment in a few days and I'll ask them if they have any recommendations, like a lactation consultant locally to recommend or medications (we do have a compounding pharmacy near by that mixed up the petocin (sp?) nasal spray so I expect they can do domperidone if I get a script for it. The Mother's milk tea, red rasberry leaf, Fenugreek, and lactation cookies have only gotten me so far.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    You don't have a pump. A malfunctioning pump that is out of warrantee is not a pump. If you had an old infant car seat that was past it's expiration date (yes, they have expiration dates) would a free car seat program refuse to give you a new one and tell you already had a car seat? Even if it worked perfectly? No way. I promise you the hospital will not let a parent drive home with their infant in an expired infant seat. WIC should get you a NEW and proper pump. That is total nonsense! (I am mad at your WIC program, not you!!! But I admit it, I am mad. You have been working too hard to have to deal with this kind of nonsense.)

    You can play around with your pump or try a different pump if you like. Just be careful to not cause more damage. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. But I can't help feeling you need a pump UPGRADE, not to try using a pump that is even less appropriate for your situation.

    4 ounces is a really small amount to be supplementing. Which is good! But sometimes those last few ounces are the hardest to let go of. Have you tried reducing it further for just a few days and dealing with the fussiness? As far as weight gain 'staling'-how is that being measured? Weight gain is not typically steady.

    If your baby is a healthy weight at this point, a really think that a few days of not getting those 4 ounces should not hurt anything. If it scares you too much, maybe you can try going down only a little at first, to 3 or 2 ounces supplement per day. Maybe you just need to give it a little more time to see if your supply catches up once baby is exclusively nursing? Anyway, it might be something to discuss with an IBCLC if you are able to see someone.

    You are doing so, so well, I am very impressed. Sorry if I sound frustrated. I am not frustrated with you in any way! Far from it. I am frustrated about this pump situation.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    Seeing as it took like a week to get to see anyone from either of the two WIC offices and several of the other things dealing with public assistance lately, I'm a little bit over them!!! (It took me DAYS of calling and calling and winding up in the phone loop for ages then getting hung up on repeatedly just to REPORT the baby's birth to Medicaid.)

    I've spent over a week where I was trying to supplement less than 4 oz. At about 3 3/4 oz we seem to maintain weight at 2-3 oz we loose a little ground over a few days and at 4 oz we gain a tiny bit.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    Just spoke with the lactation consultant at the hospital where we gave birth. Unfortunately they don't rent pumps and there are not any places to rent a pump near by.

    She said that insurance should cover a breast pump for me, however I'm not even sure how to find out how to get such a thing covered by medicaid (they won't pay for anything that has already been paid for so there is no way to get reimbursed.)

    Still hoping to get WIC to let me use one of their loaner pumps, got a message in to two of their counselors, hopefully I hear back quicker this time. Otherwise we might be driving an hour to go rent a pump.

  9. #9
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    Minnesota
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    Medical supply stores should have pumps for sale and will probably bill your insurance. Have you tried just doing a google search for medical supplies in your area?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pumping Hurts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*avesnovuelan View Post
    Medical supply stores should have pumps for sale and will probably bill your insurance. Have you tried just doing a google search for medical supplies in your area?
    hum, find list of all walgreens stores, and all scooter and breathing apparatus supplies but so far nothing near by that wouldn't have to order equipment to be sent.

    seems they think everyone around is old. I discovered this when looking fur maternity clothing, few stores carry any around here.

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