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Thread: Mastitis dried up milk production after 3 weeks

  1. #1

    Default Mastitis dried up milk production after 3 weeks

    Had my LO in early December and things were going fine. I was breastfeeding 10-12 times per day and leaking about 8oz per day into my milk catcher. I have also been taking fenugreek, raspberry leaf tea, ginger tea, and I've been making lactation cookies weekly. On Christmas morning, 3 weeks after giving birth, I woke up with a fever, chills, and an extremely painful right breast. It was my worst nightmare: mastitis. I tried to nurse non-stop in an effort to make it go away, but my breasts no longer produced enough milk and my LO became extremely fussy about not being able to extract any milk. Nonetheless, I've been nursing every two hours and since my LO just falls asleep at the breasts now after not being able to extract anything, I pump after each session, but am only able to get drops out of my right breast and maybe a measly quarter of an ounce out of the left breast during each session. I thought that there may be a plugged duct, but that isn't the case. I've tried expressing by hand in the shower and massaging and nothing comes out. It's very depressing and demoralizing. It took 36 hours for my fever to go away and on Monday I went and saw an IBCLC, who indicated that I needed to see my lady Doctor. I have an appointment with my lady doctor soon, but I'm worried that my milk has already dried up. It's been a week and the baby hasn't gotten anything from constant nursing and I haven't been able to express anything but a few drops from my long pumping sessions. I've had to supplement with stored milk in the freezer and formula. Do you all have any suggestions? Has anybody gone through the same thing? If so, did your milk ever come back and if it did, how long did it take? Your feedback is very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Mastitis dried up milk production after 3 weeks

    Welcome to the forum!

    Mastitis can have the unfortunate effect of knocking down milk production, but it is typically only a temporary problem provided you do what you have been doing, namely, nurse a lot, pump a lot, and keep your breasts as emptied as possible. Can you tell us some more about your experience? It would be helpful to know the following:
    - What did the IBCLC think was going on, other than telling you to see your lady doctor (I assume that means your gynecologist)?
    - Are you experiencing any symptoms apart from presumed low milk supply?
    - How is nursing going, aside from the supply issue- is your baby's latch comfortable?
    - What sort of pump do you have, how often do you pump, and when do you pump- that is, are you pumping right after you nurse, or instead of nursing?
    - How does pumping feel- are you getting any loss of suction, is it painful?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mastitis dried up milk production after 3 weeks

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    - What did the IBCLC think was going on, other than telling you to see your lady doctor (I assume that means your gynecologist)?
    - Are you experiencing any symptoms apart from presumed low milk supply?
    - How is nursing going, aside from the supply issue- is your baby's latch comfortable?
    - What sort of pump do you have, how often do you pump, and when do you pump- that is, are you pumping right after you nurse, or instead of nursing?
    - How does pumping feel- are you getting any loss of suction, is it painful?
    Thanks for the reply! To answer your questions:

    1) The IBCLC thought that the mastitis had caused the milk supply to dry up, although since the mastitis only affected the right breast, she didn't understand why both breasts were producing markedly less milk. Even after analyzing the feeding journal, she couldn't wrap her head around it and told me that I needed to make an appointment with the gynecologist.
    2) Apart from the low milk supply, the only other symptoms that I am experiencing is lopsidedness in my breasts. The right breast is now almost back down to its pre-pregnancy size and the areola in that breast has shrunk in size. Although, the breast still does a few drops of milk during each pump.
    3) The latch is great. IBCLC said that the latch was excellent, but it's now difficult to keep the baby awake while she eats. Since she really can't get anything from either of the breasts, she just starts crying, becomes fussy, and eventually falls asleep at the breast. I try to wake her up by burping her and using a washcloth, but within two minutes, the cycle starts allover again.
    4) I have a medela breast pump. I pump after each feeding and even though nothing comes out after the first 5 minutes of pumping, I still continue to pump for an additional 10 minutes in order to stimulate the nipples and in an attempt to send a signal to my body to produce more milk. I'm pumping at least 8 times a day and each time I do it after I nurse.
    5) Pumping hurts very bad when I start (for the first 30 seconds or so) and then I'm fine. I'm getting very good suction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Mastitis dried up milk production after 3 weeks

    Thanks for answering those questions. Like your IBCLC, I also have trouble wrapping my head around your experience. Mastitis should not affect production on both sides unless you had mastitis on both sides- which is possible. And in any case, the dip in supply should be temporary, and production should come back up as the baby responds to lower supply with more frequent feeding. I'm guessing that either your baby isn't a good nurser for some reason- perhaps the sleepiness?- or that she is not being incentivized to be a good nurser because you're supplementing with the bottle.

    What would happen if you only nursed for 12-24 hours? Do you think the baby would be unable to get enough, would you see a dramatic drop in diaper output? If you haven't tried this experiment, I'd be kind of interested to see what would happen. Maybe your baby is a better nurser than you think, or would respond to the absence of bottles by becoming one.

    The lopsidedness doesn't mean anything. Lopsided production is common, and generally not problematic unless it causes a visual difference between breasts. I wouldn't worry about it for now. I would, however, want to try a different size of shields. Pumping shouldn't hurt. If the shields are the wrong size it might well explain both the pain and the lack of pump tout you are seeing. Another thing to try, WRT pumping, is to start with the suction on the very lowest level and gradually turn it up to the maximum effective level.

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