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Thread: Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    17

    Default Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

    My baby is 8 days old. This is my third child, breastfeeding has always been a challenge but we were off to an ok start. Then 1.5 days ago my right breast got very inflamed and sore and I had a fever. I managed to avert mastitis by feeding as much as I could on that side. But in the past 12 hours she is very fussy on that side (right breast). She pulls on and off, sucks but then cries, goes back on and off, cries, etc. For the last 2 feeds I've tried for 15 mins on the right before giving up and putting her on the left side where she immediately nurses happily and I can hear her swallowing milk.

    With my previous baby I was able to pump on both sides and get good output, but this time I'm only able to get a few drops from both sides. On the right I can get a tiny drop by hand expressing. I'm also not feeling a letdown (on both sides - but clearly this is ok on the left side as she is feeding fine from there).

    Help! Trying so hard to make sure I don't get mastitis but I know that right side isn't being emptied at all.

    Any help would be really appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,756

    Default Re: Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

    Hi butterfly111, welcome back and congratulations on your new baby!

    First I think it is possible you did not avoid mastitis. If you had a fever, that suggests there was an infection. Some moms get mastitis and can get past it without taking an antibiotic, but you have to be careful because mastitis has a way of sneakily going away and then coming back, sometimes worse. In any case, I agree that milk being removed from the breast very frequently is very important when a mom has mastitis or is in danger of developing mastitis.

    Is it possible your right side is so engorged or inflamed that this is preventing milk flow? This really can happen- it happened to me with my third baby. This might be why very little is coming out when you pump and hand express. Also sometimes there is a plug that is 'hidden' if the breast is very full or engorged.

    In my case, baby nursing was better (although not perfect, I also had a problem side) but still baby was better than pumping (I got nothing when I pumped.) I also would gently hand express but it also was less effective than baby. Baby nursing removed the milk best, even though she was not getting a good latch on that one side.

    I would also suggest, work to reduce inflammation. Cold compresses and taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory may help. At the same time maybe try to avoid things that might increase inflammation, like direct heat on the breasts or rough or intense breast massage.

    Express milk as frequently as you can, (or have baby nurse as frequently as you can.) Some milk removal is better than none.

    Mastitis is an infection. It makes mom feel ill, sometimes quite ill. But in most cases, a mom with mastitis will feel much better quickly once she starts taking prescribed antibiotics. Baby can continue to nurse. while mom is being treated for mastitis, mastitis and most abs you would take will not hurt your baby. Mastitis is no picnic, but if it happens, breastfeeding can continue.

    I would also suggest making an appointment to see an IBCLC for a consult. It is possible that there is some issue causing baby to not nurse well on the one side and that is leading to the problems you are seeing.

    I am linking two articles, one on mastitis and one on plugs. I am including the plug one as it has good ideas for reducing inflammation.

    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...atcanyoudo.pdf and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    17

    Default Re: Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

    Thanks so much for your quick response. The inflammation is gone now, there is a slightly bruised feeling that remains on that side but it is much less painful than before. However my baby still isn't keen on that side and won't suck for more than 2 mins max (and in that time it doesn't even look like any milk is being transferred - no swallows, no letdown etc). Strange thing is that my breast isn't engorged at all - it's slightly tender and has some bits which feel like there is milk in them (harder areas) but it's almost like it has just "switched off" altogether. Any other possible explanations? I've spoken to my midwife who is an LC and she is stumped. She's advised me to keep trying baby on the right side and if unsuccessful to pump for 10 mins every 4 hours just to keep up the stimulation - even if I'm getting no milk out (which I'm not - it is literally one or two drops max)..

    As of 12 hours ago I am taking fenugreek tablets and eating lactation cookies to boost overall supply (any idea how long they take to work?)

    Any other suggestions? Just cannot figure out why this side is suddenly such a dud

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,756

    Default Re: Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

    Have you been to see your midwife or another lactation consultant for a complete consult? This does sound out of the ordinary and I think the next step is to get in person assistance. (or more in person assistance.) Are you able to get any milk when you hand express? Many moms find hand expression works better than the pump especially with a soft breast that is not producing much. if yes, then I would suggest doing that. Stimulation via pumping may indeed help but it is also important to actually get whatever milk is in the breast out in order to signal to the body to make more milk. And of course keep encouraging baby to nurse from that side. Maybe you can express milk from the other side to dribble on the breast baby is refusing to offer some instant reward.

    More info on what a consult is like: http://www.cwgenna.com/lconsult.html

    As of 12 hours ago I am taking fenugreek tablets and eating lactation cookies to boost overall supply (any idea how long they take to work?)
    I do not know how long it will take to see an increase in production, probably a few days? Check with your LC about the dose of fenugreek, also there are other herbal galactagogues you might consider as well as very limited pharmaceutical options. Dose matters, so teas and cookies may not have the required dose in them without consuming a lot.

    I also suggest the book Making More Milk as well as kellymoms low milk production article.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; June 19th, 2017 at 11:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    17

    Default Re: Low/no milk after inflamed breast/blocked duct

    Thanks so much for your help. Yes I've spoken at length with my midwife (who is a LC) and she is also stumped. We have agreed that I'll keep trying to get baby on that side, and pump whenever she refuses - hopefully that will keep the stimulation up on that side and it'll come right. Fingers crossed as it doesn't seem I can do much more than what I'm already doing.
    Thanks again for your suggestions and support

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