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Thread: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pumping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    26

    Default Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pumping

    I have an old Freestyle my friend gave me and I recently rented a Symphony (Medela)

    However whichever machine I use, after pumping, my nipples and areola are soft, huge and look bloated.

    The right side also hurts a little. I've tried the different shields. The 24 seems to fit my nipple size better but still pulls a large part of the areola. It also "just" touches the shield in some parts. The 27 is larger, and of course also pulls large part of areola but at least seems to get milk out.

    yesterday I tried stopping pumping but baby was still not satisfied, plus I am worried about milk supply.

    Is there a risk to pumping at all? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,740

    Default Re: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pum

    This happens because pumps extract milk form the breasts completely differently than babies do. Pumps use suction and this tends to pull fluid (not milk, I mean it causes edema- fluid in the cells) into the areola and nipple and this is what would cause the bloat.
    Also pump injury is common, so pumping too long, at too high a setting or with a malfunctioning pump (even motors can malfunction and be a problem) or when using a poorly fitted flange, any of those could be causing injury and consequently inflammation.
    I would suggest try adjusting the pump suction and use the lowest setting possible. Trouble shoot the pump (change membranes, etc.) I am not sure what it suggest as far as flanges- maybe use whatever flange is most comfortable and still works at a lower pump setting. Try hand expression instead, hand expression milks the breasts more like a baby does and is much less likely to cause injury.
    Try to never pump longer than 30 minutes per side, shorter is better.
    At the same time, do not turn the pump up too high trying to get more milk our more quickly.
    As long as baby is exclusively nursing, even if you do need to pump to protect your milk production, your need to pump is not going to be as high as it was when baby was getting supplements.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pum

    Thanks m, this is very useful. I was wondering about this and a bit concerned at the look of my breasts. I wonder how one knows if injury is occurring, but it sure feels like it. Also, how do you detect a malfunctioning pump? I am renting the Symphony for now. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,740

    Default Re: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pum

    Pain = Injury. It is just a matter of degree. This is why we feel pain, so we stop doing or make adjustments to whatever is causing us to feel pain before the injury is severe. Just as nursing should not hurt, pumping should not hurt.

    To test your Symphony pump motor you would need to contact whoever you rented the pump from and see if they have the equipment to do that. They may not. It is possible that the old pump caused the problem and not the new, but it still hurts because you were injured and since you still have to pump the injury is taking longer to heal. It is also possible a plug or something has developed and that is causing more pain.

    Usually though what needs to happen is adjustments to pump setting, pump frequency/duration, and/or flange size.

    Some moms find lubing the flange with a little olive oil or other non-allergenic food based oil allows for more comfortable pumping when the flange is slightly small. It helps lessen the issue of nipple rubbing on the tunnel. Also being very careful about how you position the breast in the flange to lessen rubbing helps. Generally there are more issues caused by a too large flange than a too small one. This is because it would damage the areola to have it pulled too much into the tunnel and also because a large flange is not as effective and that might cause mom to put the setting too high. But that is general, your experience might be different.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pum

    That is so interesting and helpful. I will ask the pharmacy tomorrow if they test the equipment, I do find it a bit loud and am worried, but it has suction.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,740

    Default Re: Is it normal for nipples/areola to be inflated after pum

    Take pump when you see the LC so she can have a listen and also check flange fit.

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