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Thread: Anybody have experience with a milk fistula?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
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    4,984

    Default Re: Anybody have experience with a milk fistula?

    Here's the PM I just sent the poster above, in case anyone else is searching the forum for help with this issue:

    So, as far as the incision site, three things:

    (1) Pressure bandages on the incision. You may need your husband's or a friend's help. Take a piece of gauze and fold it until it is a small hard lump. PUSH the gauze lump onto the incision site. THEN, quick, spread a sticky bandage on top, holding the gauze down. If you don't let up the pressure on the gauze while you do this, the bandage should press the gauze into your breast, putting some pressure on the wound. This will encourage the milk to flow OUT of your nipples rather than out the wound - path of least resistance.

    (2) Similar, you can nurse or pump on the wounded side, but as you do so, APPLY PRESSURE to the incision site by pressing on the bandage right there. Again, you want the milk to come out the nipples, rather than leaking. Applying pressure makes it less likely to leak.

    (3) You will probably need to decrease the amount of pumping and nursing you are doing on that side, to lower your supply (just on that side) so that the wound will heal better. Depending on your supply, you may only need to reduce it a little, or a lot. I "partially weaned" off the side with the incision by nursing more and more on the other side, and less and less on the hurt side. When I say "partially weaned," I still pumped or nursed on the hurt side two or three times in a 24 hour period, but no longer every other feeding.

    When the incision site stopped leaking (which took about two weeks of doing the above), I let it heal for a while and then starting nursing on that side more and more, until my supply evened out again. That took a while, and my left breast (the non-biopsied one) STILL makes a little more, but that's fine. Now I nurse on both sides, and everything is long since healed, the lump is gone, and you can hardly even see the scar where the biopsy was!

    So it takes some patience, but I honestly think that doing this was easier for me than weaning, which would have been physically hard but also emotionally devastating.

    If you have to supplement, can you try a finger feeder or cup? Some babies that reject the bottle will drink from a small cup, unbelievably. It might be nice to have a backup option, because as you wean off the one side a bit, your supply will naturally go down. The key is to lower it a little, enough so that the wound stops leaking and heals, but not so much that you can't easily increase it again. Contrary to what many women think, your supply is very flexible - you can reduce it, and then increase it again, if you are careful and know what you're doing.

    I was very lucky to have the help of a local lactation consultant through all of this, but she really just explained the steps above, told me my doctor was full of crap, and then I did the rest!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  2. #12

    Default Re: Anybody have experience with a milk

    Hi all, I am so glad I came across this thread and that I am not alone!*

    I had an I&D done 1 week ago to drain a very large abscess that had developed in my right breast. I was caught somewhat off guard by the whole thing and ended up having the surgery done in the ER under local anesthetic. Since the procedure was done so unexpectedly, I was only able to do minimal research beforehand. Afterwards, I was very concerned about all the milk I was leaking,*afraid my incision would heal and that milk would just continue to pool underneath. Reading your posts is very reassuring.

    Unfortunately my incision is very close to the areola and as open as it still is I haven't felt comfortable offering that side. The incision is also too close to pump, but I have managed to hand express some milk (even though the bulk still flows through the incision). I hope that is enough to keep the pressure down so it will heal and stop leaking but still maintain some milk production on that side.**It was very painful and difficult to get her to nurse on that side before having it drained, so somewhat fortunately my production on that side was already reduced.*I really want to get back to nursing on both sides though, my little one is only 8 weeks old and I definitely want to breastfeed til at least 1yr.

    I am still nursing on the left side and supplementing with formula in the meantime. I am trying to be very conscientious of mantaining my supply though, I use a SNS (supplemental nursing system) instead of a bottle whenever possible, purchased an electric pump and put my LO to breast as much as possible.*

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: Anybody have experience with a milk

    Smallnmighty: Oh wow! That sounds very unpleasant!! I'm so sorry you're going through this!

    Have you tried putting a very sturdy pressure bandage on the incision site and then pumping? My incision site was close enough to my areola that my pump flange pressed on it when I tried to pump, I found that putting a sturdy pressure bandage on the site, plus pressing on it with my hand, allowed me to pump. The pressure also allowed the milk to come out the nipple, where it belonged, and the incision to heal eventually.

    Even if you can't pump at all on that side, if you keep nursing on the other side, you will not lose your supply. And later, you can relactate that side. In order to heal, it may be helpful to partially wean off that side anyway, just to reduce the amount of milk that is pressing through the incision site.

    You can do this, though!! Look at me, I went through this, almost entirely weaned off the one side, and now I'm nursing my 28 month old!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,613

    Default Re: Anybody have experience with a milk fistula?

    Bump
    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!"

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