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Thread: Plugged ducts and no supply

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    14

    Default Plugged ducts and no supply

    I have been exclusively pumping for my surro son for 3 weeks now. Things started out great-I was making about 40 oz a day for the first week or so, then I started running a fever {doing too much too soon after giving birth.} I had a fever for about a week and during that time I got really dehydrated {I needed an IV} and had plugged ducts in my right breast. It became completely engorged and so painful that I was literally crying trying to pump. After increasing pumping sessions I pumped 3 oz of colostrum out of that side {a week and a half after I had stopped getting any colostrum} plus a lot of globs of milk fat. Since then I have had no supply on that side-it takes about 4 pumpings just to get an ounce out. And now it feels like the plugged ducts are coming back-the same areas of my breast are getting tender and hard feeling yet I still get nothing when I pump. Also, for some reason my nipple turns an odd whitish purple color while I'm pumping. It returns to a normal color about 30 minutes after I stop pumping, but my left one doesn't change at all.

    Any idea what is going on with my right breast? I have tried using a warm compress and massage before pumping, massaging while pumping, stopping midway through a pumping session to massage, taking a shower right before pumping, even leaning all the way forward so my breasts are "dangling" while pumping. Nothing seems to help. What can I do to prevent getting another clogged duct? My left breast is only producing about 2 oz per pumping so it is not enough to meet my surro son's feedings. He's eating about 4 oz per feeding {he's chubby and has already gained 2.5 lbs!} I want to go back to making 40 oz a day for him.

    TIA for any help. I have spent the last week pumping and reading everything I can trying to find something that will help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    have you seen this page..
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/mastitis.html

    is baby nursing any at the breast?


    here's a page with info on recurrent mastitis
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...-mastitis.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    Yes, I've read through that info before and it seems more like I have a plugged duct rather than mastitis.

    I see my surro son about once a week and will usually nurse him. The problem is he is getting the EBM from a bottle so he doesn't nurse very well. He will latch on and nurse for a few minutes, but when the initial foremilk is gone he doesn't really keep sucking to get the rest of the milk out. I will see him today and try to nurse him. I hope he can get things going again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    awe...
    your doing all the right things...
    massage heat pumping...
    have you thougth about hand expression?
    some moms have beter luck draining the breast that way.

    how often are you pumping?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    14

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    Right now I am pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night. I have tried manual hand expression and I don't get anything out of the right one. I'm wondering if there is something wrong with my nipple. When I do get something to come out it only comes out of one spot, like all the other openings are blocked or something. I had a milk blister when I was engorged, but it peeled off and it doesn't look like there is any kind of blockage there now-except the fact that my whole nipple turns white whenever I pump.

    I picked up some Lecithin today so I hope that will do something to help with the plugged ducts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    6,959

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    Hi mama,
    I read a study about women massaging a path for the milk to exit from instead of kneading directly on the lumps. In the study the women were able to break up the mass easier when the blockages in the ducts leading to the mass were cleared out. Sort of like pulling the clog out of the vacuum to get it working right ... well, sorta.
    I really agree with Andrea about the moist heat. Another study I read talked about how the temperature of a woman's breast rose as she made milk. Keeping the breast warm will help to facilitate milk production, as well as help loosen things up. For some women keeping an eye on their diet, (saturated fats in particular can cause blockages) helps reduce clogged ducts.

    The nipple turning white can be from the suction being turned up too high on a pump, any pinching in general can cause nipple blanching. Does it hurt along with the color change?

    Are you wearing any restraining cloths? Under wire bras? Carrying a purse that presses against your breast? These can all contribute to blocked ducts in some women. It really depends on how sensitive your body is to outside pressure, and diet.

    You are doing a really amazing and wonderful thing for your surro son. Now we just need to assist your body in understanding how to make milk without the uncomfortable side effects you are having now.
    Tell us everything you have tried so far!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    14

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    Ok, I've been using moist heat for about 15 minutes, then massage, then pumping and get nothing! If I press in on the lumps it makes a little stream of milk come out, but nothing impressive. I get maybe 1/4 of ounce doing all of this and I can still feel hard lumpy spots. I've even tried taking a hot shower & massage before pumping, "soaking" my breast in warm water before pumping, and leaning all the way forward so my breast was "dangling" while I was pumping.

    Most of the time I have been sitting around topless so no restrictive clothing. No underwire bra either, I have a nice seamless Bravado nursing bra. When I actually use a purse I always carry it on my left side. I've even been trying not to sleep on my back since i read on kellymom that that can contribute to plugged ducts. I have also been taking lecithin for 3 days now {3600 mg/day.}

    Will pumping for an extended amount of time help? I usually pump for 20 minutes or I'll do 10 minutes on 5 off then another 10 minutes of pumping. This is more than enough to get my left side to completely drain-I have been getting about 25 oz a day just from that side. I have a Whisper Wear pump so it'd really easy for me to just put that in my bra and leave it in for however long it takes.

    I have been pumping with an Avent ISIS IQ Duo and I have tried using a PIS with the same results. Should I try renting a hospital grade pump for a month? What is the difference between a hospital grade pump and the pump I have? If it's just more powerful suction I'm not sure if that'll help because I can't use my current pump on full suction or else it really makes my nipples sore.
    I just don't know what to do anymore!
    Last edited by TrishWSU; March 1st, 2008 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    I had a similar problem. Pumping hurt so much I would scream every time I did it. I found out months later that the flanges on my pump were too small for my breasts (not that my breasts are huge, they just have a shape that requires bigger flanges). Also, breasts swell during pumping, so the flange that looks like it fits at the beginning of a pumping session can very quickly be too small. And it's possible for this to be an issue with only one breast.

    If you want to try this, your pump manufacturer likely makes flanges in larger sizes, and you can order one and perhaps be more comfortable.

    In any case, pumping doesn't hurt anymore. I had to try several larger sizes until I got the largest they make, which works pretty well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    6,959

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    25 ounces off one breast? That's quite a bit! (The more you pump the more milk you are going to make.) If you don't remove all the milk what happens? Do you feel like the lumps get bigger? When you pump try rotation the flange around in a circle to make sure the suction is even all around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    14

    Default Re: Plugged ducts and no supply

    I get 25 oz or more out of left breast-it's always been my "super producer". The right one has the plugged ducts and I barely get 1/2 an oz per pumping session if I'm lucky, and that's after doing a warm compress and massage first. I rented a hospital grade pump on Monday and so far it hasn't made any difference. I can still feel all the hard spots after I pump. I have absolutely no idea what to do anymore. Will they just eventually go away on their own? Is there any hope of rebuilding my supply on that side?

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