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Thread: Breasts feel empty, is this normal?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    15

    Default Breasts feel empty, is this normal?

    Hi there!

    I have been nursing my baby for about a month now, first with nipple shield, now without it. In the beginning of breastfeeding, my breasts always felt very full after 3 hours (almost hard). My baby seems to be gaining weight just fine but my breasts don't always feel full. Some days, they feel fuller than others, and even leak a bit but on other days, they are just very soft. When you breastfeed for a while, do your breasts just adjust to your baby's needs and always feel soft or should they always feel fuller before a feeding? Hope my question makes sense... Today, for e.g. they do feel a bit fuller and yesterday, my baby was kinda fussy and on the breast a lot. Is she nursing more to increase supply? This happened a few days ago, too, she spent one day nursing every 2 hours or more for short periods of time and the next few days, my breasts were back to being full and hard. They became soft again after a few days. I want to make sure I am not missing signs of my milk supply starting to decrease as I want to nurse my baby as long as possible and she is only 2 months old.
    Also, the pediatrician said we could try to space out feedings with 4 hours between feedings but I'm afraid it will affect the milk supply. Any thought?

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    2,339

    Default Re: Breasts feel empty, is this normal?

    Hi mama!

    It is totally normal for your breasts to adjust to your baby's needs after the first few weeks. What happens is right after birth and for a few weeks following, milk production is hormonally regulated and it just tells your body to make lots. After the hormones even out, it becomes supply and demand, so your breasts will produce what your lo removes. Baby will nurse more often during a growth spurt to increase your supply, and your breasts adjust accordingly. What you were feeling before, that hardness/fullness is engorgement from having more milk than baby is taking. That's something you don't need. Engorgement can lead to plugged ducts and mastitis. So yes, your breasts should feel nice and soft. But they are never truly empty. There is always some milk there for your baby.

    The other part about spacing out feeds, your ped is wrong. Peds don't understand the mechanics/biology of breastfeeding very well at all, and artificially stretching out the time between nursing sessions will affect your supply negatively, so don't do it! Just nurse your baby on demand. Breastmilk digests quickly, in 90 minutes or so, so that's why BF babies eat more frequently. Formula is much more difficult to digest, so it takes longer, but that's not a good thing!
    Jess

    Mama to my little Roxie Roo, 06/11/08


    April miles for TBTTW: 63

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Breasts feel empty, is this normal?

    Thank you! That totally makes sense and I feel reassured now. :-)

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