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Thread: What causes blood when pumping?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    43

    Question What causes blood when pumping?

    Suction too high? Breastshield too small?

    I have a new PISA. I used to use an old PIS, but I think it was dying. I also used a Symphony for a period of time recently.

    I've always used 24mm breastshields.

    The only other time I've bled is when I tried the smaller breastshield inserts and pumped for a longer time than usual during that particular session.

    It's too bad--I got more than usual from my right side, but bled on my left side.

    I'm scared to try larger breastshields. I heard your supply can go down if you use breastshields that are too large. Does anyone know if this is true?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,361

    Default Re: What causes blood when pumping?

    Usually if you are seeing blood when you're pumping, it's because a small blood vessel in the breast has ruptured due to the action of the pump. These blood vessels are tiny and fragile, and they break fairly easily. The good news is that they generally heal quickly, usually by the next time you need to nurse or pump.

    However, if you are consistently seeing blood in the milk, some possible causes include:
    - You are pumping too hard
    - You have the wrong size of breastshields
    - Cracked or blistered nipples
    - Rusty Pipe Syndrome

    Since you recently got a new and more powerful pump, I would suspect that the problem is the new pump, and the increased suction it generates. You might want to start the pump off at the lowest level, and only gradually turn it up higher. A gentler start might reduce the trauma that's making you bleed.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*anakay View Post
    I'm scared to try larger breastshields. I heard your supply can go down if you use breastshields that are too large. Does anyone know if this is true?
    Yes, this is true for some moms. If the shield is too large, the pump breaks suction more often, milk removal may be affected, and the breast doesn't get the maximum stimulation. All those things can reduce output.

    When you pump, does your nipple rub against the sides of the collection tube, does it move in and out freely, or does it shoot in and out, accompanied by a loss of suction?
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: What causes blood when pumping?

    What exactly do you mean by loss of suction? Sometimes, some milk gets in between my breast and the breastshield, and then it's hard to get the shield to stay on. It seems like the milk stops coming out when this happens. Is this loss of suction?

    When I pump, my nipples get all puffy and they look like they fill the flange, but still are pulled in and out. It doesn't look like there's any space in between the nipple and the flange.

    This is just the second time I've seen blood. The first time was a long time ago, with the old PIS, small breastshield insert, and long pumping time. This time was with the new PISA, same breastshield that I always use, and same pumping time, but I had the suction turned up pretty high. It didn't really feel uncomfortable, though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,361

    Default Re: What causes blood when pumping?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*anakay View Post
    What exactly do you mean by loss of suction? Sometimes, some milk gets in between my breast and the breastshield, and then it's hard to get the shield to stay on. It seems like the milk stops coming out when this happens. Is this loss of suction?
    Yeah, that sounds like loss of suction- but if it's only happening when there's a lot of milk in the shield I don't think it's a problem. It's more likely to be a problem when it's happening with every suck of the pump. You'd see your nipple sucked into the tube, and then released with a loss of contact between breast and shield. Does that make sense?

    When I pump, my nipples get all puffy and they look like they fill the flange, but still are pulled in and out. It doesn't look like there's any space in between the nipple and the flange.
    So it sounds like your shields may be a tight fit, but as long as you're not getting painful rubbing I think they're correctly sized. You might want to try lubing your nips with some olive oil- that may allow them to slide more freely, which will reduce friction-based chafing if that is what's causing the bleeding.

    This is just the second time I've seen blood. The first time was a long time ago, with the old PIS, small breastshield insert, and long pumping time. This time was with the new PISA, same breastshield that I always use, and same pumping time, but I had the suction turned up pretty high. It didn't really feel uncomfortable, though.[
    Gotcha! It really sounds to me like you're getting broken blood vessels (see my first post) related to pumping too long or with the suction turned up too high. As long as it's not happening every time you pump, and you're not in pain, I wouldn't worry.
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: What causes blood when pumping?

    I looked at some other threads on sizing breastshields and I think mine are okay.
    I think my problem was too-high suction.
    Thanks for your help!

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