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Thread: can't get the milk out--help!!

  1. #1

    Default can't get the milk out--help!!

    I have been EBF my son since April 24th when he was born. Over the summer, my job enabled me to bring him with and EBF him there. Now that fall programing has started and the schedule has gotten rather busy, my little one goes to daycare Tues, Wed, & Thursday all day. 8-4:30p.m. I pump 3 times at work.

    Breastfeeding, i have no troubles with plugged ducts or milk blisters. But now that I pump those three days I am having a plethora of problems! It's almost as if I get an infected nipple? does that make sense? Then the ducts in my nipple get clogged and infected. To the point where when I squeeze a clear liquid comes out. I'm assuming this is some form of pus. Regardless, I've been on antibiotics for the last 2 weeks to help a back case of mastitis (I believe also from the pump not adequately emptying my breasts!)

    Okay...so here my question is this...

    what is up with the nipples? Anyone else get this? I can't get all of the ducts to drain with the pump...any suggestions or advice?

    If dont' get this figured out, i don't know what I'll do. I can't hardly take feeling like I still have milk leftover in my boobs from pumping. And I've tried various sized shields, so I'm pretty certain it isn't that. I have a medela pump in style.

    Thanks!!
    ~Emily + Scott 6.9.07 BFP 8.8.08~
    ~Baby #1--Andrew Liam born April 24th 8lbs 6 oz 21 inches~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,860

    Default Re: can't get the milk out--help!!

    I'm sorry you're having such a rough time with the pump! The Medela PIS is a good pump, but it might not be the best one for you. You might want to consider renting a hospital-grade pump and seeing if that makes a difference.

    I know you already tried different shields, but if you see either a) your nipple shooting in and out of the collection tube accompanied by loss of suction or b) your nipple rubbing against the side of the tube, then you may need a different size of shield.

    Another way to deal with the problem of the pump not sufficiently emptying the breast is to do breast massage while pumping- that is, stroke, massage and squeeze the regions of the breast that are not being emptied. Varying your pump position may also help- some moms find that bending over as they pump allows gravity to assist milk removal.

    Here are some good kellymom.com links on manual expression and getting more while pumping.

    It's almost as if I get an infected nipple? does that make sense? Then the ducts in my nipple get clogged and infected. To the point where when I squeeze a clear liquid comes out. I'm assuming this is some form of pus.
    Hmm, what you describe doesn't necessarily scream "infection" to me. Getting a clear liquid when manually expressing often means that you're getting super-watery foremilk, probably from a plugged duct. (The longer the milk sits in the duct, the more foremilk builds up, and the more watery the milk appears.) I'd give this substance a taste test- if it tastes like super-watery, salty milk then it's foremilk that's been sitting around.

    When you say that the ducts in your nipple get "infected", can you describe a bit more what you mean? Are they inflamed, red, itchy, flaking? Or do they look normal?
    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

    Default Re: can't get the milk out--help!!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I'm sorry you're having such a rough time with the pump! The Medela PIS is a good pump, but it might not be the best one for you. You might want to consider renting a hospital-grade pump and seeing if that makes a difference.

    I know you already tried different shields, but if you see either a) your nipple shooting in and out of the collection tube accompanied by loss of suction or b) your nipple rubbing against the side of the tube, then you may need a different size of shield.

    Another way to deal with the problem of the pump not sufficiently emptying the breast is to do breast massage while pumping- that is, stroke, massage and squeeze the regions of the breast that are not being emptied. Varying your pump position may also help- some moms find that bending over as they pump allows gravity to assist milk removal.

    Here are some good kellymom.com links on manual expression and getting more while pumping.



    Hmm, what you describe doesn't necessarily scream "infection" to me. Getting a clear liquid when manually expressing often means that you're getting super-watery foremilk, probably from a plugged duct. (The longer the milk sits in the duct, the more foremilk builds up, and the more watery the milk appears.) I'd give this substance a taste test- if it tastes like super-watery, salty milk then it's foremilk that's been sitting around.

    When you say that the ducts in your nipple get "infected", can you describe a bit more what you mean? Are they inflamed, red, itchy, flaking? Or do they look normal?
    I bet it is the wrong size shield and not the right amount of suction because of it. Any advice on this? I really don't know how I'm supposed to know what is the best size shield.

    Also, the nipples are just backed up. It's like, I can feel the pressure under the surface of the nipple, but hte actual nipple ducts on the surface of the nipple do not all shoot like they do in my baby's mouth. I'm probably making no sense here. When I squeeze my nipple with my hand, there are 8+ holes of milks to come out...when I pump, only a few get emptied. I can't get the other ones to shoot. SO it gets backed up under the surface and it probably is foremilk. This is also due most likely to the pump not emptying the breasts.
    ~Emily + Scott 6.9.07 BFP 8.8.08~
    ~Baby #1--Andrew Liam born April 24th 8lbs 6 oz 21 inches~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,860

    Default Re: can't get the milk out--help!!

    I bet it is the wrong size shield and not the right amount of suction because of it. Any advice on this? I really don't know how I'm supposed to know what is the best size shield.
    There are sizing devices out there that can help. Maybe a LC would have one?

    Alternately, you can judge the shield by how well it fits during use. If you see your nipples shooting in and out, and you're simultaneously feeling a loss of suction, then the shields are too big. If you feel your nipples rubbing uncomfortably against the sides of the collection tubes, then the shields are too small. If the shield is marginally too small, try lubricating your nipples with some olive oil- that may allow them to slide more freely through the tubes.

    Also, the nipples are just backed up. It's like, I can feel the pressure under the surface of the nipple, but hte actual nipple ducts on the surface of the nipple do not all shoot like they do in my baby's mouth. I'm probably making no sense here.
    Actually, this makes perfect sense.

    When I squeeze my nipple with my hand, there are 8+ holes of milks to come out...when I pump, only a few get emptied. I can't get the other ones to shoot.
    It sounds like some of your ducts aren't getting the stimulation they need to send out a decent stream of milk. This could be a shield problem, or a pump power problem. Since you can get the milk to come out when you hand express, one way to possibly get those ducts to produce is to use hand expression while pumping. Sometimes putting some pressure on the ducts will force the milk out- just like you can get mustard out of a squeeze bottle by sucking it out or by squeezing the bottle.
    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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