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Thread: Please help--I'm desperate. I can't empty my breasts!

  1. #1

    Default Please help--I'm desperate. I can't empty my breasts!

    I've had horrible latching problems and haven't been able to breastfeed any of my children. I just had my third baby a month ago, and the hospital set me up with a Medela Symphony. I started out pumping about 10 cc from each breast (a few days post-partum) and now, a month later, I'm only getting 30 cc per breast, and that's pumping every 5 hours. She told me to pump every 3 hours and I'll get 20 cc per breast. The 5 hour thing was when I wake up in the morning and haven't pumped all night. I KNOW there's more milk in there, but it just will NOT come out. After pumping until the machine times out (30ish minutes) I'm still not getting much, and my breasts are still firm. I thought at first it was supply, so I've been taking blessed thistle and fenugreek for a week now, and nothing has changed. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I had gastric bypass surgery 8 years ago. The LLL consultant with whom I spoke and the lactation consultants at the hospital said this shouldn't have anything to do with anything--most women who have had this surgery make plenty of milk and it's nutritious enough for the baby to thrive. My breast tissue is VERY soft (a friend of mine who also had the surgery referred to her breasts as tube socks with nipples, lol, if that gives you any idea. I've tried massaging them both before and during pumping, warm compresses, warm showers, all to no avail. Does ANYONE have any advice? I'm to the point where, even though I don't want to, I'm ready to give up. I've even tried pumping every 2 hours, and then every 1 hour, but nothing changes...I just get less milk. Someone PLEASE help! Oh, and I went to Target and got large (27mm) phlanges. The machine came with the standard 24mm size.)
    Last edited by @llli*ewells1014; February 7th, 2010 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Please help--I'm desperate. I can't empty my breasts!

    Maybe you could try cluster/power pumping? See link below for an explanation:

    Are you trying to pump every 2-3 hrs consistently? It may take your body a few days to adjust and you have to be very, very consistent. I pumped 8-10x per day up to one month and slowly my production increased. My son was not sleeping well at the time so the longest I probably went between sessions was 4 hrs. Are you able to use the symphony on a high setting? Might be uncomfortable, but maybe you need the stronger suction. Were you able to have an LC work with you at home to see how you are pumping?

    Good luck and try not to give up!
    Mom to Jaxon born 5/1/09. He would not so we and !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Please help--I'm desperate. I can't empty my breasts!

    I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time!

    Is your baby nursing at all? If so, maybe the pumping isn't necessary. But if you're exclusively pumping, then I think you should see a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Nothing beats hands-on help!

    If you're not nursing, this link may help you get your baby to the breast: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html

    Pumping every 5 hours sounds like you're going too long without pumping. I know you said you get less when you increase the frequency, but have you tried for several days in a row? If not, try it as an experiment- you might notice your production slowly creeping upwards after a few days of increased frequency.

    Do you happen to have any medical conditions aside from the gastric bypass? Hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, perhaps? PCOS? They can all affect supply, and hypothyroid is particularly common postpartum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Please help--I'm desperate. I can't empty my breasts!

    The pump doesn't remove milk like my baby does, so after I pump with the machine I hand express milk into the same bottle I was pumping into. I can usually can get another 1/2-1 oz doing this. Someone posted this link on this forum and I found it really helpful.

    Good luck!

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