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Thread: One breast responds better?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default One breast responds better?

    Okay, I have an Ameda Purely Yours, which I've been using for almost 4 months now. Originally for occasional pumping and building a freezer stash, used at work since April 1.

    Since I've been back at work, I've found that my right breast is never completely emptied, or emptied to the same degree as my left breast. This week, I have my first case of mastitis in the right breast, I had a clog for days that I just was not able to clear with hot compresses, showers, massage, nursing, pumping, etc.

    I noticed that the right breast was not emptying fairly soon after returning to work, and have been doing breast compressions with no luck.

    Now after doing my dual pumping session, I unplug the hose to the left breast and continue with the right breast. Even then, with breast compressions, it's still somewhat firm and I can tell there's still milk in there. I have no luck hand expressing, and always end up with milk everywhere and get myself all sticky.

    So, I know a dual pump loses some suction power when both hoses are attached, but both hoses run from the same source. I've bought all new replaceable parts, including horns, valves, and hoses.

    Is this just something with my breast? I'm thinking about renting a hospital-grade Medela, but since my current pump does fine with my left breast . . .

    I honestly can't say if this has always been an issue, I used to use it just for pumping maybe once a day, and when my baby nurses I don't have this problem (just that now I'm missing 4-5 nursing sessions a day while I'm at work )

    Any thoughts?
    First-time mom to Little Manatee (1/7/2010)

    Nursed for 3 1/2 years!

    My little boy is my everything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Orange County, CA

    Default Re: One breast responds better?

    I was never a big pumper but I did find that using a little manual Medela Harmony was more effective than my electric pump. Maybe pick one up and see if it helps for the right side? It's not a long-term solution but it might help a little.

    Proud mama to
    Kaitlyn Ann 12/23/07 - 7 lbs., 15 oz.
    Jackson Thomas 1/16/11 - 9 lbs., 3 oz.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: One breast responds better?

    This sounds frustrating! It's not something I've come across before. My only two thoughts:

    1) I had to hand express for a while when I got cut on one side, and it was a total sticky mess... and only afterwards did I come across online instructions for how to hand express (I figured it was pretty clear cut...), and I realized it's much easier if you know what you're doing. I can't remember where I looked, but if you google there are diagrams/videos/etc. So if you haven't tried this, it might help. I have hand-expressed to "finish off" one one side every now and then, and it actually works well for me now.

    2) Perhaps if there's a major medical center with a lactation center in your city you could see if the LCs working there have any ideas?

    Wish I had something better - maybe someone else here has gone through this...?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: One breast responds better?

    Your right breast might just not be responding well to that particular pump. It might help to try a manual pump to see if that helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: One breast responds better?

    Ugh. This is hard. I've had some issues like this. NOT FUN.

    My only thought is - are you sure that a clogged duct isn't causing the failure to empty on the right side? When I get a clogged duct, my supply often goes down, and that side never feels totally empty, because it's clogged. I would kick into full-on clog prevention mode, giving that side to your baby first, massaging in a hot bath, etc., etc. Sometimes it's hard to figure out which came first - the clog, or the inability to empty. It might not be your pump as much as a stubborn clog?

    Also, this is probably obvious, but make sure that everything on your pump is connected really well. I've found that taking the faceplate off of my Medela Pump-In-Style and replacing it, as snugly as I can, seems to help. If that doesn't work, I would try a manual pump as suggested by others, or - I know you don't want to hear this - rent that hospital grade pump or consider investing in a new, different style pump.

    Sorry I don't have a better answer! Yuck. I feel you.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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