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4th time breastfeeding, troubles I never had before, need help...


Forum: Breastfeeding

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  #1  
July 4th, 2013, 06:31 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I'll try to keep this short and to the point, but some context and information is probably necessary.

My baby was born at 33 weeks and is in the NICU. She has been in NICU for 3 weeks. They originally though she would be there 2-3 weeks total, but now they think she will be there an additional 2-3 weeks. I have been pumping since she was born and bringing milk to her at the hospital. I pump every 3-4 hours, but skip night pumping. My supply is currently more than adequate. I get about 24 ounces a day and she eats about 10-11oz a day (now).

My problem is with left breast.

First problem: At first I was hand pumping, and even then, half of my my left areola turns white/pales and swells during pumping. Never my right. Now I use a pump, and the same part does the same thing. Not as pale, but paler, and swollen. I think it's because my flanges are too big, and I ordered a smaller one to try, but again, this happened even with hand expression, so I'm not sure. Also, the right nipple is pulled into the flange a little too, but half of that areola doesn't get swollen or pale. JUST the left side, even though the nipples are pulled in equal amounts. Lansinoh gel breastpads help with the tenderness and soreness.

Second problem: At first, my left side made about 1-2 oz less than my right side. But right now, it's making 3-5oz less than my right side. And my right side keeps producing more and more and my left side less and less! Using my morning pump for example, I was getting 4-5oz from left side and 6oz from the right. Now I get 3oz from the left size and 7oz from left.

Third (maybe) problem: Maybe the reason one side makes more milk is because I have 3+ "streams" on the right side, and one is a really big stream, and on the left side I only have ONE *small* stream? Is my nipple/breast damaged or something?

PLEASE NOTE: I'm glad I am making enough for my baby, and I know it's normal for one breast to make more milk than the other. BUT I don't want to end up dried up on side, so when one breast is making less and less while the other makes more, I worry!

Also, please note, I pump for 10-15 minutes on the right side (again, getting WAY more milk!) and pump for 45 minutes on the other side (because that's how long it takes to get that much lesser amount, otherwise I'd only get 1 oz!) AND I also hand express the left side when I'm done to make sure I am getting out as much milk as possible (I can usually get another 1/2oz to oz that way) but still, this is so I can get 3oz when the other breast got 7oz in 1/3 of the time from JUST pumping. I also massage my left breast milk pumping, but that doesn't help much either (some, but not much). I don't need to do it to the right side.

I just don't understand why the breast that gets more stimulation and is emptied more and gets the massage is the one that produces so much less and keeps producing less and less every day.

So, I'm going to try:
-a smaller flange, which I assume will help with the nipple tenderness.
- adding in a few pumping sessions that are only on the left side
-also, I breastfed Isabel for the first time yesterday, and I fed her from the left side first, too. She had a harder time latching on to that side compared to when I switched to the right side, though neither side was a huge success... but I will keep trying the left side first and giving a full 15 minutes effort on that side before switching.

Is there anything else I can do? Is the one side not making milk because of a problem with the nipple? Why do I only have one stream on one side? When I breastfed my first three kids, I had multiple streams on both sides. I feel like my left nipple is broken or something. How can I fix this?
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Last edited by alittlelost; July 4th, 2013 at 07:54 AM.
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  #2  
July 4th, 2013, 07:14 AM
CrunchyMommaTo2's Avatar Proud Momma
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Hopefully some other ladies can chime in with some good advice. I wanted to congratulate you on the birth of your LO and for trying so hard to breastfeed and give pumped milk.
My left side also makes much less than my right and I have many more and more powerful "streams"'of milk on my right. I find that using heat on my left side before pumping or nursing seems to help a lot. A disposable diaper filled with hot water and wrapped around or a sock filled with rice and microwaved until warm are what I use
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Last edited by CrunchyMommaTo2; July 4th, 2013 at 07:24 AM.
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  #3  
July 4th, 2013, 07:51 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thank you! I will try using warmth on my left side, too.

Pumping is a lot harder than breastfeeding directly and sometimes I get anxiety about baby coming home and never learning to nurse and having to pump for the duration
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  #4  
July 4th, 2013, 01:23 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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ugh i hate pumping and admire you. My cousin had her DS at 28 weeks and pumped for the first year of his life, exclusively.

It is good that you are getting her on the breast and hopefully once she comes home and is situated, you can wean off the pump.

my left always produced half of the right side for a long time. Could there be blockages in there? Does it feel like a blocked duct? I would also try the warm compress prior to pumping and see if that helps. I would always pump the weaker side first and longer and sometimes power pumped on that one side and it eventually caught up to the right side.

If you think there may be blockages, some people saying taking lecithin supplements can thin the milk and make it less likely to happen.

Also, now that you are pretty much EPing, you are seeing how much milk you are producing (atleast to the pump, baby usually is more efficient and gets more) it is hard not to obsess on the quantity, vs just nursing on demand and trusting our bodies.
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  #5  
July 4th, 2013, 03:43 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thank you, mgm! You make sure a great point! Before when I breastfed my others, I mostly just breastfed without pumping. One breast was larger than the other and produced more, but I had chalked it up to baby favoring that side. I guess my main concern is the output in one breast going down despite the extra stimulation. How can I tell if I have a blocked duct? I don't feel like I do, but who knows.

I saw a thread earlier talking about power pumping, so I tried it on the one breast. Weirdly, this fixed the one stream thing, at least for now. Maybe I will power pump once a day on that side and see if it fixes things...then if it evens out I'll stop.
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  #6  
July 4th, 2013, 04:19 PM
ThaiSpice's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Sounds like you've gotten some good advice. Just reading through, I was thinking of several of those suggestions, like pumping/nursing more on that side, continuing to massage & use heat, etc. My baby was in the NICU (though not as long), and once we were able to start BF, she had a harder time with the left (which has always produced less than the right for me), and I used a football hold on that side, and it seemed to help her latch better on that side. Now it doesn't really matter as much, but in the beginning that was the only position I could use on the left. You might try it. I think that, once she's able to BF consistently, it may even out on it's own. With my first daughter, I offered the left more than the right for a while, and it seemed to even out some. I do think that, when pumping, it's easier to obsess about things like how much is coming out, and what it looks like, because it's in your face, vs when you're BF and can't see it.

Anyway, it sounds like you're on the right track!
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  #7  
July 5th, 2013, 03:46 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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glad the power pumping seemed to make some difference, KUP!
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  #8  
July 5th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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What kind of pump are you using? I would suggest you see a LC that can fit you for flange size as there are many different sizes. The nipple should move freely in flange without rubbing at all, and very little areola should be in the flange. If the nipple does not move freely and is rubbing, you need to move up a size, and if a large amount of the areola is in the flange, you need to move down a size. I would suggest having a LC look at your pump to make sure it is working properly. Pumping for 45 minutes can actually hurt your milk supply and cause sore nipples. Never pump for more than 20 minutes. If you don't get alot out, power pumping is the best option to increase your milk supply on that side. By power pumping, I mean take a 30 minute show and pump every time the show is on and take a break when the commercials come on. Do this a few times a day. Does your nipple hurt when it blanches? Do you notice blanching(turning white) of the nipple at any other time?
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  #9  
July 5th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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FWIW when I have pumped and this is well after having my supply established the left one will produce a third or even less of what the right one does. When I breastfeed my kiddo doesnt seem to have a preference of a side so I'm thinking that in my case they still make roughly the same milk. The left is just slower to respond to the pump.
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  #10  
July 5th, 2013, 02:30 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Today and yesterday I made 4oz a day less than before, and it's the left breast that the supply is just going down and down and down

Quote:
Originally Posted by juleeannk View Post
What kind of pump are you using? I would suggest you see a LC that can fit you for flange size as there are many different sizes. The nipple should move freely in flange without rubbing at all, and very little areola should be in the flange. If the nipple does not move freely and is rubbing, you need to move up a size, and if a large amount of the areola is in the flange, you need to move down a size. I would suggest having a LC look at your pump to make sure it is working properly. Pumping for 45 minutes can actually hurt your milk supply and cause sore nipples. Never pump for more than 20 minutes. If you don't get alot out, power pumping is the best option to increase your milk supply on that side. By power pumping, I mean take a 30 minute show and pump every time the show is on and take a break when the commercials come on. Do this a few times a day. Does your nipple hurt when it blanches? Do you notice blanching(turning white) of the nipple at any other time?
Medela swing. The hospital pump was getting me nothing from either breast

I will meet with an LC on Monday (hopefully) so I'm gonna get help with flange size. I wonder if I might need a different flange size for each breast. Hey, whatever works! I think I need to move down a size, though. I will stop pumping for 45 minutes. Maybe that is the problem or part of it! I will power pump that side instead. My nipples are almost always sore (mildly, in a sensitive way) but not unbearable. It doesn't pale at any other time and it's not turning completely white like it did at first. Thank you for trying to help me problem solve this.
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  #11  
July 5th, 2013, 02:36 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluga View Post
FWIW when I have pumped and this is well after having my supply established the left one will produce a third or even less of what the right one does. When I breastfeed my kiddo doesnt seem to have a preference of a side so I'm thinking that in my case they still make roughly the same milk. The left is just slower to respond to the pump.
I definitely have a slower flow on the left side, but I pump the left side longer and still get way less. I'm getting 3x as much in 1/3 of the time from my right side now. I don't even try to get all the milk out of that side. My left side, I use the pump AND hand expression to make sure I've gotten it all. But my supply on that side keeps going down. I do pump one side at a time, and I switch what side I start with. I know double pumping is the key, but I could only afford a single pump. I could rent a pump from the hospital and my insurance would pay, but their pump retrieves NO milk
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  #12  
July 6th, 2013, 03:22 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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oh, single pumps are hard! i got twice as much milk when i started pumping both sides at the same time, vs one at a time. hang in there! let us know what the LC says.
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  #13  
July 6th, 2013, 08:34 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I wish I could afford a double pump. My insurance will cover renting one from the hospital, but the one they have doesn't work for me at all (I get NO milk when I use them).
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  #14  
July 6th, 2013, 02:09 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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did you try another one at the hospital? Some lose suction over time, maybe it was a defective unit?
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  #15  
July 6th, 2013, 02:26 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I tried 2 at the hospital
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  #16  
July 7th, 2013, 03:31 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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  #17  
July 7th, 2013, 04:20 AM
ThaiSpice's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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That's frustrating. I hope the LC can help some.
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  #18  
July 8th, 2013, 08:16 AM
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What kind of hospital pump was it?

You can also go through a DME to rent a pump, it doesn't have to be a hospital, unless you have Tricare
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  #19  
July 8th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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Baby2Breast has Lactation Consultants and some do Skype visits if that would make it easier for you. I do Skype visits sometimes. It's not ideal, but it's better than not being able to see one at all.
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  #20  
July 11th, 2013, 04:08 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thanks so much! I found a LC who was helpful even just over the phone! She helped me with some of my issues, to improve them, but it's still not great and I have other issues now, too. But one step at a time. I'm sure in a few months everything will be better. Excited to be making some oatmeal cookies for milk supply tomorrow too!
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