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Please help me! Breasts are full, but milk isn't coming out..

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a 2 1/2 week old infant and have been breastfeeding since day 1. I had a severe migraine from the epidural for the first 5 days after the birth, so breastfeeding was very difficult for me but I stuck with it.

The baby was 9 lbs, 15.7 ounces at birth. He got down to about 9 pounds and wasn't gaining it back, so we had to start supplementing with formula.

I HATE supplementing but I do feel that it was necessary. I just wasn't making enough milk for him.
After consulting with lactation consultants numerous times, and going to breastfeeding classes, I am 100% sure the baby's latch is perfect. There is no nipple confusion and I am never sore when he's done eating.

But my problem is that even with a hospital grade pump (Lactina) and nursing him as frequently as he'll let me, my milk just won't come "out". When the baby is done nursing, I immediately pump. Even after him nursing and me pumping, if I hand express, I realize there is quite a bit of milk in there.

However, I can't collect the milk I express by hand because the only way it will come out is to shoot upwards or towards my face. This is extremely strange and I'm wondering if anyone else is having this problem.
I showed the LC what I meant and she agreed that it was strange and said maybe there is an anatomical reason I am having such a hard time.

If I'm lucky, I'll pump 1/2 to 1 oz. every few hours... and if he nurses, it's even less.

I've resorted to hand expressing into a towel just to get the milk out and keep my supply up, but I am really frustrated. I feel like I'm throwing gold (breastmilk) out every time I do this, but I don't know what else to do. I have been taking fenugreek like a mad woman and it has DEFINITELY helped my supply, but I think since my breasts aren't getting anywhere near "empty" usually, I am not making much more than a couple of ounces every 4 or 5 hours.

The lactation consultant suggested hand expressing into a large bowl, but even that isn't working for me... the milk just shoots every direction but down.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with this problem.
I want to stop supplementing with formula but it's just not working for us yet. I am so committed to breastfeeding but this is frustrating...

at the very least, does anyone know of a pump that might work better for my situation?

Thanks,

Nicole
post #2 of 10
I think I may be missing something here..why do you feel the need to pump after nursing? It took me about two months for my boobs to stop feeling full. Before that I would just nurse on whichever one was fullest (or the most uncomfortable). Now that my supply is regulated DD will actually finish one breast and request the next..I believe I had some oversupply issues though. If you are pumping a lot you will end up making more milk, so it could have a cyclic effect--pump because you're always full, full because you're always pumping.

Again, I'm thinking I may be misunderstanding your post, but why does your DS still need supplementation? You've got enough milk, he's got a good latch..is he not able to get it out either? I just read it as the pump couldn't get it out.

I hope someone else chimes in soon to help you get this sorted out.
post #3 of 10
I agree that you may not need to be pumping. If your baby's latch is good and there is no nipple confusion you should produce all the milk your baby needs by breastfeeding. Being able to pump an ounce is normal.

Are you using the Marmet Technique to hand express? You can use the same technique before feeding to stimulate your breasts.

Some parents and doctors think babies need to gain more than they do. An average breastfed baby gains 5-7 ounces a week. Usually 4 ounces is OK. Since your baby was big there is less worry. Your baby has more fat than a 6 pound baby.

Breasts aren't containers, they are modified sweat glands. Breasts produce milk during the feeding just like your body sweats. Breasts feeling full doesn't mean your baby isn't getting enough milk. They may be swollen with fluid. Too much expressing or pumping could be causing them to swell.

The baby pulls to nipple to the very back of the mouth. It wouldn't matter what direction the milk comes out. It's not unusual for milk to squirt out in differnt directions.

It may help for you to get baby scales. Weighing the baby can help you be confident your baby is getting enough. The other ways to tell is by wet and poopy diapers. If poop is coming out milk is going in. You sould have heard these things from the LC or in breastfeeding classes.

Best wishes
post #4 of 10
If you want to collect the milk you express, try some creative positions and creative containers. It's not uncommon for milk to shoot straight up-I've gotten myself in the eye numerous times. Sometimes expressing into a cup works because you can put the nipple right down into it and still work the ducts- You may need to lean forward or croch forward so your breasts hang down in order to catch it.


It's been a while since I had a newborn, but it's also common to feel your babe isn't getting enough- if you are supplimenting (which I'd vere away from- start focusing on ways in which you can get your own milk collected) or expressing, be sure babe gets these liquids from a dropper or a cup, not a bottle nipple. Also count wet and dirty diapers for output.

Edited To Add: Also get creative with nursing positions!
post #5 of 10
I hear what you're saying. Baby is latching and feeding, but getting very little (I think you said a 1/2 ounce for the feed), and when you express it only comes out of the breast in an upward spray. I wonder if it the nipple opening is getting blocked somehow in the latch. This could make sense, as the milk usually sprays toward the back of the baby's mouth. The other point to consider is that most women have several spots that the milk comes out of the nipple. There is such a thing as a having the milk duct, but it doesn't open at the end of the nipple.
Have you tried an really large size flange on the pump, so that it wouldn't block the opening where you milk comes out? I don't know if it would work, just an idea to consider. Please let us know how this works out. We're here for you.
post #6 of 10
I have a bit of an oversupply, but if I try to pump I only get about half an ounce. However, if I pump one side while he nurses the other, so I pump during let-down, I can get about 3 ounces from one side. How much you pump does not indicate how much your baby is getting, they are far more efficient than any pump.

You need to weigh him before and after breastfeeding a few times, I bet you'll find that he does get enough from you. Also, formula is harder to digest, so it will make him hungry less often since his body is working on it longer. If you quit the formula, he'll nurse more often, and therefore get more from you.
post #7 of 10
I've re-read the original post. I totally misread it the first time. If you're able to pump 1/2 to 1 ounce, while it's not a huge amount, it isn't bad. It might be the pump you're using. Some moms find the Lactina isn't sufficient stimulation to let down well. You could try the Classic or Symphony from Medela, (or the SMB or Lact E) form Ameda and see if they work better for you. You should expect to get less if the baby nurses. I agree with the PP, weighing before and after a feed is the best way to know how much baby is getting. Please let us know how this works out for you.
post #8 of 10
A warm shower before you nurse can help. Also, there is a surprising amount of mental attitude involved in nursing. If you are stressed or worried it isn't working, or frustrated, etc. you might have a hard time "letting down" and the milk would not come out as fast.

I second pumping on one side while nursing on the other. I got way more that way when baby was small.

Also, if you want to hand express, lean over the bowl, so you are hanging down and in. Then if it squirts in any direction it should be caught.

Tjej
post #9 of 10
I was having the same issues with my first. He was a big baby and lost a great deal of weight. The nurses and MD's kept recommending I supplement with formula but I refused. I knew that would just make things worse. When we got home, I tried to pump but didn't have much success at all. I figured that meant the baby wasn't getting much milk either. But with BF, you have no way of knowing how much the baby gets unless you weigh them. I purchased a digital baby scale and it reassured me so much. I knew my baby was getting what he needed.

I think you should stop focusing on pumping, and just keep the baby at the breast as much as possible. It took at least 6-8 weeks for my breasts to feel "empty". And people are right, the milk is also produced while baby is nursing.

Hang in there! It will definitely get easier!!!
post #10 of 10
How many days old was your baby when you decided that at 9 lbs (exactly, no ounces, right?) you needed to supplement? Why did you start gauging your supply on the pump?
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