Full breast, manual expression works, but pump not getting milk out

Michelle - posted on 02/18/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I'm a working mommy, and like many moms around the 4 month mark, my production has gone down a little bit (or so my obgyn nurse said it was normal because nursing periods are further apart because my girl is sleeping for longer periods). So I've been pumping more. My breast feel full, but when I pump little to nothing comes out. However, when I manually express my milk comes out and my daughter appears to be getting plenty! She is 90th percetile for weight, has many wet/dirty diapers, and she is extremely happy and after a feeding she pulls away from the breast with milk running down her face and a big smile followed by her usual burp and a little spit-up. Has anyone else had this problem? Do you think it is my pump? I have a Medella Pump In Style but it feels like it is pumping the same as before... Any thoughts? I have contacted teh Medella people, but any other thoughts? Suggestions?

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Courtney - posted on 05/13/2013

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im new to brestfeeding having this same issue but the only difference is..my newborn is just 5 days old! iwas engorged and today my breast went down and i WAS getting 2-4oz when now im getting maybe 1oz! so im very worried bc i pump and express with my hand alot through the day yet its as if im not even trying...any advice?

Stephanie - posted on 09/03/2013

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my baby is 6 weeks old now and I have been back to work for about a week now and my breasts are full but I can only get 1 to 2 ounces when pumping and that's not enough for when I'm at work and I have tried many things I've seen on here like massaging and being happy but its hard to be happy when I'm only getting 1 oz at a time...I need suggestions

Carrie - posted on 02/21/2009

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Are you feeling stressed out?  Whenever I was worried (or watching every drop that went into the bottles) my output would be waaaaay down.  If I was calm or distracted by something interesting (good magazine, etc.) I would get tip top output.



HAve you been dieting?  Cutting calories can also sabotage your output.  I found that I couldn't diet while pumping or it would kill my supply.  I also tried to drink a LOT of water in the morning before my lunchtime pump and the more I drank the better my output.



I was also gonna suggest changing the membranes, but I guess you already did that.  I tried to change mine about once a month when I was pumping at work five days a week.



If you haven't already - read the book "The Milk Memos"  it's a great read (funny and informative) about working and pumping.



Good luck!

Celeste - posted on 09/04/2013

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1 to 2 oz is actually pretty good. Average output is 1/2 to 2 oz total. Also, be aware that pumps are not efficient as babies are. And it depends on what kind of pump you have as well.

Please for future reference, start your own thread. Old threads are locked and I'd hate for someone to be overlooked.

Cara - posted on 02/22/2009

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i noticed that pumping is so mechanical for me and i have a hard time letting down.  keep pumping though...somethign will eventually come out if you can feel the suction!  someitmes i take lansinoh and rub my nipples...helsp with the let down, then i pump when i can feel that dull ache in my breasts (let down).  also, medela sheilds have a soft section there, sometimes i massage my nipple through that while i pump....also try heating pads right above your breasts or have your significant other massage your neck/shoulder while you pump....helps me!  sometimes my milk doesnt start flowing until like 5 mins of pumping...and i use a manual pump!  good luck!

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Alexia - posted on 12/13/2013

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I'm having a similar problem - my breasts have milk in them but the pump doesn't get it all out. I just contacted the breastfeeding center in my town about this, and the woman there recommended two things: (1) get breast shields that are the right size (mine are too small), (2) a nose spray with the hormone Oxytocinin, which tells your body to let the milk out. She said it has no side effects or negative consequences, but it does require a prescription, at least where I live (in the Netherlands). Hope this helps.

Liezl - posted on 05/26/2013

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I used to travel for work while breast feeding and would be away from my LO for a week at a time. In addition to all the things to get you 'in the mood' and thinking of your baby, it is important to imitate your baby's sucking. Next time your baby's nursing, watch the mouth. He will start with a lot of short sucking movements; this is to encourage the let-down-reflex. Once the milk 'comes in' he will start with longer, slower, more rhythmic movements. You should pump the same. Start with quick, short pumps until you feel (and see) the milk flowing stronger, and then you can move to longer, slower pumps. Once I realized this, the pumping was SO much easier. I have the Phillips AVENT electric pump (no tubes, easy to travel with and it can be used as a hand pump) and I was extremely happy with it.

Denise - posted on 05/07/2013

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I am experiencing this right now. Were you able to resolve this issue?

Amy - posted on 02/20/2009

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You might try a different size attachment for the pump. (sorry, I can't think what it's called, but the part you put up to your breast). I had very little success pumping with my first baby and then with number 2 a lactation consultant suggested I buy the next size up. Apparently the size that comes with the medela is really too small for a lot of women. Anyway, it made a world of difference!

Ashley - posted on 02/20/2009

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Michelle--I had this problem crop up for about a week when I wasn't feeling tip top. I totally freaked when over and over I could only pump 1 ounce (maybe!) when I used to do 3-7 oz depending on time of day. My breasts just didn't like the pump all of the sudden, and refused to let down.
I had to make a huge effort to feel relaxed, and then I started pumping about a minute into each feed, when I'd already let down on both sides. It helped quite a bit!

Keep pumping, even if not much comes out. It cleared up in about a week, and I was back on track. Breathe deeply and think happy thoughts...

Michelle - posted on 02/19/2009

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First, thank you ladies for the replies. Second, I've tried all what you suggested andeven contacted Medela about the pump but it appears the pump is working just fine....



Manual while pumping seems to be the only way and quite frankly it hurts but if its what I've got to do. I've also placed a call to my lactation consultant, I'll let you know if she offers any insight...

Allison - posted on 02/18/2009

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Maybe it's time to change out the parts (not too familiar with the terms, but there are things inside that help with suction). I've heard these may need to be changed out every few months. Also, do the horns fit well when your are full? Sometimes because you're bigger/fuller, the horns won't get enough suction. Can you get milk if you hand express a bit, then use the pump?

Lolly_loulou - posted on 02/18/2009

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i would say its either the pump not fitting correctly or its not positioned correctly. if it hurts when u try to express try taking it off and repositioning it. i used to have trouble expressing if my little girl was not next to me. try having a relaxing hot bath before trying to express. hope everythg works out ok

Sara - posted on 02/18/2009

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Maybe the pump isn't stimulating your letdown reflex. You could try manual expression to get the milk going and then attach the pump. Might get messy though.

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