Breastfeeding: Nipple bleeds during pumping
I have a three-week-old who was diagnosed with thrush. He is now 12.5 pounds and has such a tremendous suck that it causes my left nipple to bleed when I try to pump. For the past couple of days I have been supplementing and now I can't seem to pump even two ounces of milk. What can I do?Question:
When you say your little guy has a tremendous suck, do you mean that his sucking causes you pain? After a bit of initial latch-on discomfort that can occur in the first five to seven days of nursing, breastfeeding should not be painful (neither should pumping).
Very likely there is a problem with positioning and attachment, though your situation needs one-on-one evaluation by a lactation consultant. Working with one to get your baby back to your breast, and nursing comfortably will be the most effective way to increase your milk supply.
Did your nipple become damaged by nursing or expressing your milk? It's likely that you were having some nipple trauma prior to pumping, and now you have a nipple that is sore and bleeding.
Check your pump closely, using an inexpensive or poorly made pump can cause nipple trauma. Also pumping the wrong size-flange (for large or small nipples/areola) can cause nipple pain and possibly damage.
An abraded nipple leaves the perfect opening for a fungal infection to take hold. And since your baby has thrush, it is very important that both of you be treated at the same time. If you have an untreated fungal infection and continue feeding your expressed milk to your baby, or breastfeed, you can continue passing this infection back and forth.
It can be difficult in the early weeks of breastfeeding to maintain a good milk supply by milk expression alone (if your baby is not spending any time breastfeeding.) Again, the type of pump you have chosen is very important, a hosiptal-grade electric breast pump is perferred.
Optimally, to increase your milk supply you need to breastfeed or express your milk at least 10 to 12 times a day. Using a hospital-grade electric breast pump with double pump kit will reduce the time you spend expressing your milk, and will often give you a higher yield. When you begin pumping, it is not unusual to get only one ounce or so per session. Just as frequent nursing will help build your milk supply, the more you pump your breasts, the more milk you will make. Warmth and massage prior to, and during pumping, in addition to using relaxation techniques, may help you to access more of your milk. Some women find that they let-down more easily to hand-expression, and then use an electric breast pump after their milk begins to flow.Answer: