So many moms ask us how to get ALL the milk out when they pump or nurse, especially when they are newly engorged or worried that a clogged duct is starting to form, or if they are on the edge of mastitis. Breasts are always making milk, especially in the very beginning of breastfeeding, so it might not be possible for you to 'empty' the breast. However you should be able to get relief and shouldn't be feeling uncomfortable after a feeding or pumping session.
If you have already tried all the standard things to do:
- Apply warm rice sock or other gentle heat
- Latch baby in a different position
- Adjust the position of the pump flanges slightly
- Get in the shower, 'dangle' in the bath, or use warm wet towels
- Hand expression (this video is great: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html)
- Pumping with compressions (watch it here: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html)
And you are still engorged, you might want to use some gentle massage that is really effective. Maya Bolman is an IBCLC that shares a technique that her patients use in Russia that is very gently working with the lymph system to release milk, lymph fluid, and get the breast tissue moving again. (Especially great if you feel there is some areas that are "stuck".)
Here is the new video that women are reporting gives them relief and comfort: https://vimeo.com/65196007
I can't say enough about being gentle with yourself. There are many effective methods, but this one yields really good results without making you bruise yourself from massaging so hard!
(check out this Kelley Mom site for a bunch of things to try too: http://kellymom.com/?s=clogged+ducts)
Photo note: some have pointed out that my photo involves nursing with a nipple shield. If you are using one, consider trying nursing without and see if baby can drain the breast better. Some babies just can't access all the milk while using a shield (although it is really helpful for others; just make sure you are checking in with an IBCLC for follow up).
Either way, don't leave a breast engorged long (no more than 24-48 hours) or the breast will get the message to relax the supply and then it can be a real struggle to get your supply back. If you are concerned about a blocked duct or possible mastitis, please see your local IBCLC as soon as possible, and if you already feel mastitis coming on (flu like symptoms, fever, redness, pain, etc) call your doctor.
I know most of you know all these things, but the results I have seen from the new technique of the lymph massage is worth sharing, and I am so grateful to Maya Bolman for making them available to all of us to share! If you are sharing her video, please be sure to give her credit for donating it to the relief of mothers all over the world.