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How do I know when the boob is empty?

(18 Posts)
CardiCorgi Sat 11-Dec-10 11:12:15

Well, it may sound like a silly question, but I can see the difference during a feed as the breast gets softer, I'm just not sure when it is empty and at what point to offer the other side.
I'm also a bit confused with the differing advice I've had; one the one hand the importance of letting dd feed on the first side for long enough to get the hindmilk, on the other hand the paediatrician who told me that she only needs 10 minutes on each side (blatantly not true, I tried this on her and she was hungry again within an hour).
Any tips or experiences that anyone could share with me?

I felt as though I was doing fine, despite the rocky start we had with feeding and the fact that latching on still hurts, but the doctor knocked my confidence a bit yesterday by also suggesting that dd isn't gaining weight fast enough.

jaggythistle Sat 11-Dec-10 11:13:35

They don't get 'empty' as such, the flow just slows down. for loads of information

crikeybadger Sat 11-Dec-10 11:19:08

Paediatrician is blatantly showing his/her lack of bfing knowledge with info like that hmm

Offer one breast first and when DD looks like she's losing interest, or comes off the breast by herself, then offer the other.

If latching on still hurts (how old is dd by the way?) then seeing someone with bfing expertise face to face will probably help. Got a bfing support group nearby?

CardiCorgi Sat 11-Dec-10 11:33:59

Wow, such fast replies, thank you.

Dd is 4 weeks and she's alert, active, sleeps well at night and has got chubby little cheeks. It's only that the number on the scale wasn't high enough for the paediatrician's liking (I didn't ask him when his scales were last calibrated...). I have to say I didn't take to him, but the check-up had to be done.

Our midwife has been fantastic and has checked latch and feeding positions. The pain has improved - it was during the whole feed at the beginning. I wonder if it has anything to do with my nipples being fairly flat.
The midwife also weighed 24 hours of nappies and got me to write a feeding log, but then said that by the volume of wee and poo being produced, it was clear that dd was getting plenty of milk and that I should keep an eye on the weight gain, but not let it worry me too much.

I shall check out breastfeeding groups. It would be nice to meet some more people in the smae situation anyway.

MoonUnitAlpha Sat 11-Dec-10 12:40:09

Paediatrician is talking nonsense! At 4 weeks my ds would easily do 30 minutes on one side, sometime 5-20 minutes on the other, sometimes not at all! At 4 months he's nearer to 10 minutes each side.

I was confused about the whole "empty the breast" thing at first, because ds never seemed to empty it. Obviously now I know they never really empty at all! I just swap sides whenever he comes off the first side himself or falls asleep.

crikeybadger Sat 11-Dec-10 17:58:58

Is she back to her birth weight CardiCorgi?

CardiCorgi Sun 12-Dec-10 10:33:08

Yes, regained birthweight at 2 1/2 weeks, so a little slow but she got there.

We have borrowed a set of electronic scales and are weighing her before and after feeds which is a bit of a hassle but it's what the doctor wants and she's drinking between 50 and 100ml at each feed. Incidentally these scales have her weighing 250g more than those at the doctor.

She's just had 25 min on one boob and is slowing down on the other so I think she's had enough for the time being. 10 minutes on each side would not have been enough.

MumNWLondon Sun 12-Dec-10 13:25:00

Breasts are never really empty but the flow slows down in volume but fat content increases.

At that age I let them take the first breast for as long as they wanted, ideally at least 30 mins and then the other probably for almost similar time.

octopusinabox Sun 12-Dec-10 15:42:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiktok Mon 13-Dec-10 09:34:42

cardi - are you in the UK?

'Test weighing' as a way of assessing intake has long been discredited here - it's misleading and useless. I know it is still done elsewhere, though.

Good practice is not to weigh heslthy babies more often than once a month after they have reached birthweight.

The clock is the worst guide to intake, too

However one good point: you have learnt that scales are not necessarily reliable !

It's a shame your confidence has been affected by someone - your paed - whose job includes knowing how healthy babies feed but who is saying '10 mins a side' and advising test weighing

bytheMoonlight Mon 13-Dec-10 09:53:16

DD is five weeks.

She is an efficent feeder and can drain the firt breast really quixkly, 10-5 mins, then she starts fussing (coming off and on the nipple) so I wind her, if she still fusses after that, I change her nappy and then offer the next breas. Sometimes she drains that breast, sometimes she feeds for only a short time.

bytheMoonlight Mon 13-Dec-10 09:54:36

Sorry for typos, am feeding and MN'ing at the same time

SantaIsMyLoveSlave Mon 13-Dec-10 10:05:33

Generally, feed on one side until she pops off by herself and seems done with that side, then offer the other, and potentially if/when she pops off that side offer the first side again (this can be particularly useful if there are any issues with your supply, or just if you have a hungry baby <stares pointedly at DS and DD1>).

Your paediatrician really doesn't sound as though he knows diddly squat about breastfeeding (not particularly surprising; it's not something that any significant time at all is spent on during training so it's up to individual doctors to educate themselves and some do it better than others). The combination of the 10 minutes advice and the test weighing would have me running a mile, TBH.

MistyB Mon 13-Dec-10 10:07:58

Cardi I have three small children and some people are small!! It's hard if professionals are telling you that your baby is not growing quickly enough but my smallest child, slept the best, was the most chilled out and is my healthiest. I remember being shocked when I had her weighed and she had dropped on her centiles but she sat there looking happy and healthy. Follow your instincts, she will let you know if she is unhappy (and it looks like you have already figured that out with the 10 minute test!!)

CardiCorgi Mon 13-Dec-10 11:30:53

Thaks a lot everyone.
tiktok you are right, I'm not in the UK, I'm in Germany although I don't know if every German paed would have given me this advice. To be honest neither dh or I really took to him, so we will probably look for a new one. He also annoyed me a little by saying that our midwife should have been more worried - without the midwife there is no way I would have got breastfeeding established.

I have been feeding until one breast feels much softer or until dd seems to have had enough of it, winding her and then swapping sides. She usually has a lot less of the second side.

Another question, my breasts are noticably less full in the evenings. Am I still producing enough milk? DD tends to cluster feed later in the day, so I'm not sure if she's getting enough or if it's just stocking up for the night. She sleeps for fairly long stretches and settles well most nights.
Any tips for keeping supply up? I'm drinking plenty of water and eating well.

tiktok Mon 13-Dec-10 11:38:19

No need to drink or eat more than thirst or hunger suggests

Will make no difference to your bf.

"Emptier" feeling is normal after a period of close-together feeds. This does not mean you don't have enough. Hope you gain in confidence - you seem to be looking for things to worry about and normal stuff is actually making you worried

I blame the paed and the conflicting advice you have had - makes it hard for you to trust the process

MoonUnitAlpha Mon 13-Dec-10 12:01:47

You don't need to take her off when you feel the breast is softer, it's fine to leave her on til she comes off herself. She can still be getting milk from a soft breast.

CardiCorgi Tue 14-Dec-10 14:44:13

That's good to know. Regarding my eating, I meant more that I am eating sensibly, not just cake and trying to keep my fluid intake up.
Dd still seems very happy and is starting to interact with us more, so I am pretty sure that she is getting enough to eat.

We've weighed before and after a few feeds in order to keep the doctor off our backs. Intake seems to be between 70 and 100g per feed (+- 10g). We've stopped doing it every feed though, it would have driven me crazy.

Might have to have a word with the doctor about the accuracy of his scales (mine weigh her at 300g heavier, not that they are necessarily accurate either) and point out that the weight will fluctuate anyway depending on whether she has just eaten or filled her nappy.

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