How long is too long to go w/o relieving a breast? — The Bump
Breastfeeding

How long is too long to go w/o relieving a breast?

So we just started the one side only feeding yesterday and I'm not pumping the other side b/c I don't go back to work for another 6 weeks and don't need a big supply/stash right now. Last night I fed with the R side at 11:30pm. DH took the 2am shift w/ a bottle (I did not pump at that time) so I fed with the L side at 5am. That means I didn't feed with the R side again until 8am. 11:30pm to 8am seems like an awfully long time to go between feedings on one side no? Of course it felt full but no so uncomfortably so that I felt the need to pump it at any time before I fed with it. Could I be doing myself any damage (i.e. greater risk for clogged duct/mastitis etc) or messing with my supply by going this long?
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Re: How long is too long to go w/o relieving a breast?

  • I don't go more than 4 hours without either feeding or pumping. I have had supply issues, so I never skip a feeding. Sometimes dh had had to feed a small bottle of formula after I nurse, but I never skip. My lc suggested this can alter your supply to do it on a regualr basis.
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  • At 3 weeks I think that's way too long.  If you don't pump when your DH gives a bottle, that could easily hurt your supply this early on.
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  • image ncbelle:
    At 3 weeks I think that's way too long.  If you don't pump when your DH gives a bottle, that could easily hurt your supply this early on.

    That said.... last night my alarm didn't go off, and I went 8 hours (oh.the.sleep! AHHH!) and I didn't feel too bad.

    I did however have lots of lumps(I'm assuming cloged ducts)

    I struggled with supply, so I never went more than 4 hours at one month.

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  • This is a great question.  I wonder the same thing.  i.e. I feed one side at a time & it's usually 3 hours between feedings (give or take) so, I go 6 hours usually between feeding on each breast.  I need to start pumping to build a supply, but usually pumping is the last thing I want to do after bfing for 30 minutes. ugh.
  • It can definitely affect your supply.  If you don't empty your breasts, the milk wont replenish and if you do this frequently, you supply can go down.  I know its hard to pump/express your milk in addition to the feedings, but you should still express the milk from that breast to keep the supply up.  I usually feed LO from one side and put him down for 10 minutes to pump the other.  You may not need/want/have room for your supply now but I would just freeze it anyway.  As bad as it feels, you can always throw it out later.  Even if you aren't going back to work, its nice to have something just in case (you get sick, want to go shopping e.t.c.)
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