First week pumping, getting less and less milk
I came back to work this week, my baby is 13 weeks old... will be 14 weeks tomorrow. I have only pumped a few times before now, mainly just when I missed feedings or when I just needed to get rid of some milk during times when my supply was a bit overactive. Before now I always got at least 3 ounces every time I pumped, 5 or more when I had missed a feeding by an hour or two.
The baby is taking 4-5 ounces in a bottle three times a day while her grandmother has her during the day. So she totals 12 or more ounces while I am away from her.
Monday I pumped 10 ounces, Tuesday was only 8, Wednesday was just short of 8 ounces... Thursday I worked from home and was able to nurse, and now it is Friday and I am back at work. It is almost 4pm and I only have 5 ounces.
So she is having to take formula for at least one feeding a day right now :cry I feel like I am going to lose my milk if this trend continues.
I read one suggestion online to pump more frequently, 10-12 times a day... but how am I supposed to do that?? I already feel like I spend more time pumping than working. Any suggestions on getting more milk?? Should I start looking for supplements like fenugreek?
I have the Freestyle pump, and have tried various sized flanges.
Re: First week pumping, getting less and less milk
Hi mama, welcome to the forum!
How many hours are you apart from baby, and how often are you pumping? How long are you pumping for? How often is baby nursing when you are together? Does baby sleep a long stretch at night?
One issue that I see is that baby may be getting somewhat bigger bottles than needed. Usually a baby will have 2 or 3 oz at the breast, maybe 4. So you might want to try a 3 oz bottle, and if baby still seems hungry, give an additional oz, but try to limit it to 4 oz. The rule of thumb is 1 to 1.5 ounces of milk per hour apart. So if you are apart for 8 hours, for example, you would want baby to get max 12 oz. The problem with overfeeding with the bottle is that then baby is less motivated to nurse when you are together, and since nursing generally does a better job than the pump at stimulating your supply, that leads to a drop in supply.
At work, you typically want to be pumping every few hours - usually three times in a standard workday, but some mothers need 4 sessions and may need to pump outside of working hours as well (during your commute can be one time to squeeze in some pumping time, or after baby goes to bed). 10-12 times per day is usually for a mother who is only pumping without nursing.
If baby is sleeping a long stretch at night, I would suggest introducing a nursing or pumping session during that time. Nighttime nursing, though tiring, really is important for keeping up a working mom's supply!
Pumping for long enough is also important too. Even if you are "pumping dry," it still stimulates supply to continue pumping, and some mothers get a second letdown if they pump through that dry period. Doing hand compressions while pumping can also help.
I personally had worse results with the Freestyle pump compared to the other pump I've used, the Pump in Style Advance (I've used both extensively). I had to pump longer with the Freestyle compared to the PISA and never got as much (but I liked the fact that it was lightweight, which was why I continued to use it). Other moms have had better success upgrading to a rental hospital-grade pump, so that could be something to consider as well. Some moms will go with the hospital-grade for a few months and then switch back to a personal-use pump.
The book Making More Milk has information about galactologues. But the first thing is to make sure you are pumping/nursing enough. Overall number of pumping + nursing sessions in 24 hours should be around 10 or more.
ETA: I also wanted to add some links about how much milk baby needs and tips for bottle-feeding the breastfed baby, including some information you can go over with baby's grandmother: