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Thread: Questions about exclusively pumping

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Questions about exclusively pumping

    If any one can help, I am almost exclusively pumping for my almost four month old daughter. She was nursing one time during the night up until a few days ago. I am worried that because she is no longer doing this my body will not know how much milk to make as she develops. Right now I am pumping 5-6 times per day and making enough milk for all her feedings. My question is will my body adapt as time goes on or will I need to increase pumpings as she gets older?
    Also, when exclusively pumping does this offer any sort of "birth control" as exclusively breastfeeding is reported to do?
    I appreciate any and all help that comes my way!
    Thank you!
    Carmen's mommy!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: Questions about exclusively pumping

    Hi Carmen's Mommy! I too have been exclusively pumping (see my posts in this section titled "Need help pumping"). I've been having some supply issues after having been pumping for just three weeks exclusively. I have been told to be sure to pump as often as baby is given a bottle and to also pump every two to three hours. Doing those things along with nursing my daughter once daily seems to be helping to increase my supply, once I cut out nursing her altogether was when I started to see the decrease in my supply. Some other advice I've received is to eat oatmeal, it appears that it can help to maintain your supply so I am now eating oatmeal daily.

    Hope this helps!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Questions about exclusively pumping

    Hi Carmen's Mommy,

    While it seems like babies need for milk grows exponentially in the early days, in reality it starts to level off after a few weeks and from there the actual quantity of breastmilk they need doesn't necessarily change significantly. There are some exceptions, growth spurts, but at 4 months she's past most of the big ones. Many moms who exclusively pump or pump while they are working and separated find that they have a supply dip at around 6 months. If that happens, let us know and we will work with you to resolve it.

    So, to answer your first question, if you are currently pumping enough for all of her feedings, things are probably going just fine. If it seems that she's not getting enough, you can add a pumping session (morning ones tend to be the most productive) or add a nursing session during the day. As other posters have been discussing in recent days, the baby is a much better trigger for your body to make the milk she needs, plus by nursing, your baby and you are exchanging information about the kinds of bugs/germs you've been exposed to and your body custom-makes some super-charged breastmilk to fight the specific ones your daugher may be facing. Without some skin to skin nursing contact, this can be difficult to achieve.

    Meanwhile, when switching from nursing to pumping you do lose the birth control benefits of what is called "ecological breastfeeding". The rules for that (Lactation Amennorheic Method) are 1) Baby is under 6 mos; 2) Mom has not had menstrual bleeding after day 59 postpartum; 3) Baby is nursed on demand (no supplemental bottles/artificial nipples) and does not sleep longer than 4 hrs daytime, 5 or 6 hrs nighttime (this time varies by mother/baby couple - I have had friends whose cycles returned after only ONE night of baby going a 5 hr stretch, others who experienced longer periods of infertility.)

    You may still experience a delay in return of your cycles, but if the above 3 conditions aren't ALL true, you can not expect that you're not ovulating. If above 3 conditions ARE all true, this method of birth control has high effectiveness (I believe it's 97-98% effective, not foolproof, but as good as most commercial methods available.)

    Does this answer your questions? There's a great book called "Your Fertility Signals" available from the LLL online catalog that is a good resource about fertility and the impact breastfeeding can have on it.

    Best wishes - if you have more questions please post a follow-up.

    Karen Smith
    LLL Leader, IL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: Questions about exclusively pumping

    I have been almost exclusively pumping too...not by choice, but I still can't get my daughter to nurse well and consistently. She is 4 months old..
    My question is this, how long does it take to see a change in supply? If I miss a pumping occasionally (twice per week) will my supply decrease? And if I was able to boost supply in the past through increased frequency of pumping and fenugreek, should I be able to do it again?

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