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Thread: Decreased supply since returning to work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    10

    Default Decreased supply since returning to work

    Ive been back to work now for a little over 2 months (DS is 5 mo) and have seen a slow but unmistakeable decline in supply. I pump 3x a day (on roughly the same feeding schedule he is on at the sitters) and use a combination of double pumping, followed by single pumping and finally hand expressing to make sure to empty out. I used to be get 3-4+ oz each time (total) which is what he takes in a bottle then 2-3 after a couple of weeks but the last couple of weeks I have to fight to get 2 oz. I have a strict nursing-only policy for when Im at home and I feed on demand. Ive tried increasing my water intake and Ive started drinking an herbal tea for nursing mothers (fenugreek, fennel etc). About 4 weeks ago we had to start topping off his bottles with some formula to bring them up to 4oz (he'll cry if he gets less than 3.5) and twice now in the last week or so Ive had to give him a couple of oz of formula after nursing because he just didnt get enough. I desperately want to continue to BF my sweet baby and just need to hold on for 2.5 more months until I am able to stay home full time with the kiddos (Im quitting my soul-sucking 9-5 cubical job)- I know it will get better once Im able to focus on nursing and dont need to pump. Has anyone else experienced this? How do you cope? How do you push through??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Decreased supply since returning to

    What kind of pump? When was the last time you changed the membranes? could you rent a hospital grade pump?
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Decreased supply since returning to

    Its a Medela Pump In Style Advanced. I changed out the little white membranes that attach to the yellow valves just this past week- are those the membranes you're talking about or is their another part Im supposed to be changing out? I looked into renting pumps but figured this was a good one and would probably be sufficient. What constitutes
    hospital grade"?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Decreased supply since returning to

    Yes, those are the membranes. They wear out.

    A hospital grade pump is exactly that. Stronger, more efficient, smoother system. For some moms, a professional grade pump just isn't enough and they need a hospital grade. Lactina, Symphony are two. I use one every day, as I have to replace baby with a pump.

    You could also try eating oatmeal, taking herbs (the book Making More Milk has a lot of good ones listed) and even consider medications such as domperidone.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Decreased supply since returning to

    Have you started you cycles up again yet? I have been back to school for a little over 2 months now, and about a month ago I thought I was in serious trouble because I went from producing 14-17 oz per day while pumping, to struggling to get 7-9 oz. That happened gradually (over about 2 weeks?) then I got my period and my supply jumped back up but still hasn't regained (I am doing about 13-14 oz per day). Now its decreasing again (only got 10 oz yesterday) and I think I am ovulating... Its really a struggle. I just bought some calcium/magnesium supplements on amazon, we'll see if those help.

    I have a PISA as well and I don't think I respond that well to it. I wish I could try another brand pump to see if it worked better for me but I just don't have the money. I replace my membranes about every couple weeks, eat oatmeal, drink mother's milk tea. I keep trying different things but I never feel confident in my supply... you're not alone! I have also tried using a warm rice bag on my breast while compressing and pumping. That seems to help sometimes.

    Its so stressful, I hope you can figure something out. We also started giving our son some food at around 4.5 months because he was very interested, and it helped to spread out his bottle intake. I know some people stick to 6 months strictly, but he loved his squash, cauliflower and sweet potato.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Decreased supply since returning to

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mskalinin View Post
    Have you started you cycles up again yet? I have been back to school for a little over 2 months now, and about a month ago I thought I was in serious trouble because I went from producing 14-17 oz per day while pumping, to struggling to get 7-9 oz. That happened gradually (over about 2 weeks?) then I got my period and my supply jumped back up but still hasn't regained (I am doing about 13-14 oz per day). Now its decreasing again (only got 10 oz yesterday) and I think I am ovulating... Its really a struggle. I just bought some calcium/magnesium supplements on amazon, we'll see if those help.

    I have a PISA as well and I don't think I respond that well to it. I wish I could try another brand pump to see if it worked better for me but I just don't have the money. I replace my membranes about every couple weeks, eat oatmeal, drink mother's milk tea. I keep trying different things but I never feel confident in my supply... you're not alone! I have also tried using a warm rice bag on my breast while compressing and pumping. That seems to help sometimes.

    Its so stressful, I hope you can figure something out. We also started giving our son some food at around 4.5 months because he was very interested, and it helped to spread out his bottle intake. I know some people stick to 6 months strictly, but he loved his squash, cauliflower and sweet potato.
    I havent started my period yet but have noticed some hormonal changes in the last few weeks (increased hair fallout in the shower which has slown down, some pms like symptoms as well as tiny bit of spotting). After speaking to my lactation specialist several times she put me on Reglan and that helped tremendously. I went from from getting 2 oz each time I pumped to 4 or 5! Problem is that now the Reglan is done and so are the perks.
    Im with you too- I cant afford to spend the money on the Symphany. Im not convinced it would help either- my letdown with the PIS is fine (better with time and active relaxation techniques) its just the amount Im producing. Also, my job is so stressful and awful that it has a very noticeable affect on my production. The last two days I actually got less than 2 oz when I pumped after the 1st time (when I always get the most). My LC said some moms just dont do well when separated from their babies. I think thats me.
    Im considering that trying to BF exclusively is causing enough stress that its sabotaging me. Im starting to consider dropping to BF at select times only. I know that wont solve the problem but it might relieve some stress while still allowing us to maintain that bond that I so love. LO is so good- he just doesnt care what he's being fed or how its getting in there. That being said, nothing relaxes him (or me!) like BF. His eyes roll right back in his head and he strokes my side. I just dont want to give it up!

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