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Thread: Pump Shields/Output

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    175

    Default Pump Shields/Output

    I've been experimenting with different shields for the last few weeks. I was using the 24mm ones that came with my PISA but they had started to cause me a lot of pain & vasospasms (treated a "yeast infection" for 10 weeks before figuring out that the problem was probably my pump the whole time...). I saw an IBCLC & got 27, 30, and 36mm shields (one of each) to experiment with. Those still caused me some pain, but it wasn't as bad b/c I could rotate them so they weren't always pulling on the same area. My output was a little less with these than with the 24mm ones (from 16-18oz/day to more like 14-15). So I ordered the Pumpin Pals kit and have been using the large size shields that came with that. Those are by far the most comfortable, but I have to pump for almost twice as long (from 10-12min per session with the Medela shields to 15-20 with the Pumpin Pals) it seems to get the same amount (still only about 14-15oz total/day). Has anyone else experienced this with different sizes/types of shields? I remember reading somewhere that this can happen, that there is some sort of "adjustment period" for the pump pals shields, but output should go back up once you adjust?? I looked around for this info again but couldn't find it...

    I pump 3X (roughly every 3hrs) during my workday, which is the same number of bottles that DD takes while I'm gone. I work 3 days a week & pretty much exclusively nurse when I'm not working. DD gets only breastmilk, and I've been able to pump enough so far to send fresh BM for her while I'm at work, but I'm worried that my supply is going to continue dropping if I can't get my output back to what it used to be.

    DD is 5 months old, is it more likely that my supply is just evening out and the decrease in output has nothing to do with the different shields? I haven't tried the 24mm ones again since getting the bigger ones, so I'm not sure if I would still get more w/those or not. I did try the 27/30mm ones after using the Pumpin Pals, didn't get much more out really.

    I should also mention that DD was STTN for awhile, but went back to nursing once during the night, around the same time that I noticed the dip in output. It's been a few weeks of that though, so shouldn't my body be adjusting to make more for her? Could that be the reason I'm pumping less?

    Sorry this is so long...I tried to think of everything relevant to mention, but I'm sure I left something out...

    Thanks to anyone who read all of this!
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    I don't know about supply as its related to shield size. I do know about breast compressions though. Are you doing breast compressions while pumping?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    175

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    I don't do compressions. I double pump & don't have any hands free equipment (haven't tried the pump pals hands free strap yet). I do wiggle the shields around though when the flow slows down to try & compress a little or stimulate another let-down. Sometimes this works a little bit. I can usually get another good let-down, I just have to wait for it...
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maryland
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    531

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    For me, compressions make all the difference. Having a hands-free set-up is necessary, or i only get about half as much. I have heard that the size of the horns can contribute to output though.
    ~ Megan

    Mommy to Alex (born 2/27/11) and Katie (born 3/31/14)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    You need to be doing compressions or you aren't getting all the milk out. I was able to do it without a hands free bra. I would put my forearm on one shield and compress the other breast with both hands. Some women need he hands free bra though. You can make one yourself. Let me see if I can find a link explaining.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumping/hands-free-pumping.html

    Or you could cut a small slit or x in a sports bra and use that. I tried the link above when I was pumping and it didn't work for me but it has worked for others. I have also worn a stretchy tank, put the horns on, bottom part tucked into the bottom part of my nursing bra and pulled the stretchy tank over the top part of the flange.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2,628

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    Or I used to lean forward and let the pump bottles sit on my legs to leave my hands free. Your shields need to fit properly or you'll get uncomfortable rubbing if it's too tight or not get the milk out if it's too loose (which I know you've already learned but just be careful!).
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    175

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    Juno - thanks for that link! I will give this a try. I need to find out more about compressions too...like how to do them Today I tried the hands free strap that came with the Pumpin Pals kit, but it didn't work too well for me, the bottles were pretty loose. I actually just took them off a couple times to massage a little, then put them back on & kept pumping.

    I used to be able to pump for 10-12 min & get 4-5oz pretty easily (6-8oz at my first session). Now it's taking me about 20min to get the same amount and I have to work a lot harder for it (massaging, etc.). Is it normal to see a decrease like this? I went back to work when LO was 9 weeks old & now she is 5.5 months, could it just be my supply evening out? Or should I be worried about it decreasing?
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    Many moms have an OS and then even out, which makes pumping harder. If you are getting enough, don't change anything. If you are short, add 5 minutes to your sessions to increase demand, add a session or both.
    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!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
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    525

    Default Re: Pump Shields/Output

    Regarding the shield size and output, I found that on different days my breast responded differently. Some days they would pump better with the medium size and some days they would pump better with the large size. In general one side like the medium (left) and one liked the large (right), but then on some days they both pump better with one size rather than the other. Why? I dunno.

    Lately I have been starting with medium (24mm) and double pumping w/out compressions for 5-10 minutes then I single pump left side with compression, switch to large shields and single pump right side with compressions, single pump left side again with large shield if necessary.

    BTW, I never had a hands free bra either. I did something similar to what juno describes in order to hold both sides with one hand/arm.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

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