Re: is this normal?
Are you exclusively pumping (EP), or combining nursing and pumping? If you're EP, I strongly suggest keeping the baby at the breast for at least 1-2 feedings per day, more if you can stand it. You want to give your baby the best possible chance of retaining his ability and willingness to latch on to the breast, so that you can eventually transition back to nursing exclusively.
Pump output varies widely based on the make/model of pump, the frequency with which a mom pumps, her responsiveness to pumping, the time of day, overall milk supply, etc. Because you are using a manual pump, it's not surprising that you're getting relatively small amounts when you pump, since manual pumps are typically the worst when it comes to removing milk and maintaining milk supply, which is another reason to nurse the baby directly! Babies are generally much more effective at draining the breast and maintaining/increasing milk supply than even the best double electric pump.
Here's how to get more milk when pumping:
- Use a better pump. Call the WIC office and ask them for a double electric pump- I know some WIC programs do distribute those! If WIC can't help you, call your local LLL and ask if they know of someone who can help you find a better pump. Sometimes you'll find someone who is done with her pump and willing to pass it on- but be aware that many people consider pumps to be "single user" medical devices and do not consider it safe to share. Also, used pumps are often not ass efficient as new ones- but I think pretty much anything will be better than a manual!
- Pump more often. If you're pumping every 3 hours, move it to every 1-2 hours.
- Pump for longer. If you're pumping for 10 minutes, try pumping for 15.
- Fenugreek seed (available online for much less than fenugreek pills from the health food store) and ordinary oatmeal are good supply boosters, but be aware that they do not replace hard work with the pump.
- Work on baby's latch. Fix the latch and you fix the problem.
Can you tell us more about your nursing issues? When baby unlatches, what shape is your nipple- is it wedged or creased, perhaps looking like a new lipstick?
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"