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Thread: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please help

    Hi!

    I have a 5-month old exclusively breastfed that is healthy and doing well. I work (too much) and pump and in the past 2 months have struggled with keeping my supply up. I have been taking Fenugreek, drinking lots of water, and making sure I get enough protein and am hanging in there, supply-wise.

    Close to a month ago, I noticed my right breast was not feeling as full. I also began to notice that with pumping, my right breast would produce less. As soon as I noticed this, I made a conscious effort to encourage him to nurse on the right side more. The supply continued to decrease on that breast. The past week, I have really focused on making sure he nurses on the right side more than the left and my supply is continuing to drop on the right. It's to the point now that my pumping production on my right breast is consistently less than half of the left, despite my increased emptying of this breast.

    I can't think of any reason that a breast would produce less milk than the other if it is being emptied more often. I am stressed about my supply to begin with, so I really want to get the supply on my right breast back up.

    I really, really appreciate any advice or help. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    What kind of pump do you have?
    Is it new?
    Have you changed the membranes or anything?
    Do you have the right sized horns?
    How often are you pumping? How often are you nursing?

    However, it is totally normal for one side to produce less than the other. My right side made 8 oz in 24 hours at my pumping peak, while my left averaged 40-70 in the same time frame.

    If you are pumping enough to meet his needs, you are fine You can take the kits of questions and see if there is anything you can do to help, but it may be what it is.
    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
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    I have a Medela Pump in Style Advanced. It was new when I got it. When my supply started dropping, I got new membranes for it (which seemed to help a little). I think the horns are the right size? They've worked fine for me, but I'm not real sure how to tell if they are the right size or not.

    I pump 3 times at work (9-hour workday). I nurse him whenever he wants... usually 2 times in the evening and 1 or 2 times at night/in the morning before work. On the weekends, I nurse him as much as he wants... generally every 3 hours during the day and 1 or 2 times at night. So, he's generally nursing (or getting the bottle) 6-8 times a day. He's growing great, so I know he's getting what he needs. But, every day is a struggle to pump enough for the next workday.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    Try working in an extra session via car pumping either to or from work.

    Also, try oatmeal, brown rice, herbs, etc.

    Are you sure he is not being overfed? Most babies take 1 to 1.5 oz per hour of separation. Most moms make that amount too

    http://www.ameda.com/breast-pumping/...w-can-i-get-it
    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
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    Thank you for the advice.

    I definitely need to try to work in another pumping session somehow. And, I've been upping my oatmeal intake.

    Now, I'm just honestly very concerned about my supply. With my right breast being a slacker, I simply am not making enough milk. It's making me sad. I feel like I'm doing all the right things and I'm becoming very frustrated.

    I don't think he is being overfed. I am gone for about 10.5 hours. I usually leave him a total of 14oz for while I'm gone. Today, he's getting much less than that, though. I have a stash of milk in the freezer. But, I feel that if I supplement with that, I will just continue to have supply issues. So, I've only been leaving him with the milk that I pumped the day before, hoping that he'll be hungrier in the evening, nurse more, and boost my supply. Today, I could only leave 10oz for him because that's all I pumped yesterday. I'm quite honestly hoping that he's super hungry when I get home and he nurses all evening and night.

    I just finished 1 of my 3 pumping sessions for the day and got 2.5oz. The right breast produced about a half oz. I'm so afraid that my supply is going to just keep dropping until it's gone. And, I don't even want to think about what is going to happen in a few weeks when he starts on solid foods.

    I am so frustrated and stressed. Thanks for any more help.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    14 oz doesn't sound like too much to send, being gone 10.5 hours - sounds about right actually. but if you're only pumping 3 times during that 10.5 hours, makes sense that you're coming up short. add in at least one, maybe two more pumps. how long do you pump for?

    when he starts solids - you don't HAVE to start solids at 6 months! it's a good idea to wait til baby is physiologically ready (sitting up unassisted, showing interest, lost the gag reflex, pincer grip). and even then, nursing should always come first, until a year.

    hang in there!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    Thanks.

    I don't think I can pull off a 4th pumping session during my workday. I pump for 20-30 minutes each time. With my first child, she slept through the night very early (6 weeks), so I would pump in the middle of the night. But, my little guy usually nurses once or twice at night, so it isn't as easy. He's usually asleep by 7pm, at the latest, so maybe I can try to pump again at 10pm, before I go to bed.

    I'm just struggling with not hating to pump. Pumping already isn't that fun. But, now that it's a constant stress about how much I'm getting, it's even worse. I wonder if my stressing and worrying is just compounding the problem?

    My baby is not sitting unassisted or gripping stuff real great, so maybe I will delay solids until he is definitely ready. It's funny... with my first, I couldn't wait to get her started on solids. This time around, I wish I could just keep him little forever.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    i hear you on the hating the pump thing. and in how much time it takes away from work. definitely do the 10 pm pump - that will help a lot. i'm sure the stress is compounding the problem; it did for me. i finally came face to face with teh problem and decided that i would do everything i could to fix my supply issues, but that the worst case scenario was a bottle of formula a day, and i was ok with that. well, a week later, my supply was fine and i never had to give formula.

    it really helped me to do something i enjoyed during pumping, so i could try to make it a time i looked forward to. blogs, music, whatever is your time-wasting indulgence.

    i also really got a lot more milk when i spent the first 5 mins or so really focusing on relaxing, breast compressions, massaging my neck, playing a little screensaver video of baby pics along with an audio recording i took of him about to latch on/ latching on/nursing.

    the other benefit to keeping him off solids - the diapers are way less gross
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please

    Thanks for the support and encouragement.

    I do have a few time-wasters that I do when I pump, to try to turn it into a treat for me. And, I definitely have to relax in order to get that letdown. Sometimes, when I can hear my boss in the hallway or know that people are waiting for me to get finished pumping and do some work, it does affect how much I can pump. So, it makes sense that my stress is making it worse. I'm definitely going to add the 10pm pumping session. I'm not thrilled about it, but I am SO DETERMINED to keep breastfeeding, that I'll do just about anything to be successful.

    Thanks for reminding me about the gross diapers! I am in NO HURRY to start solids. He'll let me know when he's ready.

    I'm also hoping to make it to a local LLL meeting next week. I've never gone and I think I could use the support right now. My husband supports breastfeeding, but when he sees how frustrated I am, he just wants to do whatever is easy to alleviate my stress. I could use some emotional support from other women.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Low supply on one side despite increased nursing~please



    after 5 mins, i could swtich back to work - i would have to set a timer to stop pumping because i would get so engrossed in the work i would look up and it'd been 45 mins pumping. you have a hands-free bra so you can work, right?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

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