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Thread: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

  1. #1

    Default Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    I have a 9 day old baby. I tried nursing in the hospital and she wasn't getting enough and was jaundiced. When we got home, I ended up switching to pumping after a few bad attempts and a hungry baby. We got into a great rhythm and all was going well but I wanted to give nursing one more try. I did it for 24 hrs and it went better than expected but I just hate it. I love every min with my daughter except when nursing and my husband enjoyed getting to feed her and being more hands on so I switched back to pumping yesterday at noon.
    I have the Pump and Style Advanced and it is essentially brand new. My insurance paid for it in Oct 2010 when my twins were born at 25 weeks. I used the hospital's pumps until they both passed away and then just used mine to wean off of it.
    When I switched back yesterday it was going well. However, sometimes I get a letdown right after the stimulation phase and other times its much later, like 10 min or so in. I pump every 2 hr 15 min for 10 min with massage and then pause it massage for a few sec and start again but mostly skip the stimulation phase and do another 5 min. When I do have a late letdown I'm sure to go 5 min afterwards before stopping. Occasionally I get a 2nd let down.
    Last night, after several normal sessions I couldn't get a let down. I only got 0.25 oz and I was getting between 1.5 and 2oz. The next session I couldn't get one either and got 0.5 oz out. The 3rd session I got 1.5 oz but again, no letdown, it was all b/c I was full and massaging. So there was really no hind milk in those three. Then my next one I got a late let down and it was huge and I got 4 oz. I've had one more session and it was fairly normal, my letdown started right away and I got about 2 oz and then got a 2nd letdown with about another 0.5oz.
    Is it normal to have some that don't letdown or that letdown late? What can I do to change this??
    I've been taking 2 fenugreek 3x per day and I'm also on antibiotics right now and I don't know how those are affecting my supply.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    oh mamma you are so smart to come to these forums looking for information.
    Milk production does fluctuate during the day and sometimes medication can have a temporary effect on production.
    The more often you pump, the more milk you will produce.
    When the baby is a newborn, pumping 10-12 times over a 24 hour period can really be the key to successfully building an ample supply.
    You are doing great.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    are you nursing at all? I STRONGLY encourage you to pack the pump away and nurse your baby. I say this because exclusively pumping is a million times more difficult in the long run. We have a few awesome stickys in the pumping section with common issues with EP. What do you hate about nursing? The pain? if so then lets work on latch issue or whatever. Can you elaborate on that please? Also although the PISA advance is a professional grade pump it is NOT strong enough for EPing. You would need to rent a hospital grade pump.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    When you say "switching back" do you mean pumping exclusively?

    Honestly if that's what you want to do, I would strongly advise against it. Right now I have to pump at work to supply kiddo with milk for when I'm gone, and that alone is exhausting/stressful. The pump is not as good at removing milk as the baby is, so you'll also have to pump more than you'd nurse in order to produce the same amount.

    If you're pumping to supplement supply or so dad can take over a feeding here and there, that's easier but there's still an effect (every feed dad does, you'll have to pump for, even if it's in the middle of the night...)

    As far as not getting a letdown, it might take a while to condition your body to the sensation enough to get a consistent response.

    And if the pain of nursing is driving you away, I'll say it does get better though it can take work I experienced some really, really bad pain about the first five weeks, before we got good at it, and I'm REALLY glad I stuck with it. I know your issues may be different from mine and everybody has what works for them, but pain can be very manageable and improvable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    Mama, if you plan to EP you're not using the right tool. The PISA will probably wear out in around 6 months- it's not designed to go longer than that. You're going to want a hospital-grade pump with correctly sized shields.

    Can you tell us why nursing was so awful? It is so much easier in the long run, and so much more likely to get you to whatever breastfeeding goal you have in mind. We'd love to help you find a way to nurse the baby- if only because it's going to be easier!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    I hated nursing for the first few months. Hated, hated, hated it. But it got way, way easier and sticking with it was the best decision I have ever made!

    That said, if you choose to go down the long, hard road of EP, then I think you probably need a hospital grade pump to be successful. Pumps are much less effective than babies, and pumping only got more difficult for me with time (while nursing got easier). I think a hospital grade pump is better for that.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Not always getting a letdown while pumping

    Mama, I am going to be blunt. Nobody likes breastfeeding at the beginning. It's hard, you are tired, you are learning a new skill and trying to teach a newborn. Pumping seems easier. But it is NOT.

    I have to pump because my fourth son was born unable to nurse. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Breastfeeding becomes enjoyable --or at least tolerable -- but pumping...it's always a drag. And it gets harder when your baby has colic and just wants to be held, or is sick, or you are sick, or when baby is mobile. Breastfeeding gets shorter...but you will be chained to that pump for 120 minutes every 24 hours as long as you pump.

    And no, I don't always have a letdown. Half the time I massage it out. Pumping is REALLY hard some days. I have not enjoyed this last 16 months at all. If I could have nursed, I would have. I tried really hard and still try to get my LO to the breast.

    You need a hospital grade pump if you want to do this. 8-12 sessions a day, around the clock, 120 minutes total.

    Could you have D-MER? That makes many mothers not like to breastfeed.
    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!

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