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Thread: How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

  1. #1

    Default How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

    Ok, I am at a crossroads here. My DD is 6 weeks old and we have gone through periods of exclusively breast feeding and times when we supplement with formula after feeding because she just didn't seem to be satisfied.

    Currently, she will nurse from both breasts and then she will still seem like she is starving. The past few days, she's been taking 4 oz of formula AFTER breastfeeding.

    I usually pump once a day when she sleeps for a long stretch, and the most I have ever pumped is 2 oz on the left and 1 oz on the right. But what I normally get is 1 on the left and 0.5 on the right.

    I know baby can get more out than a pump, but how in the world am I going to increase my supply to more than 4 oz so that she can be satisfied with just breastfeeding? I would like to get her off the formula, but I definitely need to increase my supply.

    I have been drinking at least 3 cups of mother's milk tea, a ton of water, and eating oatmeal daily. The only thing I'm not doing is pumping aggressively.

    So my questions are:
    When should I pump? Before or after a feeding?
    How often?
    For how long? Timed or # of minutes AFTER it stops flowing?

    Also, do I really need to rent a hospital grade pump? Are they just more efficient? Is it possible to increase supply using my PIS?

    Thanks in advance!!
    Last edited by @llli*leilajoon; July 26th, 2012 at 03:55 PM.

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

    Default Re: How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

    What makes you think you have low supply? Baby's fussing? Or a lack of wet diapers, no weight gain?
    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

    Default Re: How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

    Our nursing sessions go something like this:
    Latch on great, after about 10 seconds have a letdown, I can hear her swallowing but only for about 3-5 minutes. After that, she's sucking but not swallowing at all. I still leave her on for at least another 15 minutes and then she usually falls asleep. Occasionally, I will have a second letdown about 20 minutes into the session and will hear her swallowing for another few minutes, but then that's it.
    Then we do it again on the other breast.
    When I take her off, usually after she has fallen asleep, she fusses and acts like she is starving. So I put her back to the first breast but doesn't seem to get much. This can go on for hours, which is how we started supplementing with formula.
    I wish I could satisfy her so we could break this cycle.

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

    Default Re: How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

    Honestly, this is NORMAL. All of mine nurses like this at the beginning. Nobody told me it was Ok with my first. Breastfeeding is not about just feeding the baby, it is also about comfort.

    If her diaper count is adequate, her weight is fine, then she is fine.

    It won't be like this forever.

    You could try breast compressions and switch feeding. Also, try nursing laying down.

    http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/
    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
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: How often/how long to pump to increase supply?

    I went through this in the first few months. I called it "feedathon" and it was especially bad in the evening (aka "cluster feeding"). But growth and output were fine, so I didn't freak out too much, and everything turned out great (and in fact this period was followed soon after by over-supply, then everything evened out after about 8 weeks - just in time for me to go back to work and screw up the balance)

    I don't think it's that abnormal, it's just sort of exhausting to be tied to a nursing baby for what seems like ALL the time, and it can definitely freak you out to feel like she's not satisfied.

    Since she only seems to be actively nursing for the first few minutes, could you try taking her off as soon as she seems to slow down (rather than waiting for her to fall asleep), breaking for, say, five minutes, then starting her on the other side immediately? Then maybe doing the same thing as soon as "active" nursing stops on the other side? On the flip side, even casual sucking, she's probably getting something out. And you make milk constantly, so while she may not fill up all at once like she would with a bottle, she'll probably get the same net amount if you just stick with it. (like - nursing on and off for four hours, she'll probably get the same total amount that she would by you nursing for an hour then giving the bottle and taking a break. But nursing that whole time will stimulate you more and help with supply more).

    If you do want to pump to increase supply, I've had the best luck not by doing it throughout the day but simply by adding one or two sessions during times there wasn't a lot of nursing (if your LO sleeps for 4-5 hours somewhat predictably, you could add a pump session in that time. Exhausting but it can work really well). If you don't get that much of a break at any point in your schedule, I'd pump after a feeding, for about 15 minutes. I use a PISA and it's definitely been helpful. Since you are not going to be exclusively pumping, and are mostly just looking for some extra stimulation, that should be fine for you - the higher grade pumps are nice and would probably be better, but probably not necessary.

    Otherwise, the best thing (in my nonqualified opinion) is just to find a comfy spot on the couch and ride it out - let her nurse for hours straight. Keep up the stimulation, have faith that she's not starving, and throw out the formula. So much of being successful at this (for me anyway) has been about having faith that everything really isworking the way nature intended, even if it's hard or there are rough patches. Have faith and hold tight! It gets way better, and way easier.

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