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Thread: pumping/supply question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    22

    Default pumping/supply question

    Even though I've been pumping for 4.5 months now, I still have days - like the last two- that I simply don't have a letdown at all with the pump (for at least one session a day). My question is, if I am pumping on schedule (aprox every 3 hours), is it enough to maintain a healthy supply even if no milk is expressed? Like right this second, I have been pumping for 15 minutes, and don't have a drop. In all reality, I can't stay in my office hooked up to the pump for an hour at a time, waiting for a letdown. So, if I pump like I'm supposed to, for 20 to 30 minutes at a time every 3 hours, and don't get a drop, is this hurting my supply, or is the stimulation enough to keep it going?
    Thanks for the help!
    So proud to be Avery's mama 12/26/11

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,637

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    Milk removal is an important part of maintaining milk supply, so breast stimulation alone is probably not doing your supply any good. Whether or not it's going to harm it is very individual, but I think the likelihood is that you'll ultimately experience some reduction in supply.

    I'd check your pump and check your shield size, and see if you need a different machine or different shields.
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    If you're not letting down and producing milk, your supply could definitely suffer. What have you tried to increase your letdowns at the pump?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    I have tried conscious relaxation, massage, looking at pics of the babe- all the usual stuff- most days it's not a problem and I don't have to do anything to get a letdown in a reasonable amount of time, but there are certianly days that it is next to impossible. I will definitley have my pump looked at, thats a good idea- Meeting with a LC tomorrow, we'll see what she says...
    So proud to be Avery's mama 12/26/11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    What kind of pump are you using? With the Medela pumps, you need to change out the membranes pretty frequently, or they lose suction. You may also have better luck with a different sized flange? Your flange size needs can actually change during your nursing career, as your breasts change. You may need larger or smaller breast shield/flange parts. Also, take all of your pump parts apart and put them back together FIRMLY. Any loose parts can cause lower suction.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*milkmonstermama View Post
    I have tried conscious relaxation, massage, looking at pics of the babe- all the usual stuff- most days it's not a problem and I don't have to do anything to get a letdown in a reasonable amount of time, but there are certianly days that it is next to impossible. I will definitley have my pump looked at, thats a good idea- Meeting with a LC tomorrow, we'll see what she says...
    What I sometimes found worked was actually not looking at babe, just tuning out and watching something that I really enjoyed, like TV episodes of things I liked to watch. Not putting any pressure on myself helped, and looking at baby pictures just made me feel like a crap mom for working so much.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    I spent my pumping breaks working, or reading a novel. I would suspect a mechanical issue with your pump, though, rather than "stress."


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: pumping/supply question

    Have you considered renting a Symphony? I let down so much faster with a Symphony since it is so much more comfortable for me than the PIS.
    Proud Momma
    DD 2-1-01 BF for 16 months
    DS 1-9-10 BF for only 4 months due to low milk supply and working graveyard
    DD 4-28-12 Pumping 5X a day at work, Loving BFing

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