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Thread: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop?

  1. #1

    Default Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop?

    I've been back at work full time since LO was 4 months and my pumping proceeds have steadily dropped since. LO is now 8 months old. We had to supplement with formula once we ran out of our frozen stores and now LO is drinking more formula than BM at this point. We started solids 6 weeks ago and LO is a good eater. Should I just give up the pump at work and try to nurse at night and on the weekends or should I ramp up the pumping schedule and try to raise my production? Is it even possible? I would love to make it to the 12 month mark. I hate the idea of LO getting less than the best nutrition.

    Also, I don't know if LO is getting enough milk from me when he nurses at night since I get so little out of the pump. He's not been sleeping well but there could be many reasons for that. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    Personally, I would continue to pump at work. Because if you quit pumping at work, not only will you not have that milk to give your baby, but it will also decrease your supply for when you are together. You really can't gauge how much milk he's getting from you at night based on what you get at the pump. If he's an effective nurser, he should be removing milk better than a pump. What are you doing to increase your supply? How often are you pumping at work? I would aim for at least every 3 hrs with a double pump for about 15 minutes a session. You can also try eating brown rice, barley, green leafy veggies, and oatmeal and see if they help your supply. Also definitely nurse nurse nurse when you're together. Oh, and welcome to LLL forums!
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    Definitely continue to pump at work. I know the small rewards are very discouraging, but every oz of milk you pump is an oz of formula your baby doesn't drink, and every bit of milk removal and breast stimulation increases your odds of getting to your 1 year goal.

    You can certainly increase your supply. The best things you can do are to pump more often and to use a better pump with correctly sized shields. If you've been pumping for 4 months, it may be time to upgrade to a better model of pump or to get your current pump reconditioned. They do wear down with use! Pumping more often may be a challenge at work, but you can slip in extra sessions at home, after you nurse the baby.
    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!"

  4. #4
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    i would do the following to increase supply for pumping output for a working mama:

    **definitely change the valves and membranes. these are the yellow pieces with white flaps. they need to be changed often.

    hand express for two min at the end of a pump. it makes a bug difference in overall output.

    get a hands free bra, simple wishes has a nice one

    get bigger horns and see how they are, i was soo happy i did and it helped me get more

    compressions and massage while you pump

    music while you pump to relax.

    to lengthen your sessions a little keep your parts together and put in the fridge to save time on clean up. or just do a quick rinse with water, no need for soap until the last session or when you go home.

    leave your pump plugged in and hooked up if you can.

    dont know if it helped but i ate oatmeal everyday

    add in sessions wherever you can. be creative! i would pump in the car on the commute in always, on the way home when i was nervous about not having enough. i would pump right before bed occationally and even once i woke up at 3 am to fit in a quick session (milk levels are highest around that time). for this i had my pump all set up, told my dh i was doing it so he would get the baby if the baby woke.

    you can do it and we are here to help mama.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    Thank you so much for all the great responses. I have a pump-in-style which I believe is a really good pump. I didn't know I was supposed to change out the valves and membranes. I've been using the same ones that came with the pump. I do use a hands free bra but my pumping sessions rarely exceed 3-4 min. I've tried pumping for a few minutes after the last drops to see if more would come out but nothing gives and I usually start to get a little tender. I have noticed that I need to set the pump on a lower setting than I used to. Perhaps that is a sign of my pump needing service.

    I will try the new vales/membranes, larger horns, more pumping sessions and all the great diet advice given. Mtmama, when you say hand express, do you mean give the girls a squeeze with my hands towards the end of a pump session or use one of the hand express pumps for a while on each side? Sorry if that sounds like a silly question. I just want to try everything that I can. And thank you all so much. I will keep you posted

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    good plan. i would say let your pumping sessions be longer. like 10-15 min. i know its hard to get time when you work but you have rights. is there something keeping you from pumping a little longer? it usually took me a few minutes to relax and actually have a let down. once i started getting used to the pumping i would press the let down button on the PIS about half way through and often i would get a second let down. all in that 10-15 min period.

    and if you can leave your pump stuff set up do it. it will save you time.

    and the hand expression : once you take the pumping parts off, bra off, i would take the top off one bottle and kind of aim my nipple at the opening as i used my hands to get some milk out. this is the video i mentioned.

    i will say i felt really funny at first, really funny. BUT i kept telling myself it would increase the overall production and i really wanted that. so i practiced. and i found that for me, it worked best if:

    1. i used my right hand on my right breast, left hand on my left breast (so odd, i know but i am right handed and when i used my right hand on my left breast it never worked.)

    2. i shaped my thumb and pointer finger like a C,placed them about an inch away from my nipple (like the nipple is in the center, the thumb is an inch up and the pointer is an inch below), press into the breast and then kind of slide down to the nipple applying pressure.

    it takes a but of practice and you may find your own way is different then mine. i found the video helpful but really had to see how my body responded best.

    can i tell you that once i forgot my pump and i hand expressed and got a few oz!! it was great. i was so happy i knew how to do it.

    good luck. keep us posted.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    3-4 minutes is really, really short for a pump session. 10-20 minutes would be more typical.
    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!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    3-4 minutes is way too short. Sometimes it would take me several minutes to start getting any milk out. I would pump for 15 minutes each session.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    32

    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    Yes, pump for at least 10 min. I pump for 20 min & get 3-4 let-downs in an average session with "bursts" of milk produced. It makes a big difference. I used to only pump for 14 min but when I switched to 20 min, I got 2-3 oz more per session. I also hand express at the end of each session & it really helps.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Only getting 1-2 oz each time I pump. Should I just stop

    Thank you!! I'm going to try the hand expressing and hopefully it will help. My letdown happens pretty quickly, within the first minute. By the end of the third minute or so, no milk is coming out. I've stayed 2-3 minutes longer but nothing more comes out. I'll try staying longer and pushing the let down button. Maybe another round will produce more milk. My work is pretty tolerant to the pumping sessions. I set myself up in the server closet since it the only room without a glass wall and can leave my stuff there all day. I can take longer pump breaks, it just didn't seem like I was going to get any more out. Thank you for all the great suggestions. I'm consuming all kinds of oatmeal, still waiting for my larger pump horns and new valves to come in, and I'll pump longer, adding hand expressing. I'll keep you all posted!

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