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Thread: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    Having an odd experience with the pump, hoping someone can shed some light?

    I feel like I might be "acclimating" to the pump. When I first started back at work, I could bring home 20 ounces easily from an 8 hour work day, and the pump would pretty effectively empty my breasts. Fast forward almost two months, and now I'm only bringing home about 15 ounces, and when the milk stops flowing in the pump, my breasts don't feel as empty (even when doing compressions while pumping). When I follow with hand expression, there is a lot more milk left -- I can easily get another ounce plus out of both sides. But the pump isn't getting that milk out anymore. What might be going on here? Is it possible for your body to just get used to it and have the pump not work as effectively?

    (For background, I don't think my pump is wearing out. It's a medela pump in style that's only been in light use for about three months: I pumped once per day for six weeks on maternity leave, and now at work only part time, where I have 3 pump sessions 3 days per week. I mean, I can't imagine that 7-10 pump sessions per week would wear out the motor or decrease the suction that quickly??)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    It's more likely you are acclimating to your baby. Your baby should be consuming 1-1.5 oz of milk for every hour away from you. So in 8hours 8-12 oz is what you should be producing. 20 oz in 8hours is an insane amount of milk. Your baby should be drinking 24-32 oz in a 24hour period. So there is no reason for you to produce OVER HALF that in an 8hour period. It generally takes your body and your baby anywhere from 6-12 weeks to establish your supply. And in the beginning, a lot of women experience an OVERSUPPLY. That is what sounds like here. While you are away from your child you should be producing the amount she drinks while away from you the next day. If in the beginning you can produce extra an freeze it great. But your bodies ultimate goal is the exact right amount. So having your production slow to meet your childs actual needs is no reason to panic.

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    I agree w/what PP said and would like to add that the white membranes on the inside of the bottle (attached to the yellow part) may need to be switched out (i think it needs to be switched every 60 days, or is it 90? can't remember at the moment...)

    I found I would express more by pumping 5-10 minutes, then hand expressing for 2-3 minutes then pumping for another 5 minutes.

    Make sure you're staying well hydrated and giving yourself some time to calm before you settle down to pump.
    Punk-rock luvin mate to DH and mama to DD1 (born '03) , DD2 (born '08) and nursling DS (born '11) who survived infant botulism.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    I've had a somewhat abundant supply from the beginning. But baby is 4 mos now, growing well & happy, and his BMs are normal, so I don't think it's oversupply. I know 20 ounces in 8 hrs seems crazy but I just am one of those women with a high "storage capacity" -- I can get 8-10 ounces (or more) in the first pump session, a bit less than that in subsequent sessions. I have no idea how much baby eats in a day since we BF on demand. I give some of my milk to the milk bank because I can't use it all. But you're right, it could be some evening out as time goes on ... Also my baby is reverse cycling a little now that he's in daycare. I always send him with 8-10 ounces (since I have it, wishful thinking) but he is not crazy about the bottle & only eats about 4-7 oz over the course of the day away from me. Is it possible that my body has swapped night and day a little bit, with higher supply at night since that is when baby is nursing a lot, and a little less during the working hours?

    I'm not really so worried about the amount coming home with me -- obviously we have that covered! -- but just making sure the supply stays adequate long term. I want to make it to 1 yr and have a paranoia about the pump not emptying the breast as well as baby does, and having it effect supply, since everyone warns about diminishing supply once you go back to work. But maybe my fears are unfounded.

    I will also try swapping out the membranes, and the pump/hand express/pump pattern (haven't done that before, maybe it will help). Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    Honestly a lot of time supply diminishes because women don't make time to pump. And that is a very very slippery slope. But if you are consistent about pumping you shouldn't really hit a wall until between 9& 10 months. Often working pumping mothers really DO hit a wall then and may need to add in extra sessions at night and in the morning to maintian supply. But if you are consistent now and you have a freezer stash you should make it through any rough patches that occur. Don't give ALL your extra milk to the bank. Make sure you bank some in case of an emergency!

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is it possible to "acclimate" to the pump?

    I completely agree. Your production is very high so if your baby is nursing more at night you are probably just leveling out and your supply is adjusting. That said, you CAN get acclimated to the pump. That's a good time to switch out pump parts (those membranes wear out quickly) and try compressions, etc. It usually doesn't happen until more like 8-10 months though.


    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.

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