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Thread: Maxed out pump settings

  1. #1

    Default Maxed out pump settings

    Hi there,
    I am a bf mother of a 10 month old. I really want to bf until 12 months at least. When I am at home my little one eats 6Xs during the day plus solids, and she often nurses twice at night. I am a nurse and am working three 12hr shifts in a row. I have run into a problem...when I pump at work (3 times, every 4 hrs, plus a feeding before work and sometimes another when I get home). I have maxed out the pump settings- level 9 of Medela freestyle. I am terrified that I'm not completely emptying and that my supply is going to decrease. There is no stronger level.
    Is there a solution to this? How do I make sure I am emptying completely when my pump is not as strong as my baby? I have a freezer full of milk but don't want to do formula and would love to just transition to cow's milk at a year.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Maxed out pump settings

    How much milk do you get in a typical pumping session? Why do you feel this is a problem, is the amount you pump decreasing?

    Higher settings don't necessarily mean more milk and pumping too high can actually hurt your production (and hurt physically if you do it too much). 9-10 months is a common time for moms to start seeing a decrease in the amount of milk they are able to pump. You are approaching a year, which is about the time many moms stop pumping during the day. If you've got a big freezer stash and your lo still nurses frequently when you are together, this might not be anything you need to be worrying about.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,883

    Default Re: Maxed out pump settings

    Are you working in a hospital setting, and if so, could you access a hospital-grade pump? If not, could you afford to rent one for a couple of months?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    1,900

    Default Re: Maxed out pump settings

    I used the Freestyle pump when pumping for my second baby and found that it is not the most efficient/effective pump, particularly over time. For this baby (my third) I switched back to my old Medela Pump in Style Advanced (which I also used with the first baby). But one time I wanted to pump at home and took out my Freestyle and found that it really was not emptying my breasts at all! So I'm wondering whether you've noticed a decrease in efficiency of your Freestyle over time and that is why you're trying to crank it up. One thing you could try is to replace the parts that can be replaced (the yellow membranes, the plastic parts etc). Or, as mommal suggested, rent a hospital-grade pump for these last couple months. You're so close! Also if you have a freezer full of milk, you may be able to pump wean a bit before the one year mark and make up the difference with your frozen milk. So maybe even rent a pump for just a month or six weeks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Maxed out pump settings

    I also suggest changing the membranes if you haven't already. I replace mine once a month and always keep a spare handy. I use the freestyle also.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Maxed out pump settings

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Are you working in a hospital setting, and if so, could you access a hospital-grade pump? If not, could you afford to rent one for a couple of months?
    Yes, what mommal said. I had a similar situation & the hospital grade pump was eons better than my freestyle, so much so that I gave up with the freestyle. And changing the membranes could also help. Perhaps massaging your breasts while you pump could help too. Also, if you haven't already, try hand expressing after each pumping session- I was amazed how much more milk I got hand expressing after getting nothing from the pump at the end of a pumping session. Google Stanford hand expression for great how-to videos for good technique. Another option is to call medela- I found their support team really helpful with trouble shooting while using their pumps, very timely too if you need them to send you a new motor (seriously, next day delivery).

    Kudos on pumping this long, you're almost at your goal!

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