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Thread: Do I have Low Supply??

  1. #1
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    Default Do I have Low Supply??

    My LO is 15 weeks and I just returned to work. We were both doing great breastfeeding but I always had a hardtime building up a supply for when I went back to work. I always felt that if I pumped between sessions, there wasn't enough for her come her next feeding, thus, don't seem to have enough to keep up with her while I'm at work.

    Right now she's taking about 5oz./feeding and eating every 3-3.5 hours. (at night will sleep for 6 hours straight before waking to feed)

    I'm breastfeeding her first thing in the morning, then I'm pumping 3 times/day at work and will breastfeed when I get home.
    My first morning pump gives me 5oz (total), but by the end of the day, I'm lucky to get 1.5 oz out of each breast. I only pump for about 5-8 minutes because after that I'm totally empty. When I nurse her at night I normally top her off with 2 oz. of formuala because there just doesn't seem to be enough milk. Is my supply too low? Am I not pumping long enough?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Hi mama. From my personal experience I would recommend you pump longer. I pump between 20-25 minutes, and typically have periodic let downs until the last few minutes. I would barely have anything if I only pumped for 5-8 minutes. You may seem empty, but there is probably more in you. Milk will stop coming out at some point, but will start up again after some time.

    I would caution against giving your little one formula at night. Giving her formula may make her sleep longer and that means that she isn't giving you the cue to make more milk as soon as she would if she was just getting breastmilk. If you're worried about supply, i would drop the formula at night and just nurse her... even if she seems fussy or like she isn't getting enough from you, I would nurse nurse nurse (your supply seems fine from what you've described). She probably won't sleep six hours straight anymore, but her waking up to nurse will do nothing but help your supply! Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    I agree with alilwest, you need to pump longer. 5-8 minutes is way too short. Also try doing hand compressions while you're pumping. What kind of pump are you using?

    Also agree not to give the formula. More nursing sessions = more supply. Formula will lead to LESS nursing sessions.

    The other problem is that your baby should not be drinking 5 oz out of the bottle. She should be getting between 1 and 1.5 ounces per hour. So if she's getting a bottle every 3 hours, there should be 3 oz in the bottle, with an additional ounce if she is still hungry. But, your caregiver will say, she DRINKS the 5 oz, so that means she needs it, right? No! It is EASY to drink out of a bottle. So if the baby has a bottle stuck in her mouth, and there are 5 ounces in that bottle, she will drink 5 ounces. Because babies love to suck. And caregivers sometimes use the bottle as a soothing technique. Give your caregiver 3 ounce bottles, and 1 ounce "toppers" to be given only IF NEEDED. Here are some links (including information you can print out for your caregiver) on bottle-feeding a breast-fed baby, which is different from bottle-feeding a formula-fed baby:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/e...reastfed-baby/
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Thank you for the response. I'll try and drop the 2 oz. of formula tonight and see what happens.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    I have a pump in style advanced. In the first minute of pumping I get an oz. on each side so I figured I didn't have to pump as long since it was happening so quickly.
    Also, yes, my caregiver told me she's "sucking down her bottle" so 5 oz. is appropriate.
    If I stuck to 4 oz. my supply seemed fine, but I had thought that I wasn't keeping up with her increased appetite.
    Thank you SO much for the responses.

    Everything was working easily for me with straight up breastfeeding, but with going back to work and pumping that is where I started getting confused.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Definitely share the link above about bottle feeding a breast fed baby with your caregiver, I think using some of those tricks will help.

    You also might want to make sure you are using slow flow nipples. It mimics the flow from the breast better and it makes bottle feedings take longer. The nipples will wear out with use too, and the little holes will get bigger. An easy way to check to see if that's happened is to fill the nipple with water and watch how fast it drips. It shouldn't go much faster than a drop per second.
    “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.”
    --Anonymous

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Babies will frequently eat way more out of a bottle than they need.. possibly even more than they want. You mentioned her increased appetite, but from what I've read over and over on this site is that breastfed babies appetites typically don't increase after the first month or two. They should be eating 24-32oz per day, and this should be spread over 8-10 feedings. If we fed my son until he acted satisfied he would probably eat 6oz at each feeding. But, I only allow daycare to give him 3oz bottles. My fear was that feeding him more would stretch out his little tummy so that when he nursed he would never get satisfied cuz I will NEVER have six ounces to give him when nursing. I feel like daycare providers and parents often expect the baby to act satisfied, but it seems as though "satisfied" means slow and lethargic. This always makes me think that the babies are in food comas more than it indicating that they're satisfied, often because they're fed WAY too much. I guess if I were you my concern would be that my LO was eating such a large quantity at each feeding i wouldn't be able to ever satisfy her when nursing and that she would be going longer periods of times in between feedings so your supply could go down as you're not getting the regular stimulation.
    Last edited by @llli*alilwest; December 27th, 2012 at 07:28 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elle.cg View Post
    In the first minute of pumping I get an oz. on each side so I figured I didn't have to pump as long since it was happening so quickly.
    Pumping has two purposes. Number one, drain the milk that is in your breasts. If your breasts are full, this drainage can happen quite quickly. But the second purpose is to send your breasts the signal that even though you are away from baby and not nursing, they should keep making milk! For this you want to mimic the stimulation your LO would be giving your breasts if she was nursing. A 15 week baby is not going to spend 1 minute on the breast or even 5-8 minutes, right? And, the pump can be a less efficient signal than actual nursing, so many moms find they need to pump LONGER than the time they would normally spend nursing. So even if you are "pumping dry," you are still sending the signal to your breasts to keep making milk. That's the idea of the longer pumping session.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Thanks to all that have responded.

    Update: I started to pump a little bit longer and I noticed that I'm getting a little bit more. Also, while at work, I'm going a little bit longer between pumping sessions and that seemed to be fine as well. When giving her a bottle, dropped down to 4 oz. from 5 and she seems perfectly satisfied.

    When I get home from work, she doesn't seem to want the breast, she wants a bottle. I have slow flow medela nipples that she drinks out of while I'm away from her. Any recommendations on what I can do, I'd rather nurse her than pump and feed her.
    She's fine with nursing in the morning - I'm guessing because it comes out faster. Any suggestions?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Do I have Low Supply??

    Great news! Thanks for the update. Glad to hear your pumping is more productive and she seems to be doing fine with smaller bottles.

    I would just offer to nurse and not make bottles an option when you are with her. What is she doing that makes you feel she wants a bottle rather than breast?
    “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.”
    --Anonymous

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