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Thread: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

  1. #1

    Default Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    Hey ya'll! I'm new to LLLI and I'm a mother to my 3mo old son. I work during the day and of course, have to pump instead of breast feeding him exclusively. I've noticed a drop in my supply and have tried a few things to get it back up with no avail. I've tried Fenugreek tablets (which seem to constipate me), Mother's milk tea (which I've found disgusting although I drink a cup a day), drinking plenty of water, and I've even purchased Nursing Blend. I've been on the Nursing Blend for almost two weeks now and haven't noticed any difference. At times I can only pump 3oz combined He seems to be doing alright (not losing weight and not always hungry), but I would like to be able to establish a better milk supply and continue breast feeding him as long as I can. Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    Welcome to the forum!

    First, a few questions:
    1) How often do you pump?
    2) How long do you pump?
    3) What kind of pump do you use?
    4) How long are you apart from baby?
    5) How much is baby being fed during the day (ounces/feeding and number of feedings)
    6) How often are you nursing baby outside of work hours?

    Mom not being able to keep up is usually due either to not pumping enough or, mom is pumping enough but baby is being over-fed, or some combination. Also, mom not getting enough breast stimulation outside work hours can contribute too. We can definitely help you with this!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    1) I try to pump at least 6 times a day but sometimes up to 8 times.
    2) I'll usually pump 10-15 minutes depending on how busy I get at work.
    3) I have the Medela back pack pump.
    4) I'll pump or breast feed my baby before I leave work at 8 (I work five minutes from home) and will come home on my lunch at noon then I'll see him again at 5.
    5) I honestly don't know how much he's fed during the day because my husband works at night so he watches him during the day.
    6) The most I'll nurse my baby is during the night. Occasionally when we are out and about, it's easier for me to feed him than it is for me to find a sanitary place to pump. LOL

    I've done a bit of research on what I should be doing to help but I just can't seem to pump enough to be able to store away. We just seem to get by during the day. We'll have days where he won't eat as much so we can freeze the leftovers and then start over fresh the next day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    So does baby receive bottles even when you are together? If so, what is the reason you do not nurse exclusively when you can be with baby and save the pumping and bottles for during separations?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    I'm wondering the same thing as meg. Nursing is usually more efficient at stimulating supply than pumping. So when you're together, it's better to nurse than to pump. You want an absolute minimum of 8 nursing or pumping sessions in 24 hours, many babies will nurse 10-12 times/24 hours, so you may be on the low end there (I'm not clear on your total number of sessions per 24 hours). Nighttime nursing is really good for supply!
    10 minutes is a bare minimum pumping time. Many pumping mamas will pump for 15-20 minutes or even longer. So if you can, try to shoot for at least 15 minutes minimum.
    Do you think DH could record the number of ounces your LO takes for a few days? It may be that your pumping output is fine but that DH is giving too much. This makes it hard to keep up and also decreases the amount LO takes from you when nursing outside of work hours, decreasing the signal to your breasts to make more milk.
    Also, you don't really need that much stored away. So if you're actually meeting what your LO is taking in each day there may not be a problem. Think about it this way: if you were at home nursing around the clock, you wouldn't be storing any away, right? Because supply = demand. The fact that you were freezing away more previously is not uncommon - a lot of moms have relative oversupply in the beginning, and then around the 3 month mark start to regulate so there is better matching between supply and demand.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    Well as of right now, I have been only pumping because he won't even nurse at night now! It seems like I'm having so many problems and I can't get in to see my LC: I think I might have the wrong size breast shields because my nipples hurt SO BAD, my son won't nurse at all now, and my supply is still dropping. I hate to give up because I love being able to give him my milk instead of having to supplement with formula.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Pumping at work and keeping supply up

    Sorry to hear you're having trouble mama . I'll make some suggestions but I definitely think seeing your LC is a great idea.

    1)Breast refusal: check out these tips from kellymom -

    2) Nipple pain: again, here's a list of possible causes:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...nipples-older/ - also see links therein.

    I'm wondering if you could have thrush causing your nipple pain and contributing to your baby's breast refusal. If you can't see your LC, can you get in to see your ob or midwife? Or check out these resources:



    Poor-fitting pump flanges can also be a problem. Your nipples should be able to move back and forth without rubbing against the side. You can also try using oil (like olive oil) to help lubricate until you're able to get a different size.

    3) Low supply
    Pain can definitely contribute to low supply and interfere with letdown, but the most important thing to do for low supply is to pump or nurse more. Since you're mostly or completely pumping right now, that means adding more pumping sessions and/or increasing the length. Which is another reason it's so important to get the nipple pain issue fixed because I'm sure it's hard to think about pumping more when it hurts!

    Hang in there...

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