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Thread: Dropping pump sessions and supply...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Dropping pump sessions and supply...

    Hi mamas. DD is 9 months old now and I have over 2000 ounces of milk in the freezer for her – enough to get her to 1 year. She doesn’t nurse during the day (long story, we’ve tried for months, it doesn’t wok), but I have been successfully nursing her at night since this whole daytime nursing strike thing started, like, 5 months ago. Anyways, for months now she has only woken up to nurse once at night and more recently has had some nights where she slept all the way through (I tried nursing her upon waking in the mornings but with no success – but I’ve made peace with this and it’s OK). I’ve been maintaining my supply by pumping A LOT during the day. Now, with enough milk (and then some!) I’m ready to start dropping pumps. I also plan to pump for an extra week or two and donate to a milk bank.

    Here is my question – any ballpark as to the minimum number of pumps I can do during the day but still maintain enough supply to nurse her overnight if/when she wakes? I’ve just really got to let up on the pumping because my family needs me back (I also have a 3 year old)! I currently pump 8 times a day. If I were to eventually wean down to 5, or even 4, times a day, I assume I’d still be able to nurse overnight? Thanks for the feedback! I'm so protective of my supply it's hard to wrap my brain around dropping pumps - I will love the freedom it will bring but it is of course with mixed emotions.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,949

    Default Re: Dropping pump sessions and supply...

    Nancy Mohrbacher has an article called "The Magic Number" that talks about this. It's too big to attach as an attachment here, but type in "magic number mohrbacher" into google and it's the first hit. My guess is that you have a pretty robust supply if you have 2000 ounces in the fridge, so you may well be able to cut out some of your sessions and still maintain a nighttime supply. (I'm assuming baby is getting EBM out of a bottle during the day? I was a little unclear on that.) What was your experience like with your first baby? When you weaned him were you still having milk with a smaller number of sessions at that end? I think that's informative too. For me, I have a really robust supply and a large milk capacity, and I know during weaning my older two kids that either pumping or nursing 1 time per day was plenty to maintain my supply. But I'm sure that varies from mother to mother. In your case, since you're mostly pumping, you'll know if you start going below the threshold, because you'll see your pump output drop. So I think you can just start gradually cutting back dropping 1 pump session at a time and see what happens to your supply.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Dropping pump sessions and supply...

    Thanks for the feedback and for metnioning that article - I just read it and it's a really great article! I'm going to add it to the breastfeeding info binder I created for our lactation room!

    Yes - DD gets pumped milk during the day. In regards to my first child, DS, our experience was a little different in that he stopped nursing completely around 5 months. I continued to pump exclusively for him and stopped when he was about 12 months old - he got my freezer stash until he was about 14 months old. When I stopped pumping for him I did so rather abruptly (too abruptly, in fact, and my hormones let me know it - lesson learned!). I work full-time and it seems my kids just don't transition well between breast and bottle. But I've been so pleased that this time around, I've been able to keep DD nursing at the breast for those nighttime feedings this long!

    According to this article, I suspect that I have a large storage capacity because once DS started sleeping through the night at 9 months, I would go about 12 hours without pumping (from about 8pm to 8am) for months with no noticeable decrease in supply - according to this article, if the first morning pump yields 10 ounces of milk or more likely have a large storage capacity and can maintain production with fewer expressions. That is definately the case for me - if DD doesn't nurse overnight, my first morning pump often yields about 15 or more ounces. Gheesh - I wish she would just nurse in the morning, but that's another story

    Thanks again! I'm going to cut out one session starting today and see how it goes for about a week or so, then take it from there. Thanks again for the article - it is reassuring and I wish I'd read it earlier!
    Last edited by @llli*worknpump; January 2nd, 2013 at 01:46 PM.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,949

    Default Re: Dropping pump sessions and supply...

    No problem, glad it was helpful! It doesn't sound like you're going to have trouble maintaining supply with fewer sessions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Dropping pump sessions and supply...

    Wow 8 times a day! I EPed with DD1 and I have a large capacity and was down to 4x a day at 3 months old (yeilding 35 ounces) and 3x a day at 5 months old. I stayed at 3x a day until she was 10 months. Once she slept through the night I never got up to pump overnight. If you haven't already drop some pumps, with that much in the freezer you'll be fine.
    Trying to keep up with a busy 3.5 year old Morgan Alexis born 11/5/09 at 6 lbs 5 oz and proud retired 1 year EP'er!

    Nursing our new addition Jordan Catherine born 10/21/12 at 7 lbs 14 oz.

    Total donated milk so far - 1,368 ounces!

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