Re: Drastic drop in supply.... Help.
Mama, I don't mean to sound dubious about the reflux, because I know that reflux is real and can cause real distress for babies and their families. But when I hear that a mom has been pumping 9-11 oz in the morning and 5-6 oz during the day, I have to wonder if the oversupply angle has been thoroughly explored. What I mean is that the amounts you have been pumping are excessive. Babies typically take in only 2-4 oz of breastmilk at a feeding. When a mom can get significantly more than that, her supply is in excess of the baby's needs, and excess supply can cause symptoms that are often mistaken for reflux, including gas, discomfort, green poops, frequent and voluminous spit-up, and fussiness related to feedings. The important difference between reflux and oversupply is pain and weight gain. A baby who is in severe pain or who isn't gaining adequate weight- that's a baby who may need GI tests and medications. IDK about thickened feeds- on the one hand, they seem to be very commonly recommended. On the other, I am not sure how much data there is to back them up!
Okay, all that being said, let's talk about supply! Your pump amounts are now more in line with the average. Babies need only about 1.5 oz of milk per hour of separation, so women who pump in place of feedings often get just 2-4 oz every few hours. If the amounts you're currently pumping are not enough, here's what you do:
- Troubleshoot your pump- do you have the right size flanges? Is the pump in good working order?
- Make sure you have the right pump. A mom who is working full time needs a good double electric pump- think Medela Pump in Style, something in that range. If you have the or something like it and it isn't doing the job, consider renting a hospital grade pump (if financially feasible!)
- Increase your number of pumping sessions. A lot of moms find that in order to make up shortfalls from pump output at work, they need to pump after feedings when they are at home with their babies.
- Review your contraception choices. If you are using hormonal contraception, that could be putting a damper on your supply.
- Try milk-increasing herbs like fenugreek, blessed thistle, and oatmeal- but do not expect them to be more effective than increased time and effort with the pump.
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