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Thread: Pumping Too Much?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    East Syracuse, NY

    Default Pumping Too Much?

    Good morning!

    I first just want to say that I have found this forum EXTREMELY helpful over the past 5 weeks.

    I have a 5 week (and 3 day) old daughter - Alaina - that I am breastfeeding.
    The whole experience is new to me because my older daughter - Nora - (now 4 years old) never latched on, so I ended up pumping for a full year for her. I have flat nipples and she was just never able to latch on. Alaina, however, has been doing fairly well with breastfeeding.
    It's been much more difficult than I ever imagined and I have struggled with the idea of switching her to milk that I have pumped for her in a bottle, but the past couple of days seem to be going better and I feel like I am getting the hang of it finally -- I've had a hard time with the on demand aspect of nursing because I am such a "scheduler". But, I really am trying to keep in mind all of the positives of actually breastfeeding instead of giving her my milk in a bottle and also keeping in mind that (hopefully) it will continue to get easier.

    So, I have a couple of questions regarding pumping.
    When Alaina was born, I was pumping for a few minutes before she nursed in order to draw out my nipples for her.
    When she was 5 days old, I got mastitis -- the NP that I saw advised me that I should pump after she eats in order to empty the breasts.
    Since then, I have been pumping after she nurses. I have spaced it out so that I pump every 3 to sometimes 6 hours apart; I try to stick to around 4 hours in between, but sometimes have to go a little longer depending on when she nurses.
    I pump both breasts using my Medela Pump In Style for about 5 minutes at a time. I typically get anywhere between 5-10 oz per pumping session and at the end of the day end up with between 24-32 oz going in the freezer.
    I have a great stash built up in the freezer for when I return to work in a few weeks. I had a great supply when Nora was a baby as well -- I ended up donating a large portion of what I had.

    I am questioning whether I am pumping too much -- I find that, especially at night, my breasts get really full.

    Alaina typically only eats from 1 side, occasionally during the day she will have a little off of the other side as well, but that doesn't happen very often.

    Should I only be pumping the breast that she did not nurse from even if she did not "empty" the side she was nursing from?

    I guess I just worry about having my supply drop - especially since I'll be going back to work soon.

    Any thoughts/suggestions that you have are greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    Hi and welcome to the forum!
    It would be easy to just say YES, you are pumping too much! Because in the normal course of breastfeeding there is never a need to pump AT ALL until/unless there is separation from baby. Pumping ‘extra’ like this will give you overproduction which can potentially cause all kinds of problems and is also unnecessary, even for working moms. You want to make enough milk for baby. Not too much! I suspect (and hope) that the advice to pump from the np was meant to be temporary.

    But I do have a couple questions. How often does baby nurse? (how many times in 24 hours) Is baby gaining ok via only nursing? Is baby given bottles at all at this point? Any return of mastitis or other symptoms of overproduction? Is nursing and pumping comfortable for you?

    Do you have a plan in place for regular pumping during separations once you are back at work?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    BTW It just sunk in how much milk you get when you pump! I think you are making enough for twins at this point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    with LLLMeg. You are absolutely overpumping. A mom whose supply is well-matched to her baby's needs might be able to pump 1-2 oz after feeding, on a good day. Getting nothing at all from post-feeding pumps is normal and common. A typical baby takes about 19-30 oz per day of milk, maximum- so you are certainly making enough milk for twins!

    I think the NP got you into a troublesome relationship with your pump. Emptying your breasts after feeding is a good idea when you have mastitis- but that should be a short-term solution to a specific problem, not something you do every. single. time. you nurse once the mastitis is gone. That sort of pumping will just perpetuate overproduction, which will make nursing more difficult and lead you to feel uncomfortable and overfull on a frequent basis, and- here's the real kicker- will put you at increased risk for mastitis.

    Like LLLMeg, I am also curious about how nursing is going for you. When a mom has an extremely high supply, that can lead to nursing challenges like fast letdowns, lots of leaking, baby fussing during feedings, etc.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    Wow that's a lot of milk! I agree, if baby is nursing well stop pumping and only pump for comfort when needed and not until empty. I also EPed for a year and am now nursing and also found it is very easy to depend on that pump after having such a long relationship with it. I just had to put the pump down and depend on the baby to regulate everything (didn't figure that out until week 6-7). I would work hard at getting your supply down now before heading back to work. Good Luck!
    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    East Syracuse, NY

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    Hello ladies,

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. I had some technical difficulties signing back into the forum!

    To answer questions -- Alaina nurses A LOT. I haven't ever counted how many times, but I know it's either over or within the 8-12 times that she should be feeding. We use cloth diapers and I them everyday -- she goes through about 16-20 diapers per day with usually 3-4 poopy diapers, sometimes more.
    She hasn't had a doctor's appt since she was 2 weeks, so I'm not certain about weight gain. She had an appointment when she was 1 week old and then 2 weeks old. In that week's time, she had gained 10 oz. I know that she is outgrowing her newborn clothes, though.
    She was 6 lbs 9 oz at birth, 6 lbs 1 oz when we left the hospital. At 1 week she was 6 lbs 3 oz and then at 2 weeks 6 lbs 13 oz.

    We have introduced her to a bottle because that is what she is going to have to take when I go back to work on the 22nd. The amount she takes varies -- she gets a lot of it all over herself, so it's hard to say, but I put 4 oz in the bottle at a time and she will typically take between 1 and 3 oz.
    She doesn't take a bottle everyday -- I was having my husband or mom give her a bottle every couple of days just so that she can try to get the hang of it before I head back to work.

    I read the article about Oversupply and most of the little bullets (fussing at the breast, coughing, spitting up, sore nipples, feeding for only a few minutes, burping frequently) apply to our situation.
    I frequently get plugged ducts and treat them with a warm pack and massage.
    Nursing and pumping are sometimes uncomfortable -- especially let down.

    So, I take it I have created a monster....
    Do you suggest block feeding to decrease my supply before I go back to work?

    In the couple of hours that I was unable to sign back onto the forum, I actually started to block feed. I fed on the right breast for 2 hours every time she wanted to eat and now I have switched to the left side. I'm not sure if I was supposed to just stop pumping and start with this, but I wanted to get started as soon as possible to help rectify my oversupply.

    While she was working on the right side, the left was really uncomfortable. I used a cool pack and pumped for about 15 seconds to relieve some pressure and took some Ibuprofen. I guess my only concern about this while I am working on decreasing my supply is the possibility of a recurrence of mastitis.

    When I go back to work I am going back for a 32 hour week instead of 40. During my 8 hour shifts, I am hoping to pump 2-3 times and during my 4 hour shifts, I will pump once.

    The oversupply really makes sense and makes me feel better about all the trouble that I've been having with nursing. I really thought that everything we were going through was a hurdle that we would have to get through and it would get better with time -- I feel really bad now knowing that I caused all this by overstimulating my supply.

    Once I start block feeding, how long should it take for my supply to decrease? And do I continue to block feed forever or will I eventually go back to offering both breasts at each feeding?

    Thank you so much for any suggestions.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    Okay so it does sound like you have overproduction. However the overproduction was caused by the pumping it's possible you can get it under control at this point by not pumping while you are with your baby- so no more pumping until you're back at work.

    The most important thing to remember when block feeding is that you want to let baby still nurse as often as baby wants. And You want to avoid getting engorged.
    You will experience some fullness that is the point of block Feeding- the fullness is what will tell your body to stop making so much milk.
    But you're absolutely right that you need to be very careful about plugs and mastitis. That is why I suggest not block feeding at first -maybe at first, try to eliminate pumping while letting baby nurse frequently and letting baby nurse one side at a time as baby chooses for a few days first. Then if you keep having signs of overproduction and it is not getting better you could start block feeding. How long it will take to reduce your production is going to be very individual I would not even hazard a guess.

    In either case if you start feeling very uncomfortably full you want to try to get baby to nurse if baby will not nurse, you will probably need to pump just to comfort or hand express-again just to comfort-or simply massage milk out in the shower whatever so you can get the milk out at least to comfort.
    By the way since block feeding will reduce production it is very important to be sure that you really have overproduction -all signs seem to point to it however an additional sign would be fast weight gain in baby I think at least eight ounces a week. I will check on that later and get back to you.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    OK yes it's 8 ounces. As I said, it really sounds as if you have overproduction and based on output it sounds as if your baby is doing awesome. But there have been cases where block feeding was applied incorrectly and low production resulted. So best to proceed with reasonable caution.

    I would suggest reading this very short article: http://cwgenna.com/blockfeeding.html

    as well as this tip sheet: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ggrimacing.pdf

    and this longer article: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    BTW you are certainly not the first mom who pumped her way into overproduction! I did it myself with my oldest. But I also had overproduction with my next two as well...so it can just happen. Time and avoiding overstimulation of the breasts via unneeded pumping will go a long way to getting overproduction tamed. So try not to worry overmuch about this, and enjoy this precious time with dear baby Alaina.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    East Syracuse, NY

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    Thank you so much for the information.

    That tip sheet is great -- answered a bunch of questions I was about to ask.

    I appreciate your help.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    East Syracuse, NY

    Default Re: Pumping Too Much?

    So... I'm not sure what to do.

    I fed Alaina on the right breast for 2 hours (from 2-4) whenever she wanted to nurse. During that time, the left breast became really uncomfortable. I was thrilled when 4:00 came so that I could switch to that side.
    After reading your response to my post, I have alternated breasts, but have mostly stuck with the left breast for each feeding because it is quite full -- possibly engorged.
    At this point, I feel like both breasts are becoming engorged and I can feel several lumps (plugged ducts?). I have only pumped one time (for about 30 seconds on the left side) to try to relieve some pressure.
    I am coming up on "bed time" which is typically the longest stretch she will go sleeping (about 2.5-3 hours) and I am worried about how full/engorged I'll be when she wakes up to eat.
    The past hour or so has been frustrating for her and I because even though I have been sticking mainly to the left breast, it's still quite full and she is having a hard time latching.

    So, I am torn because I know that pumping will only stimulate my breasts more, but at the same time I am worried about how full my breasts are already....

    I'm sorry!

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