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Thread: Pumping at work and oversupply issues

  1. #1

    Default Pumping at work and oversupply issues

    Hi everyone,
    I have a 5 month old EBF baby boy and recently returned to working full time. I have been pumping while at work, and breastfeeding on evenings/weekends. I have always tended toward having an oversupply problem and overactive letdown but thought I had it under control since he was about 8 or 10 weeks old. But now it seems to be coming back with a vengeance! Is it possible it is from pumping at work? I pumped 5 days last week and then over the weekend the oversupply came back (by Sunday). The baby could only eat for 3-4 min a session yesterday because of it and probably only got foremilk. I have a hospital grade Medela Symphony pump at work and was pumping about 4 oz every 3 hours for a total of about 12 oz. I figured that would be what he would eat while I am gone, as I am away 10-11 hours a day but some days he eats a little less, like only 8 or 9 oz. Am I pumping too much or is the pump too strong? I am so uncomfortable today and am going to have to pump 4x to relieve the pressure, but will make sure to not pump more than 12 oz total since I don’t want to make the problem worse. Most of the time, I would be able to pump much more and have to stop before the milk stops coming out. I also have a Medela pump in style that I was using at home, and never got the same amount of milk with it, which is why I am wondering if it is the hospital pump that is causing the oversupply. I should also mention that I am only using one breast to breastfeed with because of a prior surgery so you can imagine how full it gets holding all that milk!

    Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Sorry this is so long. I am thinking of just carrying the pump in style to work everyday and using that instead of the Symphony pump to see if that changes things.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,917

    Default Re: Pumping at work and oversupply issues

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum! If you're pumping more than LO would normally be eating, then that would tend to stimulate an increase in supply. That said, the rule of thumb is 1 - 1.5 ounces/hour apart, so 8-9 ounces is on the low end if you are away 10-11 hours. However, if baby is reverse cycling to some extent, and nursing more when he is with you, then the combination of him reverse cycling AND you pumping more during the day could lead to the increased supply, which may be all the more obvious if it's all concentrated in one breast. I like your idea of switching to your pump in style. I also have oversupply but had less problems with it when I was using the Freestyle as compared to the Pump in Style; in my experience the Freestyle is a less efficient pump than the PISA. (But I still like my PISA better, because I can pump more quickly.) So in your case using the Pump in Style would be the step down from the Symphony. The other thing you might want to try is spacing out your pumping sessions a bit more. Of course, if you start coming up short on expressed milk, then you'll want to ramp up your pumping again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Pumping at work and oversupply issues

    I have similar issues, though a younger baby. My DS is 3 1/2 months old, and I've been back to work since he was 5 weeks. I pump every three hours while away from him, but he isn't taking very much when I am gone. This, coupled with him reverse cycling means that I still frequently feel full. Unlike most women, I think the pump stimulates my milk production -- early in the week I pump less and then as the week goes on I pump more and more. I'm fine with stockpiling (I had a real drop in supply at 8-9 months with my first, and am afraid of that again) but I cut back on the time I pump each session. It's a delicate balance. I'm not sure I have specific advice but I'm just commiserating.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pumping at work and oversupply issues

    Thanks for your responses! Starting today I am going to use the pump in style instead of the hospital grade pump and see if that makes a difference. Maybe I just respond TOO well to the pump. Feeling less engorged today than yesterday but still too full. My milk supply is so up and down! A week ago I was worried that it was decreasing and now it is too much again. I wish it would regulate. The baby could be reverse cycling a bit since he wasn't eating a lot during the day but I think he is getting better with the bottle. yesterday he ate 11 oz while I was gone, which is pretty good for him. I wonder if I should see if my mom can offer him another bottle during the day to get more in him.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,917

    Default Re: Pumping at work and oversupply issues

    Well, ultimately whatever he eats during the day you have to pump. So as long as you feel he's getting enough (good number of wet and poopy diapers, weight gain is fine) I don't think you need to necessarily push the bottle feeding, you know? Because it just means more pumping work for you. I do think some moms have an exaggerated response to the pump - myself included.

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