Hi everyone, I've contacted doctors and lactation consultants but haven't heard back from anyone. Meanwhile, each pumping output gets more depressing. I apologize for the long post but I want to give all the details since I've tried so many things.
My son is 5 and a half months and I've been exclusively breastfeeding this entire time. My husband and I experimented when he was 3 months and determined he needed three 4.5 ounce bottles while I'm at work and he is at daycare. Aside from the 3 bottles, he nurses when he wakes, 1-2 times before bed, and 2-3 times in the night (for a total of 7-9 feedings each day).
I've been pumping at least 1 bottle since he was 1 month old and used to produce way more milk than I needed but since he started daycare at 3 months, I've been making less and less with time and he wakes more at night to eat (he used to be able to go for 6-7 hours without waking). When I don't make enough, I use milk from my freezer stash to make up the difference and/or drop him off late/pick him up early so I can feed him myself and only have to give the daycare 2 bottles.
I've replaced different parts of my pump, tried different sized flanges and different settings (although I'm still not sure which are best). I've been taking fenugreek 3 times a day and recently started taking milk thistle. I eat oatmeal regularly. I seem to only be pumping enough for 3 ounce bottles but I'm scared to decrease the amount he gets at daycare.
In these past two months, it did seem like either he or I was sick, including a recent bout of food poisoning for me, so certainly this may have contributed to me making less. Also, initially, the daycare was overfeeding him which certainly didn't help my supply but it was only a few days that this happened and almost a month ago now. In general, I've done a lot of troubleshooting to increase my supply but I'm not even seeing a slow increase.
Despite all of the above, on weekends, my son seems to be fine getting enough from me and can go a bit longer between feedings than he can with the bottles.
I should say that when I was getting the most milk, it was because I was pumping right after feeding him in the morning, then doing two more sessions with 3 hours between them. I can't do that anymore and get to work on time so I pump every 2.5 hours to get in the 3 sessions (which is how long he seems to be able to go at daycare between bottles). The only other piece of this puzzle is that my son is very difficult to put to sleep and has not been sleeping much at daycare. If my husband watches him at home, he can get him to nap and then sometimes we only need 2 bottles instead of 3 while I'm away.
He'll probably start solids next month which may help but I'm not sure how much and I'd like to avoid having to add formula to the mix when we've come this far without it. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!