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Thread: How much should I get pumping?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Default How much should I get pumping?

    Hi all,

    I have been back at work for about 1.5 months now and my baby is 14 weeks. We breastfeed everyday when I'm not working and my son is gaining weight well.

    I only work 2 12 hour shifts a week, so my baby takes a bottle of 3 ounces every 3 hours. I pump about 3-4 times in the full 12 hours, but am shy anywhere between 2-3 ounces of what he is eating during my time away. My freezer stash is dwindling! So, during the week, I am trying to pump an extra session once a day to make up for the difference.

    My question is, how much is "normal" to pump in between feedings. My son eats every 3 hours, so I pump at around 1.5-2 hours in. I used to get 1-2 ounces at a time during these sessions, but now I am barely getting an ounce. I have been doing massage during and just started taking Fenugreek a couple days ago. How much should I be getting? I am started to get sad about needing to give him formula soon.

    I would appreciate any advice or tips or to know if this is normal or not. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    According to Kellymom.com it is normal to pump anywhere from 1/2 ounce and two ounces if you are also nursing. In other words you would likely get more during a separation like while at work.
    Really you could look at it this way -it would be normal to get nothing when you pump if you're nursing your baby all day. Because in that case you anything you pump is extra. But of course our bodies are always making milk so usually you will be able to pump something
    So how many ounces total does your baby have during your workday when you are separated? would it possible for that last bottle be held off on until you can nurse? also is the three hours an estimate on how often your baby cues or is given a bottle when you are not there, or are you scheduling feeds?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    What kind of pump are you using? Is it new or used? How long are you pumping for when you are at work? Are you on hormonal birth control? All of these can affect your pump output.

    It's also common for moms to have a relative oversupply early on, which then regulates to match baby's intake around 3 months - that is, right about at the point you are now. If you add an extra pumping session every day, though, that should stimulate a supply increase so that you can match what your baby needs while you're at work - because it sounds like baby is taking 4 bottles but sometimes you are only pumping 3 times in your shift? Which may lead to the mismatch, as well as the fact that the pump is not necessarily as efficient at extracting milk and stimulating supply as baby is.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    While at work, my son is taking 3 ounces every 3 hours for a totally of 12 ounces (4 feedings). We kinda feed him on a schedule, but he does show signs of hunger around that 3 hour mark. Should He be eating less often? Should I be trying to pump extra at the same time every day, like in the morning?

    I am using a Medela double electric pump that is brand new with my baby. I have changed out the membranes and parts to see if that is it. I know pumping is not as efficient, but I was getting more before, like even at 2 months old. At work, I am using a hospital grade Medela (since I work at a hospital). I get around 4-5 ounces in the morning and 2-3 every session after.

    Another thing I was thinking, my baby just started sleeping more through the night in the last few weeks. Would this make my supply decrease during the day even if he is still eating well during the day? I am thinking maybe I need to pump at night, I just hate to wake up in the middle of the night to pump.

    Thank you for your advice!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jnew8 View Post
    While at work, my son is taking 3 ounces every 3 hours for a totally of 12 ounces (4 feedings). We kinda feed him on a schedule, but he does show signs of hunger around that 3 hour mark. Should He be eating less often?
    It's unusual for breastfed babies to eat LESS often than every 3 hours. And many eat more often. So I don't think it would be a good idea to feed him less often. The best way is to feed baby when he cues. You do want to avoid overfeeding which can happen with the bottle - but it doesn't sound like that's the case here.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jnew8 View Post
    Should I be trying to pump extra at the same time every day, like in the morning?
    This may help. Milk supply is often greatest in the morning. And I feel like my body somehow "knows" when it's pumping time.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jnew8 View Post
    I am using a Medela double electric pump that is brand new with my baby. I have changed out the membranes and parts to see if that is it. I know pumping is not as efficient, but I was getting more before, like even at 2 months old. At work, I am using a hospital grade Medela (since I work at a hospital).
    This is all good.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jnew8 View Post
    I get around 4-5 ounces in the morning and 2-3 every session after.
    So you're more or less matching baby's intake? But sometimes pumping less frequently than baby is eating?


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jnew8 View Post
    Another thing I was thinking, my baby just started sleeping more through the night in the last few weeks. Would this make my supply decrease during the day even if he is still eating well during the day? I am thinking maybe I need to pump at night, I just hate to wake up in the middle of the night to pump.

    Thank you for your advice!
    Definitely nighttime nursing helps with daytime supply! (I always would tell myself this when getting up at night to nurse.) So yes, it probably would help to pump at night, but it may be easier to try to dreamfeed baby during the night. A lot of babies will nurse without fully waking up, and that way you don't have to get up, haul out the pump, etc. - but rather just nurse in bed lying down with baby next to you in the side-lying position. Anyway, if you do go the pumping route, pumping right before your bedtime may be less disruptive to your rest than getting up in the middle of the night.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    OK so 12 ounces over a 12 hour separation is not too much, I just wanted to make sure baby is not being overfed via bottle which is common.

    We kinda feed him on a schedule, but he does show signs of hunger around that 3 hour mark. Should He be eating less often?
    if you mean you are nursing on a scedule-even a 'relaxed' one, I strongly suggest STOP doing that. When you are with baby, nurse on cue- on request, or just becasue you feel like it. Nurse when baby wants, however long as baby wants. This is how we are designed-to work in tandem with baby. If you are usually nursing at the earliest cues, that may result in baby nursing slightly more often. Which is good for milk production. Or it may stay the same. Some babies do nurse like clockwork but it's unusual!

    For when you are at work, it is also best to cue feed. Yes it is now considered best to bottle feed on cue because that is more like nursing, and it is nursing that is normal. So you want bottle feedign to mimic nursing as much as possible. This includes when, how much milk at a time, and how long eating takes. See this document for more info: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

    As far as nightime goes, yes nursing at night is really helpful for production especially when there are daytime separations, But you only have the separations twice a week, so...your situation is a bit unique. What you are really aiming for is baby nursing pretty often overall. And on dasy with the long separations, baby ay want to nurse more at night and that is fine and normal.

    So longer sleep stretches (what are you talking- like 6 hours or so?) at night may be fine as long as baby is nursing very frequently the rest of the time. A 2 month old baby would be typically be nursing a minimum of 8 times a 24 hour day. More often is fine.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2013
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    Thank you!!

    I do feel like when I am pumping at work, I am matching my son's intake. I just am unable to always pump the same number of times. Usually every 4 hours rather then every 3. And I have found even when pumping when I get home, if I miss his last feeding, I pump and still don't get a lot! And it's weird because at this point it will have been about 4 hours or more since the last pump session. But this time I am using my own pump and not the hospital Medela. It makes me think something is wrong with my pump, but it appears to all be working correctly.

    I am going to try to pump or dream feed at night and see if that helps some. I also will try pumping in the morning more. I am continuing with the Fenugreek.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2013
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    I would say that I am conscious of feeding him around every 3 hours, but I do watch for the cues and will feed more often if he wants. He always seems to get hungry around 3 hours too.

    His nighttime nursing is unpredictable thus far. He usually sleeps about 6-7 hours after his last nighttime feeding (8pm-2am or 3am) and then every 3 hours after that.

    Are there any other supplements that LLL recommends?

  9. #9
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    Are there any other supplements that LLL recommends?
    No, we keep out of formula suggestions because it is just not our area of expertise. When baby requires supplemental feedings beyond what mom can provide I usually suggest mom discuss options with baby’s pediatrician.

    It can be very hard to maintain appropriate production after mom returns to work. Pumping is just not the same as baby nursing at the breast. While you only work 2 times a week, these are very long shifts. On the other hand, there is more you could try to increase pump output if you like.

    I would strongly suggest trouble shooting your pump. Yes, the pump IS the problem in many cases. Change the membranes, check the connections-you may be able to find someplace that tests pump suction near you. If your breasts have ‘softened’ some, (or a lot) as is common (and normal) by around this age, then breast shell size might be too large now and that harms suction.

    You could also consider renting a hospital grade pump again. You could consider taking a galactagogue yourself to see if that helps matters.
    Also whenever possible, add a pumping session at work. kellymom.com has good tips for increasing pump output.

    Do other working and pumping mamas here have suggestions for jnew8?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    Default Re: How much should I get pumping?

    I work in health care, and I know how hard it is to break away to pump. I would say I have just been a real stick in the mud about what I have to do, and how often I have to do it. My coworkers get told at the start of every shift that I will be pumping at w, x, y, and z times, and patient care is handled around that.

    I have to pump every two hours to meet my baby's needs when I am at work. I am one of three pumping moms at work right now, and the only one who has to pump this frequently. I had a lot of discussions about this before I went back to work, and when I went back to work the discussions continued. I was scared to death to put my foot down about it, but I did, and it went better than I expected.

    Do you think you can push to keep your sessions every three hours? I think that would really help you out!

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