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Thread: Diminishing supply :-(

  1. #1

    Default Diminishing supply :-(

    My LO is 5.5 months old and I have been back to work full time since a week before she turned 3 months. I pump 3 times at work (that is all I'm allowed) for 20 minutes each time. I was pumping about 12-15 ounces between the 3 pumps. Over the last week and a half I can barely get 6-8 ounces out between the 3 pumps! I don't know what is going on! I petrified that my supply is drying up. I nurse in the morning before work and when I get home from work. I then nurse usually once more before bedtime and once or twice during the night. I nurse exclusively on the weekends except for one bottle that daddy gives her each night.

    We started her on babyfood last week. She is also supplemented with 8-10 ounces of formula because I can't pump enough since her growth spurt at 4 months-ish.

    Any thoughts on what I can do to up my supply? I'm so sad that this could be happening! I'm not ready yet.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    When are you giving the 8-10 ounces of formula? The rule of thumb is 1 - 1.5 ounces of milk per hour apart. So if you're apart from baby for 10 hours during the day, the 12-15 ounces you were pumping previously would be just right. If, in addition, you were also giving the 8-10 ounces of formula during that time, your baby was getting a TON of milk/formula during the day. Which would mean less nursing when you are together (from being over-full), less stimulation of your breasts, and a drop in supply. Are you using paced feeding techniques when bottle-feeding baby?

    Another consideration is the pump you are using. What kind of pump, is it new or used, and what kind of maintenance have you performed? Often replaceable parts, like membranes at a minimum, but sometimes also valves, need to be changed out at a regular frequency, even if you don't detect a noticeable decrease in suction.

    Anything else new going on? New birth control, particularly hormonal? Period on the way? Could you be pregnant? Over-the-counter medications?

    In general, the solution to problems of decreased supply is to increase demand - more nursing, more pumping, or both. Since you can't pump more at work, pumping in the car during your commute, adding in a dream feed or a pump before you go to bed, or a pump after putting baby to bed before you go to bed, even if you are "pumping dry."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,262

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    with the PP, as usual!
    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!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    I leave at 645am and pick her up at 615pm, so I am gone a long time. Grandma gives her a 5-7oz bottle every 3 hours, so 3 times while I'm at work. She has tried to give less (we put off the organic formula) but she cries for more. She also gets 4oz of formula before bed from daddy. This has been the routine and it has been working fine until a week ago.

    I jave the Ameda Purely Yours double elctric pump and I got it new before I delivered. I have replaced the valves once, but I can do it again. I need to get batteries to pump on the way home but then she will be fussy trying to nurse when I get home. If it's slow from being emptied she gets cranky about it. She is definitely not malnourished.

    I have a long day ans getting up more in the night will be so much more exhausting, but I can try. I drink a lot of water and gatorage. Oats out the wazoo and I just started fenugreek today... but I dont know how much to take.

    No changes at all in anything.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,262

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    I had an APY, and I personally found it to be underpowered. A good pump for a mom who responds well to pumping, has a great supply, and doesn't have to rely on the pump all that much. It's what I would want if I were working part-time, maybe pumping 1-2 x per day and nursing all the rest.

    Would it be possible for you to upgrade to a better machine? I'm thinking Medela Pump in Style or Hyegeia Enjoye, maybe even a few weeks with a hospital-grade rental while you work to boost supply.

    When does grandma give the last bottle? If baby were a little more hungry, she might not mind that you were a bit more empty from pumping on the way home...
    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!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    She gives the last bottle anywhere between 430 and 530 depending upon how the others are spaced.

    I can probably get the Medela pump in style, I used my friends for a month before I started using mine. I I'll try it. My pump has been working fine though. I really hate this!

    I love bfing! I hate pumping, but it's worth the hassle.

    Thanks for your input.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    614

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    5-7 oz bottles are really quite large feedings for a breastfed baby. Any chance you could try smaller bottles with her? Maybe more frequently? She might be okay with fewer ounces overall if she is getting them in more frequent feeds. Most feeds for a breastfed baby average about 2-4 oz at a time, so she might be looking for smaller, more frequent feeds, perhaps?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    miles from nowhere
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    11,107

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    I totally agree that 5-7 ounces is way more than a breastfed baby needs in one sitting.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  9. #9

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    Well it kind of just worked out that way. If she fusses for food early she is fed early, but it rarely happens. With her naps, it just works out to 3 hours or so for feedings. Short of waking her up to feed her in smaller amounts more frequently I don't know how else to shorten them? She is a big baby, a hungry big baby. She weighs 20.5 lbs and is almost 27 inches long at 5.5 months old. :-)

    So, the supply issue...is there anything else you guys can suggest to increase my supply other than getting her to eat less?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    614

    Default Re: Diminishing supply :-(

    I think you've gotten all of the usual good suggestions for managing supply from the previous posters! Nursing more is the single best thing you can do...any chance you can nurse before bed instead of dad giving the bottle of formula? That might help give your breasts needed stimulation to bring your supply back up.

    I will say that the size of the baby doesn't mean you need to feed the baby more total ounces. It should still be 1 to 1.5 oz per hour of separation, no matter how big or small the baby is. My daughter is a giant baby, above 99th percentile for weight, high 90s for length. And over our 10 hour daily separation for work, she drinks 5 bottles. One 3 oz, four 2 oz bottles. At 5.5 months, she was doing 6 two oz bottles, for a daily average intake of 12 oz.

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