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Thread: decreased output

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default decreased output

    Hello, this is my first posting here so bear with me I have a 4 month old infant and I work part-time. While I am away from my baby I pump twice a day and he receives 2 five ounce bottles at daycare. I returned to work when he was 8 weeks old and all has always gone well until recently. I typically had been pumping 5-6 oz in the AM at my first pumping session, and then at least 5 at lunchtime. But the past week or so my pumping output has been decreased. One day I only got 4 oz in the morning and 3 1/2 oz at lunchtime. Over the past couple of days my DS has also seemed to want to feed more frequently or been fussy after feedings. What gives? I have read about supply dropping after the return of your cycle, which for me happened last week around the time this all started.

    I guess my question is, what can I do about this, and should I be sending to daycare what I'm pumping or do I need to get frozen milk out and make bigger bottles when I don't pump 5 oz? I have no idea what to send with him. I nursed my first DS for 6 months, 4 years ago, but don't recall having these sorts of problems.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: decreased output

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    So, five ounces is a lot to give baby at one time. A typical meal at the breast is 2 or 3 ounces, maybe 4. It sounds like this hasn't been an issue because you were able to pump more than average and keeping up with baby, but now your supply may be regulating toward a more normal level and you aren't able to keep up. How many hours are you apart from your baby? The rule of thumb is 1 to 1.5 ounces of milk per hour apart. So if you're only apart for 5 hours, for example, 10 ounces would be a lot (I'm not sure whether you're part-time is full days a few days a week, or partial days every day). The problem with baby being overfed is not only does it make it hard for you to keep up, but it also means baby gets full when apart from you, and has less motivation to nurse when you are together. So you might want to consider slowly backing down on your bottle size.

    Your period can also have an effect. Usually it's the days leading up to the period and the first couple days, and then supply returns. Are you on any kind of hormonal birth control?

    Here's some more information about how much milk baby needs, as well as bottle-feeding the breastfed baby (there are breastfeeding-friendly ways to offer the bottle):
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/e...reastfed-baby/
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  3. #3
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    Oct 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: decreased output

    I'll update later when I'm not on my way to work but we're apart from 6 am-4 pm. I always thought 5 oz seemed like a lot too but can't even remember how I even got to start sending that big of a bottle there. I'll post more later

  4. #4
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: decreased output

    Thanks for the info. So it is a 10 hour separation - in that case the total amount of milk baby is getting is actually about right, but you might still want to split it into three smaller bottles, which would match better with what baby would be getting at the breast. It's easy for baby to get more from the bottle than at the breast, which is why you want to pay attention (or have your caregiver pay attention) to giving the bottle in a breastfeeding-friendly way. Are you using slow-flow nipples?

    Most moms with a 10 hour separation will have to pump three times in that time, so if pump output continues to be an issue, is there a possibility of adding in a third pumping session?

    Also, consider whether your pump might be the issue. Sometimes just changing out the membranes can help, and or valves/flanges. Are you using the same pump as the first baby, or do you have a new pump? Pumps do have a shelf life, so if you're using an old pump, keep an eye out for it wearing down. (That said, I used the same pump with my first and third babies, without any problems, so I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a new pump if you are still using the same one, just to keep an eye out for it.)

  5. #5
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    Oct 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: decreased output

    Thanks for your response, sorry I'm just now responding! Yes, we use slow flow nipples. I had to have a talk with my daycare provider because she had given my son 6 oz at the one feeding last week. After your response I realized I could just add in another pumping session if I didn't seem to be pumping enough in one session. I explained that to her, that if he seemed hungry still that we'd add in a 3rd bottle and make them all smaller, and she seemed to understand what I was saying. Last week my output seemed to match what it was pretty closely. There were times I came up a little short, but it was when I was pumping at 3 hours rather than 4 (my schedule isn't always flexible). I have been trying to pump when I know they're giving him a bottle at daycare and that seems to be working pretty well.

    Thanks for all your help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
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    Default Re: decreased output

    most moms need to pump MORE times than baby eats to keep up - 2-3 oz per pump session is pretty average. and it can get harder over time - a lot of people see a classic "pump slump" sometime between 8-10 months. solution is the same - more demand, like adding in even a 4th pump for a little bit, or doing a power pump weekend where you pump after every time baby nurses, or adding a pump in the morning or wee hours when supply tends to be highest. hang in there!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2013
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: decreased output

    Very good to know! This is my last baby & I only made it to 6 months of EBFing my first son (due to meds, not supply) so I am so determined to make it to 1 year with this one. When faced with any kind of challenge I tend to start panicking thinking it may be the end of our bfing relationship or that I may need to supplement. Then I become rational and realize all is ok

    Thanks Auderey & good luck with baby #2
    Proud mama to 2 boys

    DS # 1- 4 years old, EBF for 6 months

    Currently EBFing DS #2 age 4 months

    BF goal: 1 year

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,882

    Default Re: decreased output

    thanks and good luck to you too!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

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