Hello moms - I'm at my wits end! I am trying and trying and trying but I just CANNOT seem to increase my pumping output. I have been downing fenugreek, oats, goat's rue, more milk plus, lactation cookies, gallons of water .... I've tried my own pump (Ameda purely yours), a friends pump (medela PIS) and a rented hospital grade pump (Ameda Lact-E - though they told me it was 7/8 years old!) I tried replacing the membranes and even tried the pumpin' pals breast shields. I've tried pumping more often (every hour), longer (45 minutes), pumping before I feed her, after I feed her and pumping one side while feeding off the other, massage, compressions - all to no noticeable avail.
I've been able to see no more than a minor increase and it hasn't been consistent. When I am very lucky and haven't pumped in a while I am able to get almost an ounce out of both sides. In fact for about a week this stayed consistent, but my output seems to have dropped again. Last night after my LO had been sleeping for 4 hours I expected to get a solid pumping but STILL only got barely an ounce! Recently I get about 1/2 - 3/4 ounce on each side lately.
My LO is a little over 3 months. I feed on demand when I'm with her which is almost always (and also makes fitting in pumpings when I'm with her hard) I have been back to work for a little over a month now, but I am only working two days a week. She is with a nanny these two days for about 8 hours and the nanny is telling me that she is crying and crying for more milk. The other day she told me she took THREE 3 oz bottles and then napped for three hours. I know this is too much. I suspect the nanny is offering her too much milk, I know that a baby will take it from the bottle even if they don't "need" it. But the nanny claims she seems hungry still otherwise and doesn't sleep as well. Regardless, I do still suspect she does in fact need more than the 3oz bottles I prepare, but I am pumping all week day and night just to be able to have five 3oz bottles to send her with. I am not coming even close to pumping a full feeding, even when I pump at work.
She is my 2nd child. My son (now 5) was in NICU for six weeks and I pumped gallons of milk, only to end up donating it all because I simply didn't need to give him bottles! Now I need them and can't get the milk out!
I am in good shape, tired - but that is to be expected, eat well but maybe not enough? I am on the Nora B mini pill and am wondering if this could matter? i drink very occasionally now. One drink is all I can tolerate these days. I do feel it when I'm "full" of milk, but not bursting after it's been several hours like I was before. But I also remember this with my son - after a while my breasts never looked or felt full but there was plenty of milk.
Also, LO has been sleeping poorly at night the last week or two. I don't know if this is related or how.
I am going to tell the nanny to give her less because I simply can't produce. I don't want her to be hungry but I also don't want milk wasted just because she *will* take it. I am trying very hard not to turn to supplementing with formula. VERY hard - this would somewhat devastate me (And I do NOT mean that as a criticism or judgement on anyone who does, it's just a personal preference for me. We all do what we have to do)
I feel like I won't be able to stay on top of this. I do NOT feel that it is a supply issue, but rather a pumping output one. What can I do?! Any advice would be appreciated!
*edit* but what if it IS supply - how can I tell? Usually when I pump then feed, I can hear her swallowing still. But frankly she ALWAYS cries when I take her away from the breast, but it's usually fine after a pacifier and 20 seconds.