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Thread: Losing my milk so frustrating

  1. #1

    Default Losing my milk so frustrating

    I have a 6 month old. I nurse and pump. I have been back to work for four months now. In the beginning i produced a lot of milk. I was set and stone that i was not going to nurse but once the doctors put her on my chest well that is all it took. But knowing that i was going back to work when my baby was two months old and talking to other mothers who worked in the same work force that i do i decided to do what they did and was to pump every four hours religiously and nurse whenever i could. I work 5 3-11 shift and work for the mentally handicapped. So when i came home from the hospital i nursed as much as i could and then two weeks in i started pumping every four hrs. I ended up saving/freezing over 200 6oz bags.
    When i went back to work i saw a little decrease in amount of milk i pumped. Now at six months i am barly getting 1/2-1oz per breast while pumping. I can not keep up with my baby as she eats 5-6oz per feeding. Lets just say thank god i had a huge stock pile. I have to supplement sometimes when i do not have a bag thawed out in time. Just within the last couples days my production is really bad. Lets just say im very emotional about it. I need help. These are things i have done but seen no increase. Drink 16oz water every 1-2hrs, eating healthy and snacking, taking fenugreek, nursing whenever i can, Pumping for 20 mins each session. Please help my goal is to breastfeed/pump for a year.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Losing my milk so frustrating

    What sort of pump are you using? Was it new when you started? How does pumping feel- is it comfortable, do you feel like there's a ever a loss of suction? And- maybe most importantly- how often are you pumping during the times when you are separated from the baby? Every 4 hours, as in the beginning? Are you capable of adding in additional sessions at work? If you're not pumping at night, can you add in sessions in addition to nursing the baby? Any chance of pregnancy, or are you taking a new form of hormonal contraception?

    Sorry for all the questions- but they are all the things that can impact supply for moms who pump. If you can answer the questions, there may be something that pops out as a potential problem- or solution!
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Losing my milk so frustrating

    I'll also add a couple questions. How many of those 5-6 oz bottles is baby getting when you are separated? 5-6 oz is a lot for baby to get at one feeding - 2 or 3 or maybe 4 oz is what baby usually gets at the breast, and bottles should mimic that. And if, overall, baby is getting lots of milk when you are separated, she will be less interested in nursing when you are together, which is also really important for keeping up your supply. How many times per 24 hours is baby nursing with you? Does baby sleep a long stretch at night? Just because a baby WILL drink 5-6 oz from the bottle, does not means she NEEDS that much at one time. The rule of thumb is 1 - 1.5 oz per hour apart.

    I am also wondering about your pump. Have you tried simple measures like changing out membranes, possibly valves/flanges as well? There might be a small crack or hole that you cannot see that is decreasing the effectiveness of the pump. And pumps are machines that can wear down - so even if there is no hole or crack, some pumps just don't hold up that well when being used for full-time working-type pumping.

    Another possibility, if this dramatic decrease has only been going on for a short time, is that your period may be about to arrive. That can cause a temporary dip in supply that returns after your period has been going on for a couple days.

    Regardless, as mommal says, the solution to most low supply problems is more demand - more nursing and/or more pumping.

    It's great that you've been breastfeeding for 6 months!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Losing my milk so frustrating

    I have a Medela advance. I did call a month ago because I thought maybe it was the pump so Medela wet through the pump with me and thy had me tear it apart and put back together and there was nothing I could see wrong. Good suction. Well when in nurse my baby usually ends up falling asleep or nurses for 10 mins each side and is satisfied. When she has a bottle and there is 4 oz in the bottle she drinks it all burps and screams for more so that why we upped it to 5-6oz. I work 3-11 so I get home at 1130 pump then get up at 5 and pump then my baby will wake up between 6-7 nurse her then pump at 9 then nurse her at 10am then pump at 1 then she gets a bottle at 145 then she goes to day care. Then at work I pump at 5 and 9. With my line of work I can not have another break to go pump. This is all good information thank you for commenting!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Losing my milk so frustrating

    I know sleep is great but going 6.5 hrs at night really seems excessive to me. Can you nurse your daughter once during the night or pump? What if you nursed her when you were together vs pumping? Can you get a slow flow bottle and have whoever is feeding her give more frequent pauses and burp breaks? Most breastfed babies take about 24 oz of milk in 24 hrs.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Losing my milk so frustrating

    I agree with krystine. It sounds like you are mainly relying on the pump to maintain supply - only nursing twice in 24 hours, did I get that right? The pump is often not as effective as nursing in maintaining supply which may be why your supply has gone down over time. Could you dream feed baby when you get home at 11 pm? And why are you pumping at 1 pm rather than nursing her at that time, since she is getting a bottle at 1:45? You could try to nurse her at 1 pm, then she can get a bottle later. And do try the paced feeding techniques. Here are some links, including resources to print out and share with baby's caregivers:

    Some moms freeze or offer milk in bottles in 3 oz portions, for example, with 1 oz frozen "toppers" as needed. That way the caregiver has to pause after 3 oz and thaw the 1 oz topper - by then maybe baby is no longer screaming. Also important to try other methods than putting baby into a food coma to try to soothe her. Holding her, walking around with her, bouncing/motion, swing etc. Or a pacifier if she will take it and is primarily wanting to suck (but avoid using the paci too much when you are with her, because you do want to encourage "comfort nursing" to stimulate supply).

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