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Thread: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Colorado
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    Default Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    Hello,

    My dd is 4.5 mo. Currently she is taking 3 bottles a day 3-4 hrs between feeds during the day at the sitter (6:30am to 5:30pm). She has been taking 6 oz at a time, which I realize is a lot but she screams and screams if she gets less. I have been back to work since she was 3 months old. I have been pumping 4x a day at work and was able to supply her 3 bottles plus have about 3-6 oz extra per day to save in freezer. This week I decided to start pumping only 3x a day at work, which is much nicer and easier to keep up with while working. However i'm now concerned that I will start losing supply? I can pump exactly enough for her bottles for the next day right now but no longer have that "bank" pump session. Is this ok to do long term? Won't she start to need more oz while i'm away? How will I build enough at that time? Should I add back in the 4th pumping session while away?

    We always nurse whenever I am with her, and I do not pump on weekends, just nurse.

    Thank you for any advise. I am super paranoid about losing my supply.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum!

    So first, I agree, 6 oz is a lot at one time - a typical meal at the breast is 2 or 3 or maybe 4 oz. Have you had your sitter try paced feeding techniques? Here are some links including stuff you can print out and go over with her:
    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

    One suggestion would be to feed baby 3 oz, then have a delay - try other techniques to see if she will calm down - a pacifier if she will take one, walking around with her, etc. If she is still screaming, give another oz, then try again to see if she will calm down by other means. Another thing is that going 3-4 hours between feeds is long for a breastfed baby (especially 4 hours) - I'm wondering if she is getting so desperately hungry that she then finds it hard to calm down after a few oz. Perhaps actually moving the feeds a bit closer together will help lessen the amount at each feed.

    So overall how many ounces is baby getting? The rule of thumb is between 1 and 1.5 ounces per hour - so in your case, between 11 oz and 17 oz or so. If baby is getting more than that, again, I would encourage trying to get that down - because it is hard to keep up with that much pumping, and also it means baby will be less motivated to nurse when you are together, which also will make your supply take a hit.

    Most mothers would probably pump 4 times in an 11 hour separation. It sounds like you have a degree of oversupply so you may get away with less than that. However, a lot of moms do find that pumping gets harder as the year goes on - and starting at 8 or 9 months or so, some moms really struggle to keep up. There's no way to predict whether that will be the case for you, but some moms do choose to pump a little more early on and put some milk in the freezer in case they do hit that "pump slump."

    It's not the case, however, that baby will need more milk as the year goes on. After the first month, breastfed babiess drink a fairly constant amount of milk for the first year, averaging around 24 oz, but between 19 and 30 oz or so.

    It's wonderful that you are breastfeeding your baby and giving her expressed milk despite your very long working hours! Keep up the great work!
    Last edited by @llli*bfwmomof3; January 22nd, 2014 at 05:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    Thank you for your reply. During the day while I am away she is getting 18oz, we have a morning nursing session b/f I go to work and then 2 evening sessions (sometimes 1 feeding in the middle of the night but this is rare). So if we assume she is getting 6oz at those nursing sessions she is getting 36oz a day. Whoa! I haven't done the math really b/f this. I consistently can pump 6oz at each pumping session, with the exception of the morning pumping session which I can get anywhere from 9-12oz total depending on how close to the pumping session her morning feed was. Maybe i'm dealing with a little over supply? Does over supply need to be corrected? She is in the 99th% but it is both for height and weight so dr. wasn't concerned at all. She is generally a happy baby.

    I think I will just stick with the 3 pumping sessions so long as I maintain the 18oz, I can pack her bottles in 5oz's and give the caregiver any "extra" I had just in case to use as needed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    Potential problems from oversupply:
    - fast letdowns, which can make nursing challenging for the baby
    - higher risk of plugged ducts and mastitis

    Oversupply does have an upside, which is that pumping is generally a lot easier. This can be a real blessing for a working mom! So if it were me, I wouldn't try to correct this unless you're having a lot of problems like discomfort from engorgement, plugged ducts, or the baby fussing and pulling off while nursing. Although 9-12 oz at a time is a LOT of milk!!!

    The one problem I see here is that your baby generally nurses just 3 times a day, and is most often sleeping through the night. That means that she gets most of her needs met from the bottle, and she's not getting a huge amount of practice time at the breast, and that could lead to her giving up breastfeeding in favor of bottle-feeding. Also, you're generally going all night without nursing, and while low supply obviously isn't a problem for you now, many moms who rely predominantly on the pump do eventually hit a "pump slump" later in their babies' first year. To reduce these 2 risks, I would do the following:
    - nurse as much as possible when home with baby
    - wake baby for a dream feed right before you go to bed
    - sleep in close proximity to your baby, so that you hear her stirring and catch her at those moments when she is most likely to be a little wakeful and a little more interested in nursing
    - talk to the caregiver about paced bottle feeding and the amounts in the bottles- a little less milk in the daytime bottles might result in more nursing at night
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mamameg54 View Post
    So if we assume she is getting 6oz at those nursing sessions she is getting 36oz a day.
    6 oz would be a lot to be getting at the breast in one session. If she is only getting 4 oz at the nursing sessions, which would be more typical, then she would be getting 30 oz a day which is within the usual range.

    I agree with mommal, 3 nursing sessions a day is on the low side - if you do decide to cut back on pumping, it would be especially prudent to increase the amount you nurse.

    I will also just share my perspective since I am a full-time working mom with oversupply. I almost always pumped more in a day than my baby drank even though I was pumping fewer times than most nursing mothers would. By the time my baby hit 9 months, I had enough milk in the freezer to last for the rest of the 1st year even if I did no more pumping - so that was the point where I started to very slowly cut back. I am prone to plugged ducts but I had no issues with plugged ducts until after the first year, when I pump weaned (even though, as I said, it was a very gradual pump weaning, over 3 months) - then I started getting them quite frequently and even had to start pumping again for a while. So I agree with mommal that oversupply can be beneficial when you are working and pumping, and for me the problems did not actually arise until I stopped pumping. When I was pumping, however, I did often have to pump once on the weekend days as well to keep myself from getting ridiculously full. And, I will also mention, that my baby nursed at least a couple times overnight for most of the first year. Anyway, I think you just have to see for yourself exactly what works - every mom is different, and will need to adjust her pumping schedule to what works for her and her baby!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    Default Re: Pumping to match LO or pump more to maintain supply?

    If I were you, I would aim for a minimum of 8 sessions of milk removal a day, whether from nursing or pumping. It sounds like right now, you're at 6-7 sessions per day, since she nurses 3 times and you pump 3 or 4 times. Over the long run, that puts you at risk of supply problems. Most moms need at least 8 sessions/day of nursing and/or pumping to maintain supply. Some moms have a large "storage capacity" and can get away with less frequent milk removal, but there's no real way to know if you're one of them, or not. At 4.5 months, you are still in the relatively early days of breastfeeding, and at this stage many moms still have oversupply. However, when your baby gets to be 6 months old, or 9 months old, you may have trouble keeping up if you aren't nursing or pumping more frequently. So, if I were you, I would try to keep the 4 pumping sessions you are doing now, if you are worried about protecting your supply down the line.

    I pumped at work for 14 months and had major oversupply in the beginning--I could pump 10-14 oz in my morning session, and only had to pump 2x in a 7-8 hour separation to have more than enough for my son. However, once he hit 10 months, I started to struggle to keep up with his demands and could just barely match his intake by increasing to 3 sessions/day. I was also nursing a ton more than you--my son didn't sleep through the night until he was well over a year old, and nursed at least every 2 hours at home, so I'd pump 2-3x, and nurse 7-9x (sometimes more) in a 24 hour period. Even with that much milk removal and a major oversupply in the beginning I STILL hit that pumping slump everyone talks about. Just be careful of assuming that your abundant supply now means you will never hit supply problems, unfortunately as a working and pumping mom, you likely will, and that's when that freezer stash comes in handy. By keeping up a 4x/day pumping routine for now, you are keeping your supply high, and minimizing the chances that you will run into major problems down the road with not being able to pump enough. Unless your oversupply is causing you problems NOW, I would recommend pumping frequently and trying not to lose any supply, as the tendency for a pumping mom is to have problems with supply later in the first year, so a bit of an oversupply now is actually a blessing in disguise and protects against later problems.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

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