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Thread: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

  1. #1

    Default Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    My LO is 2 months old (this is my first child). I went back to work last week and have been pumping at work. I usually pump 3 times while I'm at work. I only pump 7-9 ounces total for the day (on average 3 ounces each session).

    I have a Hygeia Electric Double Pump and also a Medela manual hand pump - it doesn't matter if I use the electric pump or the hand pump, I get the same number of ounces.

    While at home, I breastfeed my son. I nurse first thing in the morning (depending on the time, I will nurse twice in the morning) and 3 times in the evening. The

    My son usually goes to bed after his final feeding at 11:30/midnight and will usually sleep until 5-6am. During the day, he is fed 4oz. every 3-4 hours, but that may increase to 5oz.

    On the weekends, I exclusively breastfeed, unless we go out to eat or go somewhere I don't feel comfortable breastfeeding. This is the only time I pump on the weekends.

    I started pumping while on maternity leave, but since it was the holidays, we spent a lot of time visiting family, so anything I pumped was used to feed our son while we were out. Therefore, no backup supply for when I started back to work.

    I've done some searches online and after reading several posts on various websites, I feel I have an extremely low supply compared to other ladies. I eat oatmeal every morning and drink 2-3 glasses of Mother's Milk Tea.

    I know every woman is different, but what is considered a low supply? What can I do to increase my supply? I'm afraid I won't be producing enough to feed my son during the day while I'm at work.

    Any advice, help, words of encouragement, etc. are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    Some questions for you:
    - How long are you at work each day?
    - How long do you pump for (number of minutes)?
    - How does pumping feel?
    - How many oz total does your baby get at daycare?

    The first thing that strikes me about your situation is that your baby is sleeping a really long time at night. One of the moms here says that night nursing "is a working mom's best friend" because it helps keep daytime supply where it should be, and gives the baby plenty of opportunities to practice nursing.

    The second thing that strikes me is that you're sometimes skipping nursing sessions when you are somewhere you don't feel comfortable nursing. I totally understand why some moms feel uncomfortable nursing in public, but when there's a question about supply, you do not want to skip nursing sessions or use the bottle to stretch out the time between sessions. Ideally, when you're out and want to use a bottle, you'd immediately slip away to pump in order to make up for the stimulation you missed out on.
    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
    Jan 2013
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    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    Great questions and advice!

    I also think 5 oz would be a giant, giant bottle for one feeding. Is daycare pushing for this? Because that is a formula-fed baby sized feeding, not really a BF-supportive sized feed.

    Can you add a fourth pumping session into your day? I'm assuming you are working a standard 8 hour shift--I needed four sessions during my 8 hour shifts to yield enough milk.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    To answer your questions:

    -I am at work for 8 hours a day, plus drive time, so all in all 9 hours away from little man.
    -I pump for about 15 minutes each session
    -Pumping feels okay. It takes a minute before the milk begins to come out, but then it's a steady stream for a few minutes. It usually ends and I need to massage my breasts and then more milk will come out. I could easily be done in 10 minutes, but I always pump for a few minutes extra after the milk is done.
    -My son gets fed every 3-4 hours, which equates to usually 2 feedings during the day, which equals 8oz. breast milk. He is not at a daycare, my husband works from home and therefore is Mr. Mom. He's been telling me that little man is just chugging through the 4oz. like it's nothing and that he still seems hungry afterward. I have to add though - my son has a spit up problem. He always spits up after eating, and it's not always immediately after eating - sometimes it can be up to an hour afterward.

    What is wrong with my baby sleeping so long at night? I thought it was a good thing that he is able to sleep that long? He always wakes up happy in the morning, not fussy and screaming that he's hungry.

    I get what you're saying about missing out on the stimulation when we go out - I find it awkward to pump in a restaurant though. Sometimes I will pump right before we leave if I know we will be gone for a few hours.

    Should I try to pump more? Right now I'm doing every 2 1/2 hours. Should I try pumping immediately after I nurse?
    Last edited by @llli*adjswife513; February 13th, 2014 at 02:44 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    Long sleep is fine as long as mom isn't having trouble with production. But when a mom feels like her production isn't what it needs to be, then the long sleep stretch is counterproductive. It means that the baby needs to take in more calories during the day, when mom and baby are often separated. Mom relies more and more on the pump, and ends up struggling to keep up with her baby's escalating daytime needs. If mom were nursing at night, the baby would get a lot of his caloric needs met in the night, and he wouldn't need as much milk at daycare. Also, because mom would never have a long stretch of time during which there is no stimulation to or milk removal from the breast, her overall supply would be better and she would have an easier time pumping during the day.

    Since you're separated for 9 hours, and coming home with just 7-9 oz, it sounds like you do need to increase your pump frequency a bit. You have an hour-long commute and that may be an asset- a lot of moms use hands-free set-ups to pump while driving. I'd also encourage you to pump right after your baby goes down for the night, and also wake him for a dream-feed before you go to bed.

    The pumping in public problem might be most easily solved if you could simply nurse in public instead. Have you tried it? And if you have, what issues have come up that make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe we can help you solve them!
    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: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    I have not tried to nurse in public. I know it sounds silly, but I don't think I'm "sly" enough to pull off nursing in public ... haha ... Plus, to be perfectly honest, I'm afraid to. I don't want people to stare at me and judge.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    One of the moms here says that night nursing "is a working mom's best friend"
    That would be me!

    I do think an easy way to get in more stimulation would be to do a dream feed sometime in that 11:30 to 5:30 stretch. Babies will often instinctively nurse in their sleep so you may not even need to wake him up to do it. I know it's tiring, but so is doing lots of pumping, which is the other option for increasing your milk output.

    Your pumping frequency is good, you could try pumping a little more often or a little longer, or while commuting as mommal suggests. It's great that you are doing hand compressions and getting the second letdown. The Hygeia is supposed to be a good pump, but it's a little odd that you don't get more compared to manual pumping. Are the flanges properly fitted? Your nipple should be able to move back and forth easily without sucking the rest of the breast in. Also make sure all the pieces - membranes, valves, flanges - are in good shape; sometimes membranes can develop small holes that you don't even see that decrease the efficiency of pumping.

    I think an important concept to understand is that of storage capacity. Some moms really do need that more frequent breast emptying to stimulate supply if they have a low storage capacity. It doesn't mean that you can't make enough milk for baby, but it does mean that longer stretches without nursing or pumping are especially detrimental. Here's an article with more information:
    http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dph/chs...number2011.pdf

    With regards to nursing in public, it takes practice. I think most of us felt nervous/self-conscious when we did it the first time. But honestly, most people really do not notice or care if you are nursing in public. A good way to practice is to sit in front of a mirror, or to practice nursing in front of people that you know are not judgmental - a good friend, perhaps a family member (though sometimes family members are the most judgmental!), at a La Leche League meeting, or in a place where there are lots of other mothers and babies. Also, keep in mind that the car can be a good option when you are in a situation that doesn't readily lend itself to nursing (for example, nowhere comfortable to sit down). Check out the nursing in public forum for inspiration and suggestions on what to wear to make it easier to nurse in public:
    http://forums.llli.org/forumdisplay....ursing-Apparel

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Concerned about my supply at 2 months

    Again, all great info!

    One more thing I want to add: does your husband know about paced bottle feeds? Babies love to suck, and get a lot of comfort from it. It is very easy, though, for babies to drink a bottle really fast, and seem like they need ever increasing amounts of milk. There is good information here about paced bottle feeds: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

    If baby is spitting up after those larger bottles, how about splitting them into smaller feeds, given more frequently? My daughter has always had small bottles of about 2 oz...six of them a day when I went back to work initially, over our 9.5 hour separation.

    If you are a mom with a lower storage capacity (like me!), I do think it would be helpful to add in a 4th pump into your work day. When I initially returned to work and tried pumping every three hours, I too only yielded about 9 oz a day. Pumping every two hours yielded me more like 12 oz a day, which was the amount of milk my daughter actually wanted during our separation.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

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