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Thread: pumping at work

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    Default pumping at work

    when pumping at work, it seems like my milk supply is decreasing. I pump twice during the day and breastfeed my baby 3 times. Is there something I can do to keep my milk supply up and have enough milk to feed him

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    29

    Default Re: pumping at work

    I take fenugreek and drink Mother's Milk tea every day to help keep my supply up. You can get both at Whole Foods.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: pumping at work

    How old is your baby? What type of pump are you using?

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: pumping at work

    Oh my gosh I am having the same problem and that is why I jumped to this forum too! My baby is 7 months old and I returned to work when he was 14 weeks. I started out pumping 4 times a day and only got 7 oz total (I have a history of milk supply issues so this is a lot actually for baby number 3) But now it has really dwindled to about 3 oz a day. Fortunately I had frozen supply but have had to use formula as well. I pump again before going to bed at night (I nurse him as much as he wants once I get home from work. I am still taking Alfalfa and Blessed Thistle but Fenugreek didn't agree with me. I'm back on raspberry tea as well, which was originally recommended by my lactation consultant.

    Does anyone know, is it better to pump more often for less minutes, or more minutues but less frequently? Aftter the breast has expressed all the milk should I keep pumping to tell my body that I need it to make more?

    So glad I'm not the only one with this issue...

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    1

    Default Re: pumping at work

    I had the most luck with pumping more often. I hardly ever had a second let down while pumping. I worked from 8-4 and pumped 3x about 10-20min each. I would continue pumping after a let down to let the breast know that you need a little more.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    8

    Default Re: pumping at work

    A good pump is essential. You want an electric piston double pump. These have shown to be the most effective. You might also try using a larger flange to be sure you are reaching deeper areas of your most accessible milk ducts. The key is to frequently empty the breast. Pumping less frequently than you would ordinarily nurse (average 8-12 times in 24 hours, so figure out what that would be based on your unique schedule) will have a deleterious effect. I often recommend that a mom pump an additional 2 or 3 minutes after her milk stops dripping or flowing. Just to "put a period on the end of the sentence." Of course, you want to have sprays of milk when you pump.
    You might also try pump-nursing, reverse cycle nursing, and taking a weekend milk holiday (one or two day's worth of breastfeeding and resting).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    4

    Default Re: pumping at work

    Pumping at work is a real challenge - I work with staff that are in the office and others that are out making home visits, so they can't schedule themselves as easily.

    There are two parts to the pumping - one is the pump itself - as it gets older, or as moms use the equipment, I find at times the pumps get "tired" and/or the moms are not as careful assembling it. Make sure the equipment is working right, or you'll be blaming yourself when it's not you at all! Some pieces tear, others are loose, tubing gets damp, motors just wear out!

    The other part is the mom's supply AND her let-down. Oxytocin must be released in order to have a let-down and at times when things are stressful it isn't working!

    Some moms start doing a particular thing - getting a glass of water, massaging their breasts, etc. prior to BREASTFEEDING so their bodies get almost an automatic response to this action and a let-down (careful, or you'll be letting down at a meeting when you get a glass of water!).

    Some moms like to have something that smells like their baby (smell is a much more complete memory-trigger than sight).

    However, some find that thinking of the baby stresses them - and reading a magazine on a totally different subject (of course I get stressed looking at decorator magazines and realizing what my house looks like - so pick your magazine!).

    Some moms find that massaging their nipples is also a way to quickly trigger a release oxytocin.

    Some moms have found they need additional help and use of fennugreek or even Reglan (moms I've worked with whose babies could not breastfeed due to illness or oral malformations were able to pump x 1 year using these intermittently) as additions to the ideas mentioned previously. The important thing to keep in mind when using them is to be very aware that nothing you take internally will help with milk production if it is not done in conjunction with effective milk removal!

    ALSO don't forget that every ounce you give your baby is "worth" about $3.50 (if you had to purchase human milk from a milk bank)!

    VALUE what you DO give your baby...realize you are breastfeeding not just breast milk feeding when you are home - and that is a very important relationship. It is valuable for many reasons - physical, oral, emotional and spiritual. Some moms find they can't pump at work at all - and their babies get formula when they are at work and breastfeed when they are at home. I've known construction workers and teachers to do this - for over 2 years! I've also known of babies who just "wait for mom" and breastfeed all evening and night - growing and gaining weight perfectly by taking in all they need when mom is home.

    Breastfeeding and "re-connecting" with your baby after a hard day away is VERY good, for both of you! Praise yourself for what you DO! Give yourself a pat on the back and know you're a good mom!

    Jeanette P.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    6

    Default Re: pumping at work

    My baby is 3 months old and in total I can pump 9 oz during the day, and 5 oz in the morning before I leave the house. Does that sound normal?

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    6

    Default Re: pumping at work

    Quote Originally Posted by LLL_Jolie
    How old is your baby? What type of pump are you using?
    Baby is 16 weeks - I am using a Medela Life in style pump. It is borrowed however.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    63

    Default Re: pumping at work

    When faced with milk supply challenges at work, many mothers find that the best solution is to figure out a way to add a pumping session. To stimulate milk production you need to frequently empty the breasts, that sends the signal to your body to make more milk. Often moms find that they can reduce the length of time they're pumping and just pump more frequently to boost supply. Other moms find that pumping on one side while the baby nurses on the other can provide a little extra milk, particularly to get through a time of lower supply.

    Another point worth noting is that many women experience some type of "pump slump" during pumping, where their supply seems to dip. There are a variety of reasons for this, and it can be very unsettling, particularly if things have been going well thus far.

    The tips other posters have had are valuable too, double check the pump (is it a Pump In Style? I'm not familiar with the "Life in Style" you mentioned, but I'm not up on the latest models right now.) Some mothers also find that after a time their body becomes a bit desensitized to the pump they have been using. It may be worthwhile to look into obtaining a rental pump for a month or two and see if you see any change in output. Rental pumps (aka "Hospital grade") have a little more power and may be better at stimulating supply in some women. A local LLL leader or International Board Certified Lactation Consulant (IBCLC) can help you find a rental in your area, and some WIC clinics provide them for their clients.

    Some other things to consider are to make sure the enviornment in which you pump is as comfortable and safe as possible (some women find that they tense up if they are pumping somewhere they think they may get walked in on.) Some women find that doing a gentle breast compression on the breast can help bring more milk down. Others find that tinkering with the suction power and suction speed can help (e.g., start with light suction and fast speed, once the letdown happens, increase the suction power to your comfort, decrease the speed a bit. When the flow slows, switch back to light suction and fast speed again to see if you can tell your body to have another letdown.) Are you double pumping when you pump? That stimulates the release of more prolactin, the milk-making hormone.

    Do you think any of these ideas might help for you or anyone else who is facing this situation?

    Warmly,
    Karen Smith
    LLL Leader, IL

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