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Thread: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

  1. #21
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    I agree, I am very lucky to have a job where I can telecommute. And my husband is very lucky that his work did care to allow him to work from home part time. That's a wonderful benefit of him working for a small company!

    The progress has come at very hard work but it feels so good to be able to report it!

    That's great to hear the experience concerning the overnight feedings. I'm a bit concerned I won't be able to pump as much as I was getting out of the breastfeeding and pumping together, and cause a bit of a step backwards. I guess I won't know until I try!

    I would love to be able to get to a point where I can just breastfeed. I do think a lot of the problem is how efficiently that my son is eating, or lack thereof. He is so sleepy and it's hard a lot of times to get him really eating well. Also when he gets to around 60ish grams he seems to stop eating. I'm not sure if that's because my milk is slowing down, if he just gets tired, or if that is where he feels satisfied. I did have one night where he slept for extra and when I woke up I realized it had been 5.5 hours since the beginning of the last feeding. I was a bit engorged and he ended up getting a full 88g directly from the breast. That was a first and makes me think that it's less about him being full and more about me just not having enough milk. On the other hand... I always have more milk to pump after breastfeeding so that makes me think he could get more if he tried...

    I'll have to find the link that I read about starting solids. I might have read it wrong. What you are explaining makes a lot of sense! I'll bring it up with the pediatrician if that time comes where I'm still not making enough milk at 4 months. Hopefully I am and it becomes a moot point!

  2. #22
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    He is still very young yet, I think it's quite likely he will become more efficient with time. Though there may still be times he wants to spend a long time at the breast for comfort! Babies vary how much they will eat from feed to feed, 60 g and 88 g are spot-on in the normal range. I think the fact that he had more after 5.5 hours is not a function of you having more milk, but rather his stomach being emptier after a long stretch of not nursing. Keep in mind that he still has a tiny stomach!

    In terms of pumping vs pumping and breastfeeding at night - I think you need to balance optimizing breast stimulation with getting some rest. You could spend all night long pumping but obviously that would be detrimental to your well-being.

  3. #23
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    Hearing that he is getting the normal amount of milk in a feeding makes me wonder if we're getting close enough that I can start stepping back the bottle feeding and seeing how we do with breastfeeding only. I have been wondering how I would make that transition happen if my supply increases enough. Yesterday I actually made slightly more than 18oz! This is with 7 feedings. I'm wondering if I started with topping off the bottle less, if he would want to eat more often and I might produce more milk then.

    I should mention that he is not always in that 60-88g range. In the evening when my milk is the lowest he often gets more like 40s, sometimes even in the high 30s. From time to time he is still getting in the 50s when it's not the evening, just depending on how sleepy he is.

    So... when do you think I should start thinking of transitioning off of the bottle feeding? How should I make that transition happen? Should I wait until I'm producing 20oz on the current routine?
    Last edited by @llli*erika2me; May 31st, 2014 at 03:08 PM.

  4. #24
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    So my husband and I were talking and after reading kellymom.com suggestion on how to reduce supplementation, we weren't sure how to make it happen with our current routine. How do you reduce by 1 oz when you're not giving a set amount of formula each day? So instead we were thinking of breastfeeding and bottle feeding what I pump, but not topping off with formula. We'll still weigh before and after to see how much he is getting and record the amount. Then at the end of the day we'll add up how much he has gotten throughout the day and give a bottle with the additional formula needed. This could count as that middle of the night feeding that my husband feeds, and I just pump.

    Doing this should give us a sort of trial run for dropping to breastmilk only. It might encourage him to eat more often and possibly better at the breast, yet not have to worry that he is not getting the calories he needs each day. It also makes it easier if we want to reduce by an ounce, we can do so in that formula bottle at the end of the day.

    I really like this idea. It's no more work than what we are currently doing and would allow him to act more like a breastfed baby instead of a formula fed baby that gets a set amount of milk every time. What do you think about this plan?

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    I really like that plan! You'll have a very good idea about where you are with the formula. Also formula is harder to digest and sits around in baby's tummy longer, so it makes sense to me to give it all at one time at night and maybe that way it will be less likely to inhibit daytime feedings. Also you are right that baby does not normally get a set amount at the breast. I'm sure there are times when baby only has an oz as your baby is doing at times. What matters is getting enough total over 24 hours, not how much he gets with each feeding.

  6. #26
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    all formula at once will likely create a LONG span till the next feeding since a large quantity of formula at one time will take a lot to digest.

    We did (ok still doing some) supplementing at the breast using a tube feeder and then the SNS and only gave 1 oz of formula per feeding and we used a very digestable formula so it didn't cause as much digestion issues since the amount was limited and it was mixed with breast milk. But I generally only needed to supplement an ounce or fraction there of so we just started not supplementing certain feedings until now we usually only need to supplement during the late afternoon/early evening cluster feeding time and are down to only a few ounces of supplement per day (and most days I can fill that with expressed breast milk.)

    That said, if you are only needing to use 2-4 oz total of formula per day, it might make sense to feed that for one of the night time feedings to allow some extra pumping and sleep time.

  7. #27
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    Well I liked the nighttime pump while my husband gives a bottle so much, that we have decided that I go to exclusive pumping. I tried it for one day to see if I would get a decrease and actually, I got a slight increase. This makes sense to me because Kaiden was never efficiently draining me, I was always pumping the rest off. So really it's not much different than just pumping it all.

    This has been such a stress relief. I got a car charger for my Symphony pump and last Saturday we were able to leave the house for more than 1.5 hours! I pumped in the car while my husband drove and we fed bottles on the go. It was so nice to not have to immediately rush home knowing I had another 1-1.5 hours of feeding ahead of me!

    After the last trip to the pediatrician, Kaiden was only 5th percentile for weight. The doctor wasn't overly concerned but wanted to make sure we are feeding him until he is full, which we are. We go back at 3 months for a weight check, just since we're so close on the weight chart she wants to make sure he continues down this path and doesn't fall off. Since stopping the rough feeding regimen, Kaiden has actually increased his feedings to 8, sometimes 9 a day. We're still feeding 90g at each feeding so this has increased his intake from 18-22oz to 25-28oz. I think this is probably since it's so much faster for him to eat, that he gets hungry faster. I think EPing has been positive for him as well!

    So here is how my current output is going. I had a 18.5oz day once (mentioned above) and then I dropped back down to 16oz. A few days later I was back up to 17oz. I have gotten one 19.5oz day and I'm continuously getting 18oz now. It seems my increasing is significantly slowing down over what it was in the month of May. I keep hoping I'll get another 19.5oz day, or even pass that magical 20oz threshold that seems to be my unicorn. I have researched exclusive pumping and that you typically increase until 12 weeks and then you can start dropping pumps because your supply is established. I felt a little uneasy about this because Kaiden is 10.5 weeks now. That's just 1.5 weeks left to try to increase all that I can. My question is, is this true or is it possible to continue to increase after 12 weeks?

    I read people on pumping forums who mention being able to pump 80+oz a day and it makes me wonder what is so wrong with me. While I am struggling to even get 20oz, others have tricked their body into thinking they have twins. The thought of being able to pump 30oz+, to be able to freeze excess, and to even donate what I have beyond that seems like a dream that I will never see...
    Last edited by @llli*erika2me; June 18th, 2014 at 08:30 AM.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*erika2me View Post
    I read people on pumping forums who mention being able to pump 80+oz a day and it makes me wonder what is so wrong with me. While I am struggling to even get 20oz, others have tricked their body into thinking they have twins. The thought of being able to pump 30oz+, to be able to freeze excess, and to even donate what I have beyond that seems like a dream that I will never see...
    There is nothing wrong with you, mama. Part of what determines a mom's ability to pump vast quantities of milk is something referred to as breast storage capacity. Some women have a very high breast storage capacity, can store tremendous amounts of milk, and pump wild amounts of milk. Some women have low breast storage capacity, and can only store a few ounces of milk at "maximum capacity," which means that unless they are pumping/feeding and refilling up literally every half hour or so, it is just not physiologically possible for them to pump or produce 80 oz of milk a day. Breast storage capacity isn't something you can change or fix; it is what it is. Now, this is not to say that moms with low storage capacities cannot fully feed their own infant--they absolutely can, they just can't expect to be able to store and produce enough "extra" to donate, freeze excess, etc. It's also downright physiologically demanding to "overproduce," and most women who overproduce in the beginning will eventually adjust back down to "normal" production.

    I think it's wonderful that you are having a good experience with EP-ing right now. However, I would just want to caution you that for most moms, the pump simply does not do as good a job as a nursing baby in maintaining supply. Most EP-ers will actually have increasing difficulty maintaining their pumping output as time goes by. And since you are already struggling with your pumping output at the moment, I don't think that it's realistic to expect that you will automatically get to a point where you can pump over and above what your son requires. The truth is, the people you are reading about on those exclusively pumping forums who can maintain overproduction with very few pumping sessions over a 24 hour period are themselves kind of those "unicorns" you describe. They exist, obviously! But they are very rare creatures, and not at all representative of the norm when it comes to milk production.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  9. #29
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    I agree with sonogirl. There is so much variability in human physiology. Some people are really tall, some people are really short, and if you're tall there isn't much you can do to make yourself short and vice versa. Similarly moms vary a lot in how much they pump at a sitting and overall supply. So don't beat yourself up over that. That said, I think it's pretty unlikely that you are going to be able to start dropping pumping sessions. If anything, as sonogirl says, a lot of EP'ing moms, especially those who don't have really large storage capacities and abundant supplies, struggle with pumping enough as time goes on, and find they have to add MORE sessions to keep up. I can see how right now it is easier to pump than to go through the whole feeding/pumping routine, but keep in mind that over time, you're going to have to figure out ways to get your pumping sessions in while also keeping up with a mobile baby, figuring out where to pump when you're out and about, etc. Not saying that EP'ing is the wrong choice - for you it might be the right one - but make that choice with your eyes open.

    I don't think there's anything particularly magical about 12 weeks, I wouldn't have the mindset that you have 1.5 weeks left and that's it. That said, there are moms who do seem to hit some sort of plateau beyond which they can't produce more. If that's the case, so be it - you've worked super-hard at this, you are providing your baby with breastmilk, and you should be proud of that!

  10. #30
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    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Trouble getting enough supply to EBF

    I do feel like EPing is a good answer after everything we have done. It's allowing me to finally get a life back and not be stuck in my house constantly. I can pump on the go whereas I couldn't do the previous routine on the go. So even if I can't ever drop pumps, I'm OK with continuing with the current pumping schedule (10 times a day.) I can complete a pump in 20-25 minutes where the other routine would take 1-1.5 hours, and it gives me freedom. I'm not so concerned with the thought of dropping pumps, but if it ever did get to the point where I could drop some, I would be all for it. I'm not making the decision to EP with the hope of dropping pumps though. I'm 100% satisfied even at the level of pumping I am doing today.

    That's good to hear that there isn't anything magical about 12 weeks. I guess what I am trying to determine is if I should accept the level I'm at and that I won't be able to ever feed my little guy exclusively, or if I continue working at this I might be able to. And I realize this isn't a question that anyone can probably answer, but at least I now realize that it might be the answer. It helps me to realistically think that I might not be able to have a greater output than what I am at.

    I would love to use the baby to increase my supply since i know that they are more efficient at removing milk. The problem is my guy has never been efficient at it. He has never drained me. Unless I'm engorged and flowing quickly (relative) he falls asleep and doesn't eat much. Maybe we can try breastfeeding again in the future when he gets a bit stronger and maybe more efficient, but right now he's just not more efficient than the pump is. So if he's not more efficient, and the routine to get the same amount of milk takes 3x or longer and keeps me house bound, I have trouble wanting to go back to it.

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