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Thread: Spending too much time pumping

  1. #1

    Default Spending too much time pumping

    I'm exclusively pumping for my 8th mo. old. She had a posterior tongue tie and a lip tie corrected at 2 weeks, but even with cranial sacral therapy was unable to latch correctly. I continued to try to get her to nurse occasionally, but finally decided to give up when she was about 3 months. In order to keep my supply up I started out pumping 9-10 times a day for 20 minutes, getting around 45 ounces a day. I dropped a pump and added 10 minutes to my time and got about 48 ounces a day. I've very slowly dropped pumps and added time, and I'm currently at 7 pumps a day, pumping for about 50-60 minutes. That's an upwards of 7 hours a day! What's worse, since dropping this last pump, I've only been pumping 41 ounces a day. I know that's plenty, but I'm trying to build up a stash, because I'd like to give baby breast milk as long as possible, and I don't know how much longer I can keep up all this pumping. I'm afraid of shortening my time or dropping more pumps, because it don't want to lose more milk. I've slacked on taking my fenugreek because I didn't think it made much difference before, but I'm trying to get into the habit of taking it again. I've been using a hospital grade pump almost this whole time, so that shouldn't be the issue. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by @llli*mollie.h; August 17th, 2014 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Welcome to the forum!

    I wonder what would happen if you went back to more frequent, shorter sessions. Often moms get more milk when they prioritize pumping frequency over pumping duration.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Thanks! I thought of that. How often and how long would you suggest? I'm already staying up late and getting up once at night to pump, so I would hate to lose more sleep but should I pump more frequently in the middle of the night too? My breast don't feel empty until 50-60 minutes, but I guess if I pumped more frequently they wouldn't get as full, so they would empty faster, right? I have a slow let down, as well. I don't get a spray until about 18-20. Then I will get another around 34, and a third and sometimes a fourth, but they vary.
    I have a Medela symphony and I just noticed the protective membranes that go under the caps are wearing, I wonder if replacing them would make a difference.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Definitely replace the membranes. Can't hurt anything but your wallet, and might help a lot.

    After you replace the membranes, I would go back to 9, maybe 10 pumps a day, 20 minutes per pump. That works out to... 180-200 minutes, so about 3 hours per day. See what happens! If it works well, Yahtzee. If not, you just jigger your schedule again until you get something that works better.

    The one thing that concerns me a bit here is that you find that it takes a really long time to get to the first letdown. I think that is at the heart of what is making pumping so incredibly time-consuming for you. I would love for you to incorporate some relaxation/meditation/visualization exercises into your pump routine- if stress is inhibiting your letdown, those techniques could help. And if that doesn't work, I would consider seeing your doctor and discussing the possibility of speeding your letdown by using oxytocin nasal spray.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    1,575

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Have you tried warmth. Like the warm packs you can put around the pump flanges? Probably only want to use them till the let down happens and then take them off so you can do breast massage/compressions to speed milk removal. You could also try a heating pad on your back as that could help relaxation. My acupuncturist recommended a heating pad across my kidneys to help with milk flow. Also NO COLD DRINKS. Only room temp or warm/hot drinks since cold stagnates.

    I actually saw the acupuncturist for my low milk supply problems. I can't say that it helped all that much with the low supply but I can say it did help my milk flow easier.

    Definitely replace pump parts, probably time to just get the new kit for the Symphony since 8 -10 months is a common time for the "pump slump" for most working moms and if you are EPing, that pump has done far more service than 6 months of 4 pumpings a day most working mom's pumps do.

    The relaxation thing is big for let down. I notice I can't pump much at all when I start feeling stressed or pressured. (I actually can't pump very much normally and I'm still only doing it to boost my supply since my LO does Nurse.)

    The Nasal Spray May work for you since you obviously have an ample supply.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Buying new pump parts today. Stress could definitely be a part of it. I've always been one to stress out about things, and it can be difficult to relax when LO is fussing for attention, because I'm pumping for an hour while playing with her. I've never done any kind of relaxation exercises before, but maybe I can find something online that will work. If not, I will ask about the nasal spray. I've tried warmth before pumping, but not up until the let down, so I will try that. I massage and do compressions A LOT, so much that I think I've developed tendonitis in my thumbs. Thanks for all your advice, Ladies. It's greatly appreciated!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    707

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    Have you tried manually stimulating your nipples to get a letdown? Lately I don't get a letdown with the pump anymore, unless I'm super full (which is not often) and maybe I would get one after a long while but I have no time to wait because I do this during work. So I stimulate the nipples with my fingers and within a minute or two I can get a letdown. Since that doesn't yield the full amount I need, I'll do this as often as needed during a pumping session. WHile nursing I never have this issue and my baby can suck and swallow for as long as he wants.
    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

    My breastfeeding experiences: http://www.breastfeedinghacks.com/

  8. #8

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    I tried manually stimulating a few times today and I couldn't get a let down that way, but I will keep trying. Thanks for the advice. So far today I've pumped every two hours for about 20 minutes, with the exception of my middle-of-the-night pump and first-thing-in-the-morning pump. I pumped for an hour each of those times because it had been about 4 hours in between pumps. I applied heat before each pump and up to the first let down. I massaged before each pump, and while pumping, and a few times I stopped in the middle of each pump to hand express, and did hand expression again after the pump (this got me a bit more milk). I tried my best to relax each time, and I listened to guided meditations I found online a few times. I tried a warm, relaxing shower before a pump, but it didn't seem to make a difference. Some pumps I managed to get a let down as early as 10 minutes into the pump, and a few times I didn't get a let down at all. Overall, today was uncomfortable. I never felt empty ( except the two times I pump for an hour). At the end of each pump I had an uncomfortable feeling like milk was trapped at my nipple and I couldn't get it to release. I only pumped about 4 ounces less today, which is worth the extra 4 hours in my day, but I'm worried about the uncomfortable full feeling. Will it ruin my supply to not pump until I'm empty?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
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    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    You might extend another pump session somewhere else in your day and see if emptying better makes you more comfortable.
    It might be that Every third pumping you need to empty more or something. Probably take some experimenting to figure out the right balance.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Spending too much time pumping

    After my post I ended up pumping a bit less frequently for longer and I had more trouble getting a let down. Don't know if it was the uncomfortableness from the day or it's just in my head now and I can't relax enough.

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