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Thread: Oversupply to Undersupply?

  1. #1

    Default Oversupply to Undersupply?

    Background: 6 month old baby girl is doing great. I used to have an oversupply and have been block feeding for the last several months. One breast per feeding, feeding about every 3 hours. At work I only pump one side at a time, also every three hours. For the last two months I would pump between 3-5.5oz at each session (that's from only one breast). And I would be able to keep up with demand. Often with excess to put in the freezer at the end of the week.

    Current Situation: Currently (last 2 weeks) my daughter is drinking more throughout the day from the bottle (with nanny) than I am pumping at work. Last week I started a new diet and saw a decrease in supply which I quickly remedied by going back to my regular diet, but my supply has not rebounded. I am now falling behind. I am only getting 2-4oz per pumping session, and my daughter's nanny had to dip into my frozen stash (which I have plenty of (60+oz), so I'm not too stressed... but I'd like to keep my current supply up obviously)

    Should I stop block pumping? i.e. should I pump both sides at each session? If I pump both sides, should I also offer both sides during nursing sessions?

    My daughter usually eats very quickly, she eats in about 5-8 minutes (has done that since about 3 months) and now she unlatches and starts blowing raspberries (it's adorable...) I'm not sure if she'd be interested in trying the second side even if offered.

    I've thought I might also ask the nanny to not offer a bottle if she knows I'm going to be there soon... like yesterday she fed her a 2.5oz bottle at 5:00 and I got there at 5:20.

    I'd love to hear how other navigated oversupply turning to an undersupply!

    Or, you can all just tell me I don't need to worry and just keep doing what I'm doing... haha

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Oversupply to Undersupply?

    HI! I can think of a few different possibilities for what may be going on. And yes one possibility is there is nothing to worry about. But here are some thoughts, kind of random as I don't have time to organize my thoughts.

    Pump output of 2-4 ounces per session is normal for two breasts. is this what you get with one?

    I find it odd your 6 month old is eating MORE breastmilk now then before. Intake of course normally varies day to day or week to week, but overall it is not the norm for daily intake it to go up as baby gets older. It either stays the same, or goes down, because the baby' s growth rate is slowing so rapidly. Can you tell us how much baby gets each day during how long a separation?

    Have you introduced solids or are you planning to and what are your thoughts on that?

    Block nursing/block pumping are methods to reduce milk production, and will work to continue reducing production as long as they are practiced. So 'blocking' typically should be stopped once milk production has gotten to the point it is no longer causing problems. This usually does not take more than about a week and if anything takes a shorter amount of time, typically, although in extreme overproduction cases may take longer. Block feeding for longer than that is not the typical suggestion due to the risk to milk production.

    On the other hand, I am not sure what you are describing is really block nursing- it sounds more like scheduling? (which is also linked to low production) How many times a day total does baby nurse and how many times a day total do you pump would you say? Is baby sleeping a long stretch at night? (more than 5 hours?)

    At 6 months, even with overproduction in your past, I am pretty sure it would be totally fine to pump both sides at once and nurse both at once, assuming baby is interested. It is also fine to pump both but only nurse one if baby is not interested in both each time. More milk out will serve to increase production but I doubt to problematic levels at this point.

    Quick nursing sessions are normal at this age.

    I've thought I might also ask the nanny to not offer a bottle if she knows I'm going to be there soon... like yesterday she fed her a 2.5oz bottle at 5:00 and I got there at 5:20.
    good idea! yes, definitely. Here is a good explanation on how to bottle feed breastfed baby you and nanny can discuss http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 26th, 2015 at 03:44 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oversupply to Undersupply?


    - I'm getting 2-4 ounces with one breast... so if that's normal then maybe I'm good to go

    - I don't think she's necessarily eating more... she had a hard go with the bottle when I went back to work at 4 months. She had done fine previously (was in NICU for the first week of life and was fine with bottle and had bottles randomly throughout first couple months, but refused at 4 months) it took awhile to get her to eat via bottle

    - we are doing baby led weaning... but I'm considering modifying a bit in order to get a little bit more actually IN her belly not just all over her face!

    - I totally thought I was block nursing, but maybe not... I nurse at about 3am and 7am... pump at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30p... then I nurse at 6:00pmish, 7:30pm(bedtime), and 10pm dream feed.

    Thank you for that resource! I will talk with our nanny

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Oversupply to Undersupply?

    So yes pumping 2-4 ounces on each side as a regular thing is actually a lot.

    But there is more to how much you pump (and how much baby gets when nursing) than milk production. I suspect you may have a larger breast storage capacity as well, based not only on that output but also on the less frequent milk removal without ( I assume) discomfort to you.

    If you are having milk removed 8 times a day, but only one side each time, that means each breast only has milk removal 4 times in 24 hours. So yes this would be block nursing. So I would suggest either pumping both sides or nursing both at least some of the time to ensure plenty of milk for as long as you like.

    More on breast storage capacity if you are interested (scroll down) http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/multimedia/

    and block nursing: http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/tag/block-feeding

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Oversupply to Undersupply?

    I replied to your question in the other forum:


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