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Thread: Drying up?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    16

    Default Drying up?

    I always rolled my eyes at women who said they were drying up as a cheap excuse to stop breastfeeding, but it seems to be happening to me. This is the second time that I come to the office and pump about half of what I used to. I used to et about 4 oz each time, now I'm lucky if I get 2.

    I work three days a week and my EBF. Baby feeds very frequently when I am home and I bed share, so he eats through the night. Baby is almost 4 months now and, aside from the fact that he appears to be teething, there have not been any changes. We also suspect that he may have GERD, and we will discuss that with the pediatrician in two weeks. Lately baby is been extra fussy but since he was born he has been gassy so we're used to him being upset.

    Baby is 3 months and a half and he still has a good number of wet/poopy diapers. He's about 16 Lb

    What is happening? I refuse to give up!

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

    Default Re: Drying up?

    You're absolutely right that people don't just spontaneously dry up for no reason. So what is happening, most likely, is that being at the office and needing to rely on the pump is having a negative effect on your supply. Pumps are generally not as effective at emptying the breast or maintaining supply as babies are, and office schedules generally prevent moms from pumping as often as they would be nursing if they were home with their babies. But don't freak out! First, you're only at work for 3 days a week, so your baby has 4 days a week to nurse on demand and keep your supply where he needs it to be. Second, the average feeding for a nursing baby is just 2-4 oz at a time. So when you pump 2 oz, that's actually totally normal output. 4 oz at one go is actually very much on the high side for pump output.

    Here are some suggestions for improving things:
    - Pump more frequently at the office, if possible.
    - Pump in addition to nursing when you are home with your baby- adding sessions at home can make up for shortfalls in what you bring home from the office
    - Use a better pump
    - Make sure your current pump is functioning properly
    - Make sure your shields are properly sized
    - Nurse on cue when you're with your baby, and don't be afraid to offer more often than he seems to ask
    - Nurse at night. "Never wake a sleeping baby" is great advice when mom is having no trouble getting all the milk she needs, but night nursing is great for supply and can help make up for shortfalls in what comes home from the office.
    - Keep on sleeping in close proximity to your baby, and do away with nighttime swaddling and pacifiers if you are using them.
    - Make sure your baby's daycare providers are not overfeeding him- go over paced feeding techniques with them and make sure you are leaving reasonable amounts of milk (on average, 1.5 oz of milk/hour of separation).
    - Think about your contraception choices. All hormonal contraceptives, including the supposedly "safe for breastfeeding" formulations, have the potential to affect milk supply in certain moms. If you think that your contraceptive could be having a negative impact on your milk supply, don't be afraid to try something else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Drying up?

    Thank you! I do try to pump at least 3 times when I am at work, but I'll try to do so every chance I get. When I pump on days when I'm at home, I usually get .5 oz because baby drains me. He is constantly at the boob. I am currently taking the mini pill but, being that we use condoms anyway, I was thinking about stopping anyway.
    Another thing that I think I've been neglecting is hydration. One of my coworkers has a 32oz mug in the kitchen so I made myself a 32oz cup of tea and my output was a bit better the second time.
    I'll keep at it!

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

    Default Re: Drying up?

    You might also want to try some visualization and relaxation techniques when you are pumping at the office. Do some deep breathing, take a used onesie that belongs to your child and smell it while you pump, close your eyes and imagine milk flowing. The hormones of stress and anxiety can slow letdowns and decrease pump yields, so you want to do what you can to banish those feelings as you pump.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Drying up?

    I think the mini pill could affect your supply. It seems like it is often the mini pill plus other factors that exacerbate and contribute to a lowered supply. I would stop taking it if you are comfortable using other methods of birth control. Also, check the membrates on your pump, you may need new ones. Night nursing is wonderful for supply! If baby is waking to nurse, keep it up or encourage it if he is not.

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