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Thread: Best pumping rhythm / schedule

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    13

    Default Best pumping rhythm / schedule

    Hey all! New to LLLI. I've browsed several forums and have already had a lot of questions answered (and gotten additional information too!)

    My baby girl is 10 days old and on day 3 my breasts were hard as ROCKS and hurt SO bad. My mom suggested pumping since she said I was becoming engorged. I pumped, but it only helped a little. Eventually the hardness went away and I'm still breastfeeding normally (it never set me back).

    She eats every 1 1/2 - 2 hours and for the last two days I've tried pumping one breast at a time after she feeds. Not every feed, probably only about 4 times during the day. I haven't been getting much milk at all. One time I didn't even get an ounce. My assumption is that she drank most of it, but now I'm concerned that my supply won't be enough for her soon down the road. I've heard the more you pump and feed the greater the demand and the greater the supply. That's why I wanted to start pumping early (and freezing the milk). I'm just terrified my supply will plummet and I won't be able to feed her anymore.

    Does anyone have suggestions on how to feed her (both breasts each feed, or switch off each feed), to pump both breasts after, double pump maybe?? Sounds like hand expression should be added in which I will start doing for sure.

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,845

    Default Re: Best pumping rhythm / schedule

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    Aside from your concern that your milk supply "won't be entirely go for her down the road", is there any reason why you are pumping at this point? Are you headed back to work? Are you giving bottles at this point, and if so, why?

    When a baby is gaining well from nursing alone, and breastfeeding is generally going well, LLL generally advises that moms leave the pump in the shelf for the first 4-6 weeks. This isn't because LLL has some sort of militant anti-bottle philosophy! It's because early pumping and early bottle use can cause problems for breastfeeding. It's usually best to spend the first 4-6 weeks mastering breastfeeding, and then add in pumping and bottles, rather than spending that time focusing on pumping and then end up with nursing problems down the road, right?

    So, what problems can pumping cause? First, it can cause mom to doubt herself. "I'm hardly pumping anything and even though the baby is plenty of diapers she is so fussy- I must have low supply!" Second, increasing demand beyond the level set by the nursing baby can cause problems with oversupply. Having more than enough milk sounds great, but it also elevates your risk for things like plugged ducts, mastitis, fast letdowns, and a fussy, gassy baby. Third, once you have bottles there is a tendency to use them. A lot of moms get into a situation where the baby wants to nurse right after mom pumps, and that results in mom deciding to give a bottle because she just emptied the breast with the pump. Early bottles can screw up a baby's latch and decrease her willingness to nurse, which is why they are generally best avoided for the first 4-6 weeks.

    One thing most new moms don't know is that a nursing baby's breastmilk intake and her mom's supply typically peak in the first 6 weeks, and then hold more or less steady until around 6 months. Between 6 and 12 months, breastmilk intake may begin to decline as the baby begins to eat more solid foods. So if you have plenty of milk now, and your baby is gaining well from nursing alone, then there is no reason to think that you won't have enough milk at 6 weeks or 6 months or 12 months. Neat, right?!

    So, what do you think, mama? Have I convinced you to relax and put the pump on the shelf, or are you still really worried?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Best pumping rhythm / schedule

    That was a very thorough answer and had a lot of good information! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

    I'm not going back to work soon, so no huge necessity for pumping. I just wanted to have some in the freezer for "just in case" purposes. In case I wanted to have a drink one night or something, or had to leave for a few hours for some reason. Just being prepared I guess! But everything you said makes a lot of sense. And that is pretty neat about peeking at 6 weeks. Good to know!

    Breastfeeding overall is going well. She seems to get enough to eat, although falling asleep is always a battle! I suppose I can hang up the pump for a bit. Since there isn't a huge need. She's already 11 days old, so a few more weeks really isn't that far away.

    Thank you so much for the congrats and the advice! And if you have any more, please do share! :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,845

    Default Re: Best pumping rhythm / schedule

    It sounds like all you really need to do is to be patient, nurse, and watch diaper output and weight gain. If baby is nursing and gaining well, then at 4-6 weeks start adding a single pump session per day into your routine. After a few days, see where you are: if you are getting plenty of milk, stick with the single pump session. If you aren't getting what you want or need, add in more sessions until you are.

    One thing a lot of moms don't realize is how much a baby should be getting in her daycare bottles. The rule of thumb is that babies generally need about 1.5 oz per hour of separation from mom. Sometimes they will take less than this, sometimes more. It's often best to package the milk in small amounts, so that baby goes to daycare with a mix of 2-3 oz "feeding" bottles and 1-2 oz "top off" bottles. Sending a mix of small bottles can reduce milk wastage and overfeeding.

    The other thing a lot of moms don't realize is what a realistic freezer stash should look like. You don't need hundreds of oz in storage, because if pumping goes well, you will be bringing home fresh milk from the office every day. A reasonable stash for many moms is just enough to cover the first day back, with a small additional stash to cover days when pump output doesn't quite measure is to what is needed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Best pumping rhythm / schedule

    Thank you ma'am! I think I can be patient and wait. She's been very good so far, so I don't really have anything to complain about. Thank you so much for all of your help!

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