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Thread: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

  1. #1

    Question How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    Hi Mamas! I'm new to this forum but I am in dire need of some support. I am almost 4 months postpartum with my first baby and I've been back to work for a month. I find that I am stressing out about pumping enough at work. My son is still eating every 2 hours or less at daycare and it feels like I'm barely keeping up at work! How do you increase your milk supply if you're missing your baby's cluster feedings?? I have a hard enough time pumping 3 times a day at work. I've even increased the pumping time to 25 minutes hoping it will help and power pump on Saturdays and Sundays but I'm literally exhausted. I know stress doesn't help my supply so I think I just need a plan to increase my supply just enough where I can get two weeks ahead of him.. is that even possible?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,610

    Default Re: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    First lets make sure baby is not being overfed at daycare. A 4 month old taking bottles every 2 hours seems slightly strange, but it depends how much is in the bottles.
    How long are the separations each day?
    How much milk is given baby in each bottle, and how much total, while at day care?
    Can/does baby nurse directly before and directly after the separations? In other words, can you nurse baby at daycare when you pick baby up, or do you usually wait until you get home, etc.
    How many times total does baby nurse while home with you on workdays?
    Does baby take a more or less regular sleep stretch overnight without nursing and how long is it?
    Is your baby gaining normally?

    Basically I am trying to figure out if you and baby's caregivers could be encouraging baby to cluster nurse when home, or nurse more often, and take less milk at daycare. This might be easier than trying to increase the amount you pump.

    Are you pumping 3 times a day at work? And how much are you typically able to pump over your workday?

    Stressing out over milk production is not good because overall too much stress is not good for anyone. But stress of this type is unlikely to reduce your milk production. It might cause you to not be relaxed when pumping and this might cause letdown issues. Many moms find various relaxation techniques used while pumping helps with this.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; November 15th, 2016 at 02:18 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,912

    Default Re: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    with all the above.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    He nurses every two hours or less when I'm home with him too, except at night for the most part where he might have one 4 hour stretch.
    At daycare, he has anywhere from 2-5oz in each bottle but on average, it's 4.
    I'm away from him about 9.5 hours per day.
    They have started giving 5oz in each bottle but again, average feeding is 4oz. The total range seems to be from 15oz-21oz per day.
    I do nurse him before I drop him off, but lately he just seems to want to "snack" in the morning and only nurses for 6 or 7 minutes. I nurse him when I get home as well depending on when he ate last. He's the type of baby that really only cries when he's hungry and he gets mad mad mad when he's hungry lol.
    He still seems to nurse every two hours or less when I'm not at work. And, again, maybe 1 four hour stretch at night and then every 2-3 hours aside from that during the night.
    He is gaining weight normally although he is low on the charts for everything.

    I am pumping 3 times a day at work for 25 minutes each time. I started pumping in the morning before I leave too since he hasn't been nursing very long before I have to leave, and that has been helping a lot. When I pump in the morning, I am then able to pump around twenty five oz by the end of my workday. If I don't pump in the morning before I leave, it's more like fifteen.

    Thanks for responding!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,610

    Default Re: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    Hi thanks for answering my questions.

    So as I suspected I think your baby is being overfed at daycare. This is a common problem and there are a few ways to approach it.
    For one thing, while there is nothing unusual with a baby nursing every 2 hours or less, this does not mean baby actually needs to eat that often. Babies nurse for comfort as well as food, so a baby cuing to nurse is not always a 'hunger' cue.

    That said, I do not think there is anything necessarily wrong with the frequency your baby is eating at day care. The problem is how much baby is eating each time.
    Typically a baby needs approximately 25-35 ounces of breastmilk total per 24 hours to get enough milk to gain normally. This does not mean every baby takes this much or every baby takes this much every day, it is just an average.
    Based on this average, the rule of thumb for how much milk total a breastfed baby 'should' get in bottles when mom is not there is between 1 and 1.5 ounces total per hour of separation. This assumes baby is nursing with normal frequency (rather than low frequency_ when with mom, and your baby is nursing with normal frequency during those times, even overnight. So this "rule of thumb' should theoretically be plenty for your baby.

    So if you are separated from baby for 10 hours, with this average, that would mean baby would get between 10 and 15 ounces total per day at day care, rather than 15-21. This is not a huge difference, but if you could get daycare to reduce the total to no more than 15 ounces per day, which again theoretically would be plenty, it would at least take some of the pressure off you.

    So my first suggestion would be to - ask daycare to please reduce bottles to 2.5 ounces to 3 ounces at a time. If you like, you can also provide separate one ounce bottles for top offs when needed.
    -Make sure day care is never discarding uneaten milk. A bottle of breastmilk can be placed back in the fridge and used for next feeding even if baby drank from it. Also if they are discarding milk, they are giving too large bottles.
    -Teach daycare paced bottle feeding technique. I will link info below. The most common technique for bottles is to use the gravity method, and this has been shown to lead to overfeeding.
    -Paced feeding not only allows baby to 'pace' (control) the feeding, it slows the feeding down to a 'normal' pace- more similar to what happens at the breast. This may allow baby to comfort with the bottle and possibly lead to fewer bottles overall.
    -Additionally, you can discuss with them other comfort measures. Your baby (like most babies) likes to comfort at the breast. And this is normal and beneficial. But there are many other ways to comfort a baby other than feeding when mom is not there to nurse.
    -I would also suggest ask the daycare to not give baby anything to eat for 1-2 hours prior to pick up time, and this time may be increased as needed. Generally it is beneficial if baby wants to nurse when mom arrives, as this will take more pressure off you to provide so much pumped milk and provide a comforting reconnection time for both of you after a long day apart. If you want to wait to get home to nurse, just adjust the time accordingly.

    I am pumping 3 times a day at work for 25 minutes each time. I started pumping in the morning before I leave too since he hasn't been nursing very long before I have to leave, and that has been helping a lot. When I pump in the morning, I am then able to pump around twenty five oz by the end of my workday. If I don't pump in the morning before I leave, it's more like fifteen.
    This is actually quite good pump output. It sounds as if your milk production is entirely normal and your respond well to the pump. So increasing what you can pump may be difficult. Hopefully reducing what baby eats at daycare will help. The only other reliable suggestion I would have for expressing more milk is to pump more often at home, and it would be a shame if you had to pump on weekends or something when it would be so much nicer to simply relax and nurse your baby.

    Some moms do find that food or herb based galactagogues help them produce more milk. Also it is very important to remain normally hydrated, and doing that may take more water for a breastfeeding mom. Of course it always makes sense to troubleshoot your pump and make sure it still fits correctly and is in excellent working order. But again since your pump output is so good already I am not sure how likely it is it will increase all that much.

    He is gaining weight normally although he is low on the charts for everything.
    If a baby is staying somewhere around 'his' curve, (and this will dip up and down normally) it does not matter how low or high he is on the charts. The charts record the range of normal growth curves of normally gaining babies, and there is a wide range of normal. Certainly if there is any cause for concern about baby's weight gain, it would not appear to be linked to milk production or nursing frequency, which sound entirely normal.

    Paced bottle feeding/bottles for breastfed baby: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH4T70OSzGs&t=53s

    Hope that helps!

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to keep increasing milk supply while at work

    Thank you so much for the tips! I have always felt a little like he's overeating at daycare too so I'll see if we can work together to reduce that. That rule of thumb is very helpful!

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