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Thread: New to pumping... A few questions

  1. #1
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    Sep 2016
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    Default New to pumping... A few questions

    My LO is just over 6 months and up until last week I wasn't working not was she taking a bottle, so I was breastfeeding exclusively. I did pump every so often and have had a few clogged ducts and a small case of mastitis, so I do have a descent freezer stash (20+ 3-4 oz bags). Now that I'm back to work Dad has been giving her a sippy cup after 3 hours to which she only drinks about 1.5 oz. He then brings her to me 3.5 hours later to breastfeed before bed. We had her 6 month checkup on Monday and she dropped from the 25th percentile to the 15th. I've only been back to work for a week so obviously this lack of weight increase isn't because of our new schedule. I am, however, concerned now with her being apart from me that her weight may continue to struggle. I continue to feed on demand and keep it to 3 hours and no more if I can help it (if she's napping I won't wake her). She's getting more cereal and solids to help with the weight. I'm mostly concerned with my pumping. I feel like it's very inconsistent and the only time I get a descent amount is if I go 5-6 hours. When I pump at work it's usually around 4-5 hours from the last breastfeeding and I'll get 1.5 ounces on each side. That doesn't seem like a lot to me at all. Does this mean that's all my LO is getting when she eats? Could this be the issue of her weight gain problems? Am I not producing enough for her?

    I eat lactation smoothies almost every day and whenever LO is done eating if I squeeze my breast milk comes out. So I don't think I've run dry. I guess I'd just like to know how to increase my supply and maximize my pumping output. I do hand express each time also. And is that output normal or low? Or maybe I'm just not pumping at the opportune times? Any help is greatly appreciated!

    PS we did do cup feeding for awhile but my husband found that she didn't take as much and it was more messy and wasteful. So he's just been doing the sippy cup and she's getting a little better.

    Thank you!!
    Last edited by @llli*bfulmer; March 24th, 2017 at 08:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    Hi. Just to be clear, your baby is now 6 months old, correct? You say 6 week checkup but I know from your history baby is older than that!

    If baby is 6 months old, I am not sure what the concern is. "Drops" in percentile as well as "jumps" in percentile for both weight and height growth are common and usually entirely normal. Did your pediatrician express concern about your baby's gain?

    I am, however, concerned now with her being apart from me that her weight may continue to struggle. I continue to feed on demand and keep it to 3 hours and no more if I can help it (if she's napping I won't wake her).
    It would help to know how often overall baby nurses. A 6 month old baby is (hopefully) still getting all of their nutrition from breastmilk, even if the introduction to solids has begun. So most 6 month olds will still nurse (or have a bottle) 8-12 times in 24 hours.

    She's getting more cereal and solids to help with the weight.
    Since most foods do not contain as much fat and calories as breastmilk, it is probably not a good idea to encourage more of these in order to increase weight gain. Because what actually happens in that case is a baby fills up on the solids and not nurse as much, or not nurse as productively, or not take as much in the bottle, exacerbating slow gain rather than fixing the problem. If the problem really is low milk production, then high fat, high cal foods might make sense. But nothing is as nutritionally complete as breastmilk, and I do not think it is at all clear that there is anything wrong with your milk production. However if baby nurses less due to being fed solids more, that will eventually harm production. This is why the intro to solids is considered a dangerous time for milk production.

    I'm mostly concerned with my pumping. I feel like it's very inconsistent and the only time I get a descent amount is if I go 5-6 hours. When I pump at work it's usually around 4-5 hours from the last breastfeeding and I'll get 1.5 ounces on each side. That doesn't seem like a lot to me at all.
    expressing 3 ounces at a single pump session is perfectly normal. Many moms are not able to pump that much and in fact find they have to pump 2 times or sometimes more for every bottle.

    Also, "going" 5-6 hours in order to increase what you express when you pump is actually likely to harm milk production, because the longer milk sits in the breasts, the more your body gets the message that it is making too much milk. The body responds to this message by reducing milk production.

    I eat lactation smoothies almost every day and whenever LO is done eating if I squeeze my breast milk comes out. So I don't think I've run dry. I guess I'd just like to know how to increase my supply and maximize my pumping output. I do hand express each time also. And is that output normal or low? Or maybe I'm just not pumping at the opportune times? Any help is greatly appreciated!
    Here is how you keep milk production in good shape: Nurse or pump frequently, (again, at least 8 times in 24 hours, and some moms need more) and if you are pumping regularly, make sure your pump is in perfect working condition at all times and fits you properly. Stay well hydrated, and take in enough calories to be healthy.

    Some moms do find herbal or food- based galactagogues help, but only if the above is all happening. I have always thought that teas and cookies probably do not contain enough herbs to actually make a difference, unless one eats a LOT of cookies. I would suggest look at the dosage in your cookies as compared to a pill form of a reliable galactagogue (these can be found in any health food store.) As always when taking any medicinal herbs, research them before taking them.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 23rd, 2017 at 10:08 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    13

    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    Hi. Just to be clear, your baby is now 6 months old, correct? You say 6 week checkup but I know from your history baby is older than that!

    If baby is 6 months old, I am not sure what the concern is. "Drops" in percentile as well as "jumps" in percentile for both weight and height growth are common and usually entirely normal. Did your pediatrician express concern about your baby's gain?
    Sorry! I definitely meant 6 month check-up. She's 6 1/2 months today. She didn't express great concern about the weight gain, but we did talk about it and we have another weight check in 6 weeks.

    It would help to know how often overall baby nurses. A 6 month old baby is (hopefully) still getting all of their nutrition from breastmilk, even if the introduction to solids has begun. So most 6 month olds will still nurse (or have a bottle) 8-12 times in 24 hours.
    She's still nursing every 3-4 hours so I'd say she averages 8 or 9 feeds a day.

    Since most foods do not contain as much fat and calories as breastmilk, it is probably not a good idea to encourage more of these in order to increase weight gain. Because what actually happens in that case is a baby fills up on the solids and not nurse as much, or not nurse as productively, or not take as much in the bottle, exacerbating slow gain rather than fixing the problem. If the problem really is low milk production, then high fat, high cal foods might make sense. But nothing is as nutritionally complete as breastmilk, and I do not think it is at all clear that there is anything wrong with your milk production. However if baby nurses less due to being fed solids more, that will eventually harm production. This is why the intro to solids is considered a dangerous time for milk production.
    She typically only gets solids when I'm not home. And I have my husband mix the cereal with a few ounces of breastmilk so she at least gets the milk in the cereal. If I'm home at night, I nurse her at bedtime before we do jammies and read. I asked my husband to offer her the sippy cup at the same time to keep a good schedule but so far she has refused the milk at that time of night (she will take about 1.5 ounces at her first feeding after I leave for work).

    expressing 3 ounces at a single pump session is perfectly normal. Many moms are not able to pump that much and in fact find they have to pump 2 times or sometimes more for every bottle.
    Ok, that's good to know. Would it be worth it to try and pump a second time while I'm at work? I guess if she's only eating 3 ounces or less while I'm gone at work and that's how much I'm pumping then I'm still keeping up with my freezer supply.

    Also, "going" 5-6 hours in order to increase what you express when you pump is actually likely to harm milk production, because the longer milk sits in the breasts, the more your body gets the message that it is making too much milk. The body responds to this message by reducing milk production.
    That's what I was afraid of. So I guess it would be better to just pump maybe twice instead of once in order to get the output I need. It's just difficult because I'm in law enforcement and not only is it tough to find the time to where I won't be bothered, but I have to completely disrobe almost in order to pump. So I need to keep it at 3-4 hours for pumping just like I would for nursing?

    Here is how you keep milk production in good shape: Nurse or pump frequently, (again, at least 8 times in 24 hours, and some moms need more) and if you are pumping regularly, make sure your pump is in perfect working condition at all times and fits you properly. Stay well hydrated, and take in enough calories to be healthy.

    Some moms do find herbal or food- based galactagogues help, but only if the above is all happening. I have always thought that teas and cookies probably do not contain enough herbs to actually make a difference, unless one eats a LOT of cookies. I would suggest look at the dosage in your cookies as compared to a pill form of a reliable galactagogue (these can be found in any health food store.) As always when taking any medicinal herbs, research them before taking them.
    Ok, thank you so much for the information! I have a health foods store not far from me. I'll go in and take a look.
    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; April 2nd, 2017 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Adjusted quotes for clarity

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    Sorry I just re-read this and realized you said smoothies, not cookies. Again it depends on what is in the smoothy and in what dose, but still I wanted to correct my mistake there.

    If your baby is regularly going about 3-4 hours between nursing sessions, truly the most effective and (usually, although every situation is different) easiest way to increase milk production, milk intake, and weight gain is to encourage baby to nurse more often. Of course some 6 month olds are fine on that frequency but on the other hand, it does not take much breastmilk to increase weight gain to closer to average when it is slightly below that. Just one or two additional nursing sessions a day can make a big difference. If doctor is concerned enough they want another weight check in 6 weeks, that is a good reason to try that.
    Even if solids are only during your work day, they can impact the whole day of nursing just as overfeeding with bottles can. Given the weight gain concern I am not going to suggest reduce solids, but again I would suggest encouraging baby to nurse more often when you are with baby. Pumping a little more when at work, if and when you can, is also a good idea if you have any concerns about milk production now or for the future. But the need to do this can be offset to some degree if baby nurses more often.

    The website and book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots is written for nursing moms in the military but has ideas for any pumping mom with a career that makes pumping unusually difficult.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    with all the above.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    Sorry I just re-read this and realized you said smoothies, not cookies. Again it depends on what is in the smoothy and in what dose, but still I wanted to correct my mistake there.
    No problem! I put about a tablespoon of brewers yeast and about the same flax seed. About 1 loose cup of spinach also. Then fruit, greek yogurt and almond milk.

    If your baby is regularly going about 3-4 hours between nursing sessions, truly the most effective and (usually, although every situation is different) easiest way to increase milk production, milk intake, and weight gain is to encourage baby to nurse more often. Of course some 6 month olds are fine on that frequency but on the other hand, it does not take much breastmilk to increase weight gain to closer to average when it is slightly below that. Just one or two additional nursing sessions a day can make a big difference. If doctor is concerned enough they want another weight check in 6 weeks, that is a good reason to try that.
    Even if solids are only during your work day, they can impact the whole day of nursing just as overfeeding with bottles can. Given the weight gain concern I am not going to suggest reduce solids, but again I would suggest encouraging baby to nurse more often when you are with baby. Pumping a little more when at work, if and when you can, is also a good idea if you have any concerns about milk production now or for the future. But the need to do this can be offset to some degree if baby nurses more often.
    I'm sure she won't complain about nursing more often. I'll definitely try that. I REALLY appreciate the information and the insight. I already had to cut back on the cereal because she had a lot of difficulty pooping today. Less cereal means less breast milk while I'm gone . She has been sleeping very well on our current "routine" but if it means she wakes up an additional time overnight for a feeding I'm ok with that, given our weight "issue" and being apart situation.

    The website and book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots is written for nursing moms in the military but has ideas for any pumping mom with a career that makes pumping unusually difficult.
    I will definitely check that out. The book was suggested to me in a different thread when I had concerns about having to leave her for 2 weeks straight. I think I'll check Amazon tonight and read that ASAP. In regards to pumping at work more often... if she goes to bed at 10pm and I get done with my night shift shortly after, would it be beneficial for me to pump when I get home before I go to bed? She usually doesn't wake up for her MOTN feed until 2:30/3:30. I'm assuming if I pump around 11pm my supply will be back up for her when she wakes up.

    This was all so much great information and I really do appreciate it!!
    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; April 2nd, 2017 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Adjusted quotes for clarity

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New to pumping... A few questions

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    with all the above.

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