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Thread: replenishment question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    35

    Question replenishment question

    How long does it take for your breasts to fill up again? Or maybe this is a stupid question and they never "empty". My LO fed on the left until she pulled off and was sound asleep. I did what I could to wake her and she didn't. I put her down and waited a good 15 minutes to see if she'd wake up (she usually does if she doesn't want to be in bed). Since she didn't wake, I pumped the remaining from the left and the entire right breast. My LO awoke not 20 minutes after I finished pumping and of course appeared hungry. I was worried I wouldn't have enough milk to feed.

    So I guess this question stems from being new to BF'ing. Do I always have milk available to feed whenever and it's just the storage that needs to build up? Or, once I pump a breast empty is there not any milk for the baby to BF and, if so, how long until milk is available.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: replenishment question

    Ooh, I have been wondering the same thing. I'm so glad you asked! I hope someone answers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: replenishment question

    yeah, me too. i've heard the breasts never empty, but does that mean our kids have to eat for longer to get more out? in these situations, she'll eat at a flat flat breast but won't seem satisfied at all. what's going on?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: replenishment question

    Officially the breast is never empty, but if you pump until almost nothing is coming out and then tried to feed your child from the breast they wouldn't get much. If they sucked long enough they might be able to trigger another let-down but I know my baby wouldn't have the patience to make that happen without getting anything along the way. The breasts will start "filling up" again right away and for me I would say I could nurse again and feel comfortable that I have enough milk after about an hour or so, two for sure. If you do pump "everything" out and the baby wakes up and is hungry, can you give her the espressed milk in a bottle?

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: replenishment question

    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBMarApr05p44.html

    theres some info from this link:

    Knowing that new milk is constantly being produced in the alveoli will give a mother the confidence she needs to put her baby to the breast, even when it feels "empty." One study found that babies removed an average of only 76 percent of the available milk from their mother's breasts in a 24-hour period (Hartmann et al. 1993).



    Another consideration related to milk supply is the breasts' storage capacity. Sometimes small-breasted women worry that they may not be able to make enough milk for their babies, but the milk production process makes adjustments for breast size. Smaller breasts may not be able to store as much milk between feedings as larger breasts, but if they are emptied often enough, they will make as much milk as the baby needs. Women with larger breasts and greater storage capacity may be able to go longer between feedings without affecting their supply. On the other hand, women with smaller breasts may need to nurse more frequently since their breasts fill faster and milk production slows down as the alveoli become full. Frequent nursing is not only good for supply, but it is also a healthy habit that helps mothers avoid plugged ducts and breast infections.

    Does a mother need to know how much milk her own breasts can store in order to know how often she should feed her baby? No. Healthy babies with good breastfeeding skills take as much milk as they need when they need it, without mothers giving much thought to the whole process. But knowing how the whole process works can help a mother solve any problems she may be having with milk supply. It can also help her think through some of the myths and misunderstandings people have about breastfeeding. For example, she will know that she doesn't have to wait for her breasts to "fill up" between feedings -- there is always milk there for the baby. She will also know that if her baby seems hungry or is going through a growth spurt, nursing more often will speed up her milk production almost instantly

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,178

    Default Re: replenishment question

    Hi! It's true- your breasts are never really totally empty. Milk is constantly being made. However, your breasts are emptier after you have fed or pumped. If you have to nurse again after feeding or pumping, don't be too concerned. Your baby isn't getting nothing. She's getting milk, but slowly. Trickles instead of gushes. This can be very frustrating for the baby, and for the momma who has to deal with the frustrated baby!

    Don't feel bad if you pumped and then the baby wants to nurse and seems hungry at the breast. Eventually, if she's patient, she'll get enough to eat, and all the pumping and nursing signaled your body that it needs to make lots more milk, so there will be plenty for her the next time she's hungry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    6,959

    Default Re: replenishment question

    A LLL moderator stated that even when "empty" the breast is 25% full.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: replenishment question

    Looks like how much milk you have depends on storage capacity and production. Everyone is different. For example, a woman with small breasts and small storage space, may have very efficient production such that she is able to make milk faster. She may have the same amount of milk as a woman who has large storage but makes milk slower. I guess the only way to know is to take note of what happens during each feed and the duration in between. If 20 min after you fed baby or pumped dry, your LO is irritable at the breast and looks not to be getting much then you may have to wait longer for the breasts to fully replenish.

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