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Thread: Not pumping enough

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Not pumping enough

    I'm sorry if this question has been asked and answered--I already posted this on the infants section, and someone suggested I post it here (I didn't realize this board existed!).

    A bit of background. I was unable to BF for the first 2 days of my ds's life because he was in the NICU, then they gave him formula--I pumped the whole time. We started BFing when we came home (when he was 4 days old), and had to deal with nipple confusion. However, within a week, he was latching on and feeding without a problem. Unfortunately, I had to go back to work when he was 8 weeks old. I had to supplement with formula while he was in day care because I hadn't pumped and frozen enough to maintain BM bottles for day care. I still nursed at night and on the weekends. From the beginning, the most I could ever pump was 5 ounces, and that was from both breasts for about 30 minutes.

    After I returned to work, I wasn't so diligent about pumping, so my milk started to dry up after about three weeks. I was heart broken. Well, after one horrible weekend of trying bottles only, I was miserable, ds was miserable--heck, even my df was miserable!! I decided to try to re-establish my milk. I started pumping twice a day at work, and spending all of my time with my ds with him on my breast. It worked! I went from pumping only one ounce out of both breasts after two pumping sessions (pathetic, I know), to an average of 9 ounces a day. I am currently eating oatmeal every morning and supplementing with Fennugreek and Mother's Milk tea. I also drink an average of 100 ounces of water per day and watch my diet.

    Even with all of these things, I am still only able to pump a maximum of 5 ounces out of both breasts per pumping session--and I pump 20 minutes per breast! Sometimes (like this morning) I'm only able to pump 3 ounces. Why is that? I'm afraid I'll never be able to get my ds off formula because I can't pump enough per day for him to eat! He is eating at least three 5 ounce bottles of formula per day at day care, and I send an extra bottle just in case. At this rate, I'll never be able to switch to BM only!!

    Any advice or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    66

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    5 ounces is amazing! Even 3 is above average.

    Baby needs me now, I'll be back later...
    Last edited by Sara; July 21st, 2006 at 11:10 AM.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    Really? What about all the people who say they can pump 8-10 ounces? I have seen people post that they have pumped 32-37 oz per day! Also, If ds is eating 15 to 20 oz in formula during the hours of 7 am to 4 pm, shouldn't I be able to pump that much to keep up? Help! I'm so confused!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    66

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    OK, my ds is calmer...

    Here are my thoughts

    1) Even if you can't get to the point where your baby is exclusively breastfed, you're still doing a great job by providing even some breastmilk everyday. Some is always better than none!

    2) You may be able to satisfy your baby with much less than 15 ounces of breastmilk during the day (which is what he currently gets in formula). Breastmilk is more satisfying than formula, as much more of it is used by the body (less is wated... just compare the stools of bf babies and ff babies). Studies have shown that in the first 6 months of life bf babies drink on average 25 ounces a day of breastmilk. So that's about 1 ounce an hour (although more per awake hour if he is sleeping long stretches at night). If you're baby is away for 8 hours, then he should need 8 ounces or so. It may take a while for ds to transition to this amount. Since bm is digsted so quickly (about 90 minutes) it may help if he is fed smaller amounts more often (ex. 2 ounces every two hours). This article has more info on this topic:
    How much expressed milk will my baby need?
    and here's some info on waening from formula:
    Weaning from formula supplements

    3) To increae your pumping output you need to pump more often when you are away from ds, ideally every 3 hours. Is this possible? Here are more tips on increasing pumping output:
    I'm not pumping enough milk. What can I do?

    Does any of this help?
    Last edited by Sara; July 21st, 2006 at 11:59 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    The type of pump you use can also make a big difference. The women who pump 8-10 ounces (it's quite rare - 2 ounces is much more common) are probably using hospital grade pumps (they can be rented). Get in touch with a local LLL or LC to find out about renting one in your area.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    929

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    I use the Avent Isis IQ double electric pump. If I pump in the morning I can get the 8-10 oz that you were talking about. I do have to be relaxed though and not under a time crunch. I go back to work in less than 2 wks and I'm anticipating a problem being able to find the time, privacy and relaxation needed to keep that kind of volume up.....

    Can you feed your LO from one breast 1st thing in the morning and pump the other? Also, I plan on pumping at night after DS goes to bed. THere won't be as much but some is better than none. I also agree with the PP that your DS will probably take less EBM than formula.

    Jennifer
    Amazed and Proud mom of Luke (Lucas) - 4/5/2006; 9 lbs 12 oz , 22in
    Wife to best friend Carl - 11/4/2001

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    23

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    OK, my ds is calmer...

    Here are my thoughts

    1) Even if you can't get to the point where your baby is exclusively breastfed, you're still doing a great job by providing even some breastmilk everyday. Some is always better than none!
    Thank you! I agree, but would like to save the money I am spending on formula. We are on a very tight budget. However, I will do whatever is necessary for the health of my baby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    2) You may be able to satisfy your baby with much less than 15 ounces of breastmilk during the day (which is what he currently gets in formula). Breastmilk is more satisfying than formula, as much more of it is used by the body (less is wated... just compare the stools of bf babies and ff babies). Studies have shown that in the first 6 months of life bf babies drink on average 25 ounces a day of breastmilk. So that's about 1 ounce an hour (although more per awake hour if he is sleeping long stretches at night). If you're baby is away for 8 hours, then he should need 8 ounces or so. It may take a while for ds to transition to this amount. Since bm is digsted so quickly (about 90 minutes) it may help if he is fed smaller amounts more often (ex. 2 ounces every two hours).
    I had no idea! That makes sense, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    This article has more info on this topic:
    How much expressed milk will my baby need?
    and here's some info on waening from formula:
    Weaning from formula supplements
    These articles are very helpful, thank you. However, the weaning article seems directed to one who is at home with her dc. Would it be okay to substitute BM bottles rather than formula bottles right away, just more of them? For example, instead of sending 4 5 oz formula bottles, I could send 5 4 oz BM bottles, and change his schedule to every 2 hours instead of every 3. If there are remaining bottles, that's okay. That just means I would take less bottles the next day to daycare. He is already used to BM, since that is what he eats the majority of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    3) To increae your pumping output you need to pump more often when you are away from ds, ideally every 3 hours. Is this possible?
    Yes, I can do that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    Does any of this help?
    Yes! Thank you so much!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    23

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    Quote Originally Posted by Sara
    The type of pump you use can also make a big difference. The women who pump 8-10 ounces (it's quite rare - 2 ounces is much more common) are probably using hospital grade pumps (they can be rented). Get in touch with a local LLL or LC to find out about renting one in your area.
    Well, that's just it. I am using a Medela Symphony that I rent from the hospital. I don't know if I can get any better than that! I am looking to buy a Medela Pump In Style Advanced, though. I think it should be almost as good.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    66

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    Yes, both of those pumps are quite good!

    As to your question about how many bottles, perhaps I was a bit too quick to suggest going to feedings every 2 hours. If your baby is used to every 3, it's probably best not to change that too much. So perhaps sending 4, 5oz bottles now and then slowly reducing the number of ounces in each bottle, as the days/weeks go by (to probably 3-3.5 ounces per bottle, if your baby accepts this). Explain the situation to the people giving the bottle and tell them that you don't want them to force your baby to finish the bottles. Rather they should stop the feeding every few ounces to see if your baby is satisfied without finishing the bottle.

    If your baby still eats more than you can pump, then try perhaps feeding fewer ounces every two hours and see if that helps.

    You can also try to get Domperidone by mail order from canada. Some women on this board have had good luck with increading hteir supply with this drug.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Not pumping enough

    I scanned through the posts, but didn't see this piece of advice (forgive me if I missed it).

    Make sure the care provider is not feeding your baby for any old kind of fussing. Not all fussing is hunger-- sometimes it's tired and ready for a nap, sometimes it's just a need to suck and a pacifier or a thumb will do the trick.

    My current care provider is great, but every now and then if she is out and someone else is looking after my 6 month old for the day, she will take 4 4-oz bottles instead of the usual 2. I send 4 routinely, expecting 2 to come back home. I call them the "flat tire" bottles, in case I am delayed.

    Good luck.

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