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Thread: Can you pump too much?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Illinois
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    Default Can you pump too much?

    Baby is not even three weeks old yet, but I started pumping once a day because his tiny mouth can't latch on right and the pain, bruising, and cracking become too much to bear in the middle of the night. And since the right one hurts more, I feed him on it less, and so I want to keep up milk production on that side with the help of the pump.

    Now that my breasts are no longer engorged, I worry if there's really enough in them, if he's getting enough out. He fed in hour long stretches today, though at the hospital I was told feedings should be twenty minutes. At the same time however, a short pumping can bring out enough for two feedings, so I worry that maybe I have too much milk rather than not enough. The amount of diapers he fills daily lead me to believe the second option is more likely, but is there a way to know for sure? Part of me is hoping I really do have more than enough, since I would love to be able to donate extra milk to a milk bank.

    Is there any way to tell if I have enough milk in me, or if I'm pumping to much out? Did I start pumping too early?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/enough.html

    counting dipars is the way to go...
    Try and forget about the clock.

    when do you have a weight check?
    that might set your mind at ease.
    expect nursing patterns to change day to day.
    Some days they nurse alot and then others they will sleep more.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    As long as weight gain and diaper output are good, then your milk supply is good.

    If he's staying at your breasts for an hour, then that's what he needs. Some babies are done eating in eight minutes, others take 20 minutes like you were told, others take much longer. In general, as baby gets older and more efficient, nursing sessions will take less time.

    At three weeks after delivery, your milk supply is still hormonally driven, not driven by baby's needs so much. This is gradually changing, as your body figures out what baby is taking out, so that's how much it needs to make.

    By pumping regularly, you are telling your body that baby is taking that much, so it will continue to make about that much milk. If you'd like to stop pumping as much, you can slowly decrease the frequency of pumping, and/or the length of your pumping sessions, to allow your body to adjust to reduced demand.
    Shannon
    LLL Leader

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    4,007

    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    I agree with previous posters Also, you could freeze extra breastmilk as an emergency stash
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Illinois
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    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    He gets weighed next week. Diapers have been... interesting. From one day to the other he went from pooping more often than he eats to pooping a couple times a day. He's still filling plenty of diapers with pee though, so he's getting something in his system... I have been freezing pumped milk, which is good because daddy used quite a bit up today when he decided to take baby all by himself for a good long stretch. I was worried because I had heard you're not supposed to pump until after four weeks, but since it doesn't seem to make a difference when I started, I'll keep going just because every once in a while I feel like I'll pop if I don't, and I've got the freezer space. Better safe (and comfortable) than sorry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    Sounds like your supply is great. The more you pump, the more you will produce. You could cut back on how much you pump or how long you pump at each session to reduce how much you are reducing.

    Or, go ahead and pump what you can and freeze it for future use. Even after you decide to stop b/f or the LO self-weans, you can give EMB in a sippy cup.

    If you find that you are an overproducer, you could also consider pumping for a milk bank.
    Fran
    Mom to Anna, March 28, 2008

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Not around here as much :(
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    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    And I'd just like to add that there are times when pumping can exacerbate certain issues - such as Overactive letdown and/or Oversupply... (read more here)

    Carry on
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Illinois
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    Default Re: Can you pump too much?

    Thanks for the added input. I think I will continue to pump, if only because I'm going to have to anyway, when I go back to work.

    That link was helpful! It seems to apply quite well too... He seemed to like uphill nursing, and it explains why he likes the side lying nursing so much too. Actually, a lot of what was in there made things almost instantly better.

    I really would like to donate the extra to a milk bank. The one nearest to me is under-stocked, so it just makes sense that if I have an oversupply I should send some their way. Even if that does mean I will continue to produce more than I need. I don't mind the extra work to help out a little baby somewhere that would benefit from human milk. I remember when my brother was born at 7 months, and the hospital personnel fed him formula. He probably would have been out sooner had they given him breast milk.
    Jess,
    Proud mom to Soren Alexander P.
    Born May 25, 2008
    birth weight: 6 lbs. 12oz
    one week: 6 lbs. 13.5oz
    two weeks: 7lbs 5oz
    one month: 9lbs

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