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Thread: very low milk supply, please help!

  1. #1

    Default very low milk supply, please help!

    I went back to work when LO was 10 weeks old and I was pumping 2x at work and 1x at home and getting about 3 oz total each pumping session. After some time my supply started to decrease so that getting 3oz a session was a good day. At this point we started supplementing with formula for daycare because I couldn't pump enough and we flew through our freezer stash. Currently, LO is nearly 5 months old and I am now pumping 3x at work and 1x at home before I go to bed and I'm getting 0.5oz to 1oz total a session! This sucks. I'm lucky if I can get one bottle for LO to bring to daycare and she drinks 5 x 3.5oz bottles while I'm away from her, so she's now getting a lot of formula. I talked to my midwife about this problem and she suggested I try to nurse her more often and that the pump is obviously not stimulating me to make more milk like nursing would. So, I'm fitting in an extra nursing session as soon as I see LO after daycare but this hasn't helped as of yet (it's only been about a week). I've also been on fenugreek and mothers milk tea and I'm eating oatmeal and none of it has helped. Does anyone have any suggestions as to increase the stimulating ability of the pump?? Should I get a different breast shield or increase the suction strength?? I've tried to play around with the strength but it hasn't seemed to make a difference.

    Also, if I can't increase my pumping output, it seems like a waste of time and energy to keep trying, BUT I don't want to stop nursing. Is it possible to stop pumping and only nurse her in the morning, and 2x at night before she goes to sleep and usually she's up once in the night to nurse too. Will my milk supply drop even lower if I stop pumping or will my body realize that it only needs to make milk at those certain times??? Also, I only nurse her during the weekend and never give a bottle - will I still be able to do this if I stop pumping?? I'm just scared to stop pumping because I don't want to dry up completely, but it seems like the pump isn't stimulating my milk production much anyway.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    I wasn't able to pump with my DS, but wanted to continue BF. He was getting Formula during the day when I was away and nursing the rest of the time. I didn't have any supply problems with that. My body seemed to know to produce milk during that time. I'm not sure about being able to EBF during the weekend if you stop pumping though. You may need to keep pumping during the day to BF during the weekend. Some BM is better than none.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    I just wanted to give you a because I am going through the same thing. It does suck. I was pumping 8 oz. a day and today pumped 5 oz. the whole day! I am hoping to EBF when with my lo and supplement, I guess with frozen milk until that runs out - I think I will pump until I completely run dry. Even if I can only get one oz. it's worth it to me. But you are not alone. It's very frustrating, especially having to work when I know that if I could just nurse my baby it would be ok. Oh well - it is what it is. Hope you find some help. Please pass along any tips to me! I'm supplementing with fenugreek, oatmeal, etc. as well. Good luck! HOpe you can continue to nurse! You're doing a great job for your baby - don't give up!

    I'm Erica

    Mommy to "C" - currently 3 and half years old
    - nursed for one year

    and mommy to "M" - currently 2 years old
    - nursed for 23 months

    Wife to my handsome DH for 5 and a half years!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2008
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    Landof2toddlers, Oregon
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    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    Different size shields can make a difference for some women. Renting a hospital pump can also help and doesn't seem as expensive if you compare it to the cost of formula.

    Many women also manage to not pump during the week and still nurse weekends. Not all though - the choice about risking this is yours. I stopped pumping during the day when my day's output went under 1oz. I have never been able to EBF though. I am that weird and unusual woman who cannot make enough. We still BF at night and nurse at the weekend - though I have no idea if he gets any milk during weekend days or is just enjoying the comfort/closeness...
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    28

    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    I know I'm responding late but.....

    Its hard to let go of pumping because its a measurable task. What is much better is to simply nurse as frequently as you can tolerate all the time you are NOT at work.

    The pump cannot compare to a baby for stimulation. Its better to focus on nursing the baby not the pump.

    Also many babies like mine, can adjust their schedule to eat more when you are home. I don't have to worry about pumping so much because she'd rather drink from the tap.

    Another thing to note....It takes 48 hours or so to see the result of your efforts. If you ramp up feedings one day you often have more milk two days later.

    And as if working and being a mother isn't hard enough, I really think cosleeping/nursing is a must to help keep BF going after returning to work. If the baby stirs, give her the boob. I do this all night and although I'd like to sleep 8 hrs straight, I want to BF more.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2008
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    Landof2toddlers, Oregon
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    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*ebbie View Post
    I know I'm responding late but.....

    Its hard to let go of pumping because its a measurable task. What is much better is to simply nurse as frequently as you can tolerate all the time you are NOT at work.

    The pump cannot compare to a baby for stimulation. Its better to focus on nursing the baby not the pump.

    Also many babies like mine, can adjust their schedule to eat more when you are home. I don't have to worry about pumping so much because she'd rather drink from the tap.

    Another thing to note....It takes 48 hours or so to see the result of your efforts. If you ramp up feedings one day you often have more milk two days later.

    And as if working and being a mother isn't hard enough, I really think cosleeping/nursing is a must to help keep BF going after returning to work. If the baby stirs, give her the boob. I do this all night and although I'd like to sleep 8 hrs straight, I want to BF more.
    EVERYTNING SHE SAID especially the "dream feeding"
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: very low milk supply, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*ebbie View Post
    I know I'm responding late but.....

    Its hard to let go of pumping because its a measurable task. What is much better is to simply nurse as frequently as you can tolerate all the time you are NOT at work.

    The pump cannot compare to a baby for stimulation. Its better to focus on nursing the baby not the pump.

    Also many babies like mine, can adjust their schedule to eat more when you are home. I don't have to worry about pumping so much because she'd rather drink from the tap.

    Another thing to note....It takes 48 hours or so to see the result of your efforts. If you ramp up feedings one day you often have more milk two days later.

    And as if working and being a mother isn't hard enough, I really think cosleeping/nursing is a must to help keep BF going after returning to work. If the baby stirs, give her the boob. I do this all night and although I'd like to sleep 8 hrs straight, I want to BF more.
    I soooooooooo wanted to say thanks to you!!! Accidentally, I was reading your post, because I'm also struggling with my supply, but stll able to exclusively BF my 3mo old, even thouhg I'm back to work for a month already:-(((. So I wanted to THANK YOU for making me feel sooooo good knowing I'm doing the right thing by co-sleeping with my DD! I had doubts, honestly. Even thouhg I enjoy co-sleeping with her soooo much, her often night wakings were an indication to me that I'm teaching her to do so by sticking my boob in her mouth every time she stirrs in her sleep! And probably I do, but now I know it's ok to do so, because it might help me BF her for longer period of time! Yes, she's 3 and still nurses 3 times per night, sometimes even worse, she nurses every 2-3 hours! Yes, I'm very tired and sleep deprived, and I'm struggling with the supply! BUT... She's 3mo and a week and still exclusively breastfed, it means I'm doing something right, hah?
    Thank you!
    Mother to 3 beautiful girls

    Victoria, our queen, born on 04/15/1993, our pride and joy!
    Natalie, our little princess, born on 08/24/2008
    at birth 7lbs 11oz, 20"
    at 2 y.o check up: 26lbs, 34 1/2"
    Sofia, our tiny princess, baby-surprize,
    born 07/20/2010 at 6lbs 10oz, 19"
    6 weeks: 9lbs 14oz; 21 1/2"
    2.5 months: 11lbs 5oz

    4.5 months: 13lbs 4oz; 24 1/2"

    We are still exclusively
    at work

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