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Thread: Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    201

    Default Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

    Hello all. I have a question about maintaining my milk supply when I am occasionally away from my DD, who is almost three months. I am a full-time mom but I have recently started a few activities that take me away from her for up to five hours at a time. On Monday mornings I teach yoga, on Wednesday nights I run an art program, and on Thursday afternoons I go to a graduate course. In each case my husband or mother-in-law gives her a bottle of EBM. I have been pumping when I get home because I am afraid to lose my supply and also to make bottles for the next time I am away. If on occasion I do not pump, or if my husband and I go out and I miss a feeding and do not pump, will my supply be affected? For example, we are going to a wedding this Friday and might miss two feedings. Do I have to pump at the wedding? Sounds like a pain in the rear, but I am willing to do it. Or should I just pump when I get home? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks, EmmaLeigh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

    I think your answer lies in your past experiences. When you were away for 5 hours at a time, were you engourged, did you see a drop in production? Answer this question and you will know what you have to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,198

    Default Re: Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

    Yup; pumping can indeed be, as you say, a "pain in the rear" . However, there are some good reasons - in addition to maintaining milk supply - that you might want to keep in mind. At 3 mo, your milk supply is probably pretty high if you are EBF - and you want to keep your body on track to have it that way. This is a good thing! But it also means that clearning your breasts, keeping that milk flowing well, is very important to keep your breast healthy, comfortable and free of plugged ducts and blebs. For some mommas, even going an extra few hours - or, several extra hours - in between feeding or pumping can lead to increased chances of plugs. My inclination would be to try to pump when you are at that wedding....you'll feel a whole lot more comfortable, I imagine, too! If you can't pump, you might at least want to have a few moments in the rest room with a towel or something that you can hand-exrpess into to relieve pressure and sort of stimulate your breasts just enought to 'remind' them that they should be making milk.

    The other thing I'll mention is that at 3 months, your body's levels of prolactin, one of the hormones that regulates milk supply, naturally drops. Many mommas notice this, if they are pumping, in particular. If your body also gets the message that it needs to produce less - by a dropped feeding or pumping session - I'd be a little concerned about the combination of these two things. This timing, 3-4 months, is a little tricky and I might want to deal with the inconvenience in order to preserve the precious supply.... it won't always be like this.... it gets easier!

    Good for you for doing all this hard work to take the best possible care of your LO. Good luck!!
    -linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    201

    Wink Re: Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

    Thank you for your responses to my question. I can usually go about 5 hours before I get uncomfortable, but I hate to let it get to that state. I know once you get engorged, the body begins to get the message to reduce supply, which I do not want to risk. It's very helpful to know that this three-month window is a sensitive one; I had read that the supply sort of stabilizes now and there isn't as much extra milk made. I definitely don't want my supply to go down too much, especially since I think my LO has gotten used to a nice fast let-down and quick flow. She likes it to squirt down her throat. I have a manual pump that works pretty well for me, so I will plan to pump at the wedding. Now, should I toss out the milk I pump if I plan to have a few alcoholic beverages, or would that be craziness? Thanks, EmmaLeigh

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Maintaining milk supply when away from baby

    Boy, not sure. Can anyone else weight in here? I don't think a drink would hurt, but I probably woun't drink much more than that. I drank one beer about a month ago and it gave me a buzz, I think if I had too, I'd be dancing on the table!

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