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Thread: 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    11

    Default 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

    I pump twice a day while at work (I work 3days/week) and once in the evening after my son goes to bed, and up until very recently, usually pumped between 4-6 oz. per session. For the past 2 weeks, my output has been 2-4 oz. per session, almost dropped in half. My son has started solids (slowly) but still nurses exclusively 4days/week so I'm surprised by the sudden drop. I haven't started exercising or dieting...but my postpartum period came back last month, so i am thinking that also has something to do with it.

    I am taking Calcium/Mag supplements and started oatmeal daily...the herbs freak me out a little bit, just because there is so little research on the safety...

    Anyone have a similar experience around this time? Is this a drop in supply, or is my body just too good at making exactly what it needs at this point? Do you think it is faulty pump gear? The only thing I haven't replaced are the plastic adapters (attaches the horns to the valves). Just hoping my supply isn't on the way out....

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Culpeper, VA
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

    I don't know that I have advice but, I can say that the exact same thing happened to me! My LO is about 6.5 mo and about a month ago, I started wondering if my supply was dwindling (still wondering). My pumping amount has gone down from 18-20 oz total in a day back when she was 3 months (pretty sure it was oversupply then) to about 16 oz in a day when I went back to work again the beginning of this school year...to about 12-14 oz now. The funniest thing to me though is that whatever I pump in a day is typically what she takes in. For example, yesterday she drank only about 12 ounces at DC and that was all I was able to pump. Today, I was able to pump 14 ounces and when I went to pick her up at DC I found out that was about what she drank. I still feel like my supply is dwindling though because when I nurse her in the afternoons, she just doesn't seem satisfied. She takes a bottle about every 2 to 2.5 hours at DC but, in the early evenings she nurses almost every hour.
    I don't know if that helps you...I will keep checking this post though to see if anyone has any other thoughts.
    with my Best Friend
    Proud Mommy to my 3 girls
    "Munchkin" 9/20/01
    "Sunshine" 12/01/06
    "Peanut" 02/26/09 birth weight 5lbs 2 oz
    2 mos 10lbs 4 oz
    4 mos 13lbs 8 oz
    5 mos 14lbs 12 oz
    6 mos 15lbs 3 oz
    9 mos 17lbs 10 oz
    1 year 19lbs 3 oz

    Firm believer in the glory of "MIRACLE GROW"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

    Thanks for the reply! I'm sure the fact that our bodies start to pinpoint to the drop what our babies need at this point, and since the pump is less efficient than the baby, we naturally start to put out less as time goes on.

    HOWEVER--

    I just read another similar post on this forum and she had been using horns that were too big. Last week, I purchased bigger horns because I thought maybe that would help me put out more milk...Then I had the lowest output week to date. Maybe the horns were too big? I'm going back to my regulation size horns tonight to see if it makes a difference, fingers crossed!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Culpeper, VA
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

    I bet you are right. But, I am afraid that if I pump even a few ounces short of what she needs, my supply will start to go down. I hadn't thought about the horn size. I have used the same size even since my middle child was born. I actually always thought that maybe they were too small. How can you tell?
    with my Best Friend
    Proud Mommy to my 3 girls
    "Munchkin" 9/20/01
    "Sunshine" 12/01/06
    "Peanut" 02/26/09 birth weight 5lbs 2 oz
    2 mos 10lbs 4 oz
    4 mos 13lbs 8 oz
    5 mos 14lbs 12 oz
    6 mos 15lbs 3 oz
    9 mos 17lbs 10 oz
    1 year 19lbs 3 oz

    Firm believer in the glory of "MIRACLE GROW"

  5. #5

    Default Re: 6mo pp sudden drop in pumping output...

    There are several reasons why your supply might drop, and there are also some things you can try that should help you maintain your supply.

    Many women have noticed that their supply drops temporarily right around the time of their periods. It tends to rebound during the rest of your cycle. Have you started on any birth control? I've talked with several moms who noticed an abrupt drop in their supply (by about half) when they got the Mirena IUD. It doesn't affect all women this way, but it certainly seems to affect some women. A mom in my LLL Group worked outside the home and noticed a dramatic drop in her supply when she got the Mirena. She opted to keep it, but started doing "power pumping" a couple of times a week. This was enough to maintain her supply. She settled herself with her pump in the evening and watched an hour-long TV show, pumping *only on the commercial breaks*. (I'd make sure it's an enjoyable show, not something that distresses you). This lets you get in 4 or 5 mini-pumpings to help stimulate your supply.

    A normal amount to pump is 2-4 oz total, so the OP is still within the norm. It's certainly worth checking the fit of the breast flange/horn. The Ameda site has a photo of what a good and bad fit looks like:
    http://www.ameda.com/breastpumping/most/fit.aspx
    Medela has similar info, but no photo:
    http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com...d-breastshield

    I found when I was working and breastfeeding that if I worried about how much I was pumping, I got very little milk. If I distracted myself (reading was good), I got a lot more milk. Doing some breast massage or breast compressions (check out www.drjacknewman.com) while pumping may help you pump a little more milk, too.

    Something else that has helped moms is to make sure that the caregiver is using paced bottle feeding (as described by Dee Kassing): www.bfar.org/bottlefeeding.pdf
    The article is geared towards newborns, but the technique works just as well for older babies. I think it gives a truer picture of just how much a baby needs at a feeding, since it puts the baby in charge of how much milk he takes, just like at the breast. I've had several moms call with concerns about how much they're pumping-- their baby will take 5oz in a bottle, but the mom can only pump 3oz. When they tried switching to paced bottle feeding, they found that most of the time the baby really only wanted about 3oz.

    I also learned when I was pumping that it worked just fine to leave whatever I pumped for my baby when she was in daycare, and just make sure that I was available to her whenever I wasn't working. That way she could make up any needed calories at other times. She did a lot of nursing at night while I slept with her tucked next to me.

    I've also heard of some moms who were using a good quality purchased pump, who found that renting a hospital grade pump for a month or so helped "recharge" their supply.

    Breastfeeding is so empowering for us moms. It can feel like we're losing control when we can't pump enough while we work. (BTDT) The great thing is that our babies and our own bodies are wonderfully adaptable. We can fit in extra feedings or pumpings to signal more milk production. Our babies can "reverse nurse". I think it's also important to remember that breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing-- perhaps it works best for you to give formula only when you are working, and breastfeed when you are with your baby. Our bodies can adapt to that, too. I do know that worrying about how much you are pumping can inhibit how much you are pumping --learned that the hard way. :-) Whatever arrangement helps you feel competent and relaxed will be best for both you and your baby.

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