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Thread: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Culpeper, VA
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    Default Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    My LO is 7 mo and I have been back to school (I teach) since mid August which means that I am pumping most of the time and nursing in the afternoons & on weekends. Slowly but surely my ability to keep up with her intake is getting more difficult. When I started back to work, I was pumping at least 16 ounces at work, sometimes more. She was taking in about 12 at that time, so it was great! Within a few weeks, I was down to pumping 14 ounces. Now, she takes 4 bottles (I'm putting 3.5 ounces in each one) and I am struggling to keep up. I was pumping in the morning while getting ready and then once at school. Here in the last week my schedule has changed to this:
    pump at 6 - get about 3 ounces
    pump at 8 - get about 2 ounces
    pump at 1130 - get about 4 ounces
    pump at 245 - lucky to get 1-2 ounces
    pump at 9pm - get about 3 ounces

    I am cutting it so close that I am really getting concerned. I am pretty sure that I need to put that extra half an ounce in her bottles which would mean I should be pumping 16 ounces. I started Fenugreek about 2 days ago.
    Anyone have any other ideas or do I just need to be patient and supplement with frozen until it adjusts? I think I have about 15 frozen bags.
    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"

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    For continuing to pump and breastfeed while working. It's a lot of work to do, but totally worth it!

    Your pumping schedule while working looks good-- you're not going too long between pumpings. Nursing lots when you are home will help maintain/boost your supply. Do you co-sleep at night? Nighttime nursings seem to be especially helpful with supply for most moms.

    What kind of pump are you using? Was it new when you got it? Do the breastshields fit properly? (I found a photo of a good fit here:
    http://www.ameda.com/breastpumping/most/fit.aspx

    The issues are the same for a Medela pump; they just don't have a photo).

    Have you started on any hormonal birth control? Some varieties of birth control can affect milk supply depending on how your body reacts to it. Many allergy meds can also affect milk supply.

    The best way I know to increase supply is to nurse more often (best) or add some pumpings. One way that moms in my group say has helped them is to do a "power pump" variation: Settle yourself with your pump to watch an hour-long TV show. Pump only on the commercial breaks. This gives you 5 or so mini-pumpings that can help stimulate your supply. You might want to do this every night, or just a couple of times a week.

    I discovered when I was working and pumping that if I worried about how much I was getting, I didn't get much milk. If I distracted myself (reading was good), I got more. Breast massage and Breast compressions (see www.drjacknewman.com) can also help you express more milk.

    The other thing I discovered was that my baby did fine with whatever amount of milk I left for her. If she didn't get enough calories during the day, she made up for it by nursing more at night. Since your baby is 7 months old, pretty soon you may be able to leave a little solid food for her, which can fill in for some of the breastmilk at the caregiver's.

    It sounds like your baby is taking a reasonable amount in the bottle, so this idea may not make much difference for you. I've gotten many calls from moms who feel they can't keep up with what their baby drinks at daycare. When they have the caregiver switch to paced bottlefeeding (www.bfar.org/bottlefeeding.pdf) they find they are usually pumping enough milk-- instead of guzzling 5 oz, for example, they find their baby really only wanted 3oz, when the baby is in charge of the feeding. The amounts you are pumping look totally normal to me-- 2 to 4 oz total per pumping is very average. I usually pumped about 3 oz and almost never more than 4oz at any one time.

    I know it is scary when you feel like you can't provide enough food for your baby, especially when you want to keep breastfeeding. Explore some of the ideas here, and check out the working and nursing articles and stories on the LLLI website. Kellymom also has some good working and nursing/pumping info. You may find a gem of info that helps you make this arrangement work. Your baby is lucky to have you for a mom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Culpeper, VA
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    Thanks for you help. I think I will try the nightime pumping thing. Of course, that rules out watching w/ the DVR lol!
    I am already sending cereal in the am but, it doesn't do anything to change the next feeding time. I thought solids were supposed to supplement not replace a bottle?
    My pump is a PISA. I used it for about10 months with DD2. I replaced tubing ad the horns when DD3 was born
    Last edited by @llli*beccib72; September 23rd, 2009 at 02:08 PM. Reason: adding info
    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"

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

    Default Re: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    I do replace the membranes about every month...stupid question but, is the yellow part the "valve"? I replaced those when I got new horns.
    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
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Culpeper, VA
    Posts
    558

    Default Re: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    I pump for about 10 minutes each time except at the 1130 one when I pump for at least 15 minutes if not 20. Each time I am pumping until it stops. How do I pump through 2 let downs? I bet that would help.
    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"

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help! Supply is dwindling..sorry it's a little long

    I totally hear you about the DVR. I hate watching commercials!

    Here are a couple more possibilities.
    1) Your pump may be approaching the end of its useful life. Purchased pumps like the PIS are designed to work well for about a year of frequent pumping. They don't seem to die all at once, but just get less effective as the motor dies. This is one reason why it's a bad idea to buy or borrow a used pump (and the fact that the Medela pumps can't be thoroughly sterilized). You never know how much "life" is left in the pump.

    2) Some moms do get into a pumping "slump" around 6 or 7 months. What often helps is to briefly rent a hospital grade pump-- for a few weeks or maybe a month. The more powerful pump seems to make a difference to help "rev up" your supply. Of course, you bought the pump so you wouldn't have to rent one....but the rental may be a better option than using formula. You decide what works best for you.

    3) The solid food isn't to replace a feeding yet-- but over the next few months it might fill in for most of one feeding. It just depends on your baby's individual time table. You might also consider sending more nutrient-dense food (things like sweet potatos or avocado) rather than cereal. The cereal takes up space in the stomach but unfortunately doesn't provide much real nutrition at this point.

    My point about the food is that you won't be doing this much pumping forever. There will come a time when you can drop pumping sessions and finally stop pumping altogether, and just enjoy nursing your baby when you are home.

    4) Regarding the valves...just make sure the white membrane that fits on the yellow piece is clean, with no dried milk on it. Dried milk will prevent proper suction and you won't get much milk. I found that out one frantic day, too. ("Hello, Medela?"......"You mean those things come apart? They need to be cleaned?")

    You may have to try a couple of things to find what works best for you. Hang in there!

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