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Thread: Evening out the volume?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    48

    Default Evening out the volume?

    Hi Mamas! I have returned to work as of a couple of weeks ago. I am pumping 3 times a day at 9, 12, and 3 (or close to those times if something comes up at work) and find that my supply is really varying. I have some days that I only get 3 bottles worth (3 oz each) during the day so I drink a cup of milk tea and it rises to a volume that I'm happy with. But then after a couple of days, I get engorged and hurt and even though I may get 15 oz I could still get more if I stay on the pump long enough. She's only eating about 12 oz during her stay in daycare (4 servings of 3 oz each).

    How do I even this out? I've not been eating oatmeal because I don't want even more fluctuations. Oh, and my volume fluctuations don't correlate to the Monday-more-Friday-less assumption. I have days where I am putting an extra 1/2 serving or so into the freezer and days where I have to pull one out to supplement what I pumped the previous day.

    My baby girl is 3 months old and is a nibbler at night so my volume is greater in the morning not just because I have rested but also because she's not emptying me out.

    Any suggestions?
    Married to my and mama to DS 8-99 and DD 8-09.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,056

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    First post - I've been lurking for a while, and just now chiming in.

    When I first started, I was really exacting about the amount of milk I put in each bag. I'd pump into the collection bottles, then mix and match the bottles until they got his required amount; if I had 1-2oz leftover, I'd save it in the fridge to go with some of the next day's milk. It was rather nuts. What I realized after the first week or so was that he would be satisfied with a range of milk (4.5-5, sometimes 5.5oz) at each feeding (3 per day while I am gone). That gave me some wiggle room, and I started thinking of it in terms of TOTAL amount per day. I know I have to hit 18oz to get my 4 bags (I like to freeze 1 extra per day), but I can go as high as 20-21oz and still make it 4 bags. If I get more than that (has only happened once or twice, when he wasn't eating as much d/t a cold), then I make 5 bags.

    As far as the oversupply goes, I am very sensitive to that myself; starting around 7 or 8 days old, I had to start feeding on only one side per session. This helped a TON. I can always pump the other side after if I feel like my supply is getting too low.

    You didn't say what time you start work, but if you start at 8 like I do, you might consider doing your first pumping before you even start. I nurse at 6:30ish (depending on when His Royal Highness decides to get up ), then pump at 7:45 for 15 minutes. This is my best pump; sometimes I can get a full HALF of what I need for the next day, even though I just nursed an hour before. And because I can let the pump go so long with that first one, I can last easily until my lunch break, and then I only have to take time out for one final pumping session around 3-4. I never would have considered pumping that early, except that a friend suggested it to me; it has worked so well for me I recommend it to everyone that asks, and to some that don't

    Sorry this was so long winded, but I hope it answers your question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    with pp. I pumped right when I got to work, at 7:30 AM, then again at 11:30 AM, at 3:00 PM and then nursed as soon as I got home at 5:30 pm. I didn't get the same amount every day and probably could have gotten more. I aimed for 12 ounces total for the day - if I didn't have it by the 3 pm pumping I would pump longer. My daughter doesn't like bottles though and would usually drink 8 to 10 ounces, sometimes less, sometimes more.

    I think if you want to even it out, that you have to start pumping longer on the days that your supply is lower and less on the days that your supply is higher. But it sounds like everything is ok to me.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,056

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    Ooh, and I forgot to mention that I always pump once in the morning on my days off of work, usually around 8 or so, to maintain that one extra bottle's-worth of milk per day. When I didn't do this at first, my Mondays would always be down in terms of milk production.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    Thank you for the replies, mamas!

    My work schedule is 7:30 - 4:30 so we wake K up at 6 and we leave the house to get to daycare at 6:30 and I have a 20 mile commute in the big city. I get to work and immediately get the day started for my boss (I'm an Assistant) so I don't know that I could move up my 9:00 a.m. pumping to 7:30... Sometimes K will eat at 6:15 right before we leave the house and sometimes she will eat at 4:30 while still sleeping and won't be hungry yet so she'll only snack a little, at best.

    I calculated the 12 oz by taking 3 oz every 2 hours for 4 feedings since I can be at daycare for her 5th feeding in person by 5:15/5:30. I'm using the 3oz as a guide since that was the weight difference when we had her weighed by a lactation consultant (but that was after a 3-hour nap so maybe she was extra hungry?). So, I pump into 4 bottles and then use those bottles for her food the next day, not messing with transferring or anything.

    That was the other thing I was curious about. Obviously, she will eat more from a bottle than directly from me because the bottle is a constant supply and the ladies at daycare are used to formula-fed babies so they would encourage her to finish the bottle. So on the days that I only get 9 oz total (usually Monday), that would put her volume at about 1 oz per hour. Is that enough?

    Honestly, I'd rather have too much milk than not enough but at the same time don't want the ouch-factor with having rock-hard boobs.

    What if I eat oatmeal on Saturday and Sunday for breakfast? Should I still pump on my days off? How quickly should my supply respond? If I can avoid a yo-yo, that would be good too....

    (sigh) Sorry for the dissertation...
    Last edited by @llli*star.sapphire; December 9th, 2009 at 04:14 PM.
    Married to my and mama to DS 8-99 and DD 8-09.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    (bump)
    Married to my and mama to DS 8-99 and DD 8-09.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Evening out the volume?

    Is your supply increasing throughout the week? Or is it just up some days and down others?

    The days you only get 9 ounces out, did your baby nurse more the night before?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

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