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Thread: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

  1. #1
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    Default Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    This is my third day back at work and I'm worried that I'm not able to meet DD's needs. She will be 11 weeks old tomorrow, is exclusively breastfed since birth, and is gaining weight well. Last Friday she was 10 lbs 4 ounces at her 2 month well baby checkup. We have a freezer stash of approx. 100 ounces. I'm able to pump 3 times a day at work with an actual pumping time of 15 minutes at each session. I simply can't be away from my desk more or I will have to work longer to make up for it (I'm salaried/exempt).

    I nurse her at 6:30 AM and drop off at daycare at 7:15 AM. I'm at work until 4:15ish and pick her up 5 minutes after I leave work. By the time we get home it's after 4:30 so she's going roughly 10 hours between nursing sessions. She will nurse at around 5 PM and again at 7 before she goes to bed, then I get her up at 10 PM to nurse before I go to sleep, and she eats at least once between 10 PM and 6 AM. Adding in the three bottles at daycare, she's feeding an absolute minimum of 7 times a day and usually it's 8.

    On the Kellymom milk calculator if I put in 7 feedings/day that works out to about 3.6 ounces on average per feeding (high of 4.3 ounces), and if I put in 8 feedings/day it works out to 3.125 ounces (high of 3.75 ounces). For three bottles that ranges from 9-13 ounces that I need to pump. My LC says to start with the 1 ounce/hour rule, which implies I need around 10 ounces minimum for the time we're apart. I've read on here a 1.5 ounce/hour guideline, which means a max of 15 ounces? Yikes.

    DD will suck down whatever she's given in a bottle, whether it's 2 ounces or 4 ounces - she has never not finished a bottle. The first day I sent 3.5 ounce bottles but yesterday and today I sent 4 ounce bottles. Monday and Tuesday I was able to pick her up at 1 PM so she only needed 2 bottles between 7:15 and 1 PM. Based on when the took her bottles she will likely want to eat again at around 2-2:30 PM. Her daycare providers won't offer a bottle after 3:30 PM at my request so that she will want to nurse around the time we get home.

    Yesterday I managed to pump exactly 12 ounces in three sessions, so today I sent three 4 ounce bottles. I feel like I "should" send at least three 3.5 ounce bottles at a minimum (10.5 ounces total). I think I can probably get the 10.5 ounces or so but I worry about being able to get 12+ ounces every day.

    Today I've pumped once and only got 4 ounces. Since my pump yield decreases as the day progresses I am worried I won't be able to pump enough to send 12 ounces to daycare tomorrow. If I have to, I'll pump after she nurses at home to get the rest of what I need rather than dip into the freezer stash.

    How do I work out how much milk DD truly needs while at daycare? I need a target to shoot for here. Worst case scenario do I send 3.5 ounce bottles and see if she's still OK with getting slightly less milk once she's actually in daycare a full day?

    I don't know if I should start taking fenugreek or resorting to other methods of increasing supply or if I should wait a week or two to see if things improve as I get acclimated to being back at work. Any thoughts? I do have the freezer stash as a buffer but I don't want to touch it unless I have to, so for now I'm thinking if I need to pump more to get three 3.5 ounce bottles, then I will do that rather than using stash.
    Katie - mom to Lily, 8/5/2010

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    It sounds like you're doing great to me, especially with a 100 ounce freezer stash for back up. I wouldn't worry if I were you. Try not to stress too much about it, that can have a detrimental effect on your pumping output.

    Are you getting a second letdown while you pump? 4 ounces is a pretty good output, but if you aren't already getting a second letdown you might up your output by 1-1.5 ounces per session by doing so.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*norasmommy View Post
    It sounds like you're doing great to me, especially with a 100 ounce freezer stash for back up. I wouldn't worry if I were you. Try not to stress too much about it, that can have a detrimental effect on your pumping output.
    Are you getting a second letdown while you pump? 4 ounces is a pretty good output, but if you aren't already getting a second letdown you might up your output by 1-1.5 ounces per session by doing so.
    Try and relax mama. It sounds to me like you are doing great! There can be so much stress surrounding going back to work and pumping. I remember being so stressed that I wouldn't pump enough. But I did. And it sounds like you do too. I would see these FF babies eating 8 oz bottles and thinking My little guy ate 3 oz bottles at daycare all the way until I pump weaned at 14 months. Is baby happy? Gaining weight? Peeing enough dipes?

    Something else to think about is that babies get different amounts of milk at different sessions. Your babe could be getting 2 oz in the middle of the night but then 4 oz at the 6:30 feeding.

    I wouldn't jump to supplements but something you can do to give yourself a boost could be just to eat some oatmeal each day.
    I'm Colleen
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    Silas born May 2009 ~ Nursed 18 mos, weaned during pregnancy, unweaned at 24 months, still nursing when he feels like it
    Lola born March 2011 ~ The Mary Lou Retton of toddler nursing
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*norasmommy View Post
    Are you getting a second letdown while you pump? 4 ounces is a pretty good output, but if you aren't already getting a second letdown you might up your output by 1-1.5 ounces per session by doing so.


    I remember at the beginning it was VERY common for me to have to pump and extra time in the middle of then night after he ate to get enough for the next day.
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    How often is your daughter eating at daycare?

    My son started off in daycare at 12 weeks. He ate every 2 hours, and had 2 oz bottles. He gradually stretched to every 3 hours, with 3 oz bottles. Around 6 months, he went up to 4 oz bottles (fed every 3 hours).

    The 1 oz/hour rule is a good one. You might try more frequent feedings of smaller amounts, to keep baby from getting too hungry between feedings. But I'd be aiming for at least 10 oz for 10 hours in daycare.

    It sounds like you're doing great.
    First-time mom to Little Manatee (1/7/2010)

    Nursed for 3 1/2 years!



    My little boy is my everything.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    I managed 12.25 ounces today - 4 ounces at 9 AM, just under 5 ounces at 12:30 PM, and about 3.5 ounces at 3 PM. Somehow it all worked out. BTW, my pump is a Medela Freestyle (love it!) with larger hard plastic horns. I pump directly into a Drop In on one side and into a collection bottle on the other, then pour the collection bottle milk into the Drop In.

    Today she took 4 ounces at 9:15 AM, 4 ounces at noon, and 3.5 ounces at 3 PM. She didn't finish her last bottle, but she did want to nurse at home just before 5 and again at 6:45 PM. I think a lot of it was comfort nursing...she ate normally and then wanted to stay on the breast, and I let her. We're both getting used to being apart during the workday and it was nice for me to have that time with her.

    I've been unhappy with my pumping location (long story, my very large employer has relegated me to a bathroom despite state and federal law to the contrary) but that's not going to change, so I need to suck it up and make the best of the situation. I think some of my disappointment was getting to me, along with feeling awkward about my mostly-male coworkers knowing that I pump. Again, I need to suck it up and get over it.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*norasmommy View Post
    Are you getting a second letdown while you pump? 4 ounces is a pretty good output, but if you aren't already getting a second letdown you might up your output by 1-1.5 ounces per session by doing so.
    If I pump for more than 10 minutes I usually feel a second letdown around the 10-11 minute mark. Even if I pump for 15 minutes, the milk is still flowing when I stop pumping - but I can't pump for longer than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zplum View Post
    I would see these FF babies eating 8 oz bottles and thinking My little guy ate 3 oz bottles at daycare all the way until I pump weaned at 14 months. Is baby happy? Gaining weight? Peeing enough dipes?
    I know. Only two of the eight babies in her daycare room are breastfed. I put her bottles in her bin in the fridge and see the big 8 ounce bottles lined up for other babies and it makes me worry that the caregivers will think I'm not feeding her enough!

    Our pediatrician is a great doctor but he did tell me last week at her 2 month appointment that she would likely want 3.5, 4, or even 5 ounce bottles soon (until Monday she'd never had more than a 3 ounce bottle). I think that kind of spooked me a little, too - the thought of needing to pump 15+ ounces for her!

    She is happy, gaining beautifully (averaging just under 1 ounce/day since she regained birth weight at 13 days old), and is absolutely peeing/pooping a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*manatee View Post
    The 1 oz/hour rule is a good one. You might try more frequent feedings of smaller amounts, to keep baby from getting too hungry between feedings. But I'd be aiming for at least 10 oz for 10 hours in daycare.
    I can pump 10 ounces in three sessions unless my supply nosedives in a big way. It's getting 12+ ounces that makes me antsy, and I'm confident I could get that much milk if I added a fourth pumping session after DD goes to bed. I'm also thinking that if I pump after nursing during my work hours on the weekend, it might help stimulate supply a little more too - and give me some milk to add to the freezer stash!

    On Monday she was happy with the 3.5 ounce bottles but since I pumped 8 ounces at work (in two sessions) I figured I'd send two 4 ounce bottles for Tuesday. Then she drank both of them and I felt like the pressure was ON for today to give her three full 4 ounce bottles! I think as long as her three bottles are between 3.5-4 ounces we'll be in good shape.

    I've considered dividing her milk into 4 bottles - maybe we'll try it next week. She's fed on demand at daycare and her caregivers are fine with however many bottles it takes for her to be happiest.
    Katie - mom to Lily, 8/5/2010

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    you say she's fed on demand, but that most kids are FF. Do your DCP really know the nursing cues of a BF baby? I agree with the pp. My son ate 3 oz portions sometimes 3.4 or 4 toward the end but that was for 14months. at that age it was like 2-3 oz per session. I really think you are doing fine if not slightly over thinking this. Please relax a little, disregard the docs advice and just keep up what you are doing now.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*Jenna562 View Post
    you say she's fed on demand, but that most kids are FF. Do your DCP really know the nursing cues of a BF baby? I agree with the pp. My son ate 3 oz portions sometimes 3.4 or 4 toward the end but that was for 14months. at that age it was like 2-3 oz per session. I really think you are doing fine if not slightly over thinking this. Please relax a little, disregard the docs advice and just keep up what you are doing now.
    . This is also how much my DS ate as well. It sounds like you are doing great Mama . Also, if your DD is not getting enough during the day, she might just start nursing a bit longer at night when you two are together to compensate. Having a 100oz freezer supply is huge as well. If you can pump at least once a day on the weekends your supply will last longer. Also, remember you can start adding some solids around 6 months if your DD is ready so this will help as well.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jbean1979 View Post


    I remember at the beginning it was VERY common for me to have to pump and extra time in the middle of then night after he ate to get enough for the next day.

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Terrified that I'm not pumping enough!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*Jenna562 View Post
    you say she's fed on demand, but that most kids are FF. Do your DCP really know the nursing cues of a BF baby? I agree with the pp. My son ate 3 oz portions sometimes 3.4 or 4 toward the end but that was for 14months. at that age it was like 2-3 oz per session. I really think you are doing fine if not slightly over thinking this. Please relax a little, disregard the docs advice and just keep up what you are doing now.
    I don't know if they know the nursing cues of a BF baby. They asked if I wanted her fed on a schedule or on-demand and I said on-demand because that's how I feed her. To be honest, I don't know if I know her nursing cues...during waking hours I just nurse her when she gets fussy and tries to latch on! The times that she's been fed at daycare have been all around the time she'd usually want to eat if we were together. I'm going to print out the Kellymom guidelines for bottlefeeding a breastfed baby and bring it in. I don't want it to seem like I'm questioning how they take care of her, but at the same time she's my baby, no one knows her better than me, and we have no clue how much she really does need/want to eat at daycare.

    What are signs that she's being overfed at daycare? Yesterday (when she took 11.5 ounces at daycare) she didn't really want to get up and nurse at 10 PM, and then she went through until 3:45 AM! The only time she's gone more than 6 hours between nursing sessions was the night after she got her first round of shots. And at that she only nursed off one side, so I came downstairs and pumped 3 ounces (almost all from the side she didn't nurse from).

    Until this week she got a bottle about twice a week max, in the evenings and from DH, and it was never more than about 3 oz (she would spit up a lot if she got much more than that). The occasional bottles started when she was a month old, and she's always been fed at the breast otherwise. It's a little surprising that she's taking 4 oz bottles at daycare, and it's probably why I panicked! Other than the 1 ounce/hour guideline I had no idea how much milk to send, and I hate the idea of her being hungry.

    I know the ped probably isn't correct on her wanting 5+ ounce bottles of EBM at daycare right now, but he said not to be surprised if she wanted to take bottles bigger than 3 oz once she's settled into daycare.

    Since I now have 3 extra ounces in the fridge I've decided to cut her three bottles for today down to 3.5 ounces each (total of 10.5 ounces) - closer to the 1 ounce/hour guideline. We'll see how that goes; I have several Drop Ins of 2 and 3 ounces in the freezer at daycare in case she wants more. I suspect (based on Monday) that she'll be fine with slightly smaller bottles.

    Back to bed for an hour before it's time to get up!
    Katie - mom to Lily, 8/5/2010

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