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Thread: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    152

    Default I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    Hi All! I'm an "old-new" fan of LLL. I was visiting often when my DD2 was born in August of 2008. Then I had a surprise DD3 in July of this year:-) I managed to BF exclusively (well, nursing for 2 1/2 months and then pumping) for 6 months and then my supply just dried up. I know what everyone says: you can't dry up while you activly "using" it, but I swear I did. I just don't respond to the pump well, softly speaking. This time around I thought I already know it all and was doing everything with a great confidence, I started pumping the day I came home from the hospital and I did bui;d pretty decent stash: I was able to pump and freeze from 4 to 8 oz every day for 2 1/2 months, the last 2 weeks of me being home (I'm back to work first week now) I couldn't do that, I was happy to freeze 3-4oz/day. I guess maybe my DD started eating more? I even had an oversupply issues at the beginning! I was (sound crazy?) happy! The last 2 weeks before work I stopped feeling "fullness" of my breasts during the day, but my DD didn't really "complain", she gained well, very content, sleeps well. I pump now 3-4 times at work and 1 time before leaving home in the morning after nursing her, the output varies, but in avarage I get 2oz at 5:30-6am, 3oz at 7am, good if I get 3oz at 11am, and maybe 2oz at 2pm! Some days i have 5-6oz by 9am, some only 4. But my 11am and especially 2pm sessions are a pure frustration! I dring Mother's Milk tea religiously. Eating oatmeal every morning (sometimes 2x a day). Considering to start taking fenugreek (hate the smell though), but last time it didn't do much to my supply. And maybe fennel. I massage my breasts, I tried applying heat and visuallizing many different things...Nothing. I do get a second letdown if I continue pumping for about 10min, but not always. I have problems with letdown, as I won't see a single drop of milk for like 5 minutes (or more) at my 11 and 2pm sessions especially. After I'm done pumping, I feel like i still have milk in my boobs, but NOTHING is coming. I am using Medela Swing and I know many of you will say its not good enough, but with my DD2 I was so frustrated i rented a hospital grade Medela (don't remember the name, but it was an older version, not the pretty yellow one:-) that sis NOTHING to my supply. As a matter of fact, the suction even felt weaker. I tried Medela PIS (Used though), found it to be worse than the Swing. What esle should I do??? I'm lost. My DD is with my mom for 2 weeks, then with my hubby for another 2, and the - day care full time. You know, they will not count every drop of my milk like my family members do. So I'm kind of down.
    P.S. I don't seem to have a letdown problems when I'm pumping at home (even though its hectic and crazy sometimes:-), but only at work. Maybe its me, maybe the room, but we only have 1 room for the purpose, so I better get less picky:-)
    Thank you in advance, ladies. I have lots of confidence in you, as you always are a HUGE help.
    Mother to 3 beautiful girls

    Victoria, our queen, born on 04/15/1993, our pride and joy!
    Natalie, our little princess, born on 08/24/2008
    at birth 7lbs 11oz, 20"
    at 2 y.o check up: 26lbs, 34 1/2"
    Sofia, our tiny princess, baby-surprize,
    born 07/20/2010 at 6lbs 10oz, 19"
    6 weeks: 9lbs 14oz; 21 1/2"
    2.5 months: 11lbs 5oz

    4.5 months: 13lbs 4oz; 24 1/2"

    We are still exclusively
    at work

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,860

    Default Re: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    Welcome back and congrats on the surprise!

    I managed to BF exclusively (well, nursing for 2 1/2 months and then pumping) for 6 months and then my supply just dried up. I know what everyone says: you can't dry up while you activly "using" it, but I swear I did. I just don't respond to the pump well, softly speaking.
    I'm sorry things went the way they did- FWIW, it is totally possible to dry up when exclusively pumping. Pumping doesn't empty the breast the way nursing does, not all moms respond fantastically to pumping, and sometimes a pump just can't maintain supply.

    The last 2 weeks before work I stopped feeling "fullness" of my breasts during the day, but my DD didn't really "complain", she gained well, very content, sleeps well.
    That all sounds normal. Generally, fullness is what you feel when you're making extra milk, and the body doesn't like to do that because making extra is a waste of energy and puts you at increased risk for plugged ducts and mastitis. So after you've been nursing a while, it's normal for supply to self-regulate to meet demand very exactly, at which point feelings of fullness generally diminish or disappear.

    I pump now 3-4 times at work and 1 time before leaving home in the morning after nursing her, the output varies, but in avarage I get 2oz at 5:30-6am, 3oz at 7am, good if I get 3oz at 11am, and maybe 2oz at 2pm! Some days i have 5-6oz by 9am, some only 4.
    Wow, I admire you so much for maintaining this pumping schedule!

    But my 11am and especially 2pm sessions are a pure frustration!
    Nevertheless, they are still useful- the additional stimulation is worthwhile even if you're not getting a lot of milk.

    After I'm done pumping, I feel like i still have milk in my boobs, but NOTHING is coming.
    Okay, that sounds like an issue with the pump, the shields, or your response to pumping. I would keep trying different pump and shield configurations, and see if something helps.

    You could also try bringing one of your baby's used outfits with you and smelling it while you pump- that could help trigger a letdown...

    Finally, this link may help: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    HTML Code:
    [COLOR="Blue"]Wow, I admire you [U]so much[/U] for maintaining this pumping schedule! :clap[/COLOR]
    Well, thanks, but first of all, I'm trying to immitate by DD's nursing schedule, and second: I'm still at work:-), so I have to work in between me pumping, eating or drinking (once again, in order to have something to pump)


    HTML Code:
    [COLOR="Blue"]Nevertheless, they are still useful- the additional stimulation is worthwhile even if you're not getting a lot of milk.[/COLOR]
    You think? I hope so. With my DD2 I pumped like a maniac: sometimes I'd go every hour for 10-15 min, because it was vanishing! It didn't help:-( The only mistake I made, I think, is that i thought that I lost all of it, but probably I still have something for her to be nursed in the evening and at night, I judged by the pumping output and I know better now. Lets see.


    HTML Code:
    [COLOR="blue"]Okay, that sounds like an issue with the pump, the shields, or your response to pumping.  I would keep trying different pump and shield configurations, and see if something helps. [/COLOR]
    I tried different size of shields with my DD2, didn't try different pump brand, as I have no idea where and how can you TRY without bying. My friend used a very simple evenflo pump that she swore by, she didn't even wanted to use the Swing, so I'll take it from her to try and if i like it, I'll go and buy the new one.

    HTML Code:
    [COLOR="blue"]You could also try bringing one of your baby's used outfits with you and smelling it while you pump- that could help trigger a letdown...[/COLOR]
    I tried pictures, videos... Will try her clothes tomorrow too.
    Thanks for your advises. I already feel better.


    BTW, my today's story:
    pumped 2oz in the morning at home after nursing the baby, then at work around 2oz at 7am and another 2oz at 9. It took me 30 minutes with visualization of everything i could imagine to calling home to listen to my DD3 to get just 2 oz. Honestly, its so damn frustration! And I know I have milk! If I'd stay home, I'd be able to nurse her probably till 1yo, but the way it goes now, I don't know...So sad
    Mother to 3 beautiful girls

    Victoria, our queen, born on 04/15/1993, our pride and joy!
    Natalie, our little princess, born on 08/24/2008
    at birth 7lbs 11oz, 20"
    at 2 y.o check up: 26lbs, 34 1/2"
    Sofia, our tiny princess, baby-surprize,
    born 07/20/2010 at 6lbs 10oz, 19"
    6 weeks: 9lbs 14oz; 21 1/2"
    2.5 months: 11lbs 5oz

    4.5 months: 13lbs 4oz; 24 1/2"

    We are still exclusively
    at work

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    3,133

    Default Re: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    Honestly mama, your output sounds normal! Pumping 2 ounces every 2 hours is average output. I have a couple ideas for you to try... some mamas here have mentioned that after the milk stops flowing you turn off the pump, lean forward and kinda "shake" your breasts, and then start pumping again, and it can sometimes cause another letdown. Also, when I was really working hard to pump enough, I would HAND EXPRESS when I was done pumping. I have learned that especially my left breast doesn't respond to the pump very well, but when I was done pumping I could pump another 1/2 to 1 ounce by hand expression! And I figured every 1/2 or 1 ounce was helpful, so it was worth the effort to me. I'm sure there are some linkies around here somewhere that describe or show the technique for hand expression, I can't think of any off the top of my head...
    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09


    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*buff24 View Post
    Honestly mama, your output sounds normal! Pumping 2 ounces every 2 hours is average output.

    Well, yes, I agree, whats not normal (in my opinion) is that I have to literally squeeze every drop out of myself! I just finished another pumping session and... less than 2oz (50mL)! And its been a little more than 2 hours, not even 2! I nursed my daighter every 2-3 hours for 3 months AND ocasionally could pump 1-2 oz AFTER nursing and she was happy and content, all that means to me that I had enough milk and I don't think it could disappear in 1-2 or even 3 days since I went back to work, right? So WHAT is it, I wonder? A pump? Me? Both? Sorry, I'm just frustrated.

    I have a couple ideas for you to try... some mamas here have mentioned that after the milk stops flowing you turn off the pump, lean forward and kinda "shake" your breasts, and then start pumping again, and it can sometimes cause another letdown.

    I've read about this technique also, like you massage your breasts towards the nipple, then squeeze (immitate hand expression kind of) a few times and then shake like you said. Didn't help much. Tried few times. With me it seems like every time something different works (or nothing does sometimes), so i have to be creative, patient and hope that my employer will be too:-). I was even wondering maybe I'm doing it wrong? Maybe I'm doing EVERYTHING wrong??? IDK anymore

    Also, when I was really working hard to pump enough, I would HAND EXPRESS when I was done pumping. I have learned that especially my left breast doesn't respond to the pump very well, but when I was done pumping I could pump another 1/2 to 1 ounce by hand expression! And I figured every 1/2 or 1 ounce was helpful, so it was worth the effort to me. I'm sure there are some linkies around here somewhere that describe or show the technique for hand expression, I can't think of any off the top of my head...

    I did try hand expressing with my DD2, I could squeeze some milk out, but it was too little (maybe not even 1/2oz) with too much effort and pain. I thought I knew how to do it (after all I had my DD1 17 years ago in Ukraine and I didn't have any kind of pump, so I had to hand express for a while, of course, I could only last about a month, unfortunately, i guess i was too young and BFing wasn't something that runs in the family, so my mom didn't help much:-). I guess I don't know it as well as I thought, as it doesn't have to hurt (probably) and should give me more milk:-)

    I will try everything you suggested again as I'm determined to continue, for as long as I can last. For as long as I see at least ANY output, I will not stop trying to improve. EVen though I tried many things and they didn't work. I was wondering, maybe I should try a different brand pump??? Maybe my breasts just don't like MEDELA brand?
    Mother to 3 beautiful girls

    Victoria, our queen, born on 04/15/1993, our pride and joy!
    Natalie, our little princess, born on 08/24/2008
    at birth 7lbs 11oz, 20"
    at 2 y.o check up: 26lbs, 34 1/2"
    Sofia, our tiny princess, baby-surprize,
    born 07/20/2010 at 6lbs 10oz, 19"
    6 weeks: 9lbs 14oz; 21 1/2"
    2.5 months: 11lbs 5oz

    4.5 months: 13lbs 4oz; 24 1/2"

    We are still exclusively
    at work

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: I can't help but worry: supply issues or my imagination?

    Sorry, I quoted my reply weird. Some of the text I wrote is highlighted in blue as well. Very confusing:-)
    Mother to 3 beautiful girls

    Victoria, our queen, born on 04/15/1993, our pride and joy!
    Natalie, our little princess, born on 08/24/2008
    at birth 7lbs 11oz, 20"
    at 2 y.o check up: 26lbs, 34 1/2"
    Sofia, our tiny princess, baby-surprize,
    born 07/20/2010 at 6lbs 10oz, 19"
    6 weeks: 9lbs 14oz; 21 1/2"
    2.5 months: 11lbs 5oz

    4.5 months: 13lbs 4oz; 24 1/2"

    We are still exclusively
    at work

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