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Thread: which is more important...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Default which is more important...

    emptying the breast or pumping frequently? I ask because it takes forever for me to let down and empty my breasts, in the realm of 40-50 minutes. I'd like to pump 8-10 times a day but that just isn't possible when I need to pump for so long.

    If I wanted to do the most efficient thing to increase my supply, would I want to pump more often or to keep emptying my breasts completely?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Central FL
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    Default Re: which is more important...

    Breast never get "completely empty" since you are always producing milk.
    Pumping frequently is important to increasing supply but you do need to pump long enough to remove some milk from the breast unless you have already been basically emptied by nursing right before pumping, in which case you are simply pumping to give your body the message that more milk is being demanded.

    Do you already use breast massage and compressions while pumping? What pump are you using? Do the shields fit correctly and is it comfortable to pump? (Pumping should not hurt and if pumping hurts it is not going to help your milk supply to damage breast tissue by hurting yourself with a pump.)

    Pumping also takes practice so if you have only pumped a couple times and it took you 40-50 minutes, that can get better. heat packs can definitely help speed let down and milk flow with the pump. Lanisnoh makes some that you can even put around the pump flange but then it is a little heavy to do anything but sit there and hold them (as in can't massage while pumping when using them.) A heating pad on your back can sometimes help too or a warm drink right before pumping. Visualization and breathing exercises can also help in addition to all the other normal advice for increasing milk supply.

    Adding some hand expression into your pumping routine can also help (it takes practice too.)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: which is more important...

    http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/letdown/

    Are you pumping one side or both breasts at the same time? Double pumping is more effective than single. Personally I would aim for frequency with shorter 5-15 minutes sessions whenever possible thought out the day and try for a longer power pumping session (ten minutes pumping, ten not for an hour to mimic cluster feeding) once a day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,952

    Default Re: which is more important...

    I don't know if there is a single right answer to this question. But I think pumping frequently is generally better for supply than less frequent but more complete emptying of the breast.

    The PP asked some good questions about shield fit and pump function, above. Maybe there is something in your pumping regimen that can be tweaked so that pumping is more effective!
    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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,417

    Default Re: which is more important...

    Unless I am mistaken, according to Making More Milk, a book I strongly recommend, pumping frequently is more important.
    BUT There is always a but!

    It is still important that milk be removed adequately from the breast. This does not necessarily mean "empty" but it does mean, pumping for long enough that milk is extracted effectively enough that the body knows to produce more milk.
    As an extreme example,
    If a mom is pumping every 30 minutes, but only for 5 minutes a side every time, it would probably be better for mom to pump less often but give pumping sessions a little more time.

    40-50 minutes -is this pumping both sides at once? Or one at a time? The recommendation is to use about 15-20 minutes per side (or total, if pumping both sides at once) as a starting point and increase or decrease from there according to mom. Regularly pumping over 30 minutes a side is too long for many moms and can be wearing on the breasts. How much milk is extracted when you pump? What kind of pump is this?
    Are you pumping on a schedule, or going for a certain amount of times each day? There are many tricks to make pumping more manageable.

    I know you have been trying to build production for a while, but from what I can tell your last post was about a month ago? It might help us to know more about what your current situation is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    17

    Default Re: which is more important...

    I'm using a medela symphony. I'm pretty sure my flanges fit properly. I have tried every size and gone back to the 24, which now seems to work best for me. Pumping does not hurt. I am pumping both sides at once. I've been exclusively pumping for 4 months now. I do use breast compression and massage.

    I'm up to about 11 oz a day now. I do still get a little more everyday. I would very much like to pump more often, it's just hard when it takes so long for my breasts to "give up the goods", so to speak. I suspect I have an oxytocin problem, as I'm the one with the pituitary issues.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: which is more important...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*beelzebubble View Post
    I'm using a medela symphony. I'm pretty sure my flanges fit properly. I have tried every size and gone back to the 24, which now seems to work best for me. Pumping does not hurt. I am pumping both sides at once. I've been exclusively pumping for 4 months now. I do use breast compression and massage.

    I'm up to about 11 oz a day now. I do still get a little more everyday. I would very much like to pump more often, it's just hard when it takes so long for my breasts to "give up the goods", so to speak. I suspect I have an oxytocin problem, as I'm the one with the pituitary issues.
    Have you tried an oxytocin nasal spray?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Default Re: which is more important...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tclynx View Post
    Have you tried an oxytocin nasal spray?
    I haven't. How would I get something like that to try? Is it prescription?

    Also, I've read about guided meditation and baby noises/images being used to increase supply. Is there a recording that works best or one that you can point me to? I can make my own, but I don't know what I'm doing

  9. #9
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    Mar 2014
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    Central FL
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    Default Re: which is more important...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*beelzebubble View Post
    I haven't. How would I get something like that to try? Is it prescription?
    Yes it is a prescription, only tricky bit is it generally has to be made up by a compounding pharmacy and I don't know if insurance covers scripts from compounding pharmacies. My Peditrician actually called me in the script for it but I expect your OB could do a script for it also if you have a compounding pharmacy in your area.

    As to the recording, if you find you let down to the sounds of your own baby, then record what seems to work for you. Some moms find the smell of their LO works so they bring some clothing with them to work to smell as they pump.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    53

    Default Re: which is more important...

    Most compounding pharmacies can check if it'll be covered by insurance prior to refilling your script. I don't know where you're from but H.E.B. just advertised it here in Texas.

    But I was under the impression, after some online research, that nasal oxytocin only helps with let down and not increase in milk production. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production.
    Last edited by @llli*noodles610; August 4th, 2014 at 01:17 AM.

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