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6 months pumping, losing supply

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
DS is 9 months old and I've been back to work and pumping for 6 months now. It went great at first, I was pumping more than he was eating while I was gone, about 15-18 ounces in two 10-15 minute pumping sessions. But over the last month and a half I've watched my supply dwindle down to 10-14 ounces. I'm just barely keeping up with him now. I don't get what's different. He still wakes up at night so he usually nurses at least once, usually 2 times in the night. Then I nurse him in the morning before I go to work and at least 3 times between when I get home from work and bedtime. I haven't changed anything about how I'm pumping either. I've been going for walks on my lunch breaks, and then pumping and eating a quick meal on my afternoon break but I've been doing this for the last 4 months. Could it be possible I'm not eating enough protein or something like that? I'm really racking my brain to try and figure out what's going on. I'm sure stress could be playing a role and I'm trying to minimize it as much as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I'm really committed to making it to 12 months.
post #2 of 11
I don't know what causes it - return of fertility, maybe? Regulation of supply? - but it's happened to me too, with both kids starting about seven to eight months.
post #3 of 11
With DS mine would dip in cycles, almost like I was having a period without having one if that makes sense. Make sure you drink lots of water. Is he eating more solids now and maybe not eating as much even though he's latched on?
post #4 of 11
If you've been pumping regularly for six months, it's possible the soft parts on your pump are wearing out, and you're not getting as good a seal and as good suction anymore. You might look into replacing those parts.

Another thing to consider is that babies nursing on demand from the breast go through "growth spurt" days, where they nurse more frequently than usual, and that stimulation may be necessary to maintain supply. You can simulate that by every few weeks having a "frequent pumping" couple of days, where you add three or four pumps and/or feeds into your routine, including at least one more pump or nursing session in the wee hours of the night. I used to exclusively pump for DD1, and I found I needed about one weekend a month of very frequent pumping, to boost the supply a bit.

Finally, it can be related to your period returning. My supply always dipped, with all my kids, right before AF was on her way, once she'd returned. I remember DS nursing like a fiend all night and day every time I was about to get AF, once she'd returned again.
post #5 of 11
I have had similar issues, except that I went from my "great supply" at 5 months of ~3 oz both breasts combined at 3 30 minute pumping sessions for a total of 9, sometimes 10 oz per day, down to now 1-2 oz both breasts combined at 3 30 minute pumping sessions for a total of 4 or sometimes on good days up to 6 oz per day. My baby is 10 months old.
If I ever got 14 oz in two sessions I would pass out with joy! Right now I would have to pump 7 times to get that much.
I guess it's all relative!!
My son eats a ton of solids, and we nurse all evening and every 2-3 hours all night.
I'm trying to take fenugreek or more milk plus at least 3X per day, drink more water, remember to eat (who has time to eat while working and taking care of baby and house?), and try to rest. Rest -- LOL!
post #6 of 11
I just wanted to echo the pump parts replacement! Also, if you didn't buy a new pump, old ones die slow. They slowly decrease suction and efficiency until they call it quits but that can take a long time. If you bought it new you might try giving a call to the manufacture if you suspect a problem with the pump, the customer service is usually very good for medela and ameda.
post #7 of 11
My little guy is only 3 1/2 months and we ebf. I just took a dip supply wise though and am now going back up. Fenugreek and more milk plus 3 x a day and on going. Then we staged a nurse in. All weekend we sat and nursed.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
By soft parts are we talking the membranes (I have a Medela PIS)? I've replace those a few times and it doesn't seem to help. Could there be an issue with the tubing?

I like the frequent pumping days idea, I'll try that.

And I hear you on the resting too, I know I've been run ragged lately and it's not easy to rest with a crazy, active baby into everything.

He is eating more solids but I thought he was still nursing about the same. But then again he's so distracted anymore that's probably part of the problem.

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. We live in an area with a very low breastfeeding rate and I don't personally know anyone that has nursed past 6months, let alone pumped that long. I kept feeling like I am doing something wrong.

Thanks everyone!
post #9 of 11
Also look at the hosing. In my older PIS the hose connects directly to the pump and the hose can get stretched out. So I just clipped a few inches of hose off for a tighter fit. I think some other models have a different connection for the hose though.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Great idea, that never occured to me. I do have an additional set of tubing and when I went and compared it to the tubing I'm currently using it does appear to be stretched out. I'll swap them out and see if it makes a difference.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiralshell View Post
If I ever got 14 oz in two sessions I would pass out with joy! Right now I would have to pump 7 times to get that much.
I guess it's all relative!!
This a thousand times over! I pump 3-4x a day to get 10-12 ounces. (3 4oz bottles is ideal, but I'm usually short Wed-Friday.).
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