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Pumping Challenges

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello! First of all, thank you for all and any advise you may give me. 


I have a 7 mo son, who so far has been EBFed. I am a FT WOHM. I usually pump once in the am before the baby wakes up, then twice at work. I pump for 20-30 mins with double electric pump. He needs 18 oz to go to daycare (tried 15 in the beginning, but it wasn't enough). Recently, over the last one-2 weeks, I have noticed that I am unable to pump 18 oz. I used to be able to get 20-22 oz daily, so that I can even store some, and now I get about 14-16 oz. I have exhausted my freezer supply. I had to give him formula once so far, and only 2 oz. This past week, I have been off, and we nursed a lot more, so I hope that helped. But also today I got a very unpleasant surprise - my period has returned. With my older son, that didn't happen until I weaned him at 22 mo.  I'm really wondering if something is going on that is causing me to lose my supply? Back to work next week, and I will try to pump 3 and may be even 4 times at work if I can. But why would I get a period? He did start on solids about 4 weeks ago, but he still takes his 3 bottles at daycare during daytime so I am not sure what is going on. 


Thank you

post #2 of 6
How long is he at daycare for? 18oz is a LOT of breastmilk. Breastfed babies generally take about an ounce an hour when nursing but will take a lot more from the bottle because it comes out too fast. If you and baby are apart say 10 hours then 12 oz should be enough outside of growth spurts. There's great info on kellymom about how to bottle feed a nursing baby to best foster the nursing relationship. I'll try to dig up the link for you.
The gist is to slow down the pace of feeding, offer smaller bottles more often, and meet baby's sucking needs in other ways. I had to EP for weeks when she was a newborn (before transitioning to the breast) and I got her down from 32-36 oz a day on average to 22-28 oz. You have an amazing supply but to get baby in line with what would be taken from the breast and prevent a bottle preference it's important to work with your DCP. Hth

Here's the link on bottle feeding bf babies:

And this whole area is about working and pumping:
post #3 of 6

I pumped exclusively for three babies (long story!).


When your supply starts to drop off there are a couple of (exhausting) things you can do to get your supply back up.


1. Pump for 2-5 minutes after your flow stops. Often times you will tap into some reserve milk that you didn't know was there, and if you do this every time you will be telling your body that baby is not getting enough and your supply may increase. 


2. Cluster pump/feed at least once per day. This means you nurse or pump and then pump or nurse right away again an hour later, and then again an hour later. I know this sounds exhausting and it is, but if you do this for a few weeks your supply will increase because again, this tells your body that baby is not getting enough.


3. Pump in the wee hours of the morning when supply is highest. If you combine this with the extra 2-5 minutes when the flow stops, and the cluster feeding/pumping, it will really help with your supply.


4. Lastly, and this is tough, I had to pump (or feed) 10 times minimally every 24 hours to keep my supply up. Not all women have to do this, but my supply would drop dramatically if I pumped less than 10 times. 


With these methods I was able to increase my supply from about 20 ounces per day to a whopping 40 or more ounces per day. Of course, no baby needs 40 ounces of breast milk a day, but I did this because I was in a lousy abusive marriage and I needed to stop pumping at some time in order to survive, so I froze 1/2 of what I pumped so I could quit pumping by 6 months of age.


I just wanted to share this because it worked so well for me and perhaps you can use some or all of these methods to increase your supply and get a stash of milk frozen for your little guy.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

@sky: we are 10 hours apart. I didn't realize that 18 oz was a lot - I just always assumed that this is what he takes.  I will check out the links you posted, thank you!


@sahhmmie: I am already doing almost all the things you mentioned, but I will try to increase the frequency of pumping. I think this is the only thing I haven't done (tough to find time to pump 4 times in an 9 hour work day). Thank you for your suggestions, and so sorry you went through such a terrible time in your life


Sky, I had my suspicion that he is taking too much at daycare from the bottle. I know they only stop feeding to burp him (he is also a severe refluxer, and is just now getting off medications for it). But they also always mention how mad/upset he gets when they take the bottle away from him during feedings. They feel bad doing it. And I increased from 15 to 18 oz because DCP was saying that he is very upset at the end of the bottle, and is still acting hungry. When we are home, I never have to supplement him. I always feel he is getting plenty

post #5 of 6
Check your bottles to make sure you only use the newborn nipples for slowest flow. That can be an easy fix if you need to switch. The easiest way to pace the bottle is not to remove it but tilt it. Have DCP sit baby up fairly upright. Reclined a bit is fine but flat on his back isn't. give bottle so it's close to horizontal and he will have to work harder to get the milk out. After he's had some milk, tilt the bottle so milk isn't in the nipple (or only a little bit) and let him continue to suck. After a little while (or sooner if he fusses) tilt the bottle again so milk enters the nipple. This helps him meet more of his sucking needs and simulates the slower flow and variability of direct nursing. He may get a little air this way from time to time but it's nothing a good burping or tummy rub won't fix. My DD also didn't give up the bottle without a fight but she tolerated this method quite well. HTH.
post #6 of 6

I was an EPer with both boys (but just got DS2 to EBF!) and the advice about pumping is spot on. If you don't have time to cluster pump as described though, you can do it by pumping 10minutes on/10 minutes off for 1 hour as well.


It def. sounds like he's eating way too much. That tends to happen with bottles. DS2 had a really hard time with bottles which is what gave me the extra motivation to get him back to breast. I found the breastflow bottles worked awesome. As close to nursing that you ca get with a bottle and it made him slow down significantly. Another reason he could be fussing is that he simply wants to suck. I've noticed that with my son when he's nursing. I'm just now regulating from a major oversupply and he wants to comfort nurse but can'twithout getting a mouthful. He needs a paci at those times. Maybe the DCP can try a paci when he finishes a bottle?


My last suggestion is a shot in the dark- what about a sippy or straw cup instead of a bottle? I have no clue if that would make a difference but maybe a change could shake things up? What about offering more solids during daycare?

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