Help, I'm not pumping enough! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 03-29-2004, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is 12 weeks old and I returned to work a couple of weeks ago. I have not been able to pump as much as he eats -- not even close (I know that I should aim to pump within 2 oz of what he eats but I'm pumping 5 oz less than he eats every day). It makes me so sad because I really don't want to supplement but it looks like we will have to. I try to tell myself that one bottle of formula a day won't hurt but I'd really like to avoid it. This whole situation is causing a great deal of stress in my family.

I bought a new pump because I was told that the used one may not be working well enough anymore. I drink plenty of water; I have been taking fenugreek. I have a picture of him. While pumping, I try to think about him and breastfeeding him. I pump in my private office at work. I have been trying to pump 3 times a day although probably I can only plan on 2 times a day. I work in the afternoon/evenings so I have been pumping in the morning while I'm at home (after ds nurses).

Please help! Does anybody have any other ideas of what could be happening? My freezer supply is almost gone.

Thanks!
MNIma

(I posted this in the breastfeeding -- overcoming difficulties, but somebody recommended that I try it here too.)
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#2 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 12:07 AM
 
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At 12 weeks, your bub might be going thru one of those infamous growth spurts. Is the fenugreek helping to increase your supply? Also, maybe try increasing the number of feeds when you are at home- some babies will sort of 'reverse-cycle' and feed more when you're home at night.

Breastfeeding was something I always struggled with, even when I was at home full-time. One thing I used to try was to pump one breast while feeding from the other. Combined with fenugreek, this just might do the trick if your body thinks it needs to feed two babies instead of one.

And, in the end, if you do need to supplement, it doesn't mean that you have to do it forever, nor does it mean that you have to stop breastfeeding. Good luck!

Aussiemumhippie.gif (40), DH caffix.gif (39), DD reading.gif (13), & DS 2whistle.gif(11).

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#3 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 12:09 AM
 
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mama I feel your pain. Well have lived through it. Things to try:
1. someone told me that body position can make a difference when pumping -- meaning if you're leaning on the flanges you sometimes get less milk.

2. pump more often for fewer minutes -- instead of 2 20 mins sessions, try for 3-4 shorter one.

3. drink water, drink water drink water. not thirsty? drink some more.

4. have your childcare provider give your son milk in smaller bottles -- My husband and dcp would give my daughter 2 bottles with 2 ounces instead of 1 4 ounce bottle. Once she got used to sucking it was the sucking she was wanting, not necessarily more milk.

5. try pumping at the same time every day

6. you didn't say what kind of pump you have? if it is something like a pump in style -- tubing comes off, try adjusting the tubing. also try adjusting the pressure.

7. I think LLL recommends breast massage -- www.breastfeeding.com might have something on that.

and finally, and perhaps most importantly (and advice i wish I had been given). Added stress in your family can be a problem for making enough milk. If you're stressed out over it, then you can't pump as much and then you don't have enough...yada yada yada. I didn't supplement but was constantly pumping and worrying about did i have enough milk. I took a rx for increasing my milk supply, we finally introduced solids at 4.5 months because she just wasn't gaining weight. She's now a healthy 16 month old. If I had to do it over again: I'd supplement with a bottle mixed half BM and half formula. I was a stressed out nightmare, trying to be a good mom. I now know that my body just doesn't pump milk (and maybe doesn't make enough milk) like the best of them. I would have been SUCH a better mom if i had relaxed and just supplemented. For kiddo #2 (if there is one and if it is necessary) I'm sure I will supplement - a few ounces a day, never while I am home.


I hope someone else has more ideas if these don't work. You are doing great things for your baby -- keep up the good work!


one more....working mother nursing mother -- the book -- is a useful reference.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#4 of 11 Old 03-31-2004, 09:26 PM
 
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I had a similar problem when I recently had to travel to another state for 2 months (with my ds) and start working full-time right away. No freezer stash. I was really stressed and not able to pump enough, etc., etc.

I think that kerc has some great suggestions for increasing your pumping capacity, but I also second what she says about supplementing. In the end, I got some formula and used it to fill up the last few ounces that I needed each day. It was a hard decision because I didn't want to do it, but it really took the pressure off. In the end, my ds stopped taking so much EBM during the day and nursed more at night, and I stopped needing to supplement. But, for that transition time, it was a really nice. Just remember, you are doing the best you can for your baby, but sometimes it helps to have a little help.

Good luck!!

KB
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#5 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 11:08 AM
 
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Any progress on getting more milk?

The stress comment is true. Stress hormones block the release of oxytocin which is responsible for getting a letdown. Concentrate on finding a pumping routine that works for you and take a break from counting ounces.

Here's what worked for me:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wpanero/karen/pump.html

As a side note, if you are supplementing, it's best that they are seperate feeds, not mixed, as the iron in the formula blocks the absorption of iron from the breastmilk.

Other thoughts: Is your dc provider used to feeding ebm? Bf babies eat smaller quantitites at a time, so if you're giving the dcp 4-5 oz bottles, he/she may be feeding 3 and dumping the rest. My daughter never ate more than 2 oz in a feeding from a bottle the whole year she was drinking ebm. Try sending smaller portions. Can you meet your ds for lunch?
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#6 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 11:33 AM
 
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OT:

geofizz.....I'm intrigued by your name....(and can't figure out if I can PM you, so I am posting it here)....are you a geologist?

I ask bc I am working on my phd in geology at the moment (at the univ. of minnesota).


and back on the topic....

I'm intrigued by this:
Quote:
As a side note, if you are supplementing, it's best that they are seperate feeds, not mixed, as the iron in the formula blocks the absorption of iron from the breastmilk.
because I know mamas whose babies began to prefer the formula over the BM when they were introduced seperately. Also bc the few times we did do formula, my baby wouldn't touch it until my dh finally tried mixing. Hmm, do you have any more info? (just out of my own curiosity, not because I think you're wrong or anything...)

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#7 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all of your advice and ideas. I'm starting to get a pumping routine at work and I'm trying to relax about the whole situation. Ds got a little formula yesterday. (I'm pumping about 1-2 oz less than he eats at this time.) I decided that a little formula everyday won't hurt him and it will keep me sane. I am interested to read that formula shouldn't be mixed with bm because other have recommended it. I'll have to look into that more. The LLL leader who I spoke with cautioned me against slowly increasing formula to the point where my milk supply is decreased. I hadn't thought about that so it was good to have the head's up about that.

Thanks!
Kristen
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#8 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 09:48 PM
 
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My understanding is that since the chemical form of the iron is different in breastmilk and formula, the greater concentrations of iron in formula (but significantly less bioavailable) kind of "subverts" the the highly bioavailable (but in lower concentrations) iron in breastmilk. Geek explanation: The oxidation state of the iron is very important. When the oxidation state of the system is changed by the formula, it will change the oxidation state of the iron in breastmilk. For the geologists in the crowd, that's the same as saying the oxygen fugacity is different.

I figure if you're only supplementing 1 or 2 oz, then it's probably not a big deal. If you're supplementing a significant amount, this might be more of a concern.

Yes, Kerc, I'm a geophysicist -- a postdoc at the University of Michigan -- in high-pressure mineral physics. Who's your advisor?
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#9 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 10:34 PM
 
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thanks for the info on the iron.
would then adding an iron cereal do the same thing? And with that explanation I would agree with the idea that a few ounces would not significantly impact taking up iron.

geology...I'm in this kinda unique program where I am officially a student in the Twin Cities, but work on the Duluthcampus . So my adivsor is Christina Gallup in duluth, doing uranium-thorium dating of corals. Project was designed to be a paleoclimate thing. But as in all good dissertation projects, nothing has gone as planned and I'm becoming a bit of an expert in diagenesis of carbonate rocks.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#10 of 11 Old 04-02-2004, 12:16 AM
 
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MNIMA ~ you may have already tried this. I was really worried about having the problem you are having and so started pumping at home in addition to nursing. When I was trying to build a supply, I would pump three addition times a day. I was pretty laid back about it and was usually able to add 8-10 oz to my stockpile. This was enough to provide the extra milk I wasn't able to bring home from work. Hope that helps. Good luck!
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#11 of 11 Old 04-02-2004, 03:53 AM
 
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I also tried fenugreek, but after the fact remembered that vitamins and minerals worked better for me than herbal supplements. So after hearing from another mamma on Mothering, I tried Inositol. It's the B vitamin that triggers oatmeal to work so well. I take 2 500mg tablets 3x a day and that (along with double pumping) has worked for me. Just PM me if you want more info.

Nissa
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