Pumping, milk supply dropping - advice? - Mothering Forums
Working and Student Parents > Pumping, milk supply dropping - advice?
Kadieladie's Avatar Kadieladie 01:45 PM 02-07-2012

Hi All -

I posted this in the breastfeeding forum, but thought I'd pick your brains too.  I have a 10 month old daughter and we've had a great breastfeeding experience - a little rocky at the get-go, like most, but after the first few weeks old things have been smooth sailing.


I went back to work when she was 5 months old, and pump 3 times during a 7.5-8 hr day.  She drinks about 12 oz of milk while she's at day care.  She eats semi-solids during the day and we nurse at night and in the mornings before work.  She sleeps for about 4 hours at a go at night.


The thing is, I am not expressing as much milk and it's starting to worry me.  I've got some storage in the freezer, but for over a week now, it seems like getting 9 oz in a day is a stretch.  I'm upping the number of times I'm pumping, but so far have seen no difference.  For the past 3 days I've been drinking 'mothers milk' tea like it's going out of styles.


So, in an effort to head off a problem or find a better solution, I'm putting this out on the forum.  Have others hit a low spot?  Is there something more to do to up my supply/production?  Do I just keep the pump hooked up all day (just kidding - but even just pumping 3 times already seems like it's most of the day)?  Anything I'm not thinking of here?


Thanks for any input!


JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 03:25 PM 02-07-2012

I had drops at around those times too. I had to add a pumping session to my evening for a time (right before I went to bed) and/or during the day. I found I did better at day.

Taos Mountain Mama's Avatar Taos Mountain Mama 04:04 PM 02-07-2012

Not sure if this helps, but my daughter just turned a year old, and I feel like I remember the supply dropping a bit a couple months ago. For me, I think it was around the time she started getting into solids a lot more. For the first couple months, she wasn't really interested, and then all of a sudden a couple months ago she started eating everything in sight, and I think we were nursing less. I remember I went through most of my freezer supply around that point. However, we have adjusted. Not sure what your work day is like, but I think I was just pumping 2x/day at that point (now I'm down to just once). Also, not sure how long you are planning on pumping, but we started introducing cow's milk REALLY SLOWLY about a month ago (mixing it with the breastmilk in larger and larger increments every week). Talk to your doc first, but this has worked pretty well for us, and I'll be ready to put the pump away for good in another month or so. Let us know how things turn out!

Kadieladie's Avatar Kadieladie 06:44 AM 02-08-2012

Thank you so much, ladies!  I appreciate your insight and will keep on keepin on.  I've added an evening pumping session (sigh) and will continue that.  But it's good to know that others have been here and that this isn't necessarily the end.

Quinalla's Avatar Quinalla 07:22 AM 02-16-2012
I had several times when my supply would dip a bit, usually it was because of lack of sleep for me and when my daughter was suddenly taking more at night and my body hadn't caught up, but I am sure other things contributed. Besides getting extra rest when I could (yeah I know, don't laugh too hard, I know how nearly impossible this is) I found power pumping and just having days where I pumped as much as possible helped me a lot. Luckily for me, I have a private office with a door, so when I was having a supply dip, I would just keep the door shut most of the day and pump on and off while I worked. I too pumped 3 times a day typically for 25-30 minutes, so at the very least I would add 10+ minutes to my pumping session doing power pumping (5 minutes pumping, 2-3 minute break, 5 minutes pumping, etc.) and try to add 2+ pumping sessions in between the typical ones even if they were short. I tried fenugreek too, but power pumping and adding extra pumping sessions worked best for me. My body tried to be very efficient, so when it would try and tighten up my supply more, I had to tell it I needed more supply by pumping extra.
Kadieladie's Avatar Kadieladie 07:31 AM 02-16-2012

Hi All - thanks so much for your responses.  I found them most helpful, and comforting to know that others have dealt with, and overcome, this issue too.  Adding an extra pumping session, making sure I am still pumping at least 1 time/day on the weekends when I'm with the babe full time and adding "more milk plus" supplements (made by motherlove and recommend by a wonderful lactation consultant who hopped on the phone with me to troubleshoot without any mention of a fee or anything), I'm back up to 12 oz/day and most days a bit extra to rebuild my freezer stash.

cat13's Avatar cat13 11:10 AM 02-16-2012

Glad to hear that your supply has been improving. My DS is only 6 months, so I haven't been pumping as long, but I've heard a lot of mamas on the pumping boards mention that they didn't realize their pumps had gotten weaker over time, which resulted in less output. Any chance your pump needs some TLC?


Also, I wanted to say thanks for mentioning the More Milk Plus supplement. I have heard good things about it and I'm finally just going to get some, since I saw a big dip last week when I was a little extra stressed out.

Quinalla's Avatar Quinalla 08:04 AM 02-21-2012
Glad to hear it is going better for you! I'm going to write down that supplement for my next BFing adventure, sounds like a good one!
H2ojenny's Avatar H2ojenny 07:39 PM 02-21-2012
You mentioned tlc for the pump...can they be maintenance or do I need to look for a new one? Thoughts? I had a sudden drop last week and am looking for ideas...

KathrynH's Avatar KathrynH 08:09 PM 02-21-2012
Originally Posted by H2ojenny View Post

You mentioned tlc for the pump...can they be maintenance or do I need to look for a new one? Thoughts? I had a sudden drop last week and am looking for ideas...

Sometimes there is an actual problem with the pump and it will need maintenance. However, whenever I noticed I was pumping less, we would boil my flanges and membranes. I think you're supposed to do this once per week, but we typically only had time to wash them with warm soapy water. It relly enhances the suction! I've also had to replace worn out membranes. Good luck!
Taos Mountain Mama's Avatar Taos Mountain Mama 07:58 AM 02-23-2012

NEW MEMBRANES made a huge difference for me when I was still pumping. They get all worn out and floppy = bad suction. 

Good luck!


lunarlady's Avatar lunarlady 03:04 PM 02-24-2012

Another vote for new membranes.  When my output dropped it was a clear sign that they needed replacing.  The Medlea pumps actually reccomend replacing them monthly!  I never did them that often so I guess it wasn't a surprise that they needed TLC.  Low output was always a membrane problem. 


To get my supply back up I took Alflafa, drank lots of water, and added a morning pumping session.  I was back to my normal levels in no time.  Good luck!

neonalee's Avatar neonalee 03:01 PM 02-26-2012
Seconding drinking extra water. Doesn't sound like that was the issue for the OP but it was a direct correlation for me. 64 oz a day minimum was what I needed to keep my pumping going strong.

sent from my phone using tapatalk, please forgive typos
AnnieA's Avatar AnnieA 06:03 PM 02-26-2012

I had a big supply drop and was very concerned because DD was eating about 6-8 oz more every 24 hrs than I was pumping. ( I exclusively pump) So we were burning through the freezer stash. I started taking alfalfa in addition to the fenugreek and simulated a growth spurt by pumping every 1-2 hrs while at work. Supply has gone back up to what DD takes in and some days I can freeze an extra 2-3 oz.

H2ojenny's Avatar H2ojenny 03:39 PM 01-18-2013

Thank you for your kind advice, Mamas! We just passed 14 months, and I have been able to keep BF (thankfully done pumping) and working full time! I was ready to give up when I posted, and your helpful hints kept me going - so thankful!

Tags: Working