Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: central valley, California
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In addition to considering a hospital-grade pump, consider having your pumping evaluated. Do the flanges fit well (most of the pump websites have info on fit - and correctly fitted flanges can make a HUGE difference). Sometimes tweaking the way you set the pump can also help w/ output.
How much of the galactogogues are you taking? 3 capsules 3 times a day of the fenugreek, and the same for the blessed thistle is what's usually recommended. Your milk, sweat, and urine will smell like maple syrup! And unless you drink a LOT of the tea, brewing it for a long time in very hot water, a tincture like More Milk is probably a better choice as you can be sure you're getting an active amount of the herbs. Teas usually don't provide enough active herbs unless you're steeping them to make an infusion (the book Nursing Mother's Herbal has several galactogogue recipes if you want to try different combinations of herbs).
Some other ideas that can help:
Keep up your pump schedule at home, even on the weekends. So if you normally pump at work at 10, 1, and 3, pump at home then too. You won't get much (after all, baby is more effective than the pump and you'll be nursing also), but it will help boost your overall supply. And if you can collect a few extra ounces over the weekend, wonderful!
Pump regularly at home. When I was working and pumping for my twins, I pumped every morning. I'd nurse them in bed (they'd fall back asleep), get up and shower, then pump while having my morning tea. Again, not a ton of milk but my body adapted to that regular routine and I gradually increased the amount I got. It made the difference.
For some mothers, it works well to pump one breast while baby nurses the other. Then, switch baby and pump. Baby will trigger letdowns more effectively than pumping alone, and there's still milk in the second breast for baby as the pump isn't as effective as baby.
Many women aren't great producers for the pump, so it's wonderful that you've realized your baby gets plenty of milk when nursing directly and that low pumping output doesn't mean low supply. Anything you can do to get baby to nurse more while you're together will help. Wake baby for an extra feed in the morning before you start getting ready for work. Nurse immediately before leaving, and immediately after getting back to baby. Sleep with baby and nap with baby on the weekends. Wear baby in a sling so he can nurse while you go about your evening routine.
Good luck! He's getting MOSTLY your milk, and every little bit counts. Even if you do have to supplement occassionally, you're doing a great job.