I would love to switch to pumping twice a day, but I'm worried about how that would impact my supply. Obviously he would have less milk to drink while I'm gone, and he would likely either eat more solids or we could consider introducing cows milk or some other milk option. But I'm also wondering if I would be likely to have less milk during the times when I am at home, and if my supply would be noticeably lower for him on weekends.
I would love to hear from other people who have reduced how often they pump while still continuing to breastfeed. How did your supply change? How did that work for you and your baby?
Reducing pumping at work made a huge difference in my supply away from work. I needed to pump at least twice during the day to keep a moderate supply during my time away from work. I pumped until 18m, had enough milk for another month, and my avid self nurser self-weaned quickly.
With my second I pumped until 2 and she didn't wean nearly as quickly, nursed until almost 3. She did however reject naps when we ended her like-nursing sling/bottle/exercise routine at a little over two.
I've found that my body will adjust to how many pumping sessions I have. When I first went back to work (DS was about 6 months old), I pumped twice at work, and fed him at the daycare during my lunch. Sometimes he didn't even drink everything that I pumped, but he did add some additional breastfeeding sessions in the morning, evening and night. When he was about 9 months, I dropped my pumping session to once during the day and continued to feed him during lunch. At 1 year of age, I dropped the feeding during lunch. He didn't increase his intake of breastmilk at daycare, but made up for it at home. I produced just as much milk from 1 pumping session as I did in two - my body adjusted. It takes a little time for it to adjust, but my body got used to when I needed to pump and I always tried to do this at the same time.
What I've found, is that when you slowly cut down on pumping, your baby will take more at other hours of the day. My DS is now 18 months, and I'm probably going to stop pumping at work. I've started giving him some Kefir to drink at daycare and otherwise he get's water.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
Lessee... I work an irregular schedule 3 days a week. Through my daughter's first year I pumped twice a day faithfully (except during the last month where I typically pumped only once a day). After that for a couple of months I would pump once a day only when I worked the same shift on two consecutive days, which doesn't happen that often. She's now 16 months old and I don't pump at all at work anymore. When I work the late shift, I get home after she's asleep, and I pump one breast then feed her from the other after she wakes up for her "midnight snack". When I work early and get home at ~4:30 I nurse her and don't bother to pump because she'll drain both breasts within an hour of me being home. I still get between 4-8 oz off one side when I pump after working the late shift. I spent several days out of town recently without her and estimate I pumped about 20 oz/day. She hasn't shown any decreased interest in nursing and still typically seems satisfied when she's done.
But then she has always been the kind of kid who would nurse a million times a day if I let her, and I've always had ample supply. So take that as you will.
I stopped pumping at the one year mark. Until then, I had pumped twice per workday, and then transitioned to once per workday. My daughter continued to nurse at waking, after work reunion, and before bed until about 2 years, and then it slowed to just morning and bedtime, then just bedtime, until she self-weaned at 2.5 years old. I continued to have milk for those three nursings even without pumping during the day.
Hi escher! I only work out of the house 2 -3 days a week, and pump 3 times a day (once at home right before leaving for work, and twice at work). I get about the same number of oz per day that you do. I have found that taking Fenugreek supplements regularly and drinking lots of water or safe herbal tea helps my supply. I take 2 capsules of Fenuegreek 3x a day, at meals, and I notice that I pump more when I have been taking it regularly. However, you do smell like maple syrup, but it's not exaclt a bad smell. You could try reducing to 2 pumping sessions but take Fenugreek and see what happens. I had a period of time where my milk supply dropped drastically (when DD started sleeping through the night), but I was able to regain by taking herbs and feeding/pumping more for a short period of time. So I think that if you monitor what happens, it can be fine to try to change your pumping schedule. Good luck! :)
Also, if you drop to 2x of pumping but want to try and get approximately the same ounces, you can let the pump run an extra couple of minutes at the end of your pumping session to tell your body to produce more...kind of like your kiddo nursing longer at a growth spurt helps increase your supply....
And when you do stop or drop a session, make sure to adjust slowly, I dropped on session per week and slowly adjusted each one down. Some women don't have to, but better safe than sorry!
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
Similar to Kjourdan, I pumped 2x a day at work until my DD was 11 months, then reduced it to once a day when I noticed that my output was decreasing, then stopped altogether four months later when DD was 15 months and output was so low that pumping even just once a day wasn't worth the time and effort. My daughter continued to BF in the mornings and evenings, and on weekends, and weaned when she was about 2-1/2. Toward the end, I asked her a few times whether there was any milk in there, and she said yes every time, and once even showed me some drops of milk!
I'm now pumping 2x a day for my 5-month-old daughter who, since I returned to work two months ago, has been nursing more at night to make up for our time apart during the day.