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Help me maximize my pumping output

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Hi Moms-
I am EB dd and I love it (I had a terrible time with DS, lots of stress/supply issues/non-supportive pediatrician, you name it). She is a beautiful fat little baby and I am so proud to know that all her pudge came from my milk!

I've been back at work for about 3 weeks and I am extremely stressed about pumping enough for her each day. I pump 3 times during the day (never going more than 3 hours between pumps) and never, ever get more than 4 oz. in a pumping session. My freezer stash is gone and my DCP is worried about what she will do when DD is hungry and she has nothing to give her.

I've tried:
looking at DD's picture while I pump
breast compressions
smelling dd's onesie from the night before (makes me feel like a panty-sniffer or something, but I still do it!

pumping for 20-25 minutes

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm not sure I can add another pumping session to my day because I feel like I go "off-line" so much as it is (an hour and a half a day, when you count in the time to wash pump parts, etc.). I pump like mad in between feedings over the weekend, but don't get much.

Oh - I almost forgot! I tried taking fenugreek for about a week - got no increase in output and I smelled TERRIBLE (turns out it can make you smell like maple syrup or curry, and DH told me I smelled like a bad Indian restaurant!!).

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Just a couple of suggestions real quick..

Buy extra pump parts. This way, during the day when you are pumping, you can just toss them in a bag and wash them that night or the next morning. You will then have more time to pump at work.

Pump when she eats (while at DCP's), if you are not already. Pump for five minutes past when the last drop comes out or approx 20 - 25 minutes (some suggest less, some suggest more.. that seems to be average recommendation).

Do not look at the bottles while pumping (it stressed me out anyway). Are you using a good pump (like a Medela PIS)? At very least a double electric Medela or Ameda is wonderful.

Maybe try adding oatmeal into your daily diet - some say it works, others say it doesn't. The instant kind isn't what you want I've read, but you want the other kind. I've also read oatmeal cookies are a good alternative.

Increase your water intake - another one some people say works, others say as long as you get 64 oz in, you're fine.

Sorry for the messy post, I am thinking and typing without editing. :p

Here's some links that have more ideas.. Pumping
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I've recommended this in to others in the past and some thought I was nutso, but I swear it works for me!

I twiddle/tweak my nipples. The pump just didn't provide enough stimulation to really cause a strong letdown. So what I do is do a minute of twiddling then pump. When the milk stops flowing, I stop and twiddle some more. Just keep repeating this for 20 min or so or until there really isn't any more milk left.

Follow all the above suggestions, as well. Plus, add in a few extra pumping sessions, like in the morning and night. Typically, I'd have to pump 2 times for every bottle. . .so that means I'd pump 4-6 times a day (on top of BFing when I'm home) just to have enough milk for bottles while I'm away.

But I will say, I think 4oz a session is great! Seriously, I never got that much. Of course I am a low supply mama (pumping while at work made things even worse). . .nothing really helped until I started taking Domperidone. And eventhough I have enough milk for DD now, my body still doesn't care for the pump all that much. . I typically have to pump 3 times/day just for two bottles.
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Hi there,

First of all congrats to you for sticking with breastmilk when back at work. I know how hard it is to make this kind of committment, my little bean couldn't breastfeed as he was preemie so I've been pumping for 8 and a half months, though not working! As follows are some of the things that I've found useful:

- Drink masses of water, I notice a real drop if I am dehydrated;
- Use Milk Thistle (sometimes called Blessed Thistle in North America) tincture (not tablets) but get from a reputable herbalist. Bear in mind that this acts as a detoxifier so you may feel a bit groggy at first, the water will help;
- Pump often rather than long! I've found that my milk 'dies' after 10 mins and no matter how long I worked at it the supply never went longer than that. I've found that doing shorter sessions more frequently builds up my supply as it is more in keeping with what a baby would do if demanding more milk;
- Give yourself a break. I worked myself into a real corner about this but sometimes you have to accept your limitations and give yourself a pat on the back for what you are achieving. Any breastmilk that you are able to give your child is a massive bonus but I had to accept giving mine the odd bottle of organic formula when I became ill and couldn't supply him with all he needed. I now accept that a happy relaxed mummy is more important than a perfect milk supply;
-Keep the future in mind. When you start weaning (as I now have very successfully and happily!) the needs of your little one will change needing a lot less milk. My little bean has gone from needing nearly a litre a day to taking about 500mls a day which is a lot less! Even so I'm finding it tricky to make time for pumping during the day as he is so much more active and demanding of my attention now. I am happy that he gets the majority of his feeds from me and compensate for the formula input by creating a really varied and home made diet of solid foods.

I hope that this helps. Just to say again well done for being so committed to your child's well being and for wanting to give them the best, just don't lose sight of the ultimate goal which is a happy family. We can't be perfect no matter what, enjoy being a great mum. I'm sure your little one thinks you are perfect anyway!

Good luck.
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I would try adding a pumping session in the morning before you go to work. Prolactin levels are highest between 1 and 6 a.m., so you should be able to get the most out then. I would pump right after her morning nursing session. You may not get much the first time you try, but if you keep at it, your body will learn to have extra milk at that time of day. I also agree that it may be worth a try to pump more often for less amount of time.

What kind of pump are you using? How long does it usually take for your milk to let down? If it usually takes a while, I would make sure that you are first having the pump on a slow speed until your let down happens, and then switching it up to a high speed. This simulates the sucking pattern of the baby, and can be helpful if you're not already doing it (some of the new pumps--at least the medela ones--have this feature built in).

I would also try to pump once or twice a day on the weekends to build your freezer supply back up.

HTH, and good luck!!

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Dont give up
Some things I did which were very succesful (and I had a lot of stress and non scheduled pumping issues at work being a firefighter and all)
I continued to pump 2-3 times after nursing my daughter when I was home with her....and never had a stash problem. I did have ounce problems that were up and down all the time due to my issues at work but this system worked for me.
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Thanks for all of your tips and thanks, especially, Emmalina for your support!

I will try pumping more often for shorter periods. I am using a Purely Yours and I know it's a good pump (because I've now realized that part of my issue with DS#1 was a PIS that was old and lacking suction).
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