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How to increase production while working?

490 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  SneezeDragon
My sweet little DS is 5 months old. I've been working full-time since he was 3 months old, pumping so that he can eat at daycare.

I have a terrible cold now and have been doing my best in keeping up fluid intake, but I have no appetite. DH and I both have to change jobs now and face potential unemployment. My milk supply has gone down, I'm guessing because of the stress and illness.

Now DS seems to be going through a growth spurt. Starting a few days ago, he wanted a lot more food at daycare than we normally put in his bottles. He's now demanding around 21 oz. during these 9 hours. Even if I pump three times at work, and once before bed, I can only get around 16 oz.

Does anyone have any advice on how to get my milk supply up? Should I just take a few days off and spend it nursing DS? If any of you have experienced decreased supply while ill, does it come back after you get better? I can't pump every hour here at work to up supply, because it takes a good half hour when I factor in the "commute" to the room and getting set up, and my manager's already vocally unhappy about the time I spend pumping. (Shmuck.)

I really really really want to keep DS breastfed, at least until 1 year old! Please help. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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First, just a little encouragement that you CAN do it! I BF'd DS exclusively through nearly 8 mos and we're still going at 15 mos (I j*just* stopped pumping last month). I, too went back to work (3 days per week) when DS was 3 mos. I experiecned many dips in supply - I think the biggest drawback to pumping is that you can see how much the pump is getting (or NOT!) and you stress out even more, which further decreases supply! I sincerely pray that I will NOT be working next time

OK, for your question. I drank Mother's Milk tea regularly. I also ate oatmeal and took fenugreek capsules when I had severe supply issues. Try not to take anything for your cold (Sudafed and bedadryl are TERRIBLE for your supply - mine dropped 2/3 after just ONE dose of sudafed!) Drink a LOT of water (or the MM tea) and nurse as often as possible. When I had major issues I would also pump on the weekends to build up a little more stash for the week. If you can afford to take a day off, do so. Or just spend all weekend resting a nursing.

Here is a good resource

Also check out this page for good resources on increasing supply (lots of links!) - you have to scroll down to find that section

Good luck!!
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I found the best time to get an "extra" pumping in was morning, rather than evening. Apparently prolactin levels are highest at night - so if you can pump one side while baby nurses other side first thing in the morning, you might get more.

And do this also on weekends if you can, to have a bit more stored. Maybe once in the morning and at one naptime, if the logistics work OK.

You are doing wonderfully! Just keep it up and it will work out. You are doing great work and it is very, very much worth the effort. Before long you'll be able to add solids to the mix (at daycare) and that will stretch your milk farther.

mom to Emily (4.5) and Hazel (almost 2!)
No advice to get your supply up that hasn't been given already - I definitely second a weekend of just nursing - have baby in bed with you as much as possible. Fenugreek helped me, too.

Keep it up - your relationship with your pump does not have to last all your breastfeeding days. Aubrey started refusing ebm at around 8-9 months, so I stopped pumping, but she still (at almost 2) is nursing.
I pumped while working FT from the time dd was 9 weeks old until she was around 13 mos. She managed to only get one bottle of formula during that time. She didn't wean until she was 20 mos, when I was pg.

I never was able to pump a full amt for her at work only. What I did was first thing in the morning, I would nurse her, then pump, or I would nurse her on one side while pumping the other. She was a one sided nurser anyway, so no big adjustment. It's a little tricky to get the hang of, but works great.

I also would pump one side while nursing the other when I first got home. I would also pump at least once a day on the weekends (usually first thing in the morning).

One thing I've learned since then is if you have larger breasts, try to pump with a larger flange. It makes a LOT of difference. I wish I had known that back then.

As far as supply going down when sick, it did bounce back for me pretty quickly once the illness was gone, but rest all you can, drink water, etc. The others had pretty good tips.
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I actually can't take Sudafed because the stuff gives me bad insomnia, and that's the last thing I need! So we're good there.

Unfortunately I can't get in a pumping while DS is eating in the morning, because he's a two-sided nurser. (He gets bored with one side once the flow decreases, and I have to switch him to the other to maintain interest.)

I'm going to try more frequency, and pump every two hours at work. (If my manager has a problem with that, well, he can kiss my bum.) I also got some Mother's Milk tea. I'm only having a cup of that per day, at least until I see how the increase in pumping frequency helps out. If almost a week of increased frequency does nothing, I'll probably try the fenugreek.

Thanks so much for your help! DS thanks you, too!
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