I've never been a great pumper but I used to be able to get 2 oz or so at at time. (And really more like 4-5 oz when my daughter was a newborn.) She's 17 months now and I've noticed over the last few months that I get less and less when I pump. For the last week or so, I can't even get a half an ounce at a time! She still nurses well (judging by the rapid swallowing, milk on her face, and wet diapers during times when she doesn't take other liquids besides nursing) but pumping has become ridiculously ineffective.
Is this more likely due to a pump part needing to be replaced, or more likely just due to my body not responding well to the pump anymore?
Also, how long do most people continue pumping? We're not planning on weaning anytime soon, but I work part-time and I'm not sure whether I should keep trying to pump or just nurse her when I'm not working.
It's a Medela Pump-in-Style. I bought it new, and have replaced each of the plastic parts once or twice. I don't know what they're called, but the little white things, the yellow things they hook into, the shields, and the part that the shields go into have all been replaced. (Sorry I don't know the real names!)
I think you should get the suction checked if there is a place around you that does it. It is a quick check and should be free. Also, replacing the white flap things (flat with bumps, fit into the yellow) might help. You may need a different size flange for maximum output. An IBCLC should be able to fit you properly.
As you pointed out some times your body doesn't respond as well after awhile but with a fair # of women that can be corrected.
It seems like alot of moms quit pumping around 12 months. Pumping is alot of work so kudos to you! Depending on your shifts and if you feel your dd needs breast milk while you are apart, how you feel about pumping, etc.
i second the pp advice - and wanted to cheer you on for pumping... i stopped pumping at 18 mo, but I wish I could have made it to 2 years... by 18 mo, I think I was getting barely 3 oz in a whole day with my PIS.
on the up side - our nursing relationship is still quite strong even after not pumping that 1 bottle/day. just to put your mind at ease.
yay! i stopped pumping at work at 16 mos., pumped occasionally at home until 19 mos., when my stash ran out. props for keeping up pumping so long! honestly, i think pumping past 12 mos. is EXTREMELY rare.
I'm a proud pump-at-work mama to my 18-month-old DD
And, like you, I experienced a marked decrease in output, probably when DD was 13 months or so, I think. Before that, I'd make 3-4 oz per pumping session, and at that time, it dropped to 1-2 per session (I was pumping twice a day at work then). For me, it didn't appear to be related to pump parts or anything; and my DD, like your LO, still nursed (and is still nursing) great, seems satisfied, etc. I cut my pumping down to 1/day at that point (13 mos.), and now I continue to get about 3 oz per day--it's just via one session now, instead of two. And, it's working out great for me. One pumping session provides enough EBM to mix with DD's oatmeal in the morning, and helps me assure that my supply stay up until she's at least 2 (that's my goal!). Also, just FYI, I do supplement with whole organic cow's milk while I'm at work, because I do have long work day and don't pump enough for her for the whole day--but it's worked out well for us, and we haven't had any problems with it. Just what works for us. At any rate, I was super worried about a drop in supply when it happened to me at 13 mos., but honestly, sometimes I think your body just stops responding as well to the pump--and as long as your pump is in good shape (like PPs have said), I don't think it's something to worry about. Just keep nursing when you're with LO, that'll keep your supply up!
GL! And congrats on still pumping