Post # 1
I need some help with pumping. My baby is 5 1/2 months old and I went back to work 4 weeks ago. My worries are 1) supply and demand and 2) hands-free pumping.
1) I’ve been pumping at work 3 times a day, at 8, 11, and 2:30. (This pumping schedule cannot be changed.) I feed the baby in person when we wake up at 6:30, when I pick him up at 4, at 7 before bed, and a couple times over night because he’s not sleeping through the night yet (I know). I’ve been getting between 6 and 12 ounces a day from pumping. But the baby has apparently been drinking 9-16 ounces a day! The past two days I pumped 6 ounces and he ate 15 and 16 ounces! My frozen supply is almost depleted! Any hints to help me keep my supply up? Should I try to feed the baby more when we’re at home together in the evenings so he doesn’t need to eat as much while he’s in care? Should I ask the babysitter not to feed him as much so that he doesn’t need formula? Should we go ahead and introduce solids since he’s almost 6 months and sitting up?
2) I’m convinced hands-free pumping is a magical unicorn–impossible. I have a double electric pump, but I’ve only ever been able to use one cup at a time. If I don’t use both hands to squeeze and massage the entire time I’m pumping, nothing will come out. I tried a pumping bra thing today and it was a disaster. It took longer than usual to get less than usual out. And it took so long to set up! For my second pumping session today I realized I had set it up upside down and gave up on it. My best session with the pumping bra was messier than usual when I took it off too. Has anyone ever had success with hands-free pumping when your letdown response seems to know there’s no baby in the room?
I know supplementing is not the worst thing in the world, especially with a baby this old, but my goal was to breastfeed exclusively, and it makes me really sad that pumping doesn’t seem to be working as well as I’d hoped. Please help!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2012 - Catholic Church
@marjojo: I haven’t had my baby yet, but nobody is answering you yet, so I thought I’d at least give you the info I’ve read on the topic since I plan to pump at the same time as being home and exclusively breastfeeding my baby.
While you’re at home, try pumping immediately after every feeding session (or just the day ones) in order to increase your supply and your frozen stash. You can have a second letdown even right after feeding the baby. You could also pump from the side you’re not feeding from at the same time as feeding baby. They say that you get the most milk first thing in the morning, so I’d at least try to do this immediately after or with your first morning feed.
For helping get a letdown at work, do you have a picture of your baby with you for looking at and imagining him? That’s supposed to be able to help and a couple of sites also recommended recording your baby’s cry to help induce a letdown.
How long are you pumping for each time while at work? Perhaps if the above tips help with a first letdown, you can try them again and induce a second letdown and be able to get more milk.
Good luck! I hope that you’re able to keep up the exclusive breastfeeding since that’s your goal!
Post # 4
You might also try adding oatmeal, fenugreek, lactation cookies, lactation teas, etc., to your diet to help boost your supply. Google “galactogogue” for information about boosting your milk supply by making sure your diet is rich in certain foods.
Post # 5
@marjojo: Your baby’s almost 6 months, right? You could supplement with solids!
Post # 6
My first thought is that your LO is eating way too much while at daycare.
I wouldn’t count on the baby getting significant calories from solids just yet. My son is 6.5 mo and is still just exploring solids. All kids are different, of course, but breastmilk needs to be their MAIN source of nutrition for the first year.
The rule of thumb is for babies to eat 1 – 1.25 oz of bm per hour of separation from you. The higher end of the range is for when they sleep through the night so aren’t getting as many nursing sessions with you. I’d ask your DCP to not feed so much. Your LO is likely eating for comfort, not out of hunger, and the DCP should find other ways of providing that comfort.
Yes, nurse as frequently as you can when you’re together.
I made a pumping bra by cutting a slit in each cup of an old sports bra. It holds the horn to my breast well enough so I can do some hands-on pumping techniques like massage (which it sounds like you’re familiar with). I don’t really have a need for the massage much, though – I use photos of my son to trigger letdown. Have you tried a piece of his clothing with his smell? A recording of his cry?
2-4 oz combined is an average output for a pumping session that replaces a nursing session. You’re right on target! You could add another pumping session at night. Be careful with the galactalogues – some of the herbs are really powerful, and an oversupply is a problem, too.
Pumping is HARD. You are rocking it. Explore kellymom.com – it’s an excellent resource.
Post # 7
I can tell you about my experience with the bra. I use a simple wishes bustier thing. It’s velcro in the back to adjust the tightness, then a zipper in the front. I have it set to be fairly snug. I take my shirt off, snap down my nursing bra, then wrap the simple wishes thing around me and zip half way. Then I put on the coney things by shoving them under the bustier, pulling the ends through the holes, zipping the bustier, and adjusting the cones so they fit correctly. Then I attach the rest of the parts (have the bottles and connector things all put togther as one piece). Also, I use the pumping pals cone things and find them to be more comfy than the standard medela.
(Aargh – trying to give you a link but can’t paste it – go to amazon and look up simple wishes. I have the pink one with the velcro back)
Things that have helped me – watching videos of the baby, trying to really relax, hitting the letdown button again. How long do your pumping sessions last? How many letdowns do you get? What brand/model pump are you using?
Post # 8
Oh and have you tried to youtube vidoes on using the hands free bra? It helped me when I was getting started.