Post # 1
I cannot figure out how to pump hands free. I have tried a pumping bra, one of the ones that are like a strapless bra with holes in the nipples that zip up the front, and found it impossible. I had the hardest time getting it on and off, and it took way too long. I also tried the rubber band trick I read about on kellymom, and hated it. It felt like the cup was about to fall off every second.
The main problem is that I have to press the flange HARD to my breast and massage the sides in order to get anything to come out. I need both hands to work on ONE breast. And I have to give one hand a break every once in a while because I also have to do things like eat my lunch while I pump. When I tried the pumping bra, the other problem with it was that it was both not tight enough to provide this pressure, and too tight to allow me to get my hands in there to massage.
I am having real trouble pumping enough milk during the day for my baby to eat the next day. I’m going to have to start supplementing with formula if I can’t pump more milk soon. He’s 6 months old and has started a few solids. I am pumping about 9 oz a day. The babysitter was giving him 14-16 oz a day before I ran out of stored frozen milk. Then I told her to give him only 9-12 oz, because I looked it up and it seemed like that was all he needed. (An ounce for every hour of separation or 24 oz divided by 8 feedings a day is 3 ounces per feeding, and 3 feedings while in care both equal 9 ounces.) I think he’s already started reverse cycling because he’s trying to drink more at night because he’s barely getting enough to sustain him during the day. My husband is really unhappy about this and has started talking about wanting to “Ferberize” the baby. I’m also worried becasue he had his checkup this week and he measured and weighed less than I thought he would. He went from 33 percentile in weight to 25 and from 60 percentile in weight to 40. I’m afraid I’m starving him by insisting on exclusive breastfeeding despite my supply problem.
Because I can only do one breast at a time, I can only use half of my time on each breast. If I could figure out hands free pumping I could double the time I spend on each breast and get all the milk out and maybe increase my supply. Please help!
Post # 3
Okay, let’s try to get some more info to problem solve.
- What kind of pump are you using?
- What flanges are you using? Sure they are the right size?
- How often do you pump/how long per session?
- Have you tried the usual tricks – oatmeal, fenugreek?
- Have you tired power pumping?
Post # 4
Pump is Ameda Purely Yours.
Flanges are the ones it came with. Don’t know size.
I pump 3 times for 30-40 min. I don’t have more time I’m allowed to use while at work.
Have not tried oatmeal or fenugreek yet. I was kind of afraid of oversupply because I had that early on. But I can try it.
What’s power pumping?
Post # 5
Any one can correct me if I’m wrong but power pumping is one hour pumping for ten minutes and a break for ten minutes. I suffered from poor supply, I think due to blood transfusions and exclusively pumped and supplemented. I know supplementing with formula isn’t ideal but having it there can help reduce the pressure.
I would be curious to see what happened if you pumped after a glass of dark beer. For me beer helped me boost my supply more than anything else, with the tea working the next best. THe beer helped relax me which played a huge part in it. The less stressed I was during my pumping sessions the more I got. I also only would pump for about 20 minutes at most, they say wait about 5 minutes after you stop getting anything.
I was able to slide the pump into my bra and just fold it down, it was incredible!!! Life with hands free!!! It sounds like you are doing a great job trying to get the most you can, kudos for making it to 6 months!!! I would try tea or dark beer, and see if it helps!!
Post # 6
Okay, I am no expert but I can share what my experience is and what I think. I’ve read some pretty disappointing reviews about the Ameda. I would try out a Medela to see if it did better. Could you borrow one from a friend, or try renting a hospital grade one? Could you get your doctor to write a prescription for one? I know its more money out, but getting your supply back up is cheaper than formula!
As for flange size, the ones that came with my medela weren’t right for me. I bought the Pumpin Pals set and use the medium size, which are considerably larger than the standard small medela ones that came with my pump. I would try some oatmeal or lactation cookies (yum) to see if they help.
Power pumping is a way to get your body to think it needs to make more milk. For an hour do 10 minutes pump, 10 min rest. It mimics a baby nursing a lot. Maybe you could do that Saturday and Sunday mornings around the same time as your first pumping session and see if that helps you pump better on Monday morning?
If your baby doesn’t nurse both sides in the evening, I would try using a hand pump on the side he’s not eating while he is nursing. I always get better letdowns when my son is actively nursing.
I personally wouldn’t let my son CIO, it didn’t feel right to me. He’s 10 months and still wakes once or twice a night but we bedshare so it’s not so bad, I feel well rested most days. I would suggest that before you let your husband push for CIO you have him read the whole Ferber book so you definitely know you are doing it correctly.
Post # 7
Oh and is the supply dip a recent thing? Could it be your period coming back? I had a awful dip when mine returned, I was getting up at 3am to pump to make sure I had enough for the next day, but once Aunt Flo came and went my supply bounced back.
Post # 8
Could you try a manual pump? I had a Medela Pump In Style Advanced, which worked pretty well (and I would definitely recommend – it worked fine with the pumping bra and was efficient), but I was able to get almost double in the same amount of time when I used my Medela Harmony, which is a manual single pump. It’s not hands free, but it may help you get more out! A few girls from my Bee birth month group found that they did better with the manual pump, as well.
Post # 9
Let me also add a couple quick tips to what PPs have said:
Make sure you are drinking water – keep a water bottle with you at all times, and just keep drinking. I also like the dark ber trick.
The standard flanges are almost always too small – the Ameda standard is 25mm – they have 28, 30, 33 and 36. Try the 30s, it may make a huge difference. Call their customer service line, they should send you a set.
Can you add another pumping session while you are at home and baby is home too? Maybe right after your last feeding of the night before he goes to bed.
Try the usual tricks of showering and breast massage prior to pumping (at home, obviously). I also cant do hands free, but I do double pump, and kind of manage to massage my breasts while holding the flanges at the same time.
Lastly – can you single pump both breasts during the work day? I know you have limited time, but try it out for one day. i.e., if you have 30 minutes 3x per day, spend 15 minutes at each session single side pumping.
Hope this helps!