Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Please help-hard time with pumping all the time

I am at my wit's end. My initial goal was to EBF my son. He's 5 weeks old, and I have never had enough supply to satisfy him, so we have been supplementing since about week 2. I KNOW this was a bad choice, and so was working on increasing my supply with pumping in between feedings and nursing more often, but was not having very great success. Now I'm on antibiotics for a gallbladder infection, so I'm pumping and dumping to keep my supply up, in hopes of getting back to nursing. But it's pathetic: maybe 1.5oz (from both sides together) when pumping every 3 hours. I feel like a cow, feel guilty for somehow doing it wrong and not producing enough to keep him satisfied, and want to give up. But then I feel guilty because I know BM if better for him, but I just want to cry. Please help!
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Re: Please help-hard time with pumping all the time

  • One thing I did to build up my supply in preparation for going back to work was to nurse my baby on one breast while pumping from the other.  I do okay, but don't produce a whole lot of milk; maybe 1.5 to 3 oz each pump.  Today was my first day back at work and I think it will be tough to maintain a steady supply; I'll probably be able to pump juuuuuust what she needs for the next day. 

    I try to sneak in extra pumping sessions if she's taking a longer nap or if she falls asleep at the breast I'll pump after nursing her. 

    Maybe you could try pumping more often?  Pumping every 3 hours may be sending a signal to your body that it only needs to produce milk at such an interval... if you start pumping say every 1.5 hours, after a few days your body ought to adjust (just like it would during a baby's growth spurt) and you may wind up with more milk overall.

    If you absolutely must use formula, look for ones that use organic ingredients, are free of corn syrup or fructose (lactose should be used as a sweetener, since that's what milk naturally has in it), and don't contain hydrolized ingredients.  Perhaps a higher-quality formula can ease some of the guilt.  :-/

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  • Are you drinking enough water? I have to drink 1-2 gallons a day to keep my supply going full tilt. I've also added oatmeal and dark beer into my diet to up my supply.  I have a dark beer several days a week and try to eat oatmeal several days a week as well.  When I was trying to boost my supply enough to get LO off of supplementation, I was pumping for about 15 minutes every 2-3 hours.  It's hard, but it's doable.  That routine got me from pumping the amount you are to consistently getting 4 or so ounces at every pumping, with the early morning pumpings yielding in the 5-8 ounce range. I usually produce at least a quart of milk a day, which is enough to feed him and freeze a bit for a stash.  I now pump whenever he eats if I don't BF him.  I also pump if he only snacks on the boob or if I feel engorged. 

    I also highly recommend working with a lactation consultant if you haven't already been.  I've been told that La Leche League is wonderfully helpful, but I haven't contacted them since I have several LCs at my pediatrician's office.

    Hang in there, it's hard, but doable!  

    BTW, I started supplementing at 2w too as my supply was only about 20-24 ounces a day and he was eating 4-8 ounces daily over what I could produce.  I finally got him "weaned" from formula last week -  just shy of 6w for him.  Hang in there.  

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  • According to my BF Support Group, drink to thirst to ensure you have enough fluids.  You can also try Mother's Milk Tea or Fenugreek (tea or capsules).  I'm pumping in preparation for LO to go to daycare and at times when I don't pump enough, I've taken the Mother's Milk tea.  

    LO just started sleeping through the night, so in the morning when he wakes he'll nurse on one side and I'll pump the other.  I'll also wake in the middle of the night when he used to feed, and pump then as well. 

     Be certain that you don't pump too often.  You may create an oversupply which will cause a whole host of other issues.

    GL.

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