Supply Issues…

Back in May I wrote this post about my pumping / milk supply experience the 2nd time around. It’s so frustrating to realize I was getting 7 ounces in two pumping sessions at work back then — and now I’m struggling to get 3. It doesn’t help that lefty has basically said adios and quit responding to the pump at all. Obviously Harvey’s milk intake has dropped some since starting solid foods 3 months ago, but he’s still drinking 5-6 ounces in the 2 bottles he has while I’m gone (compared to 8-9 before).

Hm…I write that and realize how long I’ve been operating at a deficit when it comes to pumping output vs. ounces consumed in bottles. Dammit.

At any rate, I used to do an extra pump in the mornings from time to time to make that deficit up (I’d get 3-4 ounces), but it’s really hard to do that anymore. Being home alone with 2 kids in the morning and getting myself ready for work while I feed them breakfast — yeah, who wants to pump too, especially when I’m only getting 1-2 ounces max? I’m gone from 8am-5:30pm (plus I usually nurse Harvey at lunch), so it’s not crazy that he’d want/need a mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottle. Basically, I don’t think it’s that the Nanny is offering him milk too often – I think I just don’t respond well to the pump (Harvey seems fine the 3d/wk that I’m home with him).

I just can’t keep up, and my freezer stash is quickly depleting.

Stella was exclusively breastfed until 13 months and still nursed a couple times a day until 17 months (we did add solid food in starting at 6 months with Baby Led Weaning). I’m super proud of that fact because I work full time and it involved a lot of pumping, but we were able to make it happen. I hate pumping, but I love nursing, and it was important to me.

Ego is a huge part of this. I get that. So is providing the best I can for my baby.

**PUMP BREAK AT WORK – 1 oz in 20 minutes. *HEADDESK*

I’ve tried everything I can think of to increase my supply (short of ordering meds from overseas):

  • I drink 100 oz of water per day.
  • I take Fenugreek pills & smell like maple syrup.
  • I drink More Milk Plus, even though it’s disgusting & makes me want to gag.
  • I eat lots of oatmeal & I increased my daily caloric intake and said screw weight loss for awhile to make sure I wasn’t sabotaging my own supply.
  • I nurse on demand & try to always nurse him BEFORE meals to make sure he gets milk in him and doesn’t just fill up on solids.
  • I’ve tried 3 different pumps (two of mine plus a hospital grade one that I borrowed from a friend).
  • I’ve tried 3 different flanges (angled ones and different sized ones – who knew I should have been using a 27mm instead of 24mm this entire time? SO much more comfortable, though it didn’t really change the output).

Nothing has really made a whit of difference.

So here’s where I’m at now: Harvey is only 9 months old, and oh man do I want to quit pumping.

I am so stressed out about it — I think I need to quit pumping. I have 176 ounces in my freezer. I work 4 days per week. I have 40 more workdays to get through before we go to MN for Christmas (where I left another 24 oz that I can use for the few days we are back in CO before he turns 1).

If I leave him two bottles per day with 2.5-3.0 ounces in each, that means I have about 30-35 days worth of milk in my freezer right now (assuming all the bags have as much in them as I think they do). That means I’m only about 25-50 ounces short of making it to 1 year EBF with Harvey as well. So close, yet so far away.

I don’t know what to do.

I know that not everyone can breastfeed. I know that not everyone wants to breastfeed. I know that not everyone feels it’s important to get to one year EBF. I get that.

It doesn’t change the fact that it’s important to ME and it’s the best thing for my child if I can stick to breastmilk instead of formula.

I’m at a loss…literally and figuratively.

  • Do I stick it out at work and pump for 2 more weeks to make sure I have enough to get him through?
  • Do I say f*it and throw that pump out with the trash tonight and just start topping off his bottles with goat’s milk?
  • Do I pump until my coworker has her baby (she’s 38+5 today) and just quit pumping once I have to take over her job as well b/c there is no way in hell I’ll have time for pump breaks when I’m doing her job and mine?
  • Do I quit pumping at work but try to do some extra early morning & weekend pumps to add to my stash?
  • Do I look on milk boards and see if there is anyone who lives decently close that I can buy some milk from?

I hate this. I hate struggling with this. But I hate the idea of formula even more. What would you do?

*Note: Please don’t tell me to get over it or that you were a formula fed baby and you were fine. I get it. I get that there are healthy people all over the world who drank formula and I don’t think you’re a bad Mom if you gave your baby formula. I just don’t want to go that route if it’s not absolutely necessary.

But I still don’t know what to do. I wish I could let go and just not care about this so much. But I do. It’s such a love/hate relationship at this point, and I really want to get back to the love side of things.

So now what? Advice? Commiseration?

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78 comments

  1. Have you tried hands on pumping with compressions? Have you tried heat before pumping? Watching something to distract yourself? Also, what about pumping one boob while nursing on the other side? I had issues on and off with pumping and it always came down to stress. There’s also human milk for human babies. Maybe you could find someone to donate milk? I would but I’m guessing it’d be damn expensive to get it to you. Sorry you are struggling.

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    1. I’ve tried some compressions, but maybe not enough? No way to do heat at work. The stress is definitely affecting me b/c this has been going on pretty badly for 2 months. I’ excited to have ideas to try after this post though – thank you!

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  2. A few thoughts, have you tried breast compressions while pumping? Also, replace all the tubing to your pump can help increase suction. I have a few other ideas, but kiddos need fed, so I’ll comment back again soon! Hang in there!!!

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    1. I have done compressions, but not POST pumping like that video showed. I’ll definitely try that out – thanks! I hate buying new tubing at this point when I’m so close to finishing, plus I’ve tried 3 different pumps with 3 different tubing w/no appreciable differences. My PIS Freestyle is pretty much new too (only used during maternity leave really). Good idea though.

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  3. I’ll commiserate. Elodie’s nicu stay and constant bottle feeding there ruined any hope of BFing. I’m thankful to make a ton of milk by pumping, but I’m totally sick of it. Would life maybe be easier to stop the madness and offer formula? Probably. But I can’t let go of wanting to give her BM. It feels like the one really great thing I can do for her. The thought of pumping until 6 months (my adjusted goal once I realized we wouldn’t be nursing) makes me want to cry and makes my nipples hurt, so we shall see.
    Side note, I wish I could give you some of my milk. My freezer is literally full.

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    1. The good thing is that if you have a freezer full of milk, hopefully she can be 1 yr EBF anyway, even if you quit pumping at 6 months!

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  4. I’m not coming in here with suggestions, but it is clear you’ve tried it all. I’m just saying that I totally commiserate. The first time I gave Taylor some formula, I cried. (All ego – as you know). But after that initial burn, it didn’t bother me. And when I was so tired of pumping for Alex at 7 months, I started transitioning to formula and it was easy. And it was waaaaaay less stressful.

    Obvs, that’s not the route you’re wanting to go and that’s fine, I’m just thinking that for whatever choice you DO make, the hardest part is going to be the initial change. But I think once you’re over that, whatever decision you make is going to be easier than the stress you have at this moment.

    Good luck, lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, making the change is the hardest part. I think part of this struggle for me is not wanting to do “less’ for the 2nd kid, you know? My goal with Stella was 6 months, and we obviously went way longer than that, and now I really want to provide the same for my son if I can make it happen…

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      1. mcmissis · · Reply

        I was going to ask if this was a second kid guilt thing 😦

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  5. You’ve covered all the options as well as ideas for increasing supply. I have zero to add.

    But I will commiserate. The middle of August I weaned both babies from EBM and moved them over to cow’s milk. Prior to that, I was pumping 7-8 times a day and doing all the suppliments just to keep my supply up. And even that wasn’t enough, which meant we had to suppliment with formula. Ultimately, continuing this madness was the best thing for my family (even though I had people flat out tell me I was nuts and needed to give up the supermom routine), but the constant worry about having enough milk was hard.

    What I would suggest is make a pros and cons list for each of your options. Then put it aside, allow yourself some “me” time and focus on other things. The answer will come to you. And regardless of what decision you make, know that you have been a rockstar throughout this and deserve nothing but admiration for doing what is best for your family. So no guilt. No apologies. And hang in there.

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    1. Ya, I hate the supermom comments too – it’s not that I want to be seen as a supermom, I just REALLY want my child to have breastmilk if I can provide that for him. We all choose the things that are important to us with parenting – and this is one of my things.

      Good idea about the pros/cons list. I’ll do that this weekend.

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  6. If I were you…. And I think you know what I’m going to say…. I would pump for 2 more weeks. Sorry, friend. I’m like you and could not tolerate the idea of formula for my babies, and I wanted to get to 15 months of breastmilk so pumped 3 times a day as a SAHM to get there so I could wean at 12 months to start IVF for Bryson. I HATED pumping… But I stuck it out. And honestly, I’m so glad I did!

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    1. Yeah, I’m thinking minimum 2, but possible 4 weeks of pumping at work are needed in order to make it through (just because I’m getting so little milk each day). I’m really worried about the logistics of that even with my coworker ready to pop any day. GAH. I hate this. I’m going to try some more of the massage techniques from the video Heather linked to above and see if that helps anyway. I’m already massaging some, but haven’t done anything post-pumping. My boss is going to kill me for these long breaks. 😛

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  7. No advice to offer–breastfeeding did not work out for me with my twins (long post about why, etc., on my blog, on the off chance you’re interested)–just wanted to say that I admire your commitment and whatever you decide to do will be OK.

    Oh, and also that I hated pumping.

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    1. Yeah, pumping is one of those love/hate relationships for sure – it’s allowed me to work outside the home & still provide breastmilk for my child, but DAMN do I hate it. I’ll check our your post about BFing – what month of your archives is it in?

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      1. sangela71 · · Reply

        Sorry I’m so late in replying. . . it’s in May 2012. Here’s a link: http://conceptionmisconceptions.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-where-i-talk-about-not.html

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        1. Wow, intense experience for sure. It reminds me how lucky I am that we got the initial latch & supply stuff without all of the complications you faced. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I don’t have answers but I do send hugs xxx I am staying at home so I only pumped that first month when he didn’t latch. When I had supply issues I did add in formula, and by about 3/4 months I went totally over to breastfeeding. As they get older they do breastfeed less, so you don’t need to give it up altogether. You can still connect with him at night and weekends. Do what you need to do to make it work! Sending lots of hugs…

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    1. Yeah, I keep reminding myself it’s not an all or nothing deal, which is good. It’s just so frustrating to be so close and maybe not make it!

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  9. mcmissis · · Reply

    Is waking up to pump in the middle of the night worse than a little formula at the very end? Maybe try that. You might get more per session, it wouldn’t be more work breaks, and you wouldn’t be watching the kids during that time.

    Also, sorry. What you’re dealing with sucks 😦

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    1. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about doing that! The problem is Harv went from sleeping through the night to reverse cycling and nursing 2-3x/night again (I think b/c he’s not getting much milk during the day) so I’m not sure when to set the alarm for. GAH!

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  10. Esperanza · · Reply

    I have no advice (and am in fact feeling a little triggered by this post) but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you are going through this. I hope you find something that works for you and your family. Breastfeeding issues suck. This I know. Well.

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    1. I figured you’d feel triggered by this, and all I could think about was how much I wished I could get as much in a pumping session as you did!

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      1. And I wish I could actually breastfeed my son, and not just pump to give him milk.

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  11. lparsons15 · · Reply

    I have no advice, but man I am sorry! This is the second post of this nature I have read in the past 2 days! I just feel for you guys! Seems to me you are doing the very best you can!

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    1. Yeah, it’s super frustrating. I really hope it works out.

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  12. Ok, now I’m back with some other ideas for you. Feel free to email me too if you want to talk some things out. First of all, have you started birth control or your period recently? Those hormones maybe affecting things. Next, I recommend that when you pump from here on out, that you wear a nursing cover over yourself and watch videos of your kids. DO NOT peak underneath the cover to see how much you are getting! I think you are stressing a lot about this from the sound of your post, and that MOST CERTAINLY is affecting things! As long as Harvey’s weight gain and diaper output is good, and he seems content at the breast, then DO NOT doubt your supply. Remember, pumping is NOT a good indication of your supply, however I do understand how trying to get a certain amount of ounces per day is necessary since you are working.
    Another thought, any chance you could have the nanny bring Harvey to you during the day to replace a pumping session? At least when you coworker pops or something? That might help you limp by a bit too.

    Also, instead of giving him the 5-6 ounces in 2 bottles, maybe try a small decrease of 3 bottles with 4 ounces in each. Have the 3rd bottle be a “filler bottle” if he’s super fussy, but have your nanny offer him the milk, then bulk up a bit on solids or snacks after those first 2 bottles. Kellymom recommends 1-1.5 oz per hour you are away, so since you are gone 9.5 hours, technically then he needs 9.5 oz. minimum in the time you are gone. I’m assuming she knows and practices paced bottle feeding as well?

    I also recommend that you ask your nanny to hold off on feeding him any bottles or solids about an hour or two before you come home (I know that’s hard since when you get home, the kids are probably hungry for dinner and it’s a bit chaotic), but you can nurse him immediately when you get home which might help your supply.

    Sleep is super important, but any chance for the next few weeks (or start AFTER your co-worker has her baby) you could pump once at night? I know that sucks, I do. But that might help the pressure to pump so much during the day at work a little if you are able to get some more milk at night.

    How long is your lunch break? Any chance you can nurse Harvey then pump after?

    Domperidone is available from http://www.inhousepharmacy.biz/ and you don’t need a prescription for it. It’s expensive, but way less side effects than Reglan. I took Reglan with Aiden and it made me SOOOO depressed.

    Hugs lady. You are doing good. Don’t stress! It’s not too late to turn things around. The best way to increase your supply is nurse, nurse, nurse! Eat more calories, stay hydrated and try not to watch what you are pumping! I found that the breast compression worked AMAZING for me to get more milk out.

    Also, the Facebook Group LLL Mother to Mother Forum is a great group to join and ask questions. There are LC’s and IBCLC’s and LLL leaders on there to help answer questions and I’ve seen TONS of questions with great advice on pumping/work!

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    1. You are great, Heather 🙂

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    2. I was told to look at pictures of Matthew while pumping…. And it helped A LOT!

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    3. I’m impressed with all your suggestions!

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    4. I had a paraguard IUD inserted a few months ago (so non-hormonal) and no period yet. This has been going on for like 2 months though, so I don’t think it’s related to that.

      Good call about not peeking while pumping, it definitely stresses me out to see nothing coming out. I don’t doubt my supply, honestly, I just know I suck at responding to the pump. I’ve thought about having the Nanny bring the kids by, but that’s hard to coordinate, especially between the weather getting colder and playdates and such.

      Also – I’m only leaving him 5-6 oz TOTAL at this point (plus nursing at lunch), so I’m gone 9.5 hrs and he’s getting 8-9oz in that time – which is definitely on the low end, I know. I used to leave Stella two 4oz bottles at this age (and not nurse at lunch) so it’s similar to that with my nursing session added in at lunch, but I’m definitely not leaving an overabundance of milk for him.

      I’ll check out some of the other stuff you mentioned as well. You area wealth of information – thank you!!!

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  13. Firstly, it sounds like you are doing everything you can to increase supply, so way to go you for all of that effort. Now, I don’t have any real advice or answers. I haven’t ever really pumped before other than a handful of times for drinking occasions but never at work and never every day, so I have no idea how hard that is but I bet it is damn hard and shitty and just not fun at all. So again, way to go you for even doing it in the first place. So aside from having no clue what it is actually like to pump all the time, what I think I would do if I were you (and that is really hard to say because I don’t know but just trying to be as helpful as I can), is pump until your co-worker leaves work.. which hopefully is roughly the 2 weeks you need and if it isn’t quite that, maybe you could pump a bit at night to make up that little bit because I worry you would feel worse if you made it REALLY close to 1 year but short by a week or so. And believe me, I know that many people would say that just ending in formula is no big deal… and really, it isn’t as far as Harvey is concerned and is health and all of that.. in the long run, I could be very willing to guess that it will make no difference what so ever.. BUT, I know it matters to you and I feel you there. If I could send you that extra milk, I would in an instant. Maybe someone reading is closer and actually can?!?

    The main thing I want to say is that I am really sorry you are even in this situation. It sucks. Know that no matter what you do, it will be okay…completely okay. Do what you feel is the right thing for you in your heart. Big hugs to you and sending lots of milky vibes your way!! 😉

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    1. Thanks Fiona! I’m going to start pumping extra in mornings & weekends I think to try to muddle through. This morning I got a whopping 1.5 oz in my morning pump tho. GAH. It’s just frustrating to pump for 30 min and get so little (and harvey nursed right after b/c he woke up and he had plenty of milk, so I know it’s in there, I just don’t respond to the pump!).

      Courtney offered to send me some milk, so I’m going to talk to her about that.

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  14. One more suggestion…Go back to the slowest flow nipples on Harvey’s bottles. Having him work a little harder for his milk may help tell him tummy he’s full quicker? Just an idea.
    You can also take goats rue and brewers yeast to help supply.
    Also, yes, I would probably start pumping on the weekends if you can just to add a little more to your supply in case something happens and you can’t pump at work or as often. Can you add in a pump session before you go to bed at night too?

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    1. Ha, we never went UP from the slowest flow for either kid! 🙂

      I just pumped this morning and got 1.5 oz in 30 min. So annoyingly little, but better than nothing.

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  15. One more thing…I promise. I feel a little sad that I donated my milk stash this weekend, because I would have sent you some!! 😦

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    1. Awh, thanks Heather.

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  16. wtfovaries · · Reply

    I don’t have any sage advice, being a first time preggo and all. But I think you are doing a wonderful job!

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    1. Thanks hon!

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  17. If you want my freezer stash, it’s yours. I’m sure we could figure out how to get it out there somewhat economically.

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    1. Thanks hon – I will text you later about this.

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  18. These lactation bars are AWESOME! They make a TON and freeze really awesome! I’ve made these several times. http://forums.llli.org/showthread.php?61084-Fabulous-Lactation-Bar-Recipe

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    1. These sound awesome! Like my gma’s recipe with a twist. 🙂

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  19. If I were you id stick with it for 2 more weeks, to get though most of your bullets. Maybe the supply will correct itself. I had many bouts of shortages, but somehow we always made it through with just enough. No more, no less. It really was a perfect science. But sometimes my supply would drop. 3 pills of fenugreek a day, mothers milk tea, steel cut oats every am, and sometimes a nursing vacation with my babe would help where we just went to bed and nursed all weekend long. However Harv is so mobile and older now, like he woul stay put and just nurse! 🙂

    Are you saying you don’t pump in the am? I would pump at 6am on weekdays (before Ever woke) and it would be a good 9-11 oz from the night. Mark would feed her a morning bottle while I got ready, and then id pump at 9:30 at work and get about 2 oz per side every 3 hrs. I’d inly nurse her after daycare and at bedtime on weeknights. And sometimes fit a pump in before I went to bed. So maybe if you could wake, pump, feed Harvey a bottle/have Stella do it 🙂 and fridge the excess, you’ve already got a good start on the day.

    I don’t know. Honestly, you’re doing everything you can, and you’ve done it awesomely, and have a ton of milk I’m the freezer. I hate the pump too! I feel you! There’s no easy way to give up on this and feel okay, but everytime I thought I had to give up, somehow we made it.

    Keep us posted!

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    1. And Guinness. 🙂

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    2. Ha, ya, nursing vacations don’t happen anymore. I can barely get him to nurse during the day – he is on the move!!! 🙂

      No, I haven’t been pumping much in the a.m., mainly b/c Harv wakes about 5am every day to nurse. For example, this morning – 5am nurse (10 min. on the right), then he & Stella miraculously go back to sleep until 7 (this never happens – often they’re just both up for the day at 5 lately)… right before 7am I sit down to pump (since Char is home and can help with the kids)… I pump for 30 min, get .5oz on left (which hasn’t been nursed on since 2am) and 1oz on right (which was nursed on at 5am). By then Harvey is awake & wants to nurse, so I nurse him for 5 min. on each side and he gets plenty of milk… so it’s IN there (even though I NEVER feel engorged) – it’s just not coming out for the pump. Beyond frustrating.

      Also, even in the beginning with my highest supply, I have NEVER gotten 9-11 oz in a pumping session in the early morning – maybe max 4-6? I think I have a small “reservoir” in my breasts…so if I pump after 3 hrs or 12 hrs, I get roughly the same amount of milk either way. It’s a bummer.

      At any rate, thanks for the ideas and commiseration – we’ll make it somehow!

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  20. My situation was a little different, I only pumped. I wanted to make it to a year but around month 10, some stuff came up and I was really stress and not eating so naturally I dried up.. It wasnt near as bad or emotional as I thought. It was an ego thing for me too. It was like an addiction… My mother in law tonight I was crazy!!! If you still have supply to nurse him without pumping then it’s okay! You’ve done it for 9 months and you aren’t giving up, just sometimes life likes to throw wrenches into our ‘plans’ and f*** sh!t up.. 😉 don’t fret! Just follow your body’s questions!!! Good luck!!!

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    1. •cues not questions..

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    2. Yeah, the days I’m home with him my supply seems to be adequate – it’s just that I’m gone for 9.5 hrs, 4 days a week, and that’s the part I’m worried about. We will make it somehow though – you’re right that it’s an addiction at this point, but a good one (IMO).

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  21. PS-sorry for all the typos.. This new iPhone keyboard is messing me up!! Err!!!

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  22. Is it too early once stash is gone to move to normal milk? I was a horrid pumper could get sweet f a and i get the ego plus what you want to do for Harvey 😩

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    1. Yeah, I’m trying not to switch before a year – the reason they don’t recommend cow’s milk earlier is because it has about 3x the sodium and 3x the protein as human milk, and cow milk has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in the immature gut. I feed Harvey cheese & yogurt and such already, so I’m not too nervous about that, but the excess sodium & protein does make me nervous. We shall see – I might supplement with goat’s milk if need be (because it’s closer to human milk than cow’s milk is).

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      1. We did goats milk until she was 2 due to issues with cows milk.

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        1. How early did you start it?

          I think goat’s milk is a good idea, but I also don’t want to have to buy 2 types of milk for the fridge if I don’t have to. We already went from 3 (me – 1%, Char – 2%, Stella – whole) to just 1 (whole).

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        2. Started goats milk at about 12m and was using goats milk formula. She loved it. Only recently weaned her because of the whole too many milks in the fridge scenario!!

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  23. I think you should stick it out for two to three weeks with pumping it just seems like you would really really regret it if you couldn’t make it to one full year with Harvey.
    just so you know I am not judging you in anyway because my daughter only got breast milk for 6 weeks. I am just saying it because I think you’d be really mad at yourself if you got to December in didn’t have extra milk.
    but it does seem like you’re doing everything you possibly can for him!

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    1. Agreed, I would be mad at myself. Part of this just depends on my coworker, b/c there really is no way I can keep pumping once she’s out on maternity leave (because I can’t step away from her desk during the day b/c of patients checking out). We shall see…I’m going to start doing morning & weekend pumping again to try to make it through.

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  24. kaseypowers · · Reply

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but I’m sure your getting good advice. A few weeks ago when I tweeted Medela that I was ready to use formula, they contacted me, we sorted it out and mine really was a pump issue. they sent me new parts and I’ve been getting 12-15 ounces in my two pumping sessions. But up to that point, I was ready to throw in the towel because it was taking me almost an hour to pump each time with the checking and reassembling and massage and all that to get ONE OUNCE. There were lots and lots of tears. And I have zero freezer supply because I really hate pumping. And because I did have an over supply/heavy let down at the start I was trying to slow things down so Caleb wouldn’t choke every time he ate.
    With Simon the breast feeding was so easy. He didn’t really take to bottles, but he took enough, and as much as I hated pumping I had so much I donated. To have such a different experience. Caleb and I have struggled really until the past couple of weeks. I think probably a “normal” experience for most, but it’s been HARD. And he doesn’t love it like Simon did. I fear he will wean himself before I’m ready…
    So that I was even considering formula (especially due to Mom snark – I still owe you THAT email) was hard for me. I’m glad it worked out, so glad. But I do think that if the new pump hadn’t worked out I would have switched to at least half formula at daycare.
    If I were in your place, you need such a small amount, I’d probably keep at it until your co-worker gives birth, but maybe not.
    I will give you this encouragement that if you are able to keep nursing on your lunch breaks he’s getting that. And stopping pumping does not mean that you have to nurse with less frequency on the days you are home. Simon was nursing 6 – 10 times a day until 18 months. If you feel really strongly about no formula you might also be able to get through those last few days by cluster feeding before you leave and he may take less from the bottle those days. Or even take a break from pumping for a month, then start back once a day after a separation – or not.
    I cried yesterday because I forgot to pump after my class and didn’t remember until almost 6 (I pumped at 11:30) and wasn’t even feeling full and then my hands free bra zipper broke and it took 20 minutes to fix and I was just trying to think about why I was doing this to myself because I was missing the last rush hour bus.
    I get it. Different problem, same outcome. Whatever you decide it will be emotional. You will probably cry. And it will still be the right thing for you.

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    1. Hm…the motor in my freestyle has always sucked (and the internal battery dies CONSTANTLY, even if I’ve just charged it). It have never occurred to me to Tweet Medela about it. Might be worth a shot.

      I’ve tried cluster feeding with him, but now that he’s mobile, he is supremely disinterested in this. *sigh* He used to at least always nurse at 7:30 before I left for work, but now I usually can’t even get him to do that – just the 5am nursing session (ew).

      That sucks about yesterday! It does feel like a lot sometimes…

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    2. “Whatever you decide it will be emotional. You will probably cry. And it will still be the right thing for you.”

      Oh, my, Kasey, that is one of the best things I’ve read in a while! I’m going to write this on a post-it and stick it on my wall. Because, YES.

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  25. Thanks for clarifying the amount of milk. I totally misunderstood from your post! I remember feeling so stressed about my milk with Aiden, so I can relate to how you are feeling. You are worried and just want what’s best for Harvey.

    Reading through the comments and your responses to them, I’m thinking that there are two main factors/issues:

    #1. Harvey is distracted during the day
    #2. Pumping = stress for you

    #1 Distraction

    Callen has gone through distracted phases off and on since he was about 4 months. Actually, if I’m honest, it really hasn’t ended. Mostly, the only way I can nurse him is in his bedroom (which is dark b/c we put tin foil over the windows) with his sound machine on. This is tricky, because I have daycare kids all day and I can’t leave them unsupervised. I usually put on a video for them at the table, give them snacks or a craft then nurse Callen. Any chance you can do that with Stella?
    Offering often, and not giving up right away if Harvey won’t latch may help. Keep trying to breastfeed him. Switch sides, sing him silly songs, play 3 Little Piggies with his wiggy feet, etc. I sometimes sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” to him and do the hand motions with one of his hands to keep him distracted/nursing so he doesn’t roll away.

    Would giving him a little toy or nursing necklace help keep him focused?
    I totally agree with you, he is reverse cycling for sure. Callen still does that because my house is very busy during the day and he wants to make up for calories he misses during the day.

    Have you considered doing a dream feed before bed? Say 9:30pm go in and feed Harvey as much as he will take, then go and pump. Keep this schedule up for the next month, use a cover over your pump parts and do some boob massage. I know IT SUCKS. But, I think you would really beat yourself up more if you don’t push through a little longer. Give yourself time for your body to adjust to making more milk during that time. It might take a week or so, but don’t give up. You could also set your alarm and pump 45 minutes before Harvey gets up in the morning too if you really want.

    #2. Your pump. Use that hospital grade one from your friend or maybe try a manual pump? You mentioned something about having issues with a motor in a pump too. Will your insurance cover a new one or can you rent a newer one from a hospital nearly? Have your heard of the Freemie? Basically a pump you can hide in your shirt and pump while working. Kinda cool. It might help when your co-worker is gone! Look it up online. It might be a great option, plus you may be able to re-sell it to someone after you are done using it!

    Also, you mentioned something about pumping for 30 minutes. Limit yourself to 15 minutes, and pick like 2 times when you are home and pump directly AFTER feeding Harvey. Do you nurse him down for naps when you are home? If you do, that’s a great time to pump. Get him in bed, then put on a movie or IPAD game or snack for Stella and pump. Don’t kill yourself over the ounces at this point. You just need to stimulate your supply a little more and get back to that “magic number.” The articles on that are below:

    https://breastfeedingusa.org/content/article/magic-number-and-long-term-milk-production

    http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/chs/files/resmohrbachermagicnumber2011.pdf

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    1. Yeah, at home I have to go into the bedroom with Harv to nurse during the day (blackout blinds + white noise, and Stella is downstairs watching a show). I should try harder to keep offering though, b/c I’m sure my daytime supply has dropped as a consequence of him not nursing much during the day when I *am* home.

      Re: dream feeds. HAHAHA. I usually go to bed right after him! Kids are sleeping by 8pm, and we are usually sleeping by 9pm at the latest anymore. I suppose I could try staying up an hour later in order to dream feed + pump and then hopefully cut out a middle of the night feed (exhaustion from those are why I go to bed so early now!)… I’ve just never bothered b/c supply has always been lower at night with both kids. Worth a shot though.

      Re: the pump – I’m using only the hospital grade one at work right now (and honestly didn’t notice much of a difference at all) and I have my PIS Freestyle at home (which insurance bought when Harvey was born). At work I can only pump 18-20 min max b/c I have to get back to work. At home I just tried 30 min this morning to see if it would make a difference. Usually a pump 2x/day at work though, both times for around 18 minutes. No way I could use the freemie – I’m constantly interacting with patients as they check out, and no matter how discreet it is, I feel like the pump would be audible. I dunno… it freaks me out to pump with people right next to me. 🙂

      Today I pumped right before he got up (1.5 oz) and right after nursing before nap (.25 oz). Not much at all, but better than nothing, and hopefully stimulating supply a bit. I’ll try to keep up with extra pumping on weekends and see what happens.

      Thanks again for all your help!

      Like

  26. I think trying to meet or beat the amount of time Stella nursed makes this extra hard. And like I said last night, it’s SUCH a personal dilemma 😦 I have the same fears about L and I know if he decided to call it quits (and I’m scared of that because I’ve read babies with lip/tongue ties have a higher chance of trying to wean early). I made it about 13 months with G and I want to do at least that much with L since he was a preemie. But oh my gosh, the distraction. Like you, I have to be in a room with just L and myself, lights off, no noise, door closed in order for him to nurse.

    Being at work does not help the supply situation; I started having issues with mine around 8/9 months with G. I had a hard time coming to terms with having to mix some of his food with formula vs breast milk.

    Do you do anything special when you pump at work? When I did I’d put on relaxing music (actually, it was the sound of rain that I had on repeat during my pumping session) and took a lot of deep breaths to help relax myself. I read somewhere that leaning forward a bit might help (gravity), so I did that (I don’t know if it helped, but it gave me an excuse to lay my head down on the desk and close my eyes). I would do the compressions while I pumped and that seemed to help, especially with my right boob for some reason 🙂 I also had a picture of G to look at. Then, I was anal about not being away from him on weekends. It didn’t make things fun for me in hind sight, but I was extremely anxious about my supply.

    I also find that sleeping in the same room as my babies helps boost my morning supply. I can’t stand doing that though; we all sleep better in separate rooms.

    Based on what you said in your post, I would for sure continue pumping until your co-worker goes on maternity leave. Then, if you can find the time, continue until you reach that 2 week mark you mentioned. If not, I’d probably pump after the first feed of the day just to have something on hand, since that’s supposed to be the time of day your breasts are most full. Even if that only happens on your days off.

    Is your plan to nurse before/after work and weekends, but give Harvey formula (or goats milk) when you aren’t there? Or even mix some formula with the milk you are able to pump to stretch it out? I know that isn’t what you want to do (and I totally get that!!! This no formula thing is huge for me too!), but it would still give him the benefits of breast milk.

    My only other suggestion is, like others have said, continue to offer the boob as much as possible when you are home with Harvey. I probably shove my boobs in L’s face more times than I need to, but I feel like he “snacks” more than eats during the day due to distraction.

    I hate that you’re struggling with all this 😦 Pumping sucks and it sucks even more when you realize your output is going down. HUGS

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  27. I pumped on one side while nursing on the other side for a few weeks or a month when my supply was low (and every morning or earliest feed a day). I get a lot more when nursing or cuddling the baby so that helped, plus I have a big capacity so that early morning meant a few extra ounces. Could you pump more often but for a shorter amount of time, say 10 minutes every hour or 90 minutes? Maybe not for too long but for a little while to bump your production since that’s what a growing baby would do? I agree with videos and not watching how much you are getting too. Pumping is so miserable and I hope you find peace with whatever you end up doing.

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    1. This is what I was going to suggest too- pumping on one side while feeding on the other. That was the only way I got a decent amount when pumping because it was natural letdown I guess. That won’t help while you’re at work but may help get a couple extra ounces to bridge your gap. Good luck!

      Like

    2. I was also coming back to suggest this 🙂 This is what a friend suggested I do when I was trying to figure out how to build a stash this time around.

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    3. I’ve been doing that a bit, but I’m going to step it up and maybe have the morning nursing session always include pumping on the opposite side at the same time. I always feel supremely uncoordinated when I do it, but it’s worth it if it works!

      Also, no way can I do that many pump breaks at work, but I’ve been trying to do a ton at home this weekend (yesterday I pumped 4x in addition to nursing).

      Like

  28. I hate pumping…yet still I’m doing it at nearly 13 months. My supply has gone way down and I only pump once a day when I get home from work. I get about 6 oz and top it with goats milk. I started goats milk at 11 months just to make sure he would tolerate it. I still have about 5 gallon bags in the freezer. You are welcome to them, but we’ll have to figure out how to get them to you. Want to meet half way?

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    1. How come you’re still pumping past the year mark? Because of him being a premie?

      Thank you so much for the offer! I’m hoping that power pumping on the weekends and trying to do a few morning sessions will get me through. I’ll let you know though! Either way we really need to try to meet up one of these days. It’s sad how close together we live and still haven’t met!

      Like

  29. Oh mama!!! Huge hugs. This is such an emotional subject. I fully support whatever decision you make. Sometimes the stress pumping causes isn’t worth keeping it up, but it also sounds like making it to a year is important to you. Do you have friends who are pumping who could share any milk? That would be an awesome solution. I’ve shared milk with lots of friends, coworkers, neighbors, and total strangers. I was lucky enough to have a very robust supply so I had way more milk than we could ever use.
    Another thought is changing out the membranes on your pump. They should be thrown out monthly. Also for me I responded better to hand pumping than to my Medela PISA. I used a Medela Symphony at work which was great.

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    1. I only have 2 other friends who are BFing Mamas in town right now, and both are SAHMs and don’t pump 😦 I have a couple of awesome bloggie friends who have offered to send milk, so I might take them up on that. I’ve also donated milk to a cpl of area moms (when I was nursing Stella) so it definitely doesn’t weird me out! Just not an option right now.

      Also, THANK YOU for the membrane tip – honestly, I have no idea if I’ve ever changed out my membranes. I just bought some on Amazon after reading your comment and will have new ones on Wednesday. I’m hoping they make a difference with the suction!

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  30. Well, I have no real advice to add beyond all the amazing suggestions you’ve gotten already. (Wow! Your readers are awesome!!) I’d probably pump until your coworker leaves, and then chalk it up to not being an option anymore. As you near a year you might also be able to leave slightly less milk for Harvey. Andy eats about what Harv does during the day. I usually nurse around 7-8 and then not again until 4-5. He gets two 4.5oz bottles in that time, and that’s it (well, plus solids of course). Pumping has been a very different experience this time for me as well – with Sofia I donated weekly to the local milk bank, with Andy I’ve got only a handful of bags in the freezer. I’ll keep pumping until a year (I do get enough, so that makes it worthwhile, and I have no obstacles doing it at work), but OH how I hate it.

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  31. this question may have been asked before, but does your pump have the white membrane/valve thingy? my medela did and whenever i noticed my supply was down, i replaced the membrane and saw a HUGE change. just a thought… http://www.target.com/p/medela-6pk-membranes/-/A-13974005?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=google_pla_df&LNM=13974005&CPNG=Baby&kpid=13974005&LID=9pgs&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=13974005&kpid=13974005&gclid=CMKnhrLarMECFcI7Mgod02AAkw

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    1. My home one doesn’t (it’s a freestyle) but the work one does, so I just ordered new membranes last night because I have NEVER replaced the ones I’m using. Eek! It had honestly never even occurred to me to try that until someone mentioned it yesterday. Thanks for the advice!

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  32. Whew! 74 comments! Ok, so you may have gotten enough advice or I may be repeating someone else, but just in case… you could try 1) hand expression. It is much closer to the way a baby’s mouth moves so you might get a lot more milk than you do from the pump (which is not nearly as effective as baby) or 2) you live super close to home, yes? Instead of taking a pump break, could you run home to nurse? You might have to jiggle your work hours a bit by coming in earlier or leaving later or taking a shorter lunch? Just an idea. Sending you lots of good milk vibes, mama.

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  33. […] October 10th, I wrote a post about my Supply Issues. On October 19th my coworker gave birth, so the last day I pumped at work was on the 17th. Since […]

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  34. […] to be doing this again. Then when Harvey was around 8-9 months old my body decided to basically quit responding to the pump. It was hard. I cried a lot. You guys offered me up some amazing suggestions and advice (seriously, […]

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