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Sunday, 02 December 2007


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Drowned Girl

I am not an expert on expressing as I was rubbish at it. My friend who expressed huge amounts for her daughter in NICU did it round the clock every 3/4h, including two night time pumping sessions. (But she didn't have a baby at home to take care of too)

Have you tried hand pumping in the bath, or pumping right after awarm bath or shower? I only ever managed to express in the bath, really.

Sorry that I am abit out of date, but is Pob feeding direct with bottle top ups, or taking all her milk now by bottle?

Her feeding direct, is the bext way to increase supply, more effective than a pump for some reason.

I take my hat off to you for how hard you're working.



This pumping thing certainly isn't for the faint of heart is it... I'm going on 3 months of pumping and I've been on the lucky end of not having supply issues, but I just went back to work and am fearful it's going to hit my supply in a bad way. Have you checked out http://www.kellymom.com - they have LC's who exclusively pumped and can give tips out that are pretty helpful at times and if something doesn't work they can say try this, that or the other thing... pumping for an hour may be part of the problem... I generally go about 30 minutes max as otherwise it feels as if my nipples are going to fall off and it can cause damage... sometimes pumping at a lower setting will give you more volume as well. What type of pump are you using - sometimes you have to replace the membranes and then voila you get more milk... all things to consider. I'm no expert, but I'd log on to the forums at kellymom and see if they can give you some help.


You're not the only one.
Admittedly, I'm only pumping at work (never had supply issues before, but it goes to show pumping is harder, I think), but I've had to try harder every day and am getting less each day, despite fluids, herbs, and pumping a ridiculous number of times.
Monday last week I pumped 8 times in 11 hours - each time for up tp 40min (yes, it was a slow day), gradually increasing the setting to max each session... and got 14 oz. I decided this was insane, and Friday pumped 5 times (still more than I'd like), for no more than 20miin, at the lowest setting... and got 13.5 oz. I suspect that at some point there's just very little added benefit to more time, and for some people no benefit to the higher setting.
I'm not getting the amount he's eating while I'm gone, but at least now I recognize there's no point killing myself pumping, as it doesn't help.
Hope this is useful info.

Girl Detective

My boobs hurt just reading your post. I had a terrible time trying to keep up with demand with pumping. In the end, I concluded that "you can't fool Mother Nature" and that all the pumping shenanigans I did, while worthwhile, didn't result in much more milk, yet did mean much more stress for me, as well as plugged nipple pores and clogged milk ducts. I hate to add yet another opinion to the cacophony, but what about sleeping more, and pumping less often? Sleep is THE most important thing, to me.


You are a saint my dear, a bloody saint.

I hope you get some good answers here, all my pumping knowledge has left me I'm afraid.

But as Girl Detective said, don't forget about sleep. The lack of it due to obsessive pumping is what did me in at the end.


I have zero pumping advice as my electric pump has sat mostly unused as Adam refuses to take a bottle. I just wanted to say that I think you're doing an awesome job.


Being ill can really throw your body for a loop and you might still be recovering.

At this point, I'd say consult with the Kelly Mom forum or email Dr.Newman. (I know you have his site on here somewhere.) Alternatively, check with the Medela pump people. You may need to readjust the pump, and they have really really good LCs on call.

I'd also wonder if Pob isn't eating more and therefore it looks like you are pumping less because she has sucked out all the milk already. Isn't she due for a growth spurt? 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and not every baby follows that exactly.

I think an hour at a time is too much at once. Warm bath, shower, maybe a nap in between pump shifts?


I never got the pumping to work very well. It just didn't seem to be efficient enough to empty my breasts and really stimulate me to produce more milk. We had a LC work with D on her latch and that bought us some time, but eventually low supply did the whole thing in at about 9 months when I just couldn't keep up with her needs and we switched to formula.


Sleep is important, yes, for maintaining both supply and sanity. Also ditto checking/replacing your valves. I replaced mine every 6 weeks--not sure if it made a real difference but it made me feel very proactive.

The hour pumping may help but may also be counterproductive...everyone's boobs react differently, but if you're pumping to the point of pain that can actually interfere with supply. I've read that you should pump no more than 15-20 minutes, or 2 minutes past when your boobs run dry, whichever comes first. Also, I started out pumping at the highest setting but then learned that pumping at a lower setting--the lowest that produces milk--gives better yield. Again, pain=lower yield.

As far as power pumping, instead of doing the on 10 minutes, off 10 minutes, on 10 minutes, one thing you could try is spending one day--or even just a few hours--just doing 5-10 minutes whenever you can squeeze it in. Leave the pump set up, and every time you have a few minutes, whether it's been 10 minutes since your last pump or 30 minutes or whatever, throw the horns on and have at it. If Pob starts squawking 3 minutes into it, no problem, just stop and pick it up later. It's a lower-stress, lower-time-commitment way of power pumping.

I noticed that on the days I was power pumping, I actually got the same or less yield. The day after I'd get more, and then the subsequent days, it would adjust back down. But over time, the set point slowly migrated upward. So don't be discouraged if it seems like pumping more isn't doing anything--you may not see immediate results but a week from now you may find you're pumping a little more.


No assvice, just a big hug from a fellow member of the my-body-is-so-the-boss-of-me club. I'm sorry it isn't getting easier, sweetie. xx


I agree with Electriclady-you minght not see results right way with more pumping. I pumped every 3 hours in the beginning and I was not producing enough for B--but over time I was able to catch up with what he needed. I am not sure either about pumping for 1 hour. My lactation consultant said it is not how long you pump but how often. I pumped for about 15 min to 20 min at a time(depending on the flow) and towards the end I was pumping 30-35 oz of milk.
You are a saint....I stopped at 6 months and every time I think about it, I don't know how I did it! Hang in there!


I have NEVER been able to pump worth a damn. Even now when my daughter is exclusively breastfed and is putting on weight reasonably well, if I try to pump I get next to nothing. It was the same way with my son - even when I had to be injected with radioactive dye and couldn't nurse for 48 hours - by the second day I could get maybe 5 mls per pumping session. I was told it all depends on if you have let down or not when pumping - I obviously have no let down whatsoever (which is a let down as I am pretty much tied to my daughter - no bottles in our household).

On a brighter note - could you have imagined a year ago that you would post an entry at the begininng of December 2007 that included the phrase " I need to be with my daughter"?



I'd drop the 2am pumping session and get more sleep and rest.

marie baguette

I am so sorry you still have supply issues. Yes, sleep and stress are very important. I also read that mothers produce more in the morning and it is true - I noticed that the earlier I pump, the more I get. Pumping more often improved my yield but not by a huge amount. What seems to pay for me is to add a pumping session in the morning (on the evenings, I can barely get anything). Good luck


If you don't mind me saying so, your boobs clearly have a mind of their own and are on to your tricks. All that pumping sunds exhausting.

Thank you for the helpful comments on my blog btw, but my thaw transfer is a day 2, not blast and pregnancy rates are at best 10-15% so it probably just isn't worth weeks of downreg first. I'm a bit stuck since I can't do artificial cycles, and my attemtps at ovulation induction have not been stellar thus far. I'm giving FSH a burl next time, just for kicks.

I'll probably get ten eggs and end up converting to a fresh IVF knowing my luck!




Dear Thalia, ah yes, you're definitely the only one -- my body, for example, works like a charm! But seriously, my body seems to have a set limit too -- despite occasional peaks in production, the pumping sessions all end up yielding more or less the same. What works beautifully one day will fall flat the next.

I would also advocate more sleep. (Ironic, since I'm up right now pumping at 1:30 a.m.) Back when Pob was born and your mother was there, didn't your doctor advocate five hours of uninterrupted sleep if you could get it? I think it does help a little, not just with prolactin levels, but also with general ability to face this whole pumping business.

This might sound silly, but I'll say it just in case you might not have thought of it (yeah riiiiiight), but you've been ill. Anyone who's been ill needs to replenish his fluids and minerals anyway (after one bout of stomach flu years ago, I was once encouraged to "drink more than you can"). If you've been ill and are lactating, you may need to positively flood your body with fluid for a while -- drink more than double what you can.

And now you can hit me. For this piece of wisdom, and for forgetting to turn my mobile on for days on end...


I'm so sorry you're going through this Thalia. My heart breaks as reading your posts bring me back to what I went through.
I'm afraid my body was as responsive as yours to the herculean efforts to increase supply. I experienced the exact same thing. Exact.
I tried everything you did but I'm afraid in the end nothing worked.
I ended up deciding to stop pumping around the 5 month mark. As the babies got more active I just did not have the time to devote to pumping and decided my time was better spent enjoying them than pumping. I held on pumping incredibly meager amounts (150 ml/day) until I was ready emotionally to stop. And when I did stop, it was hard and there were lots of tears but in the end it was a good decision. It felt like managing my life as a mother to twins was instantly easier once I disconnected from the pump.
I'm not advocating that you stop - only you know when to do that - but I will say it was a huge relief. I still hate that they were formula fed but I know I went above and beyond to avoid it.


I've heard (and tend to believe) that nothing gets your milk flowing as well as regular nursing. Pumping does not equal nursing when it comes to stimulating milk production.
I was pumping like mad the first six weeks of A's life. Even when she had gotten good at nursing I still pumped because I was paranoid about losing my milk. Most of the pumped milk ended up discarded because A was getting plenty all on her own.
Of course your mileage may vary. Ultimately it's not about how many mls you produce. It's about how much pob is taking in. Her weight is a better indicator of success than how many mls you produce.
Oh, and pumping for an hour is likely going to produce not much more than pumping for 20 min. It never did in my experience.


Hey Thalia,

I know. It's weird. For me, my body adjusts to demand down, but barely up. It certainly never gets beyond about 600-700 ml a day at abslute best. And only pumping can maintain that. The second J goes on the breast it starts falling.

I've given up on listening to all the supposed "ways breasts work". My breasts are a law unto their own. xx


Ps I am almost ready to troll your commenters for continuing to say the baby is better than a pump. IT IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE!! IT DEPENDS ON THE BABY AND ITS ORAL MOTOR SKILLS!!


Laura McIntyre

Sorry your struggling, im not much good with pumping but have you tried the likes of fergugeek or oatmeal to increase your supply? Hope it gets better soon

Lut C.

I'm with Meg. Linnea just doesn't put in enough effort at the breast to stimulate supply. She can suck down a finger feed in no time, just like a feed with the supplemental nursing system.
Pumping didn't work for me either.

My LC advised more sleep, less night pumping.
I also got the advice not to pump long after running dry. No point.


Blech. Pumping really sucks. I don't have any advice, but I feel for you...


Thalia, it's time to give yourself a rest! There's so much more to being a mom than feeding an infant. Give up some of that pumping and add an extra session of peek a boo instead. It'll work wonders for you both.


I was just home from being away for two weeks and so I had to express. The first two days went well. But then I had to spend more and more time to get even half the amount.... But towards the end of the first week, I got my period.. which should have been obvious from the steadily decreasing volume of milk I was getting. When my period was over, the volume lept back up. I bet if you take it easy and let your body recover, you will find that the volume comes back up to what it was. It is such an excercise in frustration though - and your commitment is truly commendable.

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