Increasing Pumping Results
I am exclusively breastfeeding my 13 week old- with the exception of pumping one midnight or early morning feeding. The first 8 weeks I would average 4-6 oz from both breasts during this pump, the past few weeks that has dipped to 1/2- 1oz from both.
She currently nurses every 2-4 hours through the day and every 5-6 at night. It is during the night cycles that I pump to stay closer to her daily habits (at night I make sure to empty every 3-4 hours). This has seemed to help my supply when she nurses in the early evening- even when I'm not producing much- but it's not helping me much with any kind of freezer stash.
What is the best way to increase these pumping results so that I can get back to being one or two feedings ahead (for work outs at the gym or occassional grocery runs)?
She's not having any problems nursing, seeming satisfied, gaining weight or with wet diapers. I have a Medela Pump In Style.
Answer from the lactation consultant:
I am a bit confused. If you pump every single day and get 1 ounce that will give you enough for a weekly bottle here and there. Also, Assuming you are pumping when you miss the feed you are bottle feeding too. Like when you go to the gym and are missing a feed, you pump then right? So, that would give you a full bottle.
The only way to make more is to empty more. It is a simple demand = supply system. So, if you want to make more milk then nurse or pump more. When you do pump, pump for a minimum of 15 minutes, preferably 20. Even if nothing is coming out after 5 minutes, keep pumping. Why? To tell your body to make more. You can also pump a few times a day after feeds to empty and stimulate more (mornings tend to be the best times to do this due to supply). I do not suggest adding any herbal supplements to boost your supply. If you do this, it will boost the supply 24 hours a day and it does not sound like you need to do that. If you go into oversupply, then you could get a breast infection from not emptying completely and that would not be good. I would stay on your same schedule, just empty more at your feeding times.
Covering the basics: drinking plenty of water (half your weight in ounces 150 pounds? 75 ounces of water a day), taking prenatal vitamins, eating minimum of 1800 kcal/day, not taking hormone based birth control pills or implants.
Lastly, just making sure: is your pump within the 500 hours of usage recommendation? If it is a borrowed pump or an older pump many people do not realize the motors begin to fade after 500 hours of use.
If you need purchase a new pump, Hygeia makes an excellent cost friendly pump:
Liz Pevytoe, RN, IBCLC