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Why does my supply seem inconsistent?
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Why does my supply seem inconsistent?

My son is 10 days old.  I started pumping about 24 hours after he was born.  He was in the NICU so I pumped for the first 2 days then they let me start feeding on demand around the clock.  I was able to stay with him in the hospital so I could be called at any hour to feed or console/cuddle.  

WELL, after a week of feeding and several visits with the lactation consultant, we determined that pumping and bottle feeding would be a better fit for us because my son latches great, ***** great BUT bites down on my nipple and it is EXCRUTIATING!  

Anyways, I pump every 2 to 3 hours sometimes I go a stretch of 4 but not on purpose...I usually get caught up with something and can't get to pump.  It seems like I normally produce 20ml each side each pump but sometimes, I can pump 40...why does my supply fluctuate?  
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435139_tn?1255463991
I forgot to mention that it seems like when I go longer than the 2-3 hours, I can pump more...I just slept 5 1/2 hours and slept through my alarm to pump and got 40ml on each breast.  Should I keep pumping every 2-3 hours?  I REALLY want to have enough of a supply...as is, we have to supplement with 4 oz. of formula a day...spread out throughout the day.
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287071_tn?1365196113
For me I have notice that staying hydrated helps.  I am constantly drinking water. Also if I massage my breast as I'm pumping and apply pressure where the milk ducts are- that helps a TON.  I always get much more milk if I basically squeeze my boobs. It may sound silly but really- if you put pressure on the areas of your breast that feel 'full' - that'll help express the milk.  Keep at it - and good luck.  I'd say with your baby being so young keep pumping every 2/3 hrs - as often as your baby would feed, pump.
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93532_tn?1349374050
You will need to pump more often than you would normally feed to establish a supply as the baby is more efficient than any pump. If you want to keep up the supply, pump at least every 2-3 hours around the clock, more if in the middle of a growth spurt.
I would continue to try nursing. It hurts at first but very quickly your nipples adapt.
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171768_tn?1324233699
your supply fluctuates throughout the day for many reasons.
One is level of tiredness/relaxation, etc...
level of hydration and nourishment
Normal hormonal fluctuations- can't blame everything on what we do! In fact, they say that your prolactin levels are highest between 1 AM and 5 AM, so you should try to get at least one pump in during that time.

Sounds like you're doing very well and are a candidate for pumping. Some women don't produce enough by pump alone, but it sounds like you can. Do your best to pump every 2-3 hours, but you can go a longer stretch of 4, maybe 5 hours once a day, as long as you get that 1 pump in btw 1 am and 5 am. If you accidentally go longer, you can make up a pump during the day. 2-3 hours is a guideline to help people meet the actual goal, which is to pump 8 to 10 times in a 24 hour period.

right now your supply will be very sensitive. once it's considered to be established, you can drop pumps. Traditionally, your supply is considered established at 12 weeks. However, by 8 weeks i was so exhausted and overwhelmed, my LC encouraged me to try spacing out the pumps a bit more. It made all the difference in the world. However, even when I dropped pumps, total time spent pumping each day never went down. Pumping every 2-3 hours in the beginning for 15 minutes, i would spend 3 hours a day pumping. By 5 months, I was pumping 3 times a day, but for almost an hour each time, so total time spent was the same.
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435139_tn?1255463991
I did let him bf today twice so far and he only bit at the very beginning...I was getting concerned because it seemed as if by pumping I wasn't getting as much as when I was bfing almost exclusively while he was in the NICU...I can feel the difference in my breasts the way they fill after pumping vs. bf'ing.  He did better...
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171768_tn?1324233699
oh good!!! pumping is hard. I hope to be able to nurse my next one to avoid pumping as much as possible. Of course, i'll do whatever she needs, but i hope to be able to nurse :)

they do say that the best way to boot supply is to put the baby to the breast.
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