Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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159354 tn?1286371288

Breastfeeding/Pump Help

I am a mother who is desperately trying to continue providing my son breastmilk.  I've been back at work since Jan 7th and my son is now getting about 1 bottle of formula a day.  So the formula started about 2 weeks ago....

I have extreme guilt about this and I know a lot of you will say don't worry but I am and can't help it.

The pump just doesn't provide enough milk to supply the day care with while he is away from me.  It did the first two weeks but now..going in to week 5, I'm barely getting 2 - 4 oz bottles a day and he usually takes 3 4oz bottles while he is away from me.

My son had RSV the first week at daycare and his pediatrician just kept saying keep nursing...it helps fight off the illness.  Well....I nurse him nonstop once I am home from work but this 4 oz of formula a day is upsetting me.

Also, I just got my period for the first time on Saturday.  I had spotting on Jan 14th that last about an hour and now I've been spotting since Saturday (on and off).  Would you all assume, yes this is my period starting?  And what does that mean for nursing?  Will my milk supply dwindle if I started my cycle has started already?

It didn't come back with my DD until she was about 9mos old and that is when I stopped nursing her.
15 Responses
221025 tn?1332558946
My suggestion would be to send out a question addressed to Andi - she is the QUEEN of breastfeeding and would be more then happy to help you answer any questions!!!!  Wish I knew more to tell you - but seriously, ask Andi!
171768 tn?1324233699
many women see a drop in supply when they have their period, others see a drop when they ovulate. people who exclusively nurse may not notice the drop. those who pump obviously see it! i have heard that taking a calcium/magnesium supplement can help. http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/natural-treatments.html#calcium has some info on it. good news is, for most people the supply rebounds.

for general info about supply, check out  http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/index.html

i also want to say that i completely understand the emotional toll giving a bottle of formula can have. i have been fortunate enough to not have to give dd any yet, but it played a major role in deciding whether or not to wean. i will share with you what countless women have told me on another forum- formula is not poison. it will not harm your child. every drop of breast milk that your baby gets is precious. babies who receive only one bottle of breast milk a day still receive many of the benefits. don't beat yourself up!

as for other possible reasons in your drop in supply...
what pump are you using?
when you pump, are you in a quiet, relaxed environment? do you have a picture of your ds with you?
are you overtired? (obviously often comes with returning to work)
how long are you pumping? how frequently?

395769 tn?1318453282
I fortunately do not have to pump very often so i bought a $20.00 hand pump from babies r us.  I thought it sucked!  until i figured out I was using it wrong, there was a seal in the top handle part that was getting air into it.  once i figured that out and the fact that the part that attaches to the breast has to be completely closed.  Also i just pump whenever i can that way if i get milk i have it, and if i don't then i'm not stressing about how he is going to eat while i run an errand or leave him with grandma.  

I've also found that when he's nursing on one breast if i pump the other i get better results!

Good luck mama!
93532 tn?1349374050
I agree the first place to start is the pump. That is perhaps one of the most common reasons for dwindling supplies. Most pumps do not stimulate the milk supply, they simply empty the breast. Good hospital grade pumps do both, they mimic the suckling of your baby to help stimulate the milk supply and drain the breast quickly. You can pump both at the same time, taking advantage of the letdown on both sides.

159354 tn?1286371288
tiredbuthappy -

My pump is awesome...it's a Ameda, purely yours double electric breast pump....I love it.

I've been pumping for 4 weeks now...maybe a little more.  I pumped a few times before going to work when I had to run errands and leave DS with Daddy but really, I never pumped while on leave....

I should have.  I'm beating myself up about that now.  Should have pumped and stored it.
I just always wanted to nurse him,  because I felt like I didn't bond with him as much during the pregnancy compared to my DD.  I had 3 m/c between them and never felt like I wuold let myself love him completely while pregnant, because I was so scared I was going to lose him.
Never found in between time to pump (he ate like every 1.5 hrs up until a few weeks ago).

I don't have a picture of him with me and no, it's not relaxed.  I always feel rushed because we have 4 nursing mothers in the building....trying to all get in the 'mother's room' 3 times per day...it's a nightmare.

At home when I pump it's worse...with a 3.5 yr old banging on the door, the baby crying, dog, cats....etc....never relaxing...LOL

I am extremely over tired and was wondering if being short on liquids during the day was an issue.  I notice this past week, I've been drinking about 24 oz less of water per day....that's a lot.
Does caffeine play a role?  I recently started drinking coffee again...

I just got back from pumping now.  I brought a pic of him and an article about love...for mothers/child....I got 6 oz in less than 10 minutes...I was so excited.

I also just drank 12 oz of water prior to going down.  This is so hard.

SliverCheer - thanks for the tip...I have always thought about pumping the other side while he nurses...I'm going to start doing that.

renogirl - thanks for the tip....I was hoping she'd be on...I know Andi is the expert here!

171768 tn?1324233699
sounds like you may be rebounding. i've heard good things about the purely yours- i'm glad you have a good pump. caffeine is a diuretic (sp?) and can ultimately cause you to have less fluid in your body. normally it probably wouldn't be an issue, but if you just started drinking coffee again AND cut down on fluids, it can be a factor. i think if you just up the other liquids you'll be fine. it's weird how a relaxing environment and happy thoughts about your baby can actually increase your let-downs.

don't beat yourself up about not pumping prior to returning to work. it's nursing that really helped build your supply.

another tip for relaxing while pumping, be it at home or work, but especially at home, is to go hands-free. it allows you to deal with the crying baby, nosy preschooler, etc... also, most people i know on the other forum who have to pump with other children in the home don't bother hiding behind locked doors. you could use that time to read together, watch a special program, etc... at work hands free let me eat lunch, read magazines, etc... you're lucky to have a special room at work- i had to hide in the nurses's office.
159354 tn?1286371288
what is 'hands free'....I need that?
171768 tn?1324233699
ooo... hands free is the most wonderful thing when you pump. there are several options. basically, it secures the horns to your breast freeing up your hands to do other things.

some people purchase special pumping bras or bustiers (sp?). i had one that was a sports bra that worked well but wasn't practical for work because i didn't wear the sports bra to work and i would've had to change. i bought that one at a large baby store by me- Buy Buy Baby. i know several people that have used the zip up bustier. i wanted to buy the made by moms hands free system but never got around to it http://shop.nurturecenter.com/mabymohafrpu.html shows it, but you can buy it from many places online.
http://shop.nurturecenter.com/hafrnupr.html has a couple of options. La Leche league has one too.

many moms make their own. i tried this and it worked GREAT but you do have to sacrifice a bra. basically take a bra that fits and cut a slit in it over the nipple. when it's time to pump put the horn through and you're ready! i liked this because it was very secure. i was able to move around a bit, even pick the baby up if necessary. i would wear a breast pad underneath to keep my nipple from popping out :) i liked this option for work because i had the support of a normal bra. i always feel so droopy and floppy in nursing bras.

most recently i have been using the homemade version that uses rubber bands and a nursing bra. quick and easy! i used this to pump at home, since i sleep in a nursing bra.

162948 tn?1205256292
How often are you pumping at work?
I also was having trouble pumping enough for dd while working. Some things I did that helped...
added one more pumping session at work, drink lots of water, eating more protein, fenugreek (herbal supplement to increase supply).  I had plenty of milk when I was home, but couldn't quite pump enough while at work. I also pump before I go to bed at night. I now am usually able to pump enough at work, but I still pump before bed, this allows me to stock up my freezer with extra milk and not worry about days I don't quite make enough. I dont know if your schedule will allow for this, but dd goes to bed between 630 and 7. So I pump at 930 and she doesnt wake up to feed until around 1 am.
161938 tn?1212172749
good pump
pump as often as you can
don;t only do it every __ hrs - if you get 5 minutes pump - the more you pump the more milk you will make
I also suggest the health food store - they can give you blessed thistle of a mixture (wild oats carries a three herb blend )  to naturally boost supply
I pump even when I feeed that way I get extra for freezer
Avatar universal
I personally loved Avent's breastpumps. They worked well for me (I had the manual but they came out with a hands-free, mechanical one). They are also light on your budget!
159354 tn?1286371288
Thanks ladies...I do really appreciate all the feedback.

I'm doing the best I can for him.  Every little bit helps.  I just beat myself up every time he gets any formula...

To - ma2isiah

That's a good system...but my DS never sleeps at night more than 2hrs at a time...he wakes up screaming for food.  It's hard.  He'll go to sleep at 9p for 2-3 hrs at the most.
A few times he slept 4 hrs straight but that has only been once a week for the past 4 weeks...

I just never seem to have time to pump from the time I pick him up at 4p until I leave at 7am the next morning....He's a cluster eater and when he does fall asleep...I got nothing in there to pump because he's been guzzling for the past 4 hrs....
Avatar universal
Great information that is very hard to find!!!  Pumping often is great, but I increased my supply this time by manually helping while using my double pump. I picked up a few cotton, non-underwire, one-handed snap, nursing bras at Walmart (about $9), and use a couple of hair rubber bands looped together to go hands free. This allows me to do dishes, cook, surf the web, etc. while I occasionally massage and use compressions. This helps with quicker, multiple let-downs. I use the batteries often so I am free to roam around the house and take care of my other children. I wish I had found the following web site a couple of pregnancies ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have had as much stress about not pumping enough milk an occasionally having to resort to using formula. It really explains how to up your supply. Herbs and frequent pumping are an option, but I think you really need to completely empty your breasts to get your supply to go/stay up. The web site:
Thank you,
-active duty Air Force working 11hr days, mom to 4 yr old daughter (nursed 23 months), twin 2 yr old sons (nursed 7 months), 5 month old daughter (currently nursing and thriving on breastmilk only. From the source and by bottle at daycare.)
Avatar universal
Don't beat yourself up about the formula! When I stopped Br. Feeding both of my girls, I CRIED and felt SO GUILTY. First one had breastmilk for a month, second DD had it for 2 months. But you know what? My kids are a lot healthier than their breastfed cousins.

As Moms we will feel guilty about so many things while learning this thing called Parenting. You are giving your child the best and there is nothing better than the best! Formula doesn't make you a bad parent because it doesn't make me one!
159354 tn?1286371288
I know and thanks.

I know we aren't bad parents for giving our children formula....and I honestly don't know why I feel so bad.

My DD started formula with breastmilk at 2 mos and I only provided breatmilk until she was about 8-9 mos old.

It's just with DS, he already had RSV and is sick again.  He's only been in daycare 4 weeks and I'm a mess about the RSV thing.  Meanwhile, his Dr, just keeps telling me...."Keep Nursing".......great...what does she say to those who don't breastfeed.
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