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how to stop breast milk from drying up?

I have been pumping for 3 weeks now and cant get the same amount I did at the beginning. My daughter is in the NICU so I try to pump every 2 to 3 hours, however with a 17 months toddler I only get to pump ever 5 to 6 hours. Im scared it will start drying up and it may already started. I freeze alot of my milk because she is every small. Is there any way to stop this from happening? I drink alot of water and eat very healthy, but I fear that set I didnt pump the 2 to 3 hours I did this to myself.

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Asked by i_am_ur_kittie at 8:43 PM on Dec. 13, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 4 (43 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Well, it's normal to pump less over time... every working mom will tell you that. But you have to pump more often to get more milk. There's just no way around it. Pumping every 5-6 hours is fine if it's all you can do, but it's nothing like what a newborn would be doing if s/he were feeding on-demand. Every 2 hours is best. I would pump more often, and leave the pump on for awhile after you finish... If you had your baby with you, you would be nursing every 2-3 hours, so your 17 month-old would have to deal with it somehow... I don't mean to be insensitive... but I do think you have to pump more often if you want to keep your supply up.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 8:47 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • Try fenugreek, three capsules three times a day. And as hard as it may be, you may simply have to pump more often to bring milk supply back up. It works on supply on demand, the more you demand the greater the supply. Also, once your baby is able to, it will help to let the baby nurse directly. A baby is far more effective than a pump.
    Hope this helps a bit- and hope your baby is soon out of the NICU!

    Answer by Freela at 8:48 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • go to

    have you tried pumping at night more often when the 17 month isasleep? and early morning?   you make the most in the am.


    Answer by amileegirl at 8:49 PM on Dec. 13, 2009


    Answer by piwife at 9:04 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • You really need to pump every 2-3 hours. I know it's hard with a toddler... but if she were home you'd be feeding her anyway, right? Just make the time. Nothing else will work without giving your body enough stimulation.

    Do you know when they will let you start nursing her?

    Answer by LeanneC at 10:12 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • How much milk are you pumping out every day? Research has shown that the milk intake of exclusively breastfed babies reaches a plateau of about 23 to 40 oz (680 to 1183 ml) of human milk per day in the first month or so, depending on growth rate and sex. Right now your baby probably needs a lot less than that, but you do want to make sure you bring in a "full supply". So if you are pumping at least 24 ounces or so every day, then you do not need to pump any more frequently than you already are. If you are NOT pumping that much each day, then add pumping sessions until you do. This pumping technique can help you to get twice as much milk in the same number of sessions:


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 10:38 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • Check out the Breastfeeding Moms group. Supply goes by demand. So long as you have the stimulation, the milk will be there. The more you nurse/pump, the more you make. Remember that a pump does NOT indicate how much you make. You could have a perfectly established supply but not pump much just because a pump isn't as efficient. But I understand how important it is since that's all you can do now. Take fenugreek and stay hydrated. Try pumping both sides at once to take advantage of letdown. Use heat and compression on your breasts to help empty them.


    Answer by jus1jess at 11:17 PM on Dec. 13, 2009

  • I have been exclusively pumping for my preemie for almost a year (New Years is 12 months). I hate to tell you this, but you really, REALLY need to pump at least 8 times a day to get your supply up. It is HARD, believe me, I spent 3 months pumping in the NICU, and she is my only child, so I really, really feel for you with a toddler.

    Here are some things that will make it easier:
    1-pump by your preemie's bedside. My NICU had pumps available to use. If not, then just bring your own. (And complain to management-they should have pumps available) My NICU had screens available for me to put around myself for privacy, but on my way out of the NICU I saw one brilliant preemie mommy who had put a hospital gown over her and was pumping under the gown. You can also use a baby blanket or quilt or anything to keep you covered and comfortable.

    2-continued in next answer......

    Answer by Gooberzilla at 1:28 AM on Dec. 14, 2009

  • 2-Have multiple breast pump parts. I ended up with 6 sets of parts. It is SO worth the money. You can use them throughout the day, and don't worry about cleaning them until that night when you just stick them in the dishwasher. Just pump, store and throw the used parts into a bag to take home. Another option is to invest in the Medela steam bags-you just rinse the parts, put them in the bag, and throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Sterilized parts with minimal hassle.

    3-With your toddler, try to plan some floor time quiet play around some of your pumps. Do reading time while sitting on the floor pumping, or do quiet activity (like rolling a ball, counting toes, etc).

    You know what, I have about a thousand other small hints. Send me a message and I will share. Good luck-I hope this helps!

    Answer by Gooberzilla at 1:41 AM on Dec. 14, 2009

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