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How do I pump breastmilk when preparing to go back to work?

I'm heading back to work in 2 weeks. Thus far, I've had a very difficult time pumping. I've been breastfeeding for over 10 weeks, successfully, but I am still unable to get more than 2 ounces (if I am lucky) in an early morning pumping session. I can not collect more than 10 MLs in the afternoon.

I've tried:
- pumping early morning
- pumping directly after a feeding
- pumping the opposite breast after a feeding

I'm afraid I will not have a milk stored for the baby by the time i need to head back to work. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Answer Question

Asked by cpage80 at 11:32 PM on Oct. 26, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 2 (7 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • Some mom's CAN'T pump effectively.

    You can have baby go without while you are at work and marathon feed all night. While you sleep. As long as baby gets the same amount, it can come at night or spread out.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 11:38 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • 2 oz is a successful pumping session.

    You just have to pump more often.

    Some women don't let down well to a pump. You have to keep at it. Also, you just had a baby. Your baby is nursing all the time. You are making milk all the time. The breast is not a bladder. It doesn't fill up and then get drained. It makes milk on demand.

    Just pump pump pump. You'll get it out!

    Answer by ecodani at 11:40 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • Call La Leche for more tips. BF isn't always easy. Sometimes you can take some herbs to help bring in more milk. nly take what a dr or pharmacist says though. I took one that made me pee LIKE CRAZY and it smelled strongly of maple syrup(the pee) tmi sorry. Are you pumping with a manual pump or an electric? Electric is usually more efficient. Try downing a full glass of water everytime you sit down to bf or pump too because you have to have adequate water to produce adequate milk. Mke sure you aren't overexercising or skimping too much on calories.

    Answer by SweetLoveofMine at 11:43 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • BradenIsMySon

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 11:45 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • Excellent feedback.

    I'm using the top of the line Madela electric pump, drinking adequate water and taking in lots of calories. I'm mostly only trying directly in the morning and a few times in the afternoon. Is there a routine that someone can recommend that has worked for them?

    I will also try calling La Leche League for more tips. Thanks!

    Comment by cpage80 (original poster) at 11:48 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • BradenIsMySon

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 11:49 PM on Oct. 26, 2010

  • I agree with ecodani. After three months of pumping while breastfeeding I can now get out four ounces in the morning, and this is my third year breastfeeding. I had an almost six month break just before my second child was born. I don't use a pump, I express by hand, the pump is too uncomfortable for me.

    Answer by ashlet01 at 12:40 AM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • I had similar issues. I felt like it was easier for me to pump enough milk for the next day while at work when my daughter wasn't around to nurse. I would never go more than 3 -4 hours without pumping/nursing. I also took fenugreek suppliments. At times when I felt my milk supply decreasing I would pump after each nursing session for 10mins. It really sucked but it kept my daughter breastfed for 9 months.

    Answer by kbakeman at 12:53 AM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • I think that you MIGHT have better output once you are working and away from baby, and missing feedings. MAYBE. Normal output for BOTH breasts per session is half ounce to two ounces, so your output is normal. Baby needs 1 to 1.25 ounces per hour of seperation. I would store milk in 2 or 3 ounce portions, so as not to waste any. I am guessing baby is going to be 12 weeks old when you start work...I will guess that you will be away for 8 hours, just for arguments sake, for an example of how much to leave and how often to pump. For an 8 hour seperation, you should leave 8 to 10 ounces of milk, preferably in 2 ounce portions. Instruct caregiver to give 2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours. If baby refuses the feeding, it should not be forced. It IS common for baby to wait it out and nurse TONS when you get home and through the night. I am going to assume that you will be able to take pump breaks. I would aim for 3-4 pump session

    Answer by Krysta622 at 9:18 AM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • during the day if possible. It's not that important to have tons of milk stored up, as your goal each day will be to pump enough for tomorrow's feedings. In the two weeks before you start working, yes, I would pump here and there to store some, just as a little backup, and until your body adjusts to a pumping schedule at work. Make sure to keep hydrated, look at a picture of your child while you pump, some women find it helpful to listen to a recording of their baby crying or "talking", and if you still find that you are unable to pump the amount you need for the next day, there are herbs and supplements you can try to boost your supply. When you are home, NO BOTTLES. ALWAYS NURSE when you are together. This will help preserve your supply. Bottles and your pumped milk are reserved for when you are not there ONLY. When you are home, nurse as often as baby wants, because s/he might be making up for not taking in as much.

    Answer by Krysta622 at 9:22 AM on Oct. 27, 2010

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