help with breastfeeding

  1. I have an 8 month old who I have been breastfeeding exclusively. I have noticed in the last 2 months my milk supply has been almost cut in half. I used to be able to pump about 5-6 oz every 3-4 hours and now I'm lucky if a get 3oz every 4 hours. I have talked with our lactation consultants in our OB unit. They have suggested pumping more frequently, increasing my fluids, waking up through the night and pumping. I am currently doing all of that, but nothing seems to be helping. I really want to continue using breast milk until he turned a year. At this rate it won't happen. I work FT and I am able to get away to pump twice daily. I use the Medela "Pump In Style" and it's wonderful!. If anyone has suggestions I gladly welcome them. Thanks!
  2. Visit cassey profile page

    About cassey

    Joined: Sep '98; Posts: 7
    staff medical nurse--BSN RN


  3. by   pete1570
    Hi, my name is Dana. I am a senior nursing student at the University of Minnesota. I read that you were interested in ways in which to increase your milk supply. Pumping more frequently (even waking up in the night and pumping) and increasing your fluid intake are great suggestions that you received from the lactation consultant. I am sorry to hear that these suggestions are not working for you. I did some research and found some more information on this topic.
    The production of milk depends on supply and demand. Frequent nursing or pumping is essential to the production of an adequate milk supply (at least six to eight times daily) (Wong, 1999). You mentioned that you are able to get away and pump twice a day at work. Look for creative ways to get a small, private space to pump. This would possibly allow you to pump more often or longer at each session. You could also pump both breasts at once. This will decrease your pumping time, so you can get back to work. At home, try putting the baby to the breast more often. When your baby is not nursing, stimulate your breasts.
    It is also important to support yor body's effort to make milk. Try to get as much rest as possible. A daily nap is a good habit to cultivate. Futhermore, housework and vigourous exercise may make it difficult to keep up your milk supply. Try to perform these activities in moderation.
    Increasing your daily caloric intake is also important to maintain your milk supply. A nursing mother needs to consume approximately 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day, depending on activity level and her size. In order to produce a liter of milk a day (about what a 12-pound baby consumes), 800 calories need to be available for milk production. About half of those 800 calories will come from your fat stores, which will result in a weight loss of one-half pound to one pound per week. The remaining calories will need to come from a well-balanced diet. To find out how many calories per day you should be consuming, determine the correct caloric intake for a nonpregnant women of your body type. Then increase that amount by 400 calories a day. Another important aspect of the production of milk is consuming fluids plentifully. You should consume enough fluid to produce pale, dilute urine (Tellalian, 1999).
    I hope these suggestions that I gave you will help you with your breastfeeding problems. Some books that I would suggest reading if you were interesting in more information is Nursing Mothers, Working Mothers by Gayle Pryor or Breastfeeding and the Working Mother by Diane Mason and Diane Ingersoll.


    Tellalian, L.A. (1999, Fall/Winter). All about Nursing. Lamaze Parents. 85-89.
    Wong, D. (1999). Nursing Care of Infants and Children. (6th ed.), St. Louis: Mosby.

  4. by   mommy2taylor
    Way to go Dana, great research!!!

    Cassy, congratulations on your decision to give your child the best possible start!

    I am an RN, and I also breastfed my daughter until 16.5 months. The Academy of Pediatrics reccomnends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and until at least 1 year, and as long as mutually desired.

    After 6 months breastmilk alone is not sufficient nutrition for your child. I am assuming you have begun introducing other foods (cereal, baby food - commercial or home prepared). Because your child is not getting all their nutrition from the breastmilk it is natural for your supply to fall of some. At this point you can also give juices for fluid. As long as your child seems satisfied after a nursing session, you are probably making just what you need, as it is a supply and demand situation. You most likely have just what you need, unless you have been skipping pumping when you miss feedings. Just make sure you are pumping for missed feedings.

    You definitely have one of the best pumps on the market (I started off with the Nurture III, and went to the pump in style). When you pump, have a drink. It helps to have a picture of your sweetheart too!!! And relax---- 15-30 min of peace!!!

    As you go on in nursing, the composition of your milk changes too. The nutrients and antiboties are more concentrated.

    You can contact me for support if you need it! Or contact your local La Leche League.

  5. by   rapagot
    Hi! I'm a senior nursing student. I read about your article. We're having our research regarding breastfeeding.. Would you suggest me sites where I can find some questionnaires that could be useful in our study? And also if you would like to suggest a researchable topic regarding breastfeeding
  6. by   CEG
    Have you tried galactogogues like fenugreek or blessed thistle? Oatmeal is supposed to be helpful too. Sometimes the seals on the pumps can go bad after a few months, maybe you could try replacing them, they're pretty cheap and that might be a quick fix.

    Aside from that, increasing pumping/feeding are usually pretty effective. Good luck!
  7. by   babynurselsa
    One little piece of advice (this is first hand). When you pump read, close your eyes, listen to some music to drown out any noise and relax to the best of your ability.
    When you sit there staring at those bottles as you are pumping and start saying to yourself "I am not making enough milk....AAAKKK" You start to release all of those stress hormones that will stop your letdown midstream.
    There are also medications that help increase milk supply, discuss this with your pcp or OB.
    When you are home let baby nurse as much as you can. at this age they start getting busy with the rest of the world and this can be challenging.
    On another site somewhere all of the moms talk about eating lots of oatmeal and oat foods...don't know if it works can't hurt.
    RELAX, hang in there.
    Good luck
  8. by   wubbakat
    Hi, I'm full time registered nurse, I have 2 children. My oldest was born with a sever cleft palate, and had difficulty with actually breastfeeding, so I pumped for 2 years. Yes, Q 3 hours during the day, and Q4 hours at night. I used this frequency for his first year, and worked on an ICU unit. My daughter is now 3, I breastfed her for just over 2 years (she didn't want to stop), and I pumped while at work. I did notice as she got older and taking in other food besides breast milk that my supply did diminish some, that's because she was drinking and eating "outside" foods, and was not requiring as much of me. This may be what is happening to you if you are allowing the normal progression of baby's on to foods such. It all worked with her maturation onto bigger and better things, and towards then end, she would only want to nurse at naps and at bedtime. I didn't cut her down on her feedings, she pretty much did things herself. I hope that I may have given you some reassurance.
  9. by   katonialynn
    I just wanted to say how wonderful I think it is that you are still breastfeeding! I hated pumping and often had a difficult time getting away from the floor to pump. By the time my daughter was about 8 months and was eating food in addition to BF I noticed that I didn't get as much when pumping. DD didn't tolerate formula at all and I didn't really want to use it. One day when he ran out of milk dh called me at work and I told him that he could bring her to me and I would feed her if he had time. I thought it was amazing that he was so supportive of my desire to continue to BF.

    One thing that really worked for me was to pump one side while nursing on the other. It was challenging at times because she liked to pull on the tubing but I found that if I did it as soon as I got home she was so engrossed in nursing that she forgot all about the tubing.

    She is now almost 14 mos. and I don't pump anymore but she still nurses. Usually when she wakes up and before sleep. Sometimes more often on my days off. The days that I work or haev class she is content with milk in a sippy cup. I love that she still wants to nurse and it never ceases to amaze me how many people I work with are surpsised/disgusted or even discourage me from breastfeedingthis long.
  10. by   GooeyRN
    Visit for some great tips on how to increase your supply. There are also great forums for breastfeeding throug the yahoo groups, I think that pumpmoms and MOBI (mothers overcoming breastfeeding issues) would be great ones for you to join.

    I am going to pm you.
  11. by   RN007
    Kudos to all you women who have continued to BF. I did both my boys through toddlerhood and never regretted it. I did learn to keep it to myself, though, because so few understand long-term nursing. And people are so opinionated, especially those who never tried it. I was a professional (former life before nursing) and pumped at work, nursed when I was around my boys. (I still have liquid gold in my freezer. I can't make myself throw it out!) Cassey, you've received excellent advice. Just keep on pumpin' and feeding your baby the best you can! Hang in there ...
  12. by   mitchsmom
    Quote from gooeyrn
    visit for some great tips on how to increase your supply. there are also great forums for breastfeeding throug the yahoo groups, i think that pumpmoms and mobi (mothers overcoming breastfeeding issues) would be great ones for you to join.

    i am going to pm you.

    and/ or get back with your ibclc's (find at ) and /or your local la leche folks (find at )

    i find that it's fairly common for working moms to get to the place you're at right now at some point. investigate the above resources and you should find help as well as other moms who have been through what you're going through.

    best wishes and kudos for sticking with it!!

    lol... i just realized that the original post is mega old!!!!
  13. by   CEG
    Quote from

    lol... i just realized that the original post is mega old!!!![/b]
    omg, i fell for it too. i wonder if she's still nursing?