26 answers

Does Your Milk Dry up If You Only Pump???

I'm a new mom and my 8 day old baby is not latching on. All of the lactation nurses have instructed me to keep on trying, regardless of how upset it makes me and my new son. They have also said that if he fails to latch on, my milk will dry up, despite how often I pump. Is this true? I'm getting about 4 ounces total at each pumping. Thanks, A.

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I wasn't producing much milk and my son just screamed because he was hungry. I bought a Medela double pump and I pumped for a year. I also took a supplement called Fenagreek that I got at the healthfood store. I'm telling you I was a COW after that! I was able to feed him and had a whole freezer full of milk! I hope it will work for you!

Yes, it will eventually dry up if you only pump, although I was able to pump until my baby was 6 months old. I just wasn't able to feed her exclusively breat milk. Fenugreek really helped. For now, keep trying, and pump if you need to. It will all be okay.

I pumped exclusively with my son for almost 6 months. My milk supply was so good, I nicknamed myself Elsie the Cow and we bought a freezer to store all the milk! The secret to a good supply is simple...eat well and often, drink lots of water, and pump or breastfeed often.

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OK, that is an amazing amount of milk for a newborn! You are doing great. I have a friend whose baby never did latch, and she pumped and exclusively breastfed for a year.

For myself, I found when I returned to work and had to pump during the day, it did reduce my supply. But it's definitely not impossible and it sounds like you have great supply. I was lucky to get 2 ounces when my first son (who wasn't a good nurser at first) was your baby's age. Congratulations on your new little one!

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My daughter wouldn't latch. It was just so hard and I was in so much pain that I gave up. I really tried but I didn't have any support and just couldn't handle it. She kept loosing weight because she wasn't getting enough food. At her two week apt she had lost so much weight that even the pedi was concerned. I tried pumping and had a great Medela pump but my body wouldn't produce any milk. This caused major baby blues. I was so upset at myself for not being able to feed my little girl. That can be a really dark place. I don't know what happened to make me throw in the towel. But week 6 we went to formula. And it was the best decision I ever made. Breast is best. But a crying mommy who is unable to bear the weight any more isn't good either. This time around I will get support. That is what I suggest for you. But if you get to the breaking point. It is Ok. Yes, breast is best. But sometimes bottle is just fine. FYI- if you do end up on formula try taking your shirt/bra off while feeding your baby. This made me feel better about the whole process. Finally, my little girl never was a sick baby even with formula :)

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No, mine did not dry up and I pumped exclusively for 3 months. My daughter could not properly latch and the lactation nurses forced it and made us both cry. I decided it was just not worth the emotional anguish! Occasionally I would try to get her to latch on and one day it finally worked. I pumped every 2 hours at her feeding times. When she woke up in the night I would warm her a bottle of breast milk and prop her up in the boppie, feed her the bottle and pump at the same time. I advise buying the bra that holds the pump bottles on! I didn't have it and it was a little tricky. Don't worry about the amount, more comes as the baby wants more. I was producing 4 oz at first too and by the time my baby wanted 8 oz. I could produce it even pumping at work. It's just really important that you pump as many times a day as you want to feed your baby. Your body adjusts the amount of milk to the demand. I produced milk for a year for each of my babies, so if you have any questions just let me know. I am not one of those cookie breast feeding ladies, I just think it's good for your baby and if it works that's great and if not then there's formula.

Also, I think some of my problem with the latch was that they said it wasn't supposed to hurt. So, I thought I was doing it wrong. But I found out with my second that it does hurt a bit at first. My second baby latched from the first day and never had a problem! I stayed home with her and never had to pump and production was the same.

Hope this helps!!

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I was unable to nurse my daughter for 10 days due to her being in the NICU. When I was finally able to hold her she wouldn't latch on. I knew breast milk was the best thing I could give her so I decided to pump. I pumped for a year. Not once did my milk dry up. Once I got the hang of it I started to produce more milk then I knew what to do with. Make sure you pump at least every three hours. Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure you husband help you. I woke my husband up at night so he could feed my daughter (he loved it, he was able to bond with her as well) and I would pump. We also rented a hospital grade pump. It was expensive but well worth it. Good luck

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I pumped exclusively for 8 1/2 months with my first child. I had more than enough milk. Don't worry, you'll do fine! Best of luck to you and congratulations on your baby boy!

I pumped with my first child for 7 months before weaning him to formula and I never had a problem with my milk supply. I had too hard of a time trying to get him to latch on and when he would latch on he would just fall asleep after a few mins so I decided to bottle feed him and it worked out better...less stress for me, although with my 2nd child I only breast feed and I love not having to pump and wash bottles! But, I never get a break so I will be weaning him to pumped milk as well very soon.

It can take a long time to get the hang of nursing - for both of you. It does get better though. Its absolutely ok to pump exclusively, but you could also keep trying to nurse, as well. Try not to quit on a bad day. I found it very helpful to set short-terms goals - 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, etc. I felt like I could keep trying for another week or so, and then by the time I got to that milestone, I found it was improving. And four ounces at 8 days is a great amount.

I pumped exclusively for 6 months with my twins. It can be done, and as long as you are consistenly pumping every 3 hours, including overnight, you can do it. I would just pump after every feeding, and once I went back to work, just continued pumping every 3 hours. You can stretch it out a little after a few months, but stick with every 3 hours in these early days.

Our daughter was premature and too tiny and weak to nurse. I pumped exclusively for quite awhile as she grew and was finally able to nurse. Drink lots of water and tea. Don't let yourself get upset, that can work against your supply and your son's ability as well. Find a quiet, comfortable place for both of you. If you're talking about a few days/weeks until he gets the hang of it, your milk is not going to dry up. Just relax and don't let yourself get too worked up. Nursing is an incredible bonding time, you'll get there.

I had trouble with my daughter latching on, but I just kept trying until she got the hang of it. It's like twice as much work to pump and then feed your daughter pumped milk. I'd rather let her have my breast. I only pumped if I was away from her or working. Just stick with it, you'll get it right. I ended up breastfeeding her until she was 13 months. She hardly gets sick and when she does, she recovers very quickly. I credit breastfeeding for that.

I pumped exclusively with my son for almost 6 months. My milk supply was so good, I nicknamed myself Elsie the Cow and we bought a freezer to store all the milk! The secret to a good supply is simple...eat well and often, drink lots of water, and pump or breastfeed often.

My son never latched on. For two days he had no milk except water, but the doctors said that baby has enough in reserve until milk comes in. Well, i had milk he just wouldnt take it. So I started pumping and giving it to him, well I pumped for the rest of 13 months with him never even coming close to my breast. I am pregnant now with a girl and I am praying to g-d that I will have enough milk for her too. Pumping did so much for me that I even donated 900oz to national milk bank. Secret is you just have to pump often. good luck!

I was able to pump exclusively for about 8 months. When my daughter started drinking 8 or more ounces per feeding, I needed to supplement with formula once per day. I did this until she was 13 months. At that time I chose to wean her. So, it is definitely possible to keep your supply up as long as you are pumping frequently. Good luck to you and congratulations on the new baby.

I have had several friends who exclusively pumped for 6 wks or more (babies were in the NICU and could not nurse). Another friend's baby had health issues and was hospitalized right after birth, she pumped until baby was about 1 wk and then was able to nurse the baby, she used a nipple shield. I have nursed all 4 of our children and had latching issues w/ 2 (#1 and 4) of them, a nipple shield was a great tool for us!! Good luck and keep trying!! nursing was one of hardest things I ever did, but was the most rewarding and I am so greatful for sticking to it!! After about 2 months it got so EASY and I didn't have to mess w/ a pump, formula, or bottles!!

I have lots of friends that only pump, you just need to know how, and I think she also took a herb to help, maybe tea??? Not sure, but I know she worked too and found it hard to pump at work, so she just got into a routine of pumping first thing in the morning, after work and before bedtime. After work she would pump 8 oz out of each breast for a total of 16oz!!! I never could pump that much at one time, but I guess it is just what your breast get used to doing. You can nurse twins so why couldn't you pump that much too!!! I always found it easier in the first weeks to pump for 20 mins no matter what, and not stop after the first let down, and after a few days I would have 2-3 let downs per pump and that helped increase my supply. Good luck to you as it is never easy to nurse. I nursed mine for a year and we had latch on problems too, and nursing stikes with teething, and mine were always sensitive to things I would eat. Lookin gback it was a big pain, but so worth it in the end, and if it doesn't work for you then don't feel bad either. You are a mother and you will always do the best for YOUR child!!!

That is great that you a pumping four ounces and your baby is only 8 days old. My son had no difficulty latching on and it took my body longer to build up to 4 oz. It makes not sense for you and your son to be frustrated, that may just make you and your son give up all together. He may latch on later as his mouth and suckle reflex matures. I say keep on trying since it would be a lot easier to not have to clean all the pump parts. There were times my son had a hard time staying latched on because I would let go of the c-cup hold too soon. Cup your breast with your hand in a c-shape when offering the nipple to your baby. Do not remove it to soon because it may appear that his is latched on well, but he isn't yet. Best wishes.

I wasn't producing much milk and my son just screamed because he was hungry. I bought a Medela double pump and I pumped for a year. I also took a supplement called Fenagreek that I got at the healthfood store. I'm telling you I was a COW after that! I was able to feed him and had a whole freezer full of milk! I hope it will work for you!

Yes, it will eventually dry up if you only pump, although I was able to pump until my baby was 6 months old. I just wasn't able to feed her exclusively breat milk. Fenugreek really helped. For now, keep trying, and pump if you need to. It will all be okay.

My 14 month old daughter and I went through the same thing. The lactation consultants and other people told me the same thing. We even supplemented with formula for a little while (birth until about 3 weeks) per the doctor's instructions) since they told me I wasn't making enough milk. Well, eventually I decided to try pumping and found out that I WAS making plenty of milk (but my supply was starting to diminish because she was not able to get the milk.)

Long story short, I pumped exclusively for the entire first year. The only time I had to supplement with forumla was at the very beginning. It is possible, but you really need to make the committment to pump as frequently as the baby would nurse (for me, that was every 2-3 hours at first). Also, be sure you have a really good pump!

Hope that helps! It can be a very frustrating experience, I know! I wish I had decided to give up nursing and begin pumping early. It would have saved us all a lot of frustration and heartache! Feel free to contact me if you have questions I can help with!

My child wouldn't latch on either. It was a painful decision to stop trying. But she would just scream when i would put her to my breast. It was not good for either of us. forcing the issue was not letting either of us bond or heal. (i had a hard delivery) so i decided to pump. I am not a good milk maker. I think it really depends on everyone's bodies. I pumped for 3 months but i did have to suppliment with formula. Drink TONS of water. get a good pump. medela or ameda purely yours. also pump several times per day. good luck.
and if it doesn't work out don't stress. you are not a bad mother if you give your child formula!

I don't think that you can assume that your milk will dry up. You are doing great with pumping 4 oz at a time. Did your Dr check baby's tongue? I forget what it is called, but the tongue needs to be free enough to pull in the nipple and some tounges are too closely attached to the lower palate.

Our son was born early and had trouble nursing in general. Not sure if we had a latch problem per se, but our lactation consultant taught us to encourage his sucking by positioning a little feeding tube by my nipple (did this with medical tape). The tube was attached to a syringe that we filled with my milk. We would push the milk down to encourage him to keep eating. It was a lot of work but after 1 or 2 weeks, he got it! I look back now and wonder how my hubby and I were so patient during this time, it was hard!

I have had so many challenges with breastfeeding as the months have continued (not that you will, i don;t see my other problems as related to teaching him to nurse properly), I know how upset you can get! You can tell you are doing your best, so be encouraged.

BTW, my baby was in the hospital for about two weeks before we went home and did all the work with the tube feeding. I both nursed him and pumped in the hospital, and my milk did not dry up.

Sorry..I didn't read the other comments so sorry if I repeat. You may want to try a nipple shield. You can buy them at BabiesRUS. Its a small piece of plastic that you place over your nipple and then the baby latches on to that. My daughter had a really hard time latching on and this is what we finally resorted to. It worked wonders. We only used it for about a month -- until she (and I) learned how to latch properly and then I weaned her off it. To wean her off it I just started to remove it a few minutes after she latched on until she got to where she could just latch on by herself. Anyway, it worked great for us...and I was able to continue nursing for 15 months.

One of my good friends pumped and gave her baby that exclusively until he was 12 months and her milk never dried up. I think the bigger issue you get into pumping is that it is convenient NOT to pump as much as you need to, so then your milk does dry up. If you keep to a good schedule, you should be fine. She even pumped in the middle of the night when her son was still eating at night.

www.kellymom.com and http://www.llli.org/ (la leche league) are both good resources.

Hi! I pumped for 6 months for our twins (they nursed the first 6) and my milk didn't dry up until I stared doing things to dry it up on purpose. I pumped every 3-4 hours at work and home and I got plenty of milk. Just do what you have to do, it's worth it!

4 ounces is a goo amount when you pump. It just depends how often you pump. The more you pump....the more you have. We had a hard 2 1/2 weeks after my son was born. Partly bc he was in the hospital and partly bc we just had latching issues. Just don't give up...it can definitely be frustrating for both of you at times. My son is now 8 1/2 months nurses well and transitions to the bottle well too. Good luck!


I had that problem with my oldest and pumped exclusively for 3 1/2 months. My milk supply did suffer. It is SO much easier if you can nurse. With my second I used a Medela contact nipple shield. It was awesome! It totally fixed the problem with latching. I used it for the first few minutes of nursing and then I would take it off and she would latch on to me. I used it for about 2 months and then we didn't need it anymore. The lactation consultants didn't really want me to use it, but it was the perfect solution. Nursing unfortunately doesn't come naturally to all babies. You can get it at babies r us or target. They are about $6. If you are worried about your milk supply you can take Fenugreek. I would wait a couple of months before you do that though. It takes a little while for you to really know how much milk you will have. Good luck and don't give up!! Nursing is so good for your baby and it's an experience like no other! Your body is nourishing and sustaining your baby and it's amazing. It does get easier, and it's totally and completely worth it.

with my first child I pumped exclusively for a little over 4 months and had another 2 months of "excess" that I was able to feed her because I never could get her to latch. With #2 i was able to get her to latch and I will tell you it is MUCH easier to nurse than to exclusively pump (nursed for 15 months), so keep trying, but you CAN exclusively pump and even produce plenty of milk. Check out babyfit and look for the exclusively pumping group for support and tips.

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