October 09, 2006,
B.S. asks from Buford, GA on August 16, 2006
I Feel like My Milk Is Drying up Before I'm Ready to Stop Nursing
My milk supply seems to be drying up. I just recently started back to work so I'm feeding my daughter twice a day and pumping two to three times a day. Sometimes when I pump I can barely get 3 oz. and she is eating 4-5 oz. I recently started dieting and I was wondering if that had anything to do with my milk production. I really want to continue to nurse but I'm afraid my daughter will still be hungry.
2 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
I can not say "thank you" enough to all of the wonderful ladies and their responses. I have added some healthy calories back into my diet, increased my feedings at home, and begun drinking Mothers Milk tea which contains fenugreek. All of which seemed to have a positive impact in my milk production. You moms are the best and thanks again for your support.
T.A. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
There could be several different factors here. It might be easier to talk to someone on the phone, who can ask you questions about your situation and narrow down a solution that would work for you. www.lalecheleague.org has a link to finding leaders near you--you can call at any time, and it's free! If you can't reach the first one you try, or if you feel she wasn't helpful, call another one.
One leader who has personal experience with working and pumping is Dawn in the Central Gwinnett group--you can find her contact info on the website.
Some moms don't let down well to a pump, and can never get as much out that way as the baby would be able to get directly. There are some things that might help with that--some mothers find that it helps to sit down and relax for a minute, and visualize their baby; other things that can help are looking at a photograph, listening to a recording of your baby's voice, and even smelling a blanket or item of clothing your baby has worn.
I know it can be hard to find the time to pump when you are on the job--but it may also help if you keep pumping for a minute or two after nothing seems to be coming out. Sometimes that can help with the milk supply. While your breasts are never really empty (they are always producing milk) thoroughly "emptying" the breasts until nothing is coming out for a few minutes helps to stimulate milk production.
Here's another thing to consider. You said that you are feeding her twice a day; something that can make a big difference would be to increase the amount of time you spend nursing in the evening, night, and morning when you are home.
Some mothers find that when they go back to work, their babies don't take as much milk during the day (either because the baby doesn't take much from a bottle, or because she can't pump as much). Many of them have found that they can make up for this by nursing often when they are home at night. Babies naturally tend to "cluster nurse"--they go for longer periods without nursing (generally at night, or so we tend to prefer!) and then nurse more often at other times (during the day.) Working moms often find that this pattern gets reversed--their babies do lots of nursing in the evening and night to make up for not getting as much in the daytime.
This may sound unworkable, since of course you need to sleep! If you are open to the idea, I know quite a few moms who keep the baby next to them in bed, and don't even really wake up when the baby nurses. This has been a lifesaver for some of the working moms I know. If you are interested in trying it, there are safety guidelines you should follow:
Even if that option doesn't work out for you (it works well for some, but isn't for everyone), you can try nursing the baby at the daycare when you get her, and then as often as she's interested in the evening before bed, and then as soon as she wakes up, and again at the daycare before you leave.
Have you ever tried using a sling? When I had my second child, I needed to be mobile and have free hands since I had an older child (and a house) to take care of. I loved the mayawrap (www.mayawrap.com). It takes a little practice, but you can learn to nurse in it, and that lets you multitask in the evenings so you aren't stuck in a chair when you nurse. If you get one and need help figuring it out, your local LLL group can help you. Some groups have evening meetings (including the Central Gwinnett group).
As others have said, you should be careful about dieting right now. It is possible to watch your diet and safely lose weight while nursing, but restricting your intake too much could contribute to a supply problem.
I want to correct one thing that someone else posted--while it's true that you should eat as healthy a diet as you can, it isn't true that your milk will be poor quality of your diet isn't perfect. When women eat a poor diet, they still make nutritious milk, better than formula--the problem is that they rob their own bodies of needed nutrients. Your body will make the milk a priority and cheat itself. A healthy diet will benefit you, and can make your milk even better--but fortunately a bad diet doesn't mean that your milk will be bad. Human milk often looks like skim milk--it varies at different times and with different mothers. The milk that comes out first is more watery, and the creamy milk comes out at the end of a feeding or pumping.
1 mom found this helpful
A. answers from Biloxi on August 17, 2006
Be sure you are drinking TONS of water. I also had a problem with milk production. I could never pump as much as my kids could get. I did find a great addition to my pump though. It is an attachment that allows your pump to take in more of your breast which helps to get the milk in the back. What kind of pump do you have? Feel free to email me at ____@____.com.
A.N. answers from Atlanta on August 16, 2006
Sometimes when you become active and stressed, milk supply will slow down. Now that you are pumping a few times a day your body has to get use to that too. Drink plenty of water and forget the diet. You need the calories right now. I used brewers yeast and fenu greek when I had mastitice to get my milk supply back up. Talk to the lactation consultant at the hospital about safe herbs to take to build it back up. Whatever you do, DON'T give up, your baby needs your milk!!! Don't worry, your milk won't dry up as long as she is nursing and you are pumping. Please keep me posted as to what works. I am on my second pregnancy and would like to keep up with what others do in case I need the same advice. Take care!!
A.E. answers from Memphis on August 17, 2006
Yes, dieting will affect your milk supply. Also, be sure you're drinking enough water and milk. A friend of mine had great success with Hyssop drops/Hyssop tea for increasing her milk production. I tried the Hyssop and didn't like the taste, but it helped my production a little. Stress also affects your milk supply. I am a stay-at-home mom and I had to supplement with formula for my third child because my supply couldn't keep up with her demand.
M.S. answers from Atlanta on August 16, 2006
yes dieting will definitely affect the milk supply. one thing that has kept me nursing is remembering to drink a lot of fluids. maybe that will help you too.
if you think she may still be hungry, maybe mix a tiny bit of formula with the breastmilk.
hope this helps:)
S.D. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
Your milk supply is probably not drying up. There is no pump out there that is more effective than your baby's mouth. She is most likely getting what she needs. There are many things that can affect your ability to pump enough. 1) the type of pump. I had little success and lots of pain using the battery-operated pumps you can buy in store. The Medela pump I rented worked way better as did the Pump in Style my sister loaned me with my second. There's another brand of medical-grade pump out there too but I forgot what it's called. 2) Pumping environment. If you are stressed, hurried or unable to think about your child, it can affect your milk. Try to get comfortable, be relaxed and maybe keep a picture of your baby close by. 3) Dehydration/undernutrition. Keep a bottle of water and healthy snack nearby (carrots or grapes are good because you can pick them up with one hand to eat).
Also, don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but nursing takes about 500 calories a day. You probably don't need to diet right now. The baby will take care of that. If your husband is bugging you about your weight tell him to get bent.
Go to www.medela.com for some other tips. I hope this helps.
D.H. answers from Atlanta on August 16, 2006
Breast feeding is "supply on demand". I worked full-time and pumped during the day and continued to breast feed until my daughter was 18 months. Try nursing early morning before you even get out of beed then again right before you leave her. I asked the daycare not to give my daughter anything the last 2 hours of the day and nursed her at the daycare as soon as I got to her. Then 2 more times before I went to bed. I pumped twice during the day.
As far as your diet... If you do not eat enough "nutritious food", not only will you be short on milk, your milk will not be nutritious. It will look like skim milk. If you are dieting, try cutting out the unhealthy carbs and add lots of fresh fruit, veggies and lean protein. I ate six small meals, each included fruit and a protien (cheese, yogert, meat) and dont forget the dairy!!!
Also.... Try to relax as much as possible before and during pumping. I use to be "stressed and tense" over my milk supply and nothing would come out. I mean maybe a teaspoon. I would then literally close my eyes, take 3 deep breaths and just let my body go limp. Count from 10 - 1. Then more breaths. Then the milk would flow! Try it. It's amazing how stress affects you physically sometimes without you even realizing it.
I hope this is helpful.
S.K. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
Hi B., Yes, dieting can decrease your milk supply. You need to be eating 5 small meals a day. Good nutritious food. Lots of multi grain, fruit, veggies, cheese, protein. Drink water constantly. You could also if you don't have time to eat, drink a meal replacement drink like ensure. Pumping is also not as efficient as breast-feeding and your body knows it's a pump. Do the best you can do if she get's a little formula and mostly breastmilk that is good too. Don't be too hard on yourself. SK postpartum doula
M.Y. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
My computer keeps dropping me so quickly...
Lots could be contributing.. I think your right about the dieting, nursing takes an extra 500 cals/day so try smaller, healthy meals 5-6 times a day. The stress of going back to work can be weighing on your milk supply also so try to relax also just the adjustment to the pumping. Bring a picture of your daughter, maybe a blanket to smell and relax. Don't give up! Pumping is not easy. I know 1st hand. Lastly, she could be going thru a growth spurt and your supply needs a chance to catch up. Keep nursing. There's a good book called Working Mom, Nursing Mom read that and maybe attend a LeLeche mtg. You can find one close to you online. Call me if you want, I will help you.
S.L. answers from Birmingham on August 17, 2006
If you know your milk is drying up and the only thing you have changed is your diet then that may be the reason, I don't think so because as long as you are nurseing that helps with weight control.But ask your dr. just call don't wait for an app.because that may take a while.If it was me I would go ahead and start the baby on something to sustain the baby.They sure don't understand hungery.Baby will start loosing weight so call the dr. and ck with them.But I would go and get some good start and some bottles.
S. answers from Nashville on August 19, 2006
Make sure you are drinking lots (and LOTS!) of water. That's more important than your diet for volume of milk. When you pump at work, are you able to relax and have good release of your milk? If not you may want to find another place to express milk, bring a picture of your daughter or an item of her clothing that smells like her, to help your milk release. Also make sure you are using a really good pump. Call the hospital you delivered at - they should have a professional lactation consultant who can talk to you on the phone or meet you in person. They should also have high quality pumps they could let you rent very cheaply. In the meanwhile, if you have to supplement a little with formula so your baby has enough milk during the day, try to compensate by nursing even more at home to make sure your milk doesn't dry up. I stopped pumping at work when my daughter was 9 months old but continued nursing often at home and still had milk when she was 16 months old! Keep trying!
D.C. answers from Iowa City on August 17, 2006
Don't stop now!
I work outside the home and also have a 3 month old. I am using a double electric pump which seems to work better than a single or even a manual pump. Sometimes i only get 2 oz. from one side and 4 oz. from the other at one sitting.
Maybe you should contact a lactation consultant. The ones at baptist Hospital are great resources for questions even if you are no longer a patient or weren't a patient. Also the La Leche League is a great place for helpful information.
Even if it feels like your milk is drying up, keep breastfeeding. As long as you are pumping and nursing, your milk is still being produced.
J.C. answers from Chattanooga on August 19, 2006
How much water are you drinking? The more water you drink the more milk you usually can produce. Also, when you are pumping are you feeling stressed to get back to work as soon as possible? Dieting may or may not have anything to do with it, you just need to make sure that there is enough nutrition going into your body for both you and your baby.
I would suggest that you take a magazine with you when you pump at work. I found that it was my best time to get through the Parenting Magazine that I subscribed to. That way I didn't feel stressed to get back to work. And I made sure that I drank 64+ ounces of water (no carbinated drinks, they dehidrate)each day. Keep trying your daughter will benefit from this for the rest of her life!
M. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
Changing your diet can definitely mess with your supply. Nursing requires about an extra 500 calories a day so if you're not eating enough you will diminish your supply. Weight watchers has a plan for nursing moms you can follow. Maybe check it out.
S.P. answers from Knoxville on August 16, 2006
Hello, I did not feed my children from the breast but I would be safe in saying that dieting right now would not be wise I would ask my doctor because I am not sure You can always watch what you eat but I would see if what I was eating is what's causing your milk to dry it is worth a shot.
Now a little about me I am a 32 year old mom of three boys I am married to a preacher I live in Parkers Lake Ky. My oldest is in the Marines and my other two are 7 and 5 I hope that the information that I gave you will help you somewhat. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
L.L. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
I am still nursing and my son is almost 10 months old. I supplemented some formula when I felt like I wasn't producing enough milk to satisfy him. When I went back to work he was about 3 1/2 months and usually would have to send 1 to 2 bottles of formula to daycare with him along with my bottles of pumped breast milk. It sounds like you still produce a good amount, make sure to drink lots of water and fluids even if you are dieting. I know whole foods sells an herbal supplement that is suppose to increase milk production they sell it near the prenatal vitamins I have never tried it but it is a suggestion. keep trying even if you have to supplement some formula some breast milk is probably better than none at all. Also even now I pump more some days than other days it all depends on your body and what you have had to eat and drink at least that is how it seems to me.
M.C. answers from Birmingham on October 09, 2006
I have four kids and have nursed all four and am still nursing my four month old. I had this prob with my second child. First you need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. You also said you are dieting, women who are nursing need an extra 1000 calories per day. Just keep that in mind. Last, after you nurse try to pump. Your body will respond by producing extra. This might take 3-7 days. Just keep trying! Are you feeding your baby any cereal? You might try that morning and night. Good luck:)
K.F. answers from Mobile on August 17, 2006
Hi! I don't know if you have ever pumped before, but usually you will not get the same amt. pumping as you would when your child eats, they are more effecient at getting the milk, so I wouldn't worry about it unless she is acting like she is still hungry after nursing-in that case I would increase your calories or eat things that will increase your milk supply(there is a great book called A breastfeading guide, by Amy Spangler) Hopefully this will help!
C. answers from Nashville on August 16, 2006
My name is C.. I have a 33 month old who is still nursing. He only nurses usually a little bit at night and on the weekends. I was told that you don't dry up; that your body just responds to the demand. My doctor told me not to diet while nursing him for his main nutrition/meals; as this will affect the calories and nutrition he would be getting from breast milk, thus reducing the major benefits of breastfeeding. It may be that if you are nursing less frequently or for shorter periods that you are naturally adjusting to that demand. You might check with your ob to see if you may need help with produciton. It could be a medical issue you should consult with physician. Best of luck to you.
C.M. answers from Birmingham on August 16, 2006
I nursed my daughter for 16 months so I can understand your sadness and frustration with the idea of stopping nursing when you aren't ready.
From what I know, dieting can affect milk production as well as stress.
For me, pumping made my production slow down and since I stayed home I gave that up fast. I could never relax enough for the let down to begin :(
I stored away my breast feeding book but try breastfeeding.com or La Leche League for better information
R.B. answers from Savannah on August 17, 2006
I nursed 3 children. May I suggest drinking more water, more than the required amount. In regards to dieting it is not recommended at this time, no need you will lose weight naturally and rapidly by breastfeeding. Eat healthy avoid caffeine, sweets and drink plenty of water and watch the weight drop off with out trying. Of course exercise.
If possible pump during your lunch break this will help to maintain a steady flow. In addition, be sure to nurse as soon as you p/u baby from provider.
I hope this works for you. Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and your baby will appreciate it.
S. answers from Chattanooga on August 18, 2006
Hello. I nursed both of my children. My first for 11 months and my second for 6 months.
First of all, stop dieting. While nursing just as when you are pregnant you should not diet. While nursing you burn anywhere to 300-500 calories each time. So restricting your calorie intake will not help your milk supply. Also, research at Le Leche Website regarding nursing nutrition. Some foods can sabotage your efforts.
Second, when you express milk and you start to notice a depletion the best way to produce more is to pump more. It takes a couple of days, but just as when you child goes through a growth spurt by nursing more it tells your body to produce more. Also, while expressing take something that smells of your baby or a picture. Your milk might not be letting down when you are ready to pump. These things just like hearing your baby cry will also help when expressing.
Last, I used Brewer's Yeast. I got it in a capsule form from a health food store. Most importantly get it from a reputable store. Take it as suggested on the bottle. It is a holistic or natural rememdy that helps increase your milk production. You will still need to add a couple more extra times of nursing or an additional five minutes to each time expressing to give your body the "signal" to produce more though. This is just an aid.
Hope this helps,
N.A. answers from Memphis on August 16, 2006
my milk did the exact same thing as yours is. what i did was called my child's pediatrician and he said to alternate between formula and breast milk. breast feed only during the most bonding time and use the formula the other times. and yes, your dieting does have something to do with your milk production. as long as you breast feed, eat as much health food as possible. like potatoes, green beans, meat, etc. i do however urge you to talk to your child's doctor because what was right for mine might not be right for yours. i do wish you all the luck with this.
S.E. answers from Columbus on August 17, 2006
YOU NEED TO STIMULATE MORE. THE MORE YOU STIMULATE THE MORE MILK PRODUCTION YOU WILL HAVE. GO BACK TO FEEDING OR PUMPING EVERY TWO TO THREE HOURS. I KNOW THAT SEEMS LIKE A LOT BUT IT WILL WORK. ALSO MAKE SURE YOUR CALLORIE INTAKE IS NO LESS THAN 2700 CALLORIES PER DAY TO KEEP UP WITH HOW MUCH SHE WANTS TO EAT. I BREAST FEED BOTH OF MY BOYS UNTIL THY WERE 8 MONTHS OLD AND NEVER RAN OUT OF MILK. JUST REMEMBER STIMULATION IS THE KEY TO PRODUCTION. THE MORE YOU STIMULATE THE MORE YOU SHOULD HAVE.
HOPE THIS WORKS. IF YOU SHOULD HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS MY PERSONAL EMAIL IS ____@____.com PLESE FEEL FREE TO ASK. I AM AN RN WORKING IN OBSTETRICS. S.
S.C. answers from Mobile on August 17, 2006
SOMETIMES THAT JUST HAPPENS BEFORE YOU ARE READY, BUT HERE ARE SOME TIPS ANYWAY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER, EAT HEALTHY, AND FOENGREEK SEEDS ARE ALSO SUPPOSE TO HELP INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION.
C. answers from Tuscaloosa on August 16, 2006
My son was a premi and never latched on. I had supply problems too. After much research I found this herb, fenugreek. It works. It won't double your production but it does increase it. I apprecieated all the extra ounces. I told my friend and she used it too with the same results. Fenugreek wont hurt your daughter either.
I suggest the capsules not the tea. The tea taste ok but I got tired of it and found it easier to take a tablet twice a day. I think you can take it 3 times as well. They sell it in any nutrition store, like GNC.
And drink lots of fluid.
K.T. answers from Knoxville on August 17, 2006
Hi - I am still nursing my 20 month old and I found exactly what you did - every time I reduced calories - my milk supply dropped.
The other thing that helped me tremendously was taking "Alfalfa"- you can get it at any health type store like Nature's Pantry or EarthFare - an $8 bottle lasted me for months and I finally got to a point where I could get on top of things and was not always looking at my bottles while pumping with anxiety
L.S. answers from Augusta on August 18, 2006
Wow you've gotten a lot of great feedback. I didn't read them all, but I hope I'm not repeating too much info.
There is a great website for breastfeeding support, you can find just about anything here... www.kellymom.com
Also, when you are pumping at work really get into the session by mentally preparing yourself, such as visualizing you are nursing your daughter, maybe dim the lights to help you relax if possible. This will help your MER milk ejection reflex to let your milk come down. Sometimes when I'm stressed or trying to rush our nursing sessions don't go that well, but when I take a breathe and get relaxed and my mind on my baby it's a breeze and he also nurses better! It's got to be tough to be away from your baby and I have so much respect that you are still pumping to give your daughter her momma milk :o) I hope that the website I gave ou will help find more resources for you. Good Luck and many blessings to your little one.
WAHMommy to Logan (2 yrs.) & Shane (1 mos.)
O.H. answers from Atlanta on October 03, 2006
You can try "tandem pumping" -- during one of her feedings, as she is nursing from one breast, pump the other breast at the same time. The baby triggers stronger/more let-downs and this can result in more milk. She will get what she needs, the baby is always more efficient than the pump.
Also, oatmeal can increase your supply, eat some daily.
Also, instead of 2 long pumping sessions you may get more in 3 shorter sessions. Try pumping early in the morning too, when the supply is greatest.
J. answers from Jackson on August 16, 2006
My lactation consultant recommended fenugreek seed pills for me when my milk began to dry up. I swear to you they work. Research them, call your doctor--whatever--they are totally safe and smell like butterscotch.
But please quit dieting. You need more caloric intake while breastfeeding than any other time. There is a reason you're always hungry & thirsty. Now is definitely not the time to diet. Actually just the act of breastfeeding helps shed your weight gained during pregnancy. Mommies who breastfeed tend to lose their baby weight much faster-- just another one of the many benefits of breastfeeeding!!
Best of luck to you in your endeavors! I hope you love being a Mom as much as me!
F.F. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
My advice is to hold off on dieting for now. You need all the calories for your milk production. In addition, drink lots- I mean lots of water! If that doesn't work, I would contact a lactation consultant. But don't give up! Hang in there!
H. answers from Birmingham on August 16, 2006
The same thing happened to me last year after I started LA Weight loss diet when my baby was 4 months old. My milk supply started to dry up. You should be able to build it back up, just make sure you're getting plenty of water. Maybe add a few calories back to your diet & try adding an additional pumping session to your day until it builds back up. You can diet while breastfeeding, but not a very calorie restrictive diet. A good website to check out is www.kellymom.com. Another option would be to pump what you can & supplement with formula while you are at work, then you can breastfeed at night. If you can make it another month your baby can start on solids & that will help make up for the decreased supply. Hope that was helpful.
A. answers from Knoxville on August 16, 2006
Call your OBGYN there are a lot of drugs like Regalin that can help increase your supply. Keep pumping and maybe hold off on the diet until things are working smoothly.
M. answers from Memphis on August 17, 2006
I feed my baby formula when I went back to work during the day and breastfed my baby when I got home at night. I didn't have to pump it out while at work...I think I gradually went into that method.
S.M. answers from Nashville on August 17, 2006
Yes, dieting has a lot to do with your milk slowing down if you're not consuming enough calories. Also, there is a natural product you can buy at GNC stores called phenugreek. I may have misspelled it but it boosts milk production. It works!! Good luck.
J.S. answers from Little Rock on August 16, 2006
the more you breastfeed (or pump) the more milk you'll produce. Also, you need a lot of extra calories, milk and water. you should not diet yet. your stomach will go down just by breastfeeding, but also my milk dried up with my first child due to taking birth control pills, so you might consider that too, if you're on them. i'm sure you can find out on the internet how many extra calories you need for successful breastfeeding. good luck.
M.B. answers from Tuscaloosa on August 16, 2006
I was told not to diet while I was nursing. You can watch what you eat but you need to eat because of the demand still on your body. You have had a lot of changes go on with going back to work and dieting. You can build your milk supply back up. Good luck.
Hope it helps
M. answers from Birmingham on August 17, 2006
Hi - I would recommend contacting your lactation consultant's office. St. Vincent's (where I had my baby) has a great staff of lactation consultants and they have always been able to help me. They have recommended gatorade, plenty of water, rest, etc. Also Mother's Milk tea is supposed to help but I've never taken it regularly enough to know.
M.M. answers from Jackson on August 17, 2006
I am Newborn nurse and I breastfed my daughter for 8 months. It is really hard to diet while you are breastfeeding. You need those extra calories to help produce your milk. You also want to continue to drink alot of water. It sounds like you are pumping a pretty good bit throughout the day and that is good. I would not worry about dieting right now. You are going to get plenty of exercise keeping up with an 8 year old and and a 3 month old!!!! Good Luck!!
D.E. answers from Tuscaloosa on August 17, 2006
I had the problem with my milk drying up with my oldest son when he was only three weeks old. After having and successfully breastfeeding my next two I realized that my son never latched on correctly to cause let down. Make sure that your daughter is still feeding correctly and also more often. It sounds like you haven't gotten stimulation often enough to create the extra milk she needs as she grows. Good Luck!
K.M. answers from Nashville on August 17, 2006
You need to be getting an extra 500 calories a day at least above and beyond the regular 2000 recommended for the day. Dieting will definately lower your milk supply if you aren't getting enough calories. Hang in there! That milk is precious!
J.O. answers from Augusta on August 17, 2006
I see you've gotten a lot of responses!
I'm a volunteer Lactation Consultant living in Augusta.
In order to maintain breastfeeding with a baby under six months of age you must empty your breasts a minimum of 8 times a day, but most mothers find they need to nurse or pump more like 10 times a day for the first 6 months.
This is because after 3 hours without emptying your breasts the hormone- Prolactin-that is responsible for milk-making gets very low.
After 4 hours without emptying your breasts your brain actually makes a hormone that
is called Prolactin Inhibiting Factor which further reduces your ability to make milk.
Moms usually can only tolerate one long stretch (4 or more hours) between breast emptyings in one 24 hour period and still be able to maintain full milk production.
8 emptyings is the bare minimum but most mothers find their milk supplies are much better if they nurse/pump 10 times a day.
Babies need 2 to 2.5 ounces per pound of body weight everyday.
You didn't say how much your daughter weighs but if she weighs 14 lbs then she would probably need more than 30 ounces a day.
Since you are making 3 ounces at a time you can see that you would need to nurse
or pump your breasts 10 times a day...
That means your breasts are making just what they need to making!
it's just that you didn't know it was normal for your baby to need to eat about 10 times a day.
Another important aspect of maintaining a milk supply is having a good pump.
What kind of pump do you have?
J.R. answers from Nashville on August 16, 2006
B., first of all, I'd like to commend you for even wanting to breastfeed your baby after returning to work.
As far as increasing your milk production, there are lots of things you can try.
Eat well, this is not the time to restrict calories.
Drink lots of water.
Pump and nurse as frequently as you can-it's a matter of supply and demand, if you put a higher demand on milk production, your breasts will produce more.
There are lots of good books on breastfeeding, but my favorite, and I nursed both my children past their second birthdays, is "The complete book of breastfeeding" by Marvin S.Eiger MD, and Sally Wendkos Olds.
Best of luck,
S. answers from Atlanta on August 16, 2006
B. - Drink a LOT of water!! In fact, each time you nurse, drink at least a 6-ounce glass of water. Also - you must eat a lot to nurse. Don't worry, the pregnancy weight will REALLY come off naturally at about month 5.
You can also try a supplement called Fenugreek (from a Whole Foods store). It makes your sweat smell like maple syrup, but it really enhances your supply. I hope that helps!
M. answers from Jackson on August 17, 2006
Dieting definitely has a part in why your milk production is going down. If you want to continue to produce enough milk, you must get enough calories to do that. Until you're really ready to quit nursing, I would advise you not to diet.
M. answers from Birmingham on August 16, 2006
Taking in less calories can definitely affect your milk production, so you may want to hold off on the dieting thing for now----at least until your body catches up with your little one's nursing habits. A few things that helped with mine (when I was still nursing)...
1) eat lots of oatmeal
2) green gatorade; lemon-lime flavor (don't ask me why, but it works!)
3) Increase the number of on the breast feedings while you are at home with her if you can
4) Increase the number of pumping sessions during the day if you can
The more you nurse, the more you produce---even if it doesn't seem like it for the first few days. Be sure you combine your milk that you've pumped too... it adds up! I got to a point where I was feeding my daughter 2-3 times a day (once in the morning and twice at night before bed) and I was pumping 3x a day (twice at work and once somewhere between 1-5am). It really drained me of energy for a while but it was worth it when I saw my chunky little baby girl getting all the milk her little heart desired. I was able to nurse for 8 months. I finally decided it was time for me to stop (I didn't dry up unintentionally). Good luck!
C.W. answers from Colorado Springs on August 17, 2006
I was where you are, same problem. Looking back- I worried too much. Being back at work is difficult and the timing of the feedings is off, keeping you from being able to follow her cues as much as if you were home. You will never pump as much as she is able to pull from you. Try to pump on more time during the day to increase your supply if you are worried. Dieting can effect your amount if it is significant and worrying can also effect your supply- believe it or not. So give yourself a break and do the best you can. Nursing is the best thing for your child!
M.D. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
Dieting can definitely affect your milk supply. My ped told me not to do it until I'm done nursing. That said, I know people do diet and nurse and are successful at both - just take it really easy with the dieting until you're finished nursing. I started WW while nursing my daughter and noticed a HUGE difference in my milk production. Then I realized there's a way nursing moms can do it, and once I started doing that, all was okay!
To get your milk supply back up, try pumping more often throughout the day (easier said than done, I know). Also, if you can pump after you nurse your daughter, that'll help too. I know a lot of people have had great success using Fenugreek (available at herb stores), but it never did much for me. Also rice pudding and oatmeal (not together :oD) are supposed to help (and did work for me). If you're able, you could consult a lactation consultant too - I was amazed at how helpful they are. Check out www.lalecheleague.org for great tips as well.
All in all, if you're just not able to get enough milk and need to supplement, it's not the end of the world. Just remember you're still giving your daughter a huge dose of "the good stuff" and it's better than none at all! Hang in there!
L. answers from Mobile on August 17, 2006
Hi, I had trouble with my first baby, and not having enough milk. I visited the lactation consultants and they told me about this herb. It is called Fenugreek. You can get it at GNC. I started out taking 3 pills three times a day and nursing and pumping as much as I could to get my milk supply up. Before I knew it I had more than enough milk. I nursed her for over a year. I didn't notice any side effects except that the herbs smelled like pancake syrup and that made me smell a little that way. As your supply goes up and you feel comfortable, you can start taking less and less. Hope this helps! Good Luck!
T. answers from Birmingham on August 16, 2006
I have never breast fed, but one of my co-workers and I was on a diet and her milk decreased. She was forced to stop to diet to continue nursing.
D.M. answers from Columbus on August 16, 2006
Where are you located? You really need to talk with a lactation consultant. There are many pieces of the puzzle that are missing that she might need to know to help you.
Just on first blush, breastfeeding twice a day and pumping 2-3 times a day seems like too little breast stimulation to maintain a milk supply for a 3 month old. Most babies that age are nursing at least 8 or more times a day. Are you giving her any formula or solids? Are you attempting to "schedule" her feedings or using a "training method" like Babywise? This can cause a decrease in supply.
It would also be important to know what kind of pump you are using...that can make a huge difference in ability to maintain a milk supply. A hospital grade double electric rental pump like the Lactina or personal pump like the Pump In Style by Medela are usually best for a mother working fulltime.
Is there a reason you are only breastfeeding twice a day? Even with long working hours, it might help to nurse at least once in the morning before you go to work and at least 3-4 times more after work in the evening and during the night. Many working moms find it helpful to nurse during the night to provide that stimulation and "mommy time" that is missed when they are separated from their baby during work hours.
Also, have you started taking hormonal birth control like the pill, depo, the patch.....? That can impact milk supply.
If your diet is causing you to lose more than 1-2 lbs a week, it may impact your milk supply as well. This would probably be the least impact though, considering the above factors as more important.
Breast milk is so important for your baby and she is still so young, please contact an IBCLC or LaLeche League to help you sort this out and find ways to increase your supply. There are lots of "tricks' of the trade" and even some medications that can give you the boost you need.
Hope this helps,
L.M. answers from Atlanta on August 16, 2006
I have a friend who is experiencing the same thing. I think that part of it is the stress of going back to work. You might try drinking more water and add a cup or two a day of Mother's Milk tea. I use that when I want to increase my milk supply to pump for a special occasion. Don't give up, you and your daughter will work through this. Very rarely will your milk dry up if you continue to nurse regularly and are getting enough calories. You might hold off on the dieting until you get in sinc. Good Luck, hang in there.
B.B. answers from Memphis on August 16, 2006
As a nursing mother, you have to eat more than normal to keep up your milk production and to make sure you produce good milk for your child. It is never a good idea to diet while nursing. Actually, nursing makes you burn more calories, so as long as you are eating healthy, you may lose weight anyway. Also, you need to make sure you drink enough water during the day or your milk supply will drop off as well.
L.C. answers from Nashville on August 24, 2006
hi Brandy I am a mother of five children the oldest is 15 the youngest is 4 ,I breastfed all of them.Your breasts should not be drying up if your baby is only 3 months.I can say that it did matter how much the baby nursed,and diet does make a differance to.You can still lose weight without jeopardizing your milk supply,cut out high fat,empty calories,fried foods ,carbonated drinks,sugar,BEEF(the worst),fast food.This still leaves you with lots of great things to eat.Treat yourself with desert everyday,(a skinny desert of course),drink lots of water.Eat lots of calories early in the day try to only have fresh fruit and vegees after 2:00and nurse nurse nurse that baby as much as you can .The more you nurse the higher your milk supply.good luck and I lost 34 lbs in less than five months eating this way . L. ____@____.com
R.P. answers from Atlanta on August 17, 2006
I would not diet while nursing. You are feeding two. You should eat sensibly and healthy. Are you still taking the
prenatal vitamins? What kind of pump are you using?
Are you seeing the baby's doctor regularly?
A. answers from Nashville on August 17, 2006
Generally speaking you don't pump as much as what your daughter gets when she is nursing. So I don't think she will go hungry. Somethings that help is making sure that you are drinking enough water during the day when you are pumping and making sure you have a quality breast pump. The ones that work the best are the medela breast pumps that are hospital grade. You can usually rent one from a hospital or lactation nurse. Good luck with continueing to nurse and pump its hard work, but the benefits are enormous for your daughter. And you can always call a lactation nurse and ask their advice. A good website I found was breastfeeding.com.
SAHM Avery 1yrs and Chance 3 1/2 years
N.J. answers from Johnson City on August 16, 2006
Here is what I did in your situation. I pumped every hour. it takes about 1-2 days for the production to catch up. It is really hard I know, but well worth it. I also drank "Mother's Milk" tea, you can find it at any natural foods store.
Please feel free to email if you need any help.
J. answers from Savannah on August 17, 2006
Hi B., I have two ideas for you: First, have you tried pumping for 10-15 minutes after you nurse your daughter. The Lactation Consultant recommended that I do that and it worked a lot better than pumping an 'unprimed' breast. Secondly, I have not tried this one, but I've read that it really does work- you could try drinking a beer. From what I've read, it takes a few days to show results. So maybe you could have one every couple of days (if you drink). Also, you could contact La Leche League. Good luck!
K.M. answers from Boston on August 16, 2006
Are you in a nice quiet place when you pump? It helps to also have a picture of your daughter to look at while you are pumping too.