M.M. asks from Chicago, IL on November 29, 2006
Medela Pump in Style Doesn't Seem to Work! HELP, Losing My Milk Supply!
When I first started pumping, I used a hospital grade pump that I rented from a place near Prentice. Then I went on a trip to visit family and asked them to pick me up a pump there so I wouldn't have to deal with the HUGE hospital one on the plane. They got me a Medela Pump in Style and I loved the look of it. I was SO EXCITED to be able to have something so discreet at work (I left maternity leave a few weeks early to start a new job). Unfortunately, I hooked it up and pumped for 15 mins at full power and barely filled the bottom of the bottle!!!! Before I was getting 2-3 ounces on either side! I had to use the manual pump that they give you with the pump (and they provide one free from Prentice when you leavE) and at first I loved it because it seemed to have a lot more suction and was so small, I could put it in my purse. The upside is my arms are getting really toned (we took the hospital grade one back because I thought this one was so good). BUT...now I get tired, it takes long, and it appears that my milk supply is hurting. I am pumping every 3 or 4 hours and only getting 1.5-2 ounces from BOTH together! Since I have a nanny and need to provide her with milk, I haven't been breastfeeding at all because I have to mix the milk I do manage to eek out with formula. I haven't breastfed in weeks, but I thought if I keep pumping it would take care of supply? Has anyone else had an issue similar? I don't know why the Medela pump doesn't work, but I am wondering if it is because I have very large breasts? Has anyone with very large breasts had trouble with their pumps?
B.M. answers from Chicago on December 01, 2006
You ahve gotten some great advice. I used my PIS for 14 months -my son was a preemie and never latched on. What I DID find was that the car adapter for the medela made the pump MUCH stronger.
Just a tip if you travel. I became a pro at pumping in the car while I drove (*blushing*).
K.S. answers from Chicago on November 30, 2006
Hi-- I also experienced this with my first child. The hospital grade pumps are much stronger and more successful in simulating a baby's sucking. I think it is critical for you to get some actual nursing in... the pump will never make up for actual nursing. Actual nursing will help sustain your supply (even if its just in the morning and at night). I also have the pump in style... try adjusting the speed somewhere in the middle. I actually get the best results with the speed dial right in the center and the pressure dial on "5". It may take longer to get a little more milk than the hospital grade. Give it about 20 mins. at least for one let down and then possibly another. Also drink lots of water (pumping depletes fluids). I work full-time and managed to supply my daughter with only breast milk for the whole first year... and now am doing the same thing with my son who is 10 months. It does take commitment to do this... and you may need to pump at least 3 times in an 8 hour day to get the milk you need. To this day my left side only gives me about 1.5 to 2 ounces at a pumping session. My right side usually gets me about 3 ounces. So multiply that by 3 and that will equal about 13 ounces for a work day... which may well be enough for your little guy (as long as you feed him when you walk in the door, and in the morning, and at night too (breastfed baby's often need to eat in the middle of the night...mine still does at 10months). Good luck! Know that you are doing a great thing for your son. My son hasn't gotten sick at all this year and he is in daycare! I have to imagine my breast milk has served him well. His name is also Jacob! I give you lots of credit for trying to make this work.
L.C. answers from Chicago on November 29, 2006
I have used that pump for over 2 years with both of my children and have had wonderful luck with it. Do you have the arrow on the pump set to max, for the max suction? If you bring it to any hospital they will test the sucking power for you. They just did that to my pump when I had my daugther 3 months ago. Don't give up... have you called the Medula company for advice?
J.K. answers from Chicago on November 30, 2006
I've used both the hospital grade and the Pump in Style and had the same results with both. I too pumped exclusively (my daughter was in the NICU for 8 weeks) and it seemed to work fine. The only advice I can give you is to be very diligent about pumping every 2-3 hours, even during the night. I found that when I returned to work and pumped less frequently my milk supply dropped dramatically. I agree with the other ladies to have your pump tested as the PIS should work almost as well as the hospital grade one. Good luck!
P.D. answers from Chicago on November 30, 2006
Many mothers find the hospital grade pump more effective. The Symphony ( hospital grade rental pump) is relatively light and portable.
Some mothers use the hospital grade for a bit and can change back... you need to experiment and see what works best for you.
For some mothers it is necessary to change flanges to a better fit and that helps increase milk production.
P., IBCLC, RLC
Pres. Lactation Support Group, Inc
J.P. answers from Chicago on November 29, 2006
Are you using the battery pack or the adapter? If you are using the battery pack the batteries are probably shot. If you are using the adapter and it isn't working well it maybe the cord. You could also try a higher setting. Not sure if any of this is helpful but good luck!!!!
I just re-read your post and I am confused. Are you concerned with the actual pump or that you haven't breastfed in weeks? If so that is why your supply has decreased. The baby will always take more milk than a pump. I am interested to hear what others say. Again good luck!
K.S. answers from Chicago on November 30, 2006
I used the pump in style to pump at work for several months and it always worked great. One thing I noticed early on, though, is that the little white circles that are attached to the piece that hangs into the bottle must be on just right or you won't get good suction. One of mine was loose once and it took me forever to figure out why it wasn't working. I just pushed it in all the way and it worked great after that. So, I would suggest just going over the assembly and making sure everything is tight and there are no holes.
A.R. answers from Chicago on November 29, 2006
Try increasing your supply by eating oatmeal and drinking Mother's Milk Tea.
Nursing your baby will increase your supply naturally- the more you actually nurse, the more supply you will have.
I, too, have rather large breasts and did get more with manual Avent Isis, but also used the Pump-in-style with car adapter. I listened to low relaxing music, smelled an article of my baby's clothes (or blankey) and looked at a photo of her or closed my eyes while pumping.
While you are pumping at home you can try nursing on one side and pumping on the other.
You might try calling a lactation consultant, your hospital about renting a pump from them, contacting Medela (like some of the others have already metioned!) and joining La Leche League (yes, some of the moms pump A LOT and have lots of knowledge!!)
It CAN be done! I worked 60+ hours/week and breastfed my baby til she was 3.5 yrs and pumped til she was about 16 months.
Hope this helps!
K.P. answers from Chicago on November 30, 2006
I use the Pump in Style too and have found I get better suction putting the suction knob in the middle. I don't know why this works better, but it does.