Breast Pumps - Santa Clara,CA

Updated on April 19, 2010
P.R. asks from Santa Clara, CA
19 answers


I have been breast feeding my 5 week old son. He seems contended after every feeding. He feeds every 2.5 hours with 3-4 hours gaps at night. On an average he feeds about 8 times a day. I bought a new medela pump-in-style advanced as I have to return to work in 2 weeks. If I try to pump just before his feed time, I only get about an ounce and he is definitely not satisfied with that. So, I had to supplement with formula. I have been trying to relax while pumping and also my nipples seem to be in the center of the breast shield. So, it is not very large/small. I am really worried about this and I have been taking herbal remedies to increase my supply assuming I probably have lower supply. I cannot pump every one hour at work to get 2-2.5 ounce to satisfy my baby. Any advice on how to get around this issue ?


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So What Happened?

Thanks a lot for all your suggestions. It really feels better to know that I am not the only one and many of you have gotten around this. I took my son for his first month check up and it turns out that he does not have a good weight gain. Infact he has reduced by an ounce since my last visit. So, the doctor has asked me to supplement. Probably, he wasn't really getting enough from me and he was just getting pacified on my breast and go to sleep. I have started to pump after I feed him to increase my breast supply. I am also planning to check with my doc to see if I can get some medication to increase my supply as Tabatha had suggested.

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answers from Bakersfield on

I didn't have much trouble pumping enough milk for my little one and I'll tell you my secret. It's not really a secret but it worked for me. It's kind of embarrassing if someone's watching (like my husband who would laugh because it looks ridiculous) but it worked every time. I only pumped in the morning before the baby's first feeding so my supply was at its best and in those early days I had enough milk to feed a village. I would get the pump all ready to go and then bend over at the waist (with my shirt and bra off because it was much easier) and shake my shoulders while my boobs dangled. I only had to do this for a few seconds before my milk would let down and I could pump. Sometimes, I would need to perform this shaking ritual half way through pumping if it wasn't going very fast. I know it sounds funny/crazy/weird/whatever but I swear it worked! I didn't have to do anything else! I am very impatient and I always got the milk I needed (which was usually just 1 bottle because my baby never drank very much with other people) in less than 10 minutes. Hope it helps! :-)



answers from Tulsa on

Drink lots of fluid and keep pumping. The more you pump the more you make. You can supplement with formula while you are doing this.(My daughter mixed 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula in his bottles until she was getting enough). Just pump as much as you can, and it will increase.

If you make more than he will drink, freeze it. My daughter did this, and when her milk dried up at about 3 months, she had it stockpiled in the freezer. He is now almost 7 months old and still drinking breast milk.

You might see about finding a bigger/smaller breast shield. The pump my daughter had had 2 different shields.

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answers from Houston on

You don't have to just give him what you pump. Nurse him after you pump and then give him what you pumped if he is still hungry...the pump is estimated to only get about 60% of what you have to offer in the best case scenario. The extra stimulation will help support your supply.

Low supply probably isn't the issue...just your body's response to the pump. However, ensuring that you are eating enough calories and drinking enough water will never hurt. Adding oatmeal to your diet has a positive effect for some women. I also took fenugreek and drank mother's milk tea to maintain my supply when I returned to work.

Trying to match the speed and suction to that which most closely mimics your son. It may just take some time for your body to release for the pump. It is worth trying a larger shield to stimulate a different part of your breast--especially if you have larger breast (bigger than a C cup).

I am a believer in doing absolutely everything you can to give your baby breastmilk. It isn't the easiest thing to do once you have to return to work. I've pumped on airplanes, in rental cars (someone else was driving!), used countless batteries to use my pump in Europe, and while on conference calls.

That being said...supplementing with formula during the day doesn't mean you have to stop nursing. I know several women who pumped what they could, added formula as needed during the day, and continued to nurse nights and weekends. Your body will continue to produce so long as you continued to stimulate it...pumping 2-3 times during an 8-10 day is key.

Good luck. Don't give up yet...just like your baby is learning your body is too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

Always pump AFTER you nurse your baby. The pumping should come second after you feed your baby first. You won't get much in the beginning anyway, your body takes a couple days to learn (supply and demand) that it needs to make enough for the baby and then you pumping too. You will begin to get more after this.

You don't need to supplement, it will tell your body that it doesn't need to make that extra amount that the baby would be making/getting from you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with pumping after you feed the baby. I responded terribly to the pump alone. My milk just wouldn't let down. So, I used to feed my baby on one breast and then pump on the other, then switch breasts at the next feeding. That way, my milk had already let down and I got several ounces at one pumping session. Then, I'd refrigerate the milk and add to it the next feeding until I had a four ounce bottle. Some of the bottles went in the fridge for my husband to give the baby, and the others went in the freezer. If you are going back to work, you can build up quite a good stock of milk in the freezer doing this. It worked really well for me.
If you are used to feeding your baby on both sides with each feeding, then it might take a few days for your milk supply to increase so he'll get what he needs from one breast. Fenugreek tea worked well for me to increase supply. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would pump on one side while I fed on the other. The baby would help simulate my milk production and I would get more. I also started pumping by pumping after I breast fed. I did this to tell my breasts there was a "demand" for more milk. The idea is to get your production up.

Do not give your baby formula - you will just tell your breasts they are making enough, and they will make even less. You need to put the baby on your breast more often to get your production up. You're still very earily in your breast feeding -- you have to show your body there is a demand.

Your hospital should have a lactation specialist? I would call them for advice too.



answers from Sacramento on

Remember that the breast milk is supply and demand. I used to leave the pump on longer too increase my supply even if nothing was coming out. Also, be sure to use the air holes on top to release you nipple like the baby does when he is nursing. It will make the pump seem more realistic and help also.
W. M.



answers from Boston on

I concur strongly about not supplementing with formula since that will lead to declining supply. If you are nervous about the pump you will not be able to relax. Keep the frequency of pumpings and feedings to 8 times a day for as long as you can. Tape a picture of baby to the pump. Have something he has worn with you -- nothing stinky, just something that might smell a little like him and his lotions and potions.



answers from Sacramento on

How long are you staying on the pump. When I was pumping for my son, I could get about 6 oz from each breast, BUT in the beginning it took a good ten minutes or so before the milk even started flowing, then it would just come gushing out. Once my body got used to pumping I the milk started as soon as I put the pump on.

Another way to get your body used to letting down for the pump is to pump on one breast WHILE baby nurses on the other.

Good luck.




answers from San Francisco on

I use the Medela too, and here's what I do - after it seems like no more milk is coming out, turn off the pump and use your hands to manually squeeze your breast (over the mouth of shield so you don't spill). I do that for about 30 seconds, then restart the pump, and that seems to help with more completely "emptying" out the breast.

I also definitely found that I got "better" at pumping after a few weeks - able to get much more per session.

Re: formula - don't feel bad about that, your first job is to make sure your baby has enough to eat. If you keep offering the breast + pumping, your body will keep producing milk.



answers from San Francisco on


Congrats on your new baby! There's a lot of good advice already but here are some things that worked for me. Before I went back to work I also would pump and nurse at the same time to help my body adjust. I also took a while to get used to the pump. My body slowly adjusted and my pumped milk increased. One ounce is actually pretty good for just starting out. You also will figure out when your milk is most productive... for some it's the morning and others it's the evening. I would often get a good amount of milk when I would pump at night before bed, at about 9:30/10:00 (which was a couple of hours after my baby went to bed). Drink LOTS of water. Relax and take deep breathes while pumping. When not with your baby, using a photo and/or simply closing your eyes and envisioning your baby and their sounds etc will help A LOT. (I would actually picture how my baby's face looked while he was nursing and the suckling noises he would make.) Pumping every 2-3 hours for at least 12-15 minutes is what worked for me. Give it time, I think you'll be fine!



answers from San Francisco on

First of all, your baby is way more efficient than the pump at getting milk out.
Next, before you pump, do you massage, tickle and shake? I know it sounds weird!
But first use warm compresses on your breasts - warm wet paper towels is what I used to use at work.
Then massage your breasts in a circular pattern, working towards the nipple.
Then (and this sounds weird, but it works!) lean forward and tickle your breasts, working towards the nipple. Then just sort of give them a shake.
This really really helps the milk let down. Then you pump.
Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

You might also want to try to massage your breasts while the pump is on--especially if you can feel those harder areas where the milk is stored. If you massage your breasts, you might be able to release the milk a bit better. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

For both our boys I did a combo fo pumping, nursing & formula. The formula did not cause my own supply to diminish. I always pumped right after I nursed & usually got anywhere from 2oz-6oz. Our oldest was in the NICU for the 1st six days & the docs & nurses suggested to pump this way once we got home. I always froze it & then thawed it when needed. Do not feel guilty fo rgiving your baby formula. If it's what helps get him fed, then so be it. But most importantly, you do what works for you. Best of luck!


answers from Barnstable on

Heather has a great idea of pumping one side while nursing the other. You can also have baby start you off, then switch the baby to the other breast while pumping the one he started.

There are a great many moms who are not the greatest at pumping, but great at nursing the baby. It takes patience and practice and you are doing great knowing that your have to be relaxed. Be confident too! Make sure the flange size fits you as well!

Any chance someone can bring you the baby at work (say lunch time) and you can nurse him? They just pump the other 2 times. As long as you nurse your child AT THE BREAST when you are with him, your milk should maintain. Only give him a bottle when you are physically away from him.

Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

I leaned forward a bit from the waist while seated. The other thing that totally helped was to help push it out. I read this in a breast feeding book from La Leche League (spelling?). You take your hand and make an L shape with your thumb spread out and the rest of your fingers held together. Now pretend your breast is a clock, and you want to move from the number 3, then 6, then 9, then 12 always moving toward your nipple. You are pushing hard enough against you rib cage to move the milk out of the ducts. And no, I never in the years I did this got an infection from it. It helped to really empty the breasts of the milk since a breast pump will never be as good as your babies mouth/tongue as getting the milk out. And yes, as someone else mentioned, I would memorize the way my baby's mouth looked while she nursed and then I would picture that.

Good luck, P.!


answers from Redding on

The size and fit of the breast shield can make a huge difference in how much you pump. See if you can try different sizes or check with a lactation consultant to help fit correctly. Also, different pumps can make a difference if you have a chance to try a different pump. I was able to get more from a hand pump than I could ever get from the electric. Different times of day may make a difference in supply as well.

Good luck to you,



answers from San Francisco on

I understand. When my son was born he did not take to the nipples (he was tongue-tied). I had to use a pump from the get go. I used the medela pump advanced too. When I started work, I nearly lost all of my milk. I got to just 1 once at a time. I tried herbal with minor sucess. Went to the accupuncturist/herbalist and did get better results with their tea and it tasted a little like chicken soup, and it's quite reasonably priced.
But the best stuff was what I got from my doctors. There are 2 types that I'm aware of and I know one can make you sleepy. The other is the one my doc put me on and it sounds like the champagne Dom Perridone. Anyway, it worked like a charm. I swear I thought I was a cow. My insurance didn't allow this one and it cost me $125 but that was all I needed just 1 month's worth to get me going. And my best friend had the same problem, her doc gave her the same ones and her's was $5 with her Kaiser. Hope that helps.



answers from San Francisco on

Some (maybe most?) women don't respond to a pump as well as they do to a baby nursing, so my guess would be that your baby is getting enough milk when you nurse, but your body doesn't respond the same way to a pump. I'm definitely one of this type, and I've rented a hospital-grade pump because it did a better job than the personal-use pumps for me.

As others have suggested, I would recommend pumping AFTER nursing. That will stimulate your body to produce more milk AND the milk will already be flowing.

If after the first week at work, you find you still aren't getting much milk, I would recommend renting a pump from a local lactation center. I already had a pump [a personal use advertised as "hospital-grade"] that worked OK for my first two kids, but this time, I just wasn't responding as well to it--I'd rented one from the hospital for the first month, so I could really see the difference. It still takes me a long time to pump (I envy women who only need 15 minutes of pumping), but it is much more effective.

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