Breastmilk Supply and Formula Introduction (For Going Back to Work)

Updated on March 17, 2008
T.V. asks from Lynnwood, WA
48 answers

Hi, I'm returning to work in 11 days and am having trouble building up a supply of pumped breastmilk for him to have while at daycare. He is now 14 weeks and nurses pretty vigorously about every three hours, except at night when he sleeps (thank God!) for about two 4 or 5 hour stretches. I've tried pumping in between feedings and in 15 minutes or so get a paltry ounce or two. Does anyone have advice on how to get the supply I need even for the first day? I figure I'll need 3 or 4 4 ounce bottles. OR, do I bite the bullet and introduce formula for one or two daytime feedings? Would love to hear any of your advice or experiences - thank you!!

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So What Happened?

First of all, thank you to all of you awesome mamas for your advice! I've been back at work for a few weeks now and so far I've been able to give him breastmilk for most of his feedings at daycare. I just rented a pump from the hospital and I think that is helping to get more out. The fenugreek and other suggestions were also very helpful and I think I'll make it back to full feedings in a few days. I'm so grateful to have all of you for your support and advice - thank you again! Now, back to the pump... :)

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T.S.

answers from Eugene on

Hi T.,

I've worked with a lot of moms with breastfeeding and breastfed my own three well into toddlerhood. One thing I can tell you about this particular age--indeed the entire first 6 months--is that your baby is pretty much on a constant "growth spurt". That means that as soon as you can make the milk, he will suck it right out of you! At least during the day. As he grows, and nurses more, you ARE making more and more milk to keep up, but there isn't a time during the day when it will be easy to get any "extra" until after you HAVE returned to work.

You may also be having trouble because every woman's breasts and glandular response is different, so your breastpump may not be the best match. Possibly it is difficult to get a good "let down" reflex, also.

Here are some ideas:
1) Does he sleep longer during the night? Are there any times when he goes a little longer between nursings? The best time to express milk is when your breasts feel full--and that usually happens during those longer breaks, when the baby is actually probably about ready to nurse again because it's been so long.
Here's what you do...pick one or two of those times. It will most likely be in the middle of the night or pre-dawn morning. Have your baby sleep in your bed with you--don't worry, nobody has ever rolled over on their baby unless they were dead drunk. Mine all slept with us and it was heaven for all of us. That will allow you to just roll over and nurse him--BUT ONLY ON ONE BREAST--and it will be easier for him to be satisfied with that and go right back to sleep. Then drag yourself out of bed and pump the other breast--by now, you will have had a strong "let down" and your other breast will be as full as it can get.
Next time he nurses, have him start on that side, even though it is probably closer to empty--that will stimulate even more milk, though it will take a day or two to catch up.

2) Just before you do pump, use a very warm, wet wash cloth or cloth diaper and wrap your breast--the warmth helps you let down the milk.

3) Some things that can help with increasing milk production are...borage leaf--you can buy it in bulk at Sundance or Mrs. Thompson's Herbs--put a large handful in a mason jar, fill with boiling water, cover tightly, and let cool. This is called an infusion--a medicinal level tea. It can be sweetened with honey if you like. Drink a jar of this every day. Borage is an adrenal booster-helps with stress, and it works wonders for milk production. Also, hops--which for most of us means a really good, very hoppy, microbrew. This would be best at bed time, because the hops (not the alcohol) will pass into your milk, and helps make the baby sleepy when he nurses on that one breast so he'll go to sleep easier after he's nursed on only one side.

4) Getting a paltry ounce or two isn't bad. Sometimes you just have to keep doing that and adding it into a bottle until you've got the 4 ounces you need. That's ok to do as long as in between pumpings you put the bottle in the freezer. Or realize that he may not always want a complete 4 ounces at first while he's getting used to the bottle, so you might freeze several bottles with just the 2 ounces. Every single time you get more milk out than the baby himself gets out, you are stimulating your body to make even more the next day--so this will build up over time.

5) Call a lactation consultant to see if you can try different breast pumps. As I said, I really found that I did best with my hands, and second was those little plastic hand pumps--but I got started when electric pumps were not always very good. You might find one that works better than what you have now.

6) Remember that thing about going a long time between nursings? When you ARE actually back at work, you will have those long stretches when you get really full. Do everything you can to set your work situation up so that you can pump as soon as you feel that full feeling-the closer to your baby's normal schedule, the better. What you want to avoid is getting so full you feel bloated and sore--because it will trigger your body to slow down the milk production you have worked to build up. And be pretty darned uncomfortable.

7) If you haven't managed to get enough milk frozen to feel comfortable leaving him, you will feel stressed. That will be difficult for your milk supply as well as for you. So instead of formula, try getting some very fresh goat milk and put that in bottles. It is the closest thing to mother's milk, and even though it doesn't have all the nutrients of formula, remember, it isn't his only meal of the day. It's much healthier and less likely to cause problems with digestion that might turn around and cause you to have trouble breastfeeding.

Good luck and send me a message privately if you want any help.

3 moms found this helpful
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A.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hello T., I hope these ideas will help....first, I would recommend NOT adding formula. When I worked as a lactation consultant I found that was almost always the beginning of the end and also the beginning of many problems for both mom and baby.

The best way on earth to up milk supply is nurse lots....one nursing every 3 hours will add up to a supply that is lacking for almost every mom and baby. I would recommend that you begin nursing when you are together in very frequent bouts and that you especially do so for the hours the 2 of you will be together once you are [email protected]____.com if you take your baby to bed with you @ night and let him nurse while you both sleep...that way he will need less during the day and doing so will also really up your supply, you will likely get longer streches of sleep if you child is like mine that way as well.

There are also some herbs that help increase milk production. Fenugreek is one, there is also a wonderful mothers milk tea you can find @ Fred Meyers healthfood section. Be sure you are getting a really healthy diet with lots of pure water as well since that helps increase milk supply.

One other thing to consider is maybe you are making plenty of milk, but do not respond well either to a pump or to the pump you have. Some pumps do more to damage the nipple and hurt milk supply than help. You did not say what kind of pump you have. I found that I could get no milk @ all from ANY pump even though I had enough milk to nurse 2 at one time and donate to a third child. I had more success with hand expression. ( not sure if that would work better for you or not)

I would recommend the book working motheer nursing mother and I would recommend going to a Le Leche League meeting for working moms and finding out how others are making it work from them and getting support there too.

Also if there is a way you can see him on a lunch break, you and he will have an easier separation. I also would try pumping or expressing while he is nursing on the other side.

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S.B.

answers from Seattle on

I get the most milk when I pump on one side and feed my baby on the other. Also, check that your breast shields are the right size. Medela offers different size shields which can make a huge difference!

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J.A.

answers from Portland on

I agree with one of the previous posters on not starting formula. You can produce enough milk. The research says that breastfed babies (and they are also finding this on formula fed babies too) that they only take in on average 25 ounces in 24 hours. So if your baby is nursing every three hours, then you should only send 3 oz bottles to daycare (for example, the baby is there for 6 hours, the baby should only need 2 3oz bottles) and educate them on how to bottle feed a breastfed baby and that the baby might not be hungry but needs soothing. Also, you should pump for 10 to 15 minutes after you nurse to tell your body to produce more at the normal eating times. Your body will make the milk for you to pump at work also. You can take fenugreek but make sure you are taking enough of it. It's 610mg per day. You can add blessed thistle and eat oatmeal to help increase your supply. I also wanted to tell you that 1 to 2 ounces is perfectly normal. Also, if you haven't introduced a bottle yet, you should definatly work on that before you go back to work. If you want to read more (and check my advice against something) check out kellymom.com. That site has been around for 10 years and has a ton of evidence based/research based information. Search "bottle feed breast fed baby" and you will get a TON of helpful information and tips.

HTH

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M.S.

answers from Portland on

I would not give up to formula just yet if you don't want to!

In order to get more milk, when it is time to nurse, go pump instead. When you have gotten all the milk you can, THEN go nurse him. He will not get nearly as much milk, so only do it every other feeding. Him nursing on your empty breasts will stimulate your breasts to pick up the pace. Also, he will get more of the filling fatty hind milk. Within a couple days, you will be producing more milk than you know what to do with. Keep up this routine of pumping first before every-other feeding, and then when you go back to work, continue to pump when you would have fed him, and you will get a good size bottle out of it. Don’t forget to drink TONS of water.

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S.Y.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,
There is a wonderful, completely safe herb called Fenugreek that you can get at healthfood stores. It helps boost milk supply in nursing moms and was super helpful to me. I would recommend taking it as you go back to work to help increase and maintain your milk supply. I took 3 capsules 3x/day. The one side effect is that you might smell like maple syrup. Weird I know. My husband kept craving pancakes!

The other tip I have is to pick a time (usually first thing in the morning since milk supply is greatest) and pump then. This will trick your body into thinking that it needs to make milk for an extra feeding. It takes 1.5 hours for your milk to replenish so if you can do this 1.5 hours before your baby's feeding, that will work best.

Good luck!

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L.B.

answers from Anchorage on

I was having trouble getting more than just a few ounces. I started to eat more whole orangic oatmeal, cut out any kind of mint and just pump and pump till my little nips were finallly able to make a few ounces at a time. Try to relax if he is giving you a break at night try to pump when he is not feeding. I know this sounds barbaeric to wake up and pump but, it is worth it. Once you start at work you will be amazed at how much you will get. I have a pump buddy at work this helps.

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A.M.

answers from Richland on

Dear T.

You will find out it will be hard to keep up with the milk. So what you can do is mix 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula. If you use a pump it is not the same as a baby and you will start getting less milk. We had the same problem. By mixing 1/2 & 1/2 it will make your milk go farther.

I pray it works for you.

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N.R.

answers from Richland on

T.,

Rest assured that your body will begin to produce the extra milk once it realizes that it really is needed. It may take a few days of extra pumping but eventually your body will begin to produce that extra milk all on its own.

How relaxed are you when you are pumping? If you are overly stressed, not comfortable, etc. your body will sense this and it affects your "let-down." For example, when I first went back to work with my daughter they told me to use the rest room to pump. I was sooooooo uncomfortable in there. Not just physically but the thought of making my baby her meal in the bathroom totally disgusted me. I had never had a problem pumping before and suddenly couldn't get more than an ounce in 15 minutes. As soon as I switched locations and was more at ease I was back to getting 8-9 ounces in a 15 minute session.

Another thing to think about is the pump that you are using. It may be that it's not working very well. Have you tried the Avent pump? As far as I'm concerened it is te best pump ever made- even compared to those super pricey models!

I hope that everything goes well for you as you return to work.

N.

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M.D.

answers from Seattle on

I always had difficulty expressing much milk with a pump (also had two large, vigorous eaters) The best way I found was to pump on one breast while nursing on the other. It also increases milk supply, so you might find more in between feedings after a few days.

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J.M.

answers from Seattle on

Hi,
When I went back to work after my first baby I cut the breastmilk with formula about half and half. I also pumped a lot while I was at work since I didn't have to worry about saving some for nurse time.
However, I was talking to another mom at daycare the other day while we nursed our new babies and she said she uses this herb called fenugreek that really upped her milk making. I found this webpage with info for you: http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/fenuhugg.shtml
I may try it soon too as my freezer supplemental supply dwindles. Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from Seattle on

T.,

I was able to breastfeed my son for 15 months, even after returning to work when he was 3 months old. Here are my recommendations for pumping and storing:

1. Invest in a good, double electric breastpump like the Medela Pump In Style. They're expensive, but more than pay for themselves over time!

2. You produce more milk in the morning. Create a regular time every day between your regular morning breastfeeding sessions to pump and store. You won't get much at first, but if you stick with that daily pumping session at the same time in the morning, your body will adjust and start producing more milk at that time.

3. Find a place at work where you can pump privately and try to plan your breaks around when you plan to pump. Some people use private restrooms, but quite often there are private offices where you can lock the door and pump without being disturbed. Look and ask around. (other mamas are often very accomodating and understanding!)

4. Remember, if you plan on pumping at work, that stockpile you're building right now is just a backup! You'll probably produce plenty of milk at work during your pumping sessions to leave adequate bottles for the next day's care.

Hope that helps. Feel free to contact me directly if you have other questions. :)

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M.T.

answers from Seattle on

I don't know any working moms who don't eventually need to supplement with formula. If you need to give him a bottle or two of formula in order to make pumping work, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

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L.C.

answers from Seattle on

I too was a working mom and I breast fed. I just pumped 10 min after each feeding and that built up my supply. Get a double breast pump-I used an expensive one from Medela-the only I could find that gave me bang for my buck. Don't be afraid to by a used one-just get new cords/shield etc. WIll you be pumping at work? Get a car jack for your breast pump and pump on your 10 min and lunch breaks. Do this for as long as you can and then go ahead and give your child formula. You can still breast feed at night and weekends. I did that and breast fed for the 1st year.

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A.W.

answers from Eugene on

I found that when I pumped 1st thing in the morning my supply was the best and I could get 1 or 2 feedings stored and still breast feed when my baby woke up. Maybe this will work for you.

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B.G.

answers from Portland on

I would begin to slowly introduce formula. He is going to need to transition soon anyway, and that will give you a chance to pump a full feeding. If he is eating a healthy meal, then there shouldn't be a lot of leftovers, if you know what I mean.

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C.W.

answers from Portland on

T.,

I would suggest you change the type of pump you are using. You should be able to pump enough milk for him in between feedings, especially if you breastfeed him now with out any issues of limited breastmilk. Your body will build up to the extra pumping, however when you back of pumping the extra it might be a little uncomfortable for you until you regulate to the proper amount needed each day for your little guy.

I used a pump call "pump in Style" by medela. It is very stylish most people don't even realize it is a breat pump and powerful enough to get the job done perfectly. This breast pump worked awesome for me. I returned to work after my boys were 6 weeks old and pumped at work until they were approx. a year old.

Good luck and I am happy to see you attempting to breast feed while working.

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T.P.

answers from Seattle on

When you go back to work bring a mendela with you. You can rent them from most clinics or find one online and just buy new parts. Your place of work is required to let you pump as offten as you need. If you step away as much as you need to pump you should still keep up the supply you need. It worked for me. The key is to get a Medela and not one of the cheap target or walmart brand ones they just don't get the job done and then you will not produce as much. Good luck.

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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

I'm not sure if your baby is nuring both sides when she feeds, but what I did was nurse one side and then pump the other. I also found I would get more doing this in the morning b/c as you said, the baby (ideally) sleeps longer at night.
If the baby does nurse both sides, i would suggest trying to pump right after they nurse to see if there is anything left.
I have also heard that beer can produce a "let down" and while I didn't drink a lot while nursing, I did find that to be true if I had a beer.
Good luck.

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D.M.

answers from Anchorage on

There is an organic tea called "Mother's Milk". I used it years ago with my youngest (almost 5) and my oldest daughter (21) is using it now with her 5 wk old when she feels she is lacking supply. I am so anti Formula, that I would recommend anything but formula.
Other ideas would be to use your breast pump in between feedings and at least every three hours a night. It is well known that breast milk is supply and demand. If you demand more (by pumping between feedings) you should be able to increase your supply. Don't forget to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, limit your caffine.
Once you have a stock pile in the freezer and are back at work, keep yourself on a feeding schedule by pumping at work.
I was fortunate when I came back to work with my last child; my daycare was 5 minutes away. I would feed him at 7am; pump at 10am; feed at noon; pump at 3 and hang out at the daycare after work for a 5pm feeding before going home.
You can also contact a local lactation consultant and see if they have any ideas that might fit into your schedule. Your local hospital, doctors office or phone book would have contact numbers.
Good luck to you.
D.
Proud mom of 5 (24, 23, 21, 10 and 5)

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E.B.

answers from Portland on

I don't know what your nursing habits are... but my son only takes one side per feeding, so I can pump the other side when he is done. You might also try continuing to pump the breast he has finished just after the feeding, keep the juices flowing as it were. "They" say morning milk is some of the best, so maybe making an effort to pump when you wake up will help?

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

I found that I actually was able to pump best in the mornings. During the first morning feed, I was already pretty full. If you're coordinated and the baby's still sleepy, you might be able to feed him on one side while pumping the other -- that usually got me most milk the fastest. But I agree that an ounce or two isn't bad -- those ounces add up.

Also, how big a supply are you worried about? I had waaaayy too much in the freezer at first. My son is ten months now, and I have 3 frozen in the freezer, and pump about 10 oz during the day when he's in day care for 6 hours. (I often have to make up an ounce or two after he goes to bed, to get all 10 oz ready to go). But really, I hardly ever touch the freezer stash. It's just for if I need to go out and I wasn't able to pump enough first -- and then I can usually make up for it when I get home.

So, don't worry too much. You really only need a day or two's supply in there. And then you'll be replacing it every day as you go! Good luck.

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

try mothers milk tea (with fenugreek), eating 500 more calories than average, drinking 1 tall glass water with each nursing, nursing frequently (stims production), rest (haha), and pumping at night after the kids have slept and all is quiet (i'll get twice as much as when I do it in the am). call my clinic for more help if you need. ###-###-#### as I'm a midwife and mamma too. Best wishes, Alexanra

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A.F.

answers from Richland on

Definitely pump every 3 hours while you're at work to keep up your supply. If you can't or don't want to then there is no harm in formula. Seems that if you build up your supply extra to have some for storing bottles you may become engorged at some point.

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A.A.

answers from Eugene on

Hi T.,
I never knew how much milk I had until I was away from DD for a 48hr stretch (breast pump in tow). It took me 2 months of pumping to get a stash big enough to go on this voyage but to my delight I came home with an equally large stash to freeze and use on much needed date nights. I'm telling you this because I'm sure you will also be pleasantly surprised by how much milk you come home with after your first day back to work. It's so hard to get any extra for that first away time because they literally suck us dry but once your little boy is in daycare you'll have surplus for him. And most of all don't sweat it, if it doesn't work out or if pumping at work is too cumbersome the formula supplementation won't hurt a bit. :)

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T.A.

answers from Bellingham on

Hi There,

I breast-fed all my children (I have 3) and had to go back to work after all of them. I brought my pump to work and pumped, so any extra I had I brought home with me. It kept my milk supply going. I also added organic formula to the mix to make sure they had enough in between. I was able to come home and feed them sometimes on lunch breaks as well since I am 10 minutes from work. But I kept as much as I could refrigerated and pumped at work and it really helped out. I was able to breast-feed them all for almost 2 years each :-). Just keep pumpin', and don't feel guilty about adding some good formula to the mix. What's important is that you are all happy and healthy!

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E.F.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,
You are SO right about avoiding the formula!! If you do HAVE to use it, do NOT mix the bottles; feed breastmilk first, then do as little as possible of the formula; that way no breastmilk gets wasted, as the formula would need to be tossed after he fed from the bottle. Better yet is NOT doing the formula!!!
Be SURE you:
Get as flexible a schedule you can at first, so you can ease back into work, and arrange for you to visit baby at lunchtime to nurse if possible
Use a GOOD double electric pump; Medela or Ameda both make good ones; avoid those made by formula companies, as they are usually very bad quality.
Get your pump checked; if your settings are not quite right, flanges not fitted well, or if the pump is too old you will not get the best function from it. A lactation consultant (IBCLC) can check this for you.
You will be able to simply use fresh bottles, what you pump one day can be used fresh the next day; breastmilk is good in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Have a piece of baby's clothing or a picture or whatever to look at to help let down
DON'T watch your production; look at baby's picture, a magazine, whatever to not get tense about how much you are making. Simple trick, but often helps.
Stay hydrated, but don't force fluids; OVER drinking can cause lower supply just as being dehydrated can.
Most women have a "best time" of day; pump then and as often as you can pump one side and nurse the other for the days preceding your return to work. This should give you plenty for the first day plus a bit to store.
Try a bit of gentle breast massage or mild hot pack (warm wet washcloth) as you pump
You need to remember that you will pump MUCH more when he is not nursing; relax and trust that your body will make enough!! After all, you KNOW now that you have all the milk he needs; you're not pumping much because what you are pumping is what you have BEYOND what he eats. You do NOT have to resort to formula.
Best of luck, and e-mail me if you want more help; I am both a nursing mom and IBCLC.
E.

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

Oh yeah do I remember those days and the stress I put myself through! A couple of things helped me...I did some naturapathic remedies...mothers milk tea etc and it did help some. I also found that I needed to drink more water....I used to get up early in the morning and pump and that also seemed to help. I would take advantage of the sleeping time and use those 4 hour stretches to build up your supply. I also found that my daughter just did not use the pumped milk nearly as much as she liked to breastfeed so I ended up not needing quite as much as I thought. But yes there were some days in which I had to provide formula as a back up. This was hard for me because I had worked so hard at being successful at breast feeding that I really didn't want to give up and bite the bullet so to speak. Now she is 3 years old and we are still trying to totally give up on the breast feeding at nap and bed time! Some of us just simply don't produce as much milk without the baby on the breast to stimulate production! oh yeah...sometimes I also would not use one side for breast feeding and build it up for a better pump production...It really did help. Good luck!

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L.R.

answers from Seattle on

the more you pump the more you should get in time. supply vs. demand. you could try the mother's milk tea or tincture of fennel. for more ideas, you should call a lactation consultant... :) good luck!

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B.N.

answers from Seattle on

Brewer's yeast was very helpful to me. And as I am sure you already do, you need to have as much WATER going in as milk you would like to come out. Good luck I hope this is helpful. B.

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A.B.

answers from Seattle on

Try supplementing with goat milk. I have a daughter 6 yr and a son 2 1/2 month. They both have had goat milk. I also have some friends whose family bought a goat and raised them on the milk. Personally formula freaks me out.

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D.A.

answers from Portland on

Hi T.,

I would pump right after every breast feed for about 15 minutes. The breast is continually producing milk, so you will never run "out", even if your baby has just nursed. Your milk production will actually increase, but it will take a few days. Milk production is based on demand, so the more you demand, the more you will produce. Put the ounce or two that you do get and put it in the freezer and before long you will have a bottle full.

Continuing to breast feed and returning to work can be a real challenge...but it's worth it. I pumped for several months and initially it was so difficult I was ready to just give it up, but now I'm so glad that I didn't. Make sure that you get your baby used to the bottle before he goes to day care.
Instead of breast feeding, pump your breasts, put the breast milk in a bottle and feed him that way to see how he does. I have seen many babies refuse a bottle at first, even with Mom's milk in it.

By the way, I'm a nurse and do labor and delivery, post partum and baby care and have been assisting mother's with breastfeeding for years. I breastfed my own four children and each one was different. Good luck and keep up the pumping!
D. A

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J.D.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.. If you are planning on pumping when you return to work you may find that you can produce plenty of breast milk for daycare. When I returned to work after maternity leave I pumped twice a day at work and found that since I wasn't nursing during the day I could produce enough milk for daycare. I also pumped just before going to bed at night. Good luck to you.

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C.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,

I had the same issue. I would sit there for 30 minutes and maybe get 3 oz if I was lucky. I was making myself crazy so I ended up introducing formula about a week before I went back to work and breastfeeding in the morning and evening. My son took to the change very well. We used Enfamil Lipil. He is now 18 months old and very healthy. If you have a Costco membership you can buy it there much cheaper then in the regular stores. Good Luck with the transition.

C. B

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S.R.

answers from Seattle on

When you first go back to work you could mix formula with whatever milk you are able to pump, then pump at work and go back to breastmilk.

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C.S.

answers from Portland on

I went back to a 24 hr. work day when my daughter was 4 months and I didn't have a lot in the freezer, either. I also couldn't pump st work as much as she ate that day. My Naturopathis Dr. told me about Fenugreek--an herb sold over the counter to help with milk supply. I took it as recommended by her and it helped enough for me to get more milk, i.e. be able to have extra to pump. Also, by advice from a nurse, I started pumping one side while (or after) feeding my daughter her first meal of the day on the other side. That's when you'll have the biggest supply, usually, esp. since he's a good sleeper--your body can catch up. Drink enough water to drownd in while snacking on good foods between meals and you'll also help your supply.
I did finally have to start mixing formula with my milk-though TRY IT AT HOME FIRST--we had an allergic reaction to 2 of them and I can't imagine a daycare taking as good a care of your baby in that sad, awful situation.
Anyway--hope this helps! Good luck pumping at work!

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B.W.

answers from Seattle on

I think the bullet you have to bite, if you prefer breast milk to formula as we do, is to get up in the middle of those precious 4-5 hour stretches of night sleep and pump. Or what I do when I'm running low on breast milk for daycare is get up for a night feeding, feed on one side, put the baby down to sleep and then pump the other side. Then when she's ready to eat again in 3 hours, my milk is back up and I can do the same thing (though I alternate baby/pumping sides to make sure)... It sucks to be up longer at night, but that was the only way I got ahead of the milk supply issue. Hope this helps you.

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J.K.

answers from Portland on

I had a hard time pumping also. Advice #1: make sure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day. That's the easiest step. You can try a supplement called Fenegreek (look in the vitamin or natural food section or at GNC, etc.). It helps promote milk production. Another thing I had to do was pump before I nursed. My DS always seemed to be able to get more than the pump could and never "complained" about there not being enough milk. All that said, I did have to supplement with formula because he was slow to gain weight, but I only used one bottle a day. I congratulate you on breast feeding exclusively so far and for wanting to continue! But if you have to supplement, don't feel bad. Not every mom has the production of a dairy cow! (LOL)

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K.C.

answers from Seattle on

I agree with Barbara and others. I had a voracious little boy and was only able to get ahead by pumping in the middle of the night. You can leave fresh breastmilk sitting out without refrigeration for up to 8 hours, so I would get up and pump at night when my supply was the highest and leave it out - that way if my son woke up soon after and I didn't have enough to breastfeed him, I could grab the freshly pumped bottle. Usually this wasn't a problem and after his next feed, I would just store the milk in the fridge.

Good luck!
-K.

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B.S.

answers from Honolulu on

To get the milk supply up, I started pumping for 30 minutes every two hours, and when he was hungry I'd have someone feed him the milk in the bottle while I pumped some more. I took a couple of days, but my breasts started producing enough milk where I could both pump and feed him. I was able to store quite a bit of milk. Once you go back to work, pump according to his eating schedule and you'll be able to stay constantly ahead, but without continuously making more than you need. Your body will know what to do.
Good luck!

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P.Z.

answers from Portland on

There are a ton of wonderful suggestions in regards to herbs that really work. I would recommend another trick to help out too. When nursing, nurse your baby on one side and pump on the other side. This helps with let down. Once you go to work, hopefully you will feel fuller and missing your baby will help with let down when you look at a photo of him and think about him and nothing else. Really try to relax and not let your mind wander to other things like work, errands, to do lists, etc.

Good luck!

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N.H.

answers from Seattle on

I find pumping to be more successful if I do at the same time every day, consistently. If I miss a day, I notice that the amount I pump is significantly decreased (the body is an amazing system!). I pump after my son's first morning feeding. He sleeps a good 8 1/2 hours at night, then goes back down for another 2-3 hours after that feeding, so that time is the best for me. When I prepared to go back to work and needed to build a supply in the fridge, I also started drinking Mother's Milk Tea, and taking Fenugreek Herbal Supplement Pills. Those really seem to help build up your milk supply.

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A.H.

answers from Portland on

I was never a super-producer of breast milk like some of my friends. From the start, I had a hard time keeping up with my little guy's needs while I was at work. What I ended up doing was making a 50-50 blend of Formula and breast milk. That made for an easy transition; without him totally loosing the taste for breast milk.

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J.L.

answers from Seattle on

This is the advice I gave to a friend of mine who was having pretty serious supply issues, baby losing weight, etc. This is kinda customized for worst case senario, but a lot of good ideas, so I hope it helps:

Ok, as for your milk, this isn't going to be easy, so prepare yourself. Are you ready? You need to give up.........

COFFEE, yes, I said it, AND diet cokes, especially the diet part. Artificial sweeteners wreak all kinds of havoc on your system and his. (more details on that later if you're interested) Also, the caffeine can lower your supply. Doesn't mean you have to quit forever, (QUIT THE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS FOREVER) but until your milk comes back in. You gotta give it up.

Ok, if you haven't died from shock yet, let's move on. You need to be drinking MINIMUM 8 glasses of water a day. I would recommend as much as humanly possible, maybe through in some gatorade, NOT powerade which contains artificial sweeteners; to keep you electolytes up. Yes, you should be going pee like every hour at first, lol. Next, eat lots of good high fat foods, (avacado, nuts, olive oil, good fats) That will ensure that your milk has plenty of calories when it does come back in.

THEN, get some fenugreek, not the cheap capsule kind at Safeway, but a really good kind like at Trader Joes, or Supper Supplements, or any of those. Take it, the highest dosage allowed, luckily you'll have plenty of water to wash it down with, lol
Also, to break up the monotany of all the water, get the Mother's milk tea. Have a cup with every meal (3 cups a day and yes, you can count that as water intake)
Pump every two hours, both sides for no less than 15 minutes at a time.
Visualization...Ok, this isn't just me being a hippie freak, my Ped. told me to do this when Ash was having nursing issues.....While you're nursing, or pumping, relax as much as you possibly can, close your eyes and visualize the milk flowing through your breast to your baby. Repeat to yourself (not outloud, people w/ think you're a nutter) "I can feed my baby. I can provide him with everything he needs. He is healthy, happy and fullfilled. I can do this."

<This works while pumping as well, and don't forget, the right equipment is key. Medela all the way!>
Again, this advice was for a friend whose supply was pretty much gone, you don't have that problem, but the advice is the same to get you pumping enough....pump after every nursing sesion...you WON"T get anything at first, but after about 3 days your body (supply) will catch up to the demand (pumping) you've put on it and start producing more milk, which will make it easier to pump some out. Remember that your baby's sucker is always going to be better than the pump, but with practice it can be done. You are always welcome to contact me personally if you would like! I am passionate about babies and their boobies! LOL

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A.L.

answers from Yakima on

Try pumping right after he feeds. You may get another ounce or two, and you may also build up your supply, because once you start pumping at work, it may decrease a bit. Also, you might want to try pumping at night, three hours after his last feeding, if he's not waking you up to eat anyway. In any case, 11 days should be enough time to store up the amount of milk you will need for your first day of work, even if you only pump 1-2 ounces.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

I fully agree with Jenn L! I would say it again, but she already did.

I lost most of my milk supply due to a breast infection when my daughter was a month old and freaked out because I did not want to use formula. I found that taking the fenugreek 3 capsules 3x a day about tripled my supply within 2 days. You do have to be drinking as much water as possible, and instead of the gatorade, Smart water has electrolytes too. Trader Joes has it at the least expensive price, but you can find it at Fred Meyer and all the natural food stores.

Any time my milk supply started to become less or I wasn't able to keep up enough for during the day while I was at work, I just started taking the fenugreek and it worked every time!

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T.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi T.,
I had trouble producing enough milk for the first 4 months with my 1st born. I found fenugreek really helped. You can find it at most any place that sells vit and herb sup. Also, as you know pumping, pumping, etc. I supplemented with formula until I produced enough milk, so always have that option if all else fails. Good luck.
T.

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