Am I drying out? Should i stop pumping? HELP

  • I have a 4 month old baby and had to go back to work full time after 4 weeks of maternity leave because my husband got laid off. I always had plenty of breastmilk for him but in the last 2 weeks i'm "drying out" and i had to start with formula. I'm glad he's taking it well but at work I only get a 15 minute break and my lunch and hardly get a chance to pump because i'm a medical assistant and we have a heavy patient flow. What do I do? should I stop pumping at work and just feed him at home? will my breastmilk dry up if I stop pumping at work? I got mastitis about 3-4 times since going back to work because I don't get a chance to pump and 'they' get engourged? Someone help!

  • I had a baby 10 weeks early and was told to pump because preemies need breast milk, easier said than done.  It was ok while I was in the hospital and then I went home.  Because I had a c section I was dependant on other people taking me to the hospital and due to my own modesty issues I only felt comfortable pumping at home as anyone could walk in on you while you are pumping.  One night while visiting at the nicu the mother of the other baby in the room came in and handed her supply to their nurse.  The look on my face must have said it all.  She had 5 times more than me.  My nurse gently said you keep doing what you can.  What you can give your baby is better than not trying at all.  I have since stopped but have had no painful issues.  When you slow down so will the replentishment of the milk, but you are the mom and mothers instinct is usually a good one.  do what your heart says is the right move.  What works for one doesn't work for all. Good luck!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! I have a week old and he was born a few weeks early and was pretty sick with jaundice. Needless to say, we didnt get off to a good start with breastfeeding and he was loosing weight quickly, so i started to supplement with formula. To date,  I have only been able to pump enough milk for two or three feedings a day and give him formula for the rest. I am just trying to stay with it and pump as much as I can. It is really nice to hear that there are other women who have the same problems.

  • There is a good chance that if you stop pumping altogether during the day, that you will begin to dry up. Unfortunately, if your work schedule doesn't allow you to pump throughout the day, you may have no choice. Just rest assured that you are doing the best you can for your baby. 4 months of breastmilk is an excellent start to life and supplementing with a quality formula will give your baby all the nutrition he needs.

    Continue to pump when you can and drink plenty of fluids. At night, nurse him as much as he wants. Hopefully your body will adjust and make just enough for these feedings. Then, he will be able to get the best of both worlds.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  • I am currently in the same situation.  My baby is also 4 months and I have been working since baby was 10 weeks.  I breastfeed in the morning and night, but supplement with formula and about 10 oz. of breastmilk during the day as that is all I usually get when pumping at work since I am only able to pump once a day.  But just this past week I have noticed my breasts are not as full as they once were and when I breastfeed, baby just doesn't seem satisfied.  I assume I am losing my milk probably because I have been unable to get the required 8 hours of sleep a night (I have only been sleeping around 4 hours), I am barely eating because I have to wait until baby is in bed and then I am just too tired to cook, and the fact that I am only pumping once a day at work when a nurse told me I should pump at least 2 maybe 3 times since I am gone 10 1/2 hours a day including commuting.  I am trying to drink more fluid and eat more, but its really hard - when do I have time?  I was wanting to breastfeed at least until baby was 6 months, but not sure if I'll be able to.  But everyone tells me even if we are only able to breastfeed our babies for only 2 weeks, that 2 weeks is much better for the baby than nothing at all.  So I am trying to not worry, but I will be sad when I am no longer able to as it is a special time I spend with baby.  Plus at the 4 month check-up baby's doctor said baby is growing great and recommended we start rice cereal and then stage 1 foods after baby masters the spoon so I knew breastfeeding would end someday and that baby will continue to get the nutrition needed, but now just in other forms.  I am just sad to see it end, but for me I will continue try to get what I can until at least 6 months, if possible, even if only a couple ounces a day.  I figure its better than nothing at all, but if I have to stop well at least I know I did what I could for baby and baby is much better off.     

  • I feel like you just wrote my life story down. I HAD to go back to work after only 5 short weeks. I only get a chance to pump once at work. I try to pump once before I leave the house but don't always get to. I feed her after I get in from work but that is becoming quite the task. I'm definitely not producing near what I used to. I know I'm dehydrated because I don't get a chance to drink a lot at work. Now it's starting to affect my baby; she is used to going to sleep at night by breastfeeding (it calms her down more) but I don't always have enough for her to eat a "full meal". Just last night I fought with her for several hours to get her asleep with a bottle but she was fighting sleep soo bad. I had to let her sleep on my chest for a good hour or so before I could lie her down without her waking. I guess I have the same question as the original poster - do I continue pumping what I can for as long as I can or do I give up entirely?

  • I forgot to mention my baby girl, Isabella, was born 5-5-09.

  • I am in the medical field as well. We usually pump when we can..sometimes you do not get a chance and they will fill up. You may want to try pumping before you leave for work..and then if you can so it again at work or as soon as you get home, It is very hard to do especially with such a demanding job.

  • I feel like you "Love4Baby". I went to work at 8 weeks exactly after my C-section. My daughter was also in the NICU for a week due to an infection so they supplemented her with formula from the very beginning even though I pumped everyday at the hospital and nursed her when I could. At home I'm nursed exclusively for only about 2 to 3 weeks because she still was hungry. She got used to bottle and breast simultaneously. Going back to work it was difficult to pump even just 2 times a day (I did today). I nursed every evening/night and some mornings but I have to supplement. I give her around 2 to 3 bottles with half breast milk and half formul. But normally there's 4 bottles (4 to 5oz) of breast milk and another 2 with formula a day plus nursing. I'm trying to continue for at least 6 months but it's hard. Also she's not sleeping long enough now because she's hungry. Her 4-month checkup is next week so I hope the doc will say it's okay to give her a teaspoon or two of rice cereal after her regular feeding at least at night to hold her over until the morning. It's my first so I'm just taking each day as it comes. My own mother didn't nurse my brothers nor I but she's been supportive throughout and so has my husband but what's a mom to do with a 'hungry hippo?"

  • You should definetly continue to pump as long as you can, try to pump evey 3-4 hours, even it 's for 10 minutes, it's all worth it....also, when you get home, what I do is nurse my baby first even if she takes 5-10 mins of my milk and then supplement her. The key is that once you decrease your pumping time and get comfortable with the supplement then you'll loose your milk, it may take anywhere from a few days to a week to feel the decrease in your milk production, so my advice to you is that even your work schedule may be hectic and crazy, the staff should allow you to take a 10-15 min break to pump for the sake of your baby.....make the effor!

  • hey i too had the same prob ...not enough milk for my baby ,who is now 3 months old...so i did my best gave as much milk i can produce rest supplemented it with formula...felt guilty in the beginning but now when i see him grow big and every doc check up sounds good..i feel better .i still doing thesame for my 3 month old baby..keep going ..moms always try to do best .

  • I have the same problem too. My baby was in NICU for 2 days after my C-section so I was not able to breastfeed. He became too used to a bottle so he rejects my breasts. I can only feed him breastmilk by pumping and feeding it to him in a bottle. I was able to pump maximum 3 ounces, but it starting to dry up. Now the best I can do is 1 ounce or even less than that. Anyone have any ideas on how to boost my milk supply?

  • Based on everything I have gathered through these forums the best thing to do is drink plenty of water during the day. Pump at least every 2 hours for at least 10 minutes. Pumping more frequently stimulates your breasts as if you were actually feeding your infant; this 'tells' your body how much you need to produce and it should start increasing your supply. Also make sure you are pumping both sides at the same time - I found it stimulates production better.

    Good luck and Congrats!!

  • The best way to increase your milk supply is to let him nurse often and frequently...but what if he won't latch on? For starters, you can buy a nipple shield at your local Target or Walmart for about $5. They look like little silicone pasties and they fit over your nipple. This gives your baby something like a bottle nipple to latch on to. He sucks on it and draws the milk into the nipple from your breast. As he gets better and better at nursing, you can begin to wean him off of the nipple shield. The nipple shield is a short term solution and not meant to be a long term solution.

    There are also tons of breastfeeding resources you can use...contact your local La Leche League to find a breastfeeding guru in your area who can help you with positioning and latching. Also, your doctor may be able to help.

    Remember to drink PLENTY OF WATER...this will also increase your milk supply since milk is made up of mainly water. Hope this helps and let us know how you are doing!

  • The BEST way to keep your milk supply up is as follows. Pump often, for no less than 15 minutes at a time, and double pump. I do this 5x a day, my son is 8 months old and I work 3 days a week and have had no problems with milk supply. You absolutely have to do at least 15 minutes. You will get 2nd and 3rd let downs throughout that time. Some times I still have more milk pouring out at the 14 minute mark which is why it's cruicial to do the whole 15 minutes. And double pumping is the only way to go.  You have to pump during the day plus right before bed and right when get you get up in the morning (after you feed the baby of course)..... Good luck!