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Any tips to keep breasfeeding after you start pumping? A friend just went back to work and her milk supply is drastically down since she has started pumping.”

7 replies so far...

  • For me, the key to keeping up supply was to make sure that I completely emptied my breasts every time I pumped. This is sometimes harder than it sounds. For me, I need to keep pumping even after milk stops coming out of my breasts. In five minutes or so, it will start again (another "letdown"), and only after that am I really "empty." I pump for twenty to thirty minutes each time. When I first went back to work, I pumped three times a day. Now that my son is on solids, I've cut back to two times a day, but I still make sure to really empty my breasts at each pumping session. (My son is 13 months old and I went back to work at 12 weeks, so I've been doing this for ten months now).

    I agree with what others have said below - look at a picture of your baby while pumping, drink lots of water, keep your stress low, get lots of sleep, and make sure your pump and equipment is working properly.

    I don't mean to open a can of worms, but as a working, breastfeeding mom, co-sleeping has been the way to go for me. I get better sleep, more closeness with my son, and we get more feedings in. A pump will never empty your breasts as efficiently as your baby will, so maximizing your time together may help. Good luck to you - your friend, whoever!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Julie B on 3rd February 2009

  • The key is pumping often while away from the baby. Someone below mentioned pumping a little more than the baby actually feeds at home - great advice. I try looking at pictures or videos of my son that can help set the mood. The sound of a baby crying makes me start leaking immediately! Massage your breasts for a few seconds before you start pumping and play soft music if you can while you pump. The less stress the better and the more milk you can get. Pump for 15 minutes, even if you don't get much. Also, pay attention to the size of the breastshield you are using to pump with - if its too big or too small, it will affect how much milk you get. Hope this helps!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mary on 8th September 2008

  • I pumped for a full year after my son was born, and breastfed exclusively. I credit a few things to my ability to keep this up: oatmeal, LOTS of water, pumping more times a day than he was actually feeding (because the pump is less efficient than the baby), and trying not to stress too much (HA!), which also decreases supply. I drank Mothers' Milk tea for a while in there, too (Traditional Medicinals, I think).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Justine on 12th March 2008

  • They are all right. Milk production is based on supply and demand. The more she pumps or nurses the more milk her body will produce. It doesn't so much matter which one though. For example, she works a 9 hour day and currently pumps 2 times throughout the 9 hours she needs to increase that. Have her pump 3 or 4 times a day instead even if not much milk comes out. Again, the more she does it the more her body will produce as a reaction. Most likely the reason her milk supply has gone down since she's gone back to work is because the total amount of nursing she has done either with her baby or through pumping has gone down. Drinking lots of water and getting rest also play a role.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by ancgan on 8th March 2008

  • When she is home - she should breastfeed exclusively. That helped me to increase my milk production when I was pumping at work. Pumping frequently is also important. I ate oatmeal every morning and even drank dark beer! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Victoria on 8th March 2008

  • I just weened my 6 month old daughter. I pumped for 3 months at work after going back to work when she was 3 months old. I agree with drinking enough water and try to get sleep - breast production is exhausting! I think the most important thing is to breast feed your baby as much as you can and keep the pumping to a minimum. I would feed Cara at 5:30 AM, before getting on the treadmill, again at 8:00 AM for a little snack before I'd head to work. Then I'd pump 2xs during the day and feed her 2 more times that evening. It was a real juggling act to get the daycare to hold off feeding her until I could get to her by 5:30. Good luck! I hope this helps!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by dcnw on 7th March 2008

  • Nataly not sure if this is much help, but I do know that drinking more water and pumping more often kept my supply up.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Earthmama on 7th March 2008