I have two questions today – very exciting! (Have a question about pumping breast milk? Ask it here!)
First of all, let me just say that I LOVE your site! I can’t believe how well you’ve documented all this stuff – extremely helpful for an exclusive pumper like myself! And made me feel WAY less crazy, guilty, and alone!
Anyway – I had a couple of questions and I hope you can answer them when you have time. I’ve cut down to 5 sessions a day and am finding that I have a big output in the morning… sometimes more than 12oz. What do you do with the bottles when they’re full? Do you stop pumping and switch bottles? I’m worried that my letdown will stop altogether if I do this. Any tips/techniques for pumping like this? This will be especially helpful to me when I cut down pumps further, because I’m expecting (hoping, at least) to pump around that much per session.
Another question: When did you notice a significant change in your supply? I’m doing 5 sessions a day right now, but hoping to go down to 4 when my baby is 6 months, followed by 3 a few months later and then 2 towards the end (let’s hope I last that long, though!)
I had the same problem in the mornings! At first, I did switch the bottles. I’m not sure what kind of a pump you have but on the Freestyle (which is what I have) you can turn off just one side. So I would turn off the side I needed to change, and kept pumping on the other while I switched the bottles (which I had brought over before I started and had ready, so it was pretty quick). Since you letdown on both sides at the same time (based on messages from your boobs to your brain), this makes any concerns about letdown less of an issue.
But! Then I discovered these 8oz Medela bottles and started using them for my morning pumping session, which totally solved the problem. (I’m not sure what kind of pump you have, but even if it’s not Medela you might be able to find bigger ones that will screw into your pump).
As far as what happened to my supply when I dropped pumping sessions, I would say that I didn’t experience any drops in supply until I dropped from 4 to 3 pumps per day. The supply drop each time was very slow, but also kind of a lot, as you can see:
- Going from 4 to 3: gradually (over 3 months) lost about 10 ounces
- Going from 3 to 2: gradually (over 2 months) lost about 10 ounces
- Going from 2 to 1: gradually went down to 3 ounces before I dropped the last pumping session
However, another thing that I’ll mention is that I also got my period back around the time I dropped to 3 pumps per day. With my second baby (the one I nursed), my supply took a few ounce hit every time I got my period and never recovered from it, like it’s supposed to, so every month I would lose a few ounces. I didn’t drop any feedings or pumping sessions, the only variable was my period. So I think that probably played into it with my first baby as well, though there’s really no way to know. Obviously, this is just my experience, and other people’s will likely vary.
Hiya thank you so much for this post. I am a new mum to a week old baby and am exclusively pumping and want to use a routine, I am just wondering do you just pump from one breast per sessions or bit of both, currently I am doing 15 min alternating each breast per feed e.g. 15 min right at 3pm then 15 min on left at 6pm (I currently get 3-4oz each time) .. I don’t know if that’s right. Only started it today, also what do you do if your going out for the day do you take pump with you or just use saved milk?
Congratulations on your brand new baby!
Do you have a double electric pump? If so, I would definitely recommend pumping both sides every three hours. It sounds like your supply is great for having a one week old! Since it will probably regulate in the next week or two, it’s best if you are pumping as much milk as possible now, so that when it does your supply will still be strong. (Basically, when your milk comes in, sometimes it comes in with a lot at first, and then your body will decide it knows how much you need and then cut back to that.) If you have a manual pump, I would still try to pump both sides, but since it’s more labor intensive it might be harder to do that.
As far as going out, I would always bring pumped milk for my baby, and only bring my pump if I was going to be gone more than 3 hours or so (or during a time when I would normally pump). I wouldn’t bring my pump and no milk because I was always nervous that he’d get hungry before I could pump and then I’d be stuck out in public with a crying baby and no food to give him and it would be a disaster.
Please feel free to add any suggestions or thoughts in comments!