Three questions today – bringing your milk supply up after you get your period back, feeding an older baby milk pumped when she was much younger, and talking to your doctor about exclusively pumping. (Have a question about pumping breast milk? Ask it here!)
Thank you for your all of your wonderful information. It helped me get started when I made the emotional decision to start exclusively pumping when my baby was 13 weeks old. I started off by pumping 6 times a day and gradually decreased to 4 times a day over a 6 week period. I didn’t see a noticeable change in my supply. My supply dropped by about 6 ounces a day once my period started and I haven’t been able to get it back up. I’ve been taking fenugreek 3 times a day. It has helped but I’m not back up to my original volume. Is it possible to increase my supply again or am I stuck at this new lower volume?Also, I would love to experiment with decreasing to 3 pumps per day in a month or two. If I notice a large supply drop by doing this, will I be able to increase my supply again if I add a fourth pumping session back in? I’m afraid to drop a pump since I’ve already seen a drop in my supply.
I had the same issue with both of my babies. With both of them, I got my period back at 9 months postpartum, and my supply slowly dropped and there wasn’t much that I could do to bring it back up. (I struggled a bit with it because I had previously had a great supply.) I did have a little success with oatmeal – I got an extra ounce or so on the days that I ate it for breakfast. Anyway, I think you might still be able to bring it up to where it was, but it would be a bit of work – maybe pumping for longer, power pumping, doing a lot of breast compressions, etc. If you felt very strongly about it, you might also try domperidone. (You would have to get a prescription from your OB or your baby’s ped.)
As for dropping to 3 pumps, it’s hard to say if you could bring it back up if you switched back to 4. Honestly, I think my drop was more hormonal than anything else (meaning the number of sessions wouldn’t have made a difference) – my supply would drop by a few ounces every month and never really recover. I think you would have the best luck if you increased your total daily pumping time a bit when you drop the 4th session – so if you are pumping 4 times for 20 minutes, you could pump 3 times for 30 minutes or something. Just a thought. Good luck!
How do I bring it up to my doctor that I want to exclusively pump from the beginning? It’s just personal reasons, I’d rather not breast feed directly. And also how do I go about breast pumping from the beginning (as in at the birthing center)?
I don’t want the doctor to try to talk me into breast feeding. I’ve done my research and I know what I want to do, I just don’t know how to relay that to my doctor. Do I even need to tell my OB?
To be honest, I don’t think you need to tell your OB. If he or she asks you if you plan on breastfeeding, you can honestly say yes (because exclusively pumping is breastfeeding). There is no difference to your health or your baby’s health if you are exclusively pumping or nursing. Therefore, it’s not really something your doctor needs to know.
As far as the birthing center goes, that is a little trickier. If you tell the nurses that you plan on breastfeeding, they will likely want you to try to nurse in the delivery room, if everything is fine with you and your baby. Is this something that you would be up for doing? If so, you can try nursing that once and them just pump in your room once you get a room. If not, you could tell them you want to give the baby a bottle of formula to start with and then try breastfeeding once you’ve recovered a bit from the birth.
What might work best overall is to pump 8 times per day in the birthing center, and give your baby anything you are able to pump, but also feed formula as needed. Then, once your milk comes in, you can hopefully stop using formula. Overall, I would be prepared for two things: one, to supplement with formula in the hospital, since it is difficult to pump much colostrum, and two, for the nurses to pressure you to try nursing and/or supplementing even if you don’t want to. Having said that, it really depends on your birthing center and nurses, as well as how long you are there. (I had one birthing experience with great nurses and another with horrible nurses that kept pushing me to do things that I didn’t feel were right.)
Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck!
I have a bunch of milk stored in the deep freezer. I know it stays good for 6-12 months. I am wondering if it’s okay to give an older baby milk that was pumped for a 1-3 month old. My baby is 3 mos. and I’m trying to see when I could stop pumping and just use freezer milk. But if I stopped pumping at 9 mos, can she do well for the next 3-6 months on older milk?
Yes, that is totally fine. Your baby can drink milk pumped for a 1-3 month old when she is older. While the constitution of milk does change a bit as the baby ages, there are no recommendations against feeding older babies milk that was pumped when they were younger. So as long as the milk is in the deep freezer, you’re all set for 12 months, just like you said.
If you want, you can rotate the milk (you feed your baby some of the older frozen milk and freeze new milk), to keep your stash more recent, but it’s not necessary.
Please feel free to add any suggestions or thoughts in comments!