Two questions today, both about dropping pumping sessions – one about dropping middle of the night pumping sessions, and one about whether it’s possible to drop two sessions at once.
I Want to Drop My Middle of the Night Session But Am Scared of Mastitis
I started exclusively pumping when my daughter was two weeks old, due to latching issues. She was losing weight and the doctor said we had to supplement. I asked if I could try pumping and bottle feeding. My daughter started thriving and so began my journey!
My daughter is now seven weeks old, and I’m five weeks into this adventure. I’m blessed that since the second week of exclusive pumping, I’ve been making more than enough to feed my daughter – pumping about 40 ounces per day. It has been a rough ride, with both thrush and mastitis having been a factor.
I’ve been pumping eight times per day almost every day since I started. I’ve aimed for between two to three hours between pumps, including during the night. I’m getting to the point where I need to get more sleep at a time in between pumping sessions. My daughter has started sleeping for five hour stretches! Yet, I’m still waking myself up to pump and am scared to stop.
I’m concerned with losing supply (being only seven weeks postpartum), as well as concerned about developing mastitis again if I go longer between pumps or drop a pump.
I totally understand being scared of stopping waking up to pump. However, the potential extra sleep is worth giving it a try! The key is going very slowly to minimize issues.
I think you have two options – either drop down to seven sessions per day or keep pumping eight times, but with a longer break at night. I think seven sessions is fine at seven weeks postpartum, especially given that you have oversupply (as long as you increase the length of each session time so that your total time per day spent pumping is the same).
Again, we want to make this change very gradually to reduce your risk of mastitis.
How to do that? If you decide to stay with eight sessions, you’ll want to move one back so that you’re getting more sleep in one block. You can start by moving it back half an hour a night.
As an example, say you currently pump at 12:30am and 3:30am – what you would do is stretch the 12:30am to 1am the first night, then to 1:30am the second night, and so on until you’ve got the spacing you need to get some decent sleep. Then you can re-space your remaining eight pumping sessions however makes sense to you.
On the other hand, if you decide to drop one and go down to seven sessions, you do the same thing, but just completely drop the session you’re moving. Again, say you pump at 12:30am and 3:30am – you would stretch the 12:30am to 1am, then 1:30am, then 2, and then when you think you can make it to 3:30am, you’d just drop the 12:30am session altogether.
More information on dropping pumping sessions here:
Can I Drop Two Sessions at a Time?
I am struggling with pumping, working full-time and having a husband who works out of town. I would love to reduce my amount of time spent pumping. My question is, can you drop two sessions at the same time? I would love to reduce from seven sessions a day to five. I was thinking I’d drop my middle of the day session and my 2am session. I am concerned my supply will drop or I’ll get a clogged duct. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated!
You can definitely drop two sessions, and I think it definitely makes sense when pumping that often is such a struggle. (You are doing awesome – solo parenting is hard!)
I would drop one session at a time, but you can do them back to back. I would drop one (probably the middle of the night one first), wait a few days, then drop the middle of the day session. You should be able to do it in a week and a half – I would take three or four days to gradually drop each session plus three or four days in between to let your body adjust.
One other thing I wanted to mention – you said you’d like to reduce the amount of time that you spend pumping. I think if you want to maintain your supply, you should consolidate the time you pump rather than reduce it. So you’d do five sessions per day, but add the time from the two dropped sessions to your remaining sessions so that your total amount of pumping sessions in a day stays the same.