Breastfeeding but only pumping and not producing enough

Meghan - posted on 12/07/2009 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My daughter was 6 weeks early so I was unable to get her to latch to my breast. I have been exclusively pumping and feeding her with a bottle. The problem is she is 7 weeks old now and eating more then I can pump. I pump about every 3 hours and only produce about 3 ounces total per time. If I pump every 2 hours I only produce about 2 ounces. Thankfully I have a bunch of frozen breast milk that I have been giving her on top of the milk I pump daily but I'm running out. Does anyone know if this is normal? Any suggestions on how to produce more milk? I don't want to switch to formula yet!

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Alina - posted on 12/10/2009

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ok i am gonna give you the breast milk gold mine secret! it is called fenugreek. it is a natural herb and works great. the only major side effect is it makes you smell like maple syrup. it didnt bother me a bit. if you really want her to latch on, check into nipple shields. my baby was a preemie too and that is what worked for us. i pumped exclusively for 6 weeks and then went on to nurse him for a year. on top of the fenugreek (capsules sold in all health food stores i have ever been in and not expensive) you can get a tea called mothers milk tea. it has the fenugreek and some other things in it to stimulate milk production. plus it helps you get a little more fluids which is also a plus. and important. i have nursed 5 babies now and with one he was ill and my milk went down to nothing in month 2. i brought it back in with these products. good luck and good job trying to do the best thing for your baby. hang in there. it will get better.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/08/2009

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I am only pumping as well because my son has really bad reflux and whenever he would feed at the breast he would throw so much of it up. I had some problems with production for a little while and I supplemented the dif with formula for about 2 weeks. I tried the fenugreek and it did seem to help but it can affect the baby as far as it might make their tummy a little upset. It can make you smell like maple syrup but it isn;t that bad. I only took it for 2 weeks. You also need to make sure that you are getting enough rest. I am a go getter and was always running around and not sticking to a good pump schedule and it affected my supply. Pump more often and after a while it will help increase your production. Good Luck!

Michelle Carpenter - posted on 12/11/2009

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I also am not a big producer in spite of a wonderful breastfeeding baby...He just nurses often so I would recommend pumping more often even if you cannot get your baby to latch. Some women just don't produce as much milk unfortunately....good luck!

Valerie - posted on 12/10/2009

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the baby stimulates the milk production and the amuont of milk you will produce. the pump only suctions out the milk youve got in youre breasts. try a lactation specialist or try to get her to lach on its not easy at this stage but not impossible.

Courtney - posted on 12/09/2009

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I had problems with latch and supply with my "little" man (born 9 lbs 9oz), and my doctor suggested Domperidone. I was pumping in between breastfeeding, AND supplementing with formula (as needed), so I took it!

Domperidone is usually used as a anti-nausea medication, but apparently has been shown to increase milk supply -- and did it ever! After a couple days of taking one pill four times a day, I was able to exclusively breastfeed and toss out the formula. Its a god-send!

I read some studies online about it as well, and it is perfectly safe for baby with no short or long term side effects for baby. There are some side effects for mommy, but I haven't had any. Some women rely on it throughout their breastfeeding period, however a lot of women after awhile taper off the pills and the milk remains.

Good luck!

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Kristin - posted on 12/10/2009

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Quoting Pamela :

Definitly try a nipple sheild to get her latching on to you. There is also a tea called mothers milk, I buy it at GNC, and it helps promote lactation. Also lots of skin to skin contact, try also Fenugreek. Also check out breastmilk.com
Good Luck!



the tea works good but gnc also has pills you can take if you dont have time to drink the tea

Jocelyn - posted on 12/10/2009

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fenugreek helped alot...you can get it gnc. take 3 capsules 3 times a day and it will boost your supply in a few days.

Karen - posted on 12/10/2009

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My doctor was in the same situation you are in, she actually got her daughter to latch on after she was 3 months old. Try to get her to latch on again. It's hard work to breastfeed, but don't give up! Keep trying. You can also go to kellymom.com to get tips on increasing your breast milk production! Good luck!

Ashley - posted on 12/09/2009

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There is a tea that my lactation consultant told me to drink. You can get it at gnc, meijer, walmart. It is called mothers milk. I struggled for 5 months trying to get my milk supply up so my son would have enough to eat. The tea tastes like black licorice but it helps. I ended up getting a medical prescription for Reglan. It is used for heartburn but my lactation consultant prescribed it and it worked amazingly. You can also get fenugreek pills those also stimulate the milk supply. Like any other mom on hear would say pump more often too, but also try the tea first it really does help.

Anita - posted on 12/09/2009

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I pump & breastfeed and use the following to increase my milk (it really works well):
*Blessed Thistle (bought from health food store)
*Fenugreek (bought from health food store)
*Domperidone (you need a prescription for this, just ask your Dr.)

Teresa - posted on 12/09/2009

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Our daughter was also born early and got used to the bottle while she was in NICU. When we finally got to bring her home, I was exclusively pumping and after a couple of months I too lost my milk supply. When I finally called a Lactation Consultant and figured out that the pump I was using wasn't ideal for how often I was using it, it was too late. We went out and bought one of those insanely expensive ones then, but it still didn't help, so at 3 months old we had to switch our daughter over to formula.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is make sure you have a good enough pump for what you're doing and you're not a bad mom if you end up having to use formula earlier than planned. :) Good luck!

Heather - posted on 12/09/2009

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when i was breastfeeding all i would do is pump and i ended up not have any milk left i asked my Dr and she said its b/c when i pump all the time ur breast stop making milk it need that baby nursing to produce more milk she told me i should have pumped less and breastfeed more it would make u produce more milk

Dixie - posted on 12/09/2009

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a few suggestions for making more milk...
1. stay hydrated- soup, water etc
2. fenugreek is a natural herb and can be purchased at most health food stores. the draw back is you will smell like maple syrup and if you can handle that it helps...
3. oatmeal every morning for breakfast.
4. being able to relax and while doing that I would suggest getting her up to the breast before every pumping so your body registers that it needs to make more milk.
5. one other thing my lactation consultant told me was to give up the night time pumpings and just get my girls (yes I said girls--twins born on 3-31-09) up to the breast because it's more relaxing and you have already established those hormone levels for producing milk. And hopefully if you just feed her at night you will be able to relax a little more and have a better let down...
5. nipple shields are one of the best things invented for sore nipples.
6. This one is really kewl it's called SNS it's awesome because it helps to reteach the baby to eat at the breast and you can use your back up supply with the system so she gets enough at a feeding at the breast.

hope this helps :)

Nicole - posted on 12/09/2009

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Consult a lactation consultant; I was able to get my bottlefed baby to get an the breast when she was around 2 -3 weeks old, but your best bet is to get her in the breast if at all possible, maybe start by getting a bottle that simulates actually breastfeeding:
I think it is called the adiri natural nurser

Melissa - posted on 12/09/2009

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Would you feel comfortable breastfeeding her now? A baby can suck more milk than you can pump. I agree about seeking help from La Leche. A baby at the breast will produce more hormones for you to make milk. As for me I cannot pump enough milk (with a hand breast pump) when i need to go somewhere or i feel he's just not getting enough i supplement with a 4oz bottle.

Iysha - posted on 12/08/2009

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I had the exact same problem with my 35 weeker. I decided that I should just switch to formula full time...I wasn't making enough...I was pumping like crazy...I just had to get my baby growing and to full term baby weight. After just formula feeding she grew fast and is now the full term baby size of a 5 month old and she is 5 months =] She caught up by 2 months.

I know you want to give your daughter breastmilk, I did too, but when that is not working out, It is ok to make the switch earlier than expected. My doctor said that most women who have preemies end up using formula sooner than mothers who don't because their supplies and babies don't allow it. (low supply, poor latching)

Minnie - posted on 12/08/2009

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Unfortunately this is because you actually -aren't- breastfeeding. You are pumping breastmilk. A pump is not as efficient at stimulating and draining your breasts as your baby is.

Have you seen a La Leche League leader or an IBCLC about your daughter's latching problem? You can indeed still get her back on your breast.

Kirsten - posted on 12/08/2009

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i've found that drinking lots of fluids, pumping when you first wake up in the morning, and doing it as often as possible keeps your milk supply up. good luck!

Noura - posted on 12/08/2009

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hi, i recommend you to double pump , believe me soon this will double your supply , keep it up megan ;)

Mattee - posted on 12/08/2009

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Quoting Jackie:

The best thing you can do is get the baby back on the breast. A baby gets more then a pump could ever. And the reason for it is a pump doesn't latch or suckle. Its a machine and your body and mind know it.

The tube runs along side your breast and releases pumped milk so your baby won't be starving while trying to sort out thier latch. These do work and work well. Adopted mothers use it to bring in their milk with medication despite the fact they weren't pregnant



I got one of the tube things from the hospital. They called it an SNS. I never have needed to use it, but my aunt fed  her adopted baby with one (she took meds to help produce milk) it worked awsome for her! You should try it.

Mandy - posted on 12/08/2009

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Quoting Jillian:

when i was breastfeeding, my baby had some trouble at times latching cuz i was so full/swollen, and it made me pretty sore. a lactation consultant gave me a nipple guard so the baby could feed, yet not suckin on the nipple directly, giving me time to heal....but it was also easy for the baby to latch onto the guard as well so maybe try that? also another option may be to give her both formula and breastmilk? she would still be getting the benefits of your breastmilk then....just suggestions



I used a nipple guard to help my baby girl latch on and I loved it! It was a bit of a pain to use because up had to keep up with it and take it with you everywhere you go.



If you go this route I would recommend buying a few of them to keep at random places that you breast feed. You can buy them on Babies R Us website. Just type in nipple guard.

Jackie - posted on 12/08/2009

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The best thing you can do is get the baby back on the breast. A baby gets more then a pump could ever. And the reason for it is a pump doesn't latch or suckle. Its a machine and your body and mind know it.



The tube runs along side your breast and releases pumped milk so your baby won't be starving while trying to sort out thier latch. These do work and work well. Adopted mothers use it to bring in their milk with medication despite the fact they weren't pregnant

Eleisha - posted on 12/08/2009

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I too exclusively pump, and have been doing so for 6 months. Unfortunately exclusively pumping can reduce milk production (not sure why). Her is what I do.
1. Drink 2.5 - 3 litres of water per day
2. Eat porridge at least twice per day (not sure why this works - but was advised by my LC)
3. Take fenugreek tablets and drink raspberry leaf tea
4. Ensure I am getting a varied diet with plenty of protein.
5. Express a minimum of 8 times per day (usually 9)
6. Make sure I express between 1 am and 5am (this is the time when milk production is highest - something to do with your hormones I thing)
REMEMBER - Prodution is directly related to demand, so the more you pump, the more your body will produce. Each pumping (pump on average every 2.5 - 3 hours although have been known to go 8 hours very occasionally) I get around 10 - 13 oz.
Good luck and even though pumping is exhausting, you are doing a WONDERFUL thing :)

Pamela - posted on 12/07/2009

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Definitly try a nipple sheild to get her latching on to you. There is also a tea called mothers milk, I buy it at GNC, and it helps promote lactation. Also lots of skin to skin contact, try also Fenugreek. Also check out breastmilk.com

Good Luck!

Jillian - posted on 12/07/2009

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when i was breastfeeding, my baby had some trouble at times latching cuz i was so full/swollen, and it made me pretty sore. a lactation consultant gave me a nipple guard so the baby could feed, yet not suckin on the nipple directly, giving me time to heal....but it was also easy for the baby to latch onto the guard as well so maybe try that? also another option may be to give her both formula and breastmilk? she would still be getting the benefits of your breastmilk then....just suggestions

Meghan - posted on 12/07/2009

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Quoting Heather:

Try pumping more often so your milk comes in more.. my son was feeding every hour for a little while and now when i do pump i can get a good 5 or 6 ounces every 3 hours


ok I will try pumping more but it seems when I pump every hour not much at all comes out. Maybe that would help my milk com in more though. Thank you!

Meghan - posted on 12/07/2009

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Yeah I have tried getting her to latch but she is soooo used to the bottle now I can't get her to do it. I have talked to a lactation specialist who said there is some tube you insert into your nipple or something we can try but it would take at least a week of really trying to get her to do it. Might be what I have to do though.

Heather - posted on 12/07/2009

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Try pumping more often so your milk comes in more.. my son was feeding every hour for a little while and now when i do pump i can get a good 5 or 6 ounces every 3 hours

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