Having trouble pumping!

Jodi - posted on 11/18/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I've been successfully breastfeeding my son for almost 10 months now, and recently, I went to pump off some milk and could only get an ounce! I tried and tried for over 10 minutes, and couldn't even feel my letdown. When I nurse him, it's very different... I can feel a letdown. I have a really good pump too - a medela (sp??) - so I'm not sure what's going on. Any advice would be much appreciated. thanks :)

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Shaina - posted on 11/18/2009

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TOTALLY normal! I've been pumping and feeding for 8+ months and still dont get as much with the pump as I know my son eats. I found that it helped to get a warm washcloth and lay it on my breast while I pumped and it helped with letdown. but your completely right, its just not the same. Good luck, stick with it. It DOES gets easier.

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Barb - posted on 11/20/2009

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I also had some trouble pumping, and I am returning to work next week! But I have found that if I relax it helps. Yesterday I hardly got any milk and tried for about 15 minutes to pump. I said to my husband that I am going to give up for the evening, and just as I said it, milk started rushing out! So I have begun also allowing more time which also seems to help as sometimes it takes a while before the milk comes. I also have a Medela Swing (electric) pump which is good. I find that I seem to have more milk earlier in the day rather than the evening. All the very best of luck, and keep persisting :-)

Julie - posted on 11/19/2009

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In addition to the great advice given by these lovely ladies, I found it helped to have a drink of water handy, make sure I was super relaxed (maybe pump while surfing the net or watching tv?) and massaging the breasts to help letdown... also remember though, that you might not pump out as much because a) a pump just isn't as good as your little one at drawing the milk out, and b) you're still BF your baby so you'll never be completely full-up. Best of luck!

Sara - posted on 11/19/2009

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I often found my best pumping sessions were after I nursed in the morning, because I had produced more than she could eat. Outside of that, I went through times that I couldn't pump as much, and sometimes it had to do with the fact that maybe I hadn't been drinking enough, or a hormal shift (lucky me, my period came back 12 weeks after delivery, and I always had a supply reduction during my period). Just keep trying, and try not to worry about it. Once you relax, more will come.
Just as an FYI - I have larger boobs, and found that getting a larger breast shield could make a difference between getting 2 oz and 4-5.

Erica - posted on 11/19/2009

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I usually only get one ounce (sometimes not even that) from both breasts. My baby won't take a bottle, though, so I just pump to keep my supply up during the day at work so I can nurse her at home. Take Fenugreek if you are worried. I just began taking it and she seems to be getting more milk.

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If your pump isn't set right, it won't get as much. I read through the Q&A in the booklet that came with my pump and the advice that it had was to start the pump at the lowest setting, and increase the speed/intensity one setting at a time, until it becomes uncomfortable, and go down one speed from there (in other words, it should be set to the highest setting you can tolerate before it's uncomfortable).

Salwah - posted on 11/19/2009

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The pump will never get as much milk out of the breast like baby can. I also don't have the amount of letdowns with the pump as when I nurse. I agree expressing by hand does yield more milk. What I do is pump until no milk is being expressed anymore and then hand express. I have a wide neck Tommee Tippee bottle which catches all the milk when hand expressing........so I don't waste any.

Natasha - posted on 11/19/2009

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Also make sure you are looking at your baby or a photo of your baby and imagine him feeding, really concentrate on what he looks like when you are feeding etc. Try it next time you pump, it works for me.

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2009

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Thanks for your feedback and encouragement, ladies. :) After reading your responses, I realized that I should probably be pumping right after I nurse my son, instead of waiting for a few hours like I had been. I guess I thought it made more sense to wait, rather than pump right after a feeding because I figured that he was emptying my breasts and it would take a while for my milk to be replenished.

Vaishali - posted on 11/19/2009

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Second Shandy. It's very normal! I also pump throughout the day during his feed times and manage to get about 4-5 oz till his last feed.

Brandy - posted on 11/18/2009

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Some women have trouble letting down for the pump. I was one of them. My fiance planned a mini trip for us when my daughter was 8 months so that he could propose to me. We were supposed to be gone for 2 nights but only made it 24 hours because I was so engorged and nothing we tried was working. When we got back, I put my daughter to my breast and there was so much in there, she couldn't even finish one but at least got it started so that I could pump, then I had to put her to the other one even though she was full just for a couple minutes so that it would let out for the pump. They say gentle massage, hot shower, drink a beer but none of it worked for me. I could only pump right after she fed.

Danielle - posted on 11/18/2009

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make sure that your pump speed and pump suction mimic that of your son. if your pump is on too slow or without enough pressure, your breasts may not let down. also, make sure you pump at a time in which you would normally feed him. if you try pumping too early, you won't have enough built up yet.

Dannie - posted on 11/18/2009

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I don't know if this helps because it didn't help me. My son is 17 months and I was having the same problem, I have the Medela pump also and couldn't get pretty much anything.... I was told to try several things. 1. Let your son eat just for a little then try right after...2. Let him feed on one side mostly so you can pump from the other...Again it didn't work for me but this was advice from a mother who breastfed 3 children until they were 2. It worked for her so hopefully it will for you!! Good Luck

Tatiana - posted on 11/18/2009

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SAME THING HAPPEN TO ME AT AROUND THE SAME AGE MY BABY IS NOW 1 JUST GIVE HER THESE 2 MONTHS DONT GIVE UP AND THEN HE COULD JUST DRINK WHOLE MILK WHEN HE TURNS 1

Shandy - posted on 11/18/2009

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Ok dont worry, I'm sure things will be better soon! When I pumped for the first couple of times I never got that much either. Your body knows its not your baby! Have you triedto look at a picture of you little one, or smell something of his while or just befor you try to pump. I found this helpful. I also tried to feed my little one and then pump right after or during the feeding that way you get a good let down. Don't give up!

Jade - posted on 11/18/2009

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When i was nursing my son i had trouble with the pump too, its just not the same. i ended up expressing by hand and it was much easier then with the pump and i got more out. also, expressing by hand is not as messy as you would think.

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