Exclusively expressing - week 5 and supply is dwindling :(

(37 Posts)
RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:10:16

My pumping habits haven't been great, we've been combination feeding since day 1 as it took a while to build my supply up enough to give him a whole feed. I've been pumping 5ish times a day and last week I was pumping a good 600-650ml a day.
So far this week I've been lucky if I've reached 520, and today I've hit an all time low sad I'm eating porridge for breakfast and trying to drink more water, but what else can I do?? I've read online not to wake up just to pump as rest is very important, and during the night when I'm up to feed him I'm just too tired to stay up an extra 20 minutes to pump. Am I just being selfish and lazy??

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Nov-13 22:14:54

No advice but I found information here:


Jims Wed 13-Nov-13 22:18:20

Have you tried a hospital grade pump? Medela rent them on a next day delivery service and they are a lot more effective than shop bought ones

tiktok Wed 13-Nov-13 22:20:26

sad Becky , expressing longer term is never a picnic.

The biology of it is this: you build up and maintain supply only by expressing frequently day and night..at a minimum, 8 x in 24 hours. If the baby is feeding effectively on any occasion, then you can reduce.

Porridge and water make no real difference - honestly. They may have marginal effects at most.

The main impact will always be from frequency of effective removal - by a pump or by bf direct.

Long gaps between expressings/feeds reduce supply.

You can rescue things now by increasing the frequency - up to you to work out when you can do this.

I dont see anything selfish or lazy in your post, BTW!

RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:21:03

Ive got a Lansinoh double electric which is ace, I haven't played around with the settings much though as I was getting plenty last week when I used it. Just hoping I haven't fucked up my supply completely as it's meant to increase every week, not decrease sad

RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:24:44

Aaah tiktok, I've read so much of your advice on other people's posts you are lovely <3 Thank you for reassuring me that I'm not being a selfish knob. I tried out a power pump this evening, still got the same amount as if I had pumped for 20 mins so I'm not sure what they're meant to achieve? I will try and get in an extra 2 pumps a day, I've been manic at the moment and DS has had colic so I've barely been able to get the 6 that I have been as the only way he's settled has been in my arms.

Wish I could just be a recluse for a couple of weeks so I could get everything on track!

stargirl1701 Wed 13-Nov-13 22:29:00

I rewarded myself for pumping when I relactated. I counted out 12 chocolate raisins at 8am and I got to eat one every time I pumped over the next 24 hours. Incentive grin

Aquariusgirl86 Wed 13-Nov-13 22:34:55

Whenever this happened to me I pumped every 1.5/2 hours day AND night to get my supply back, it works. I exclusively pumped for 5 months and had a freezer full too. The night pumps are very important grin

RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:40:22

Incentives are a good idea. I find it pretty hard to stay up and pump after a night feed when all I want to do is crawl back under the covers and try as get much sleep as possible til he's up again. Think I need to start dragging myself to bed a bit earlier :/

r3dsquirrel Wed 13-Nov-13 22:40:54

Pumping at night does make a huge difference, even if its just for 10 mins. I found that it was the frequency of pumping rather than the length of each pump that was most important. I very rarely pumped for more than 10 mins but I tried to pump every 3 hours with at least one overnight In the early days. Once my supply was well established I cut down to every 4 hours and eventually dropped the nightpump. If i ever needed to up my supply quickly id bring the night pump back.

Good luck. Exclusive expressing is hard work and youve done amazingly well to get this far.

RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:41:53

Lawdy I'd love a freezer full!!! I'd love him to just be completely booby-milk fed tbh. How did you drag yourself out of bed every 2 hours?? Especially combined with looking after a baby??

RiotBecky Wed 13-Nov-13 22:43:14

So it doesn't matter how long I do it for??? So at night I could do a quick 10 minute one? That sounds a lot better than dragging out a 20 minute pump. Be nice if someone could just attach it to me whilst I'm sleeping lol

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 09:35:12

Persuaded myself to pump at midnight, 3am and 6am last night, wasn't as horrific as I expected :D

tiktok Thu 14-Nov-13 09:57:40

Becky - yes, it's frequency that counts rather than time pumping. One good tip is to pump until spurts become trickles, then swap sides, and do the same on the other side. You can swap back and back again when you have more time, but a few minutes getting each side to trickle stage once is a good compromise in the middle of the night.

Good luck smile

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 10:32:13

It's a double pump so no side swapping required. it does have a let-down mode but ive never known when or how to use it?

tiktok Thu 14-Nov-13 10:32:58

Dunno about let-down mode, sorry.

Double pump is fab - a time saver smile

MrsMarigold Thu 14-Nov-13 10:36:47

Can you try breast feeding or is it impossible, I've pumped with my son and then bf my daughter and I actually ended up enjoying breastfeeding. Pumping is so tiring. Good luck and I had the odd fenugreek supplement to boost supply.

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 10:41:33

I have flat nipples and he just won't latch and ends up getting stressed and windy, just gets us both anxious and worked up, and I love the convenience of pumping in all honesty.

MrsSpencerReid Thu 14-Nov-13 10:45:58

When I was expressing my partner would feed DS at night whilst I pumped, is this an option? It certainly made things easier as feeding/pumping took about the same length of time and he could poke me when I fell asleep!!

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 11:09:21

DP works full time so he doesn't get up for night feeds, alright for some!

MrsSpencerReid Thu 14-Nov-13 13:11:14

He didn't do it every night, just when he was on a late the next day, and only for the first 6/8 weeks smile

Aquariusgirl86 Thu 14-Nov-13 13:12:08

Sorry just caught up with this, I set an alarm for every 2-3 hours then eventually dropped it to 4 hours if supply started lowering if reduce the gaps. Don't know, I just got used to sleep deprivation :-P still haven't had a full night sleep in 2.5 years!
Good luck it's a great thing you are doing grin

KatAndKit Thu 14-Nov-13 15:10:00

Remember you are also working full time!

fanjobiscuits Thu 14-Nov-13 15:12:52

Could you use a sling then pump with it in? My baby bjorn one would sling low enough to do this. That way you might have happy baby + pumping option?

fanjobiscuits Thu 14-Nov-13 15:14:37

Or would brief feed work to help build supply without too much stress? As mouth gets bigger might help bf poss be a bit easier for both of you?!?

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 18:46:57

I don't think baby would fit underneath the pump horns and bottles :/ otherwise I would definitely be giving that a go. And I don't think bf'ing is going to work for either of us now, I like the freedom of not having a baby attached to my boob all the time, and I like being able to see how much he is taking in. Plus he's on colief at the moment and it's much easier to add to a bottle than to try and get him to drink it off a spoon etc. Pumping is definitely for me, I just have to get into some good habits.

NomDeClavier Thu 14-Nov-13 18:57:10

Let down mode will be great for quick pumps - sort of like if baby is snacking. It basically mimics very fast, vigorous sucking that you'd get at the beginning of a feed to stimulate let down and then you switch to less frequent suction to actually draw the milk down.

Frequency is very important but when I was pumping and DS was having a growth spurt I would pump after milk had stopped flowing for a minute or too just to stimulate a little bit of extra supply.

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 19:18:52

So if I'm doing a quick pump I should keep it in let-down? The pump automatically does let-down for 2 minutes then switches to the long drawn out pumps.

NomDeClavier Thu 14-Nov-13 19:30:37

Are you getting milk after those 2 minutes? The let down mode isn't effective for actually removing milk but it's useful to be able to switch back to it once you don't get anything out. What worked for me was mimic the sucking that triggered let down, remove the milk with the long cycle, then switch back to let down to mimic DS getting frustrated that the milk wasn't coming out any more.

I was lucky that I did have a baby on the boob to show me what kind of rhythm to follow when I was at work!

On the evenings I wasn't able to be at home I used to cluster pump - short sessions but every hour.

Another EEer here smile I agree that you need to increase no. of sessions. Do you plan to pump until your LO is a certain age? I found it useful to set mini goals. ie just make it to 1 month, then 3, 4, 5, 6 etc. He is now 9m and we're still going. I also find it useful to read other women's experiences to keep me motivated.


I've always done 20 mins at each session and was still getting up in the night to pump until 7 months. I was just reducing to 5 times a day at that point. My DP would get up in the night with DS if I was pumping.

You are certainly not selfish or lazy!

In the first few weeks I pumped at 6:30pm, sleep at 7-11, then pump, then back to sleep if DS allowed! It really helped to get some solid sleep in earlier to get to the morning without feeling too knackered.

Sunnysummer Thu 14-Nov-13 20:05:50

You are absolutely not lazy, but I really do agree with tiktok and others that if you want to keep your supply up, frequency is more important than a bit of extra rest or extra length, especially in the early days.

When I was exclusively pumping at around the same point, my supply started to drop if I went longer than 4 hours maximum between pumps, day or night. If you think about it, at 5 weeks most bf babies are feeding every 2-3 hours, even at night, plus often a cluster feed in the afternoon evening, so your breasts do need to get the message about working up the supply for a new baby.

It does get easier as supply is established, then it's a lot easier to cut our pumps or give a few feeds a day and so on!

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 20:08:04

Ooh I've 'liked' that page now. I'm doing 20 mins a sesh in the day, then last night I did 10 a min sesh at 3am, I couldn't bear to keep myself up a minute longer!! So far today I've done 6 pumps and I'm super proud of myself, I've been out the house as well so I've sorta shown myself it is possible. I'm going to fit in another pump at about half 9/tennish and then one at half 11 so I've done my 8 today grin

I want to pump for as long as possible, I hadn't really thought of a set age. Maybe that's where I'm falling down, I don't have any set goals.

With the night pumps, pop the news channels on. They have the time in the corner and often have interesting news stories that suck you in and keep you up!

RiotBecky Thu 14-Nov-13 21:23:28

I normally browse mumsnet on my phone and it makes time fly lol. it's just having the motivation to go downstairs and stay awake when my bed is juuuust there and I'm counting down the minutes til ds wakes up!

AnythingNotEverything Thu 14-Nov-13 23:24:17

I think if you want to continue long term, you'll need more support from your partner. You're working full time too (as a PP said), and it's tough being up in the night! DD is three weeks, and in so grateful we're managing to feed directly as I exclusively expressed for DS and it was really tough in the night.

Could he take over one feed? Even on alternate nights? I was advised to pump every time I fed DS, and I supposed I was therefore mimicking his demand. You need all the support you can get though!

RiotBecky Fri 15-Nov-13 14:38:01

Found a way to motivate myself to increase my pumps and it ruddy bluddy works. I've done an excel spreadsheet, split into weeks and the weeks into days, that then automatically calculates the daily and weekly avg. in both ml and oz :D I've split the days into 8 time slots too so I can see at a glance how many times I've done and how many times I've got left. I find that if I write a provisional time in each slot I can reassure myself that I've got enough time in the day to fit in all 8, even if I'm half an hour late here and there.

I woke up at 11 today after finally getting DS to settle at 5, I panicked thinking I'd woken up far too late to get in all 8 today, but after sitting down at my spread sheet I can see that actually I've got plenty of time and that I shouldn't stress and give up on the day so quickly grin

tiktok Fri 15-Nov-13 21:21:32

Amazing, Becky - sounds as if it is a great system for you smile

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