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Pumping to increase supply - how long does it take?

(18 Posts)
BreeVDKamp Wed 24-Jun-15 17:39:40

HV advised I pump after feeds to increase supy. How long should it take before I see results? Have been pumping since Friday. DS still very sad on the boob sad won't latch, thrashes around, punches and kicks, as if there's nothing in there sad hate it and makes me so sad!

It seems all the pumping is doing is just emptying my boobs for the next breastfeed so they're depleted sad

BreeVDKamp Wed 24-Jun-15 19:06:27


MrsAukerman Wed 24-Jun-15 19:10:09

I'm no expert but that advice sounds iffy. Get latch checked, get someone to observe a feed, get him checked for tongue tie. Also put him to the breast as often as possible. My local sure start centre have a weekly breastfeeding group with a specials midwife.

ConcreteElephant Wed 24-Jun-15 19:18:46

That sounds very tough, I sympathise. I think I'd use DS to increase supply if possible. How old is he?

If he's struggling on the breast then -just throwing a few ideas out there- check his latch, try a different position, could he have thrush, tongue tie, wind, an intolerance to something you eat? (DD, rather oddly, threw her milk up without fail if I had eaten mushrooms - she doesn't like them now either)

You can't empty your breasts as such - remember it's a river not a bucket. Also, don't take the amount you express as an indication of how much DS might get - pumping is very different to actual feeding.

Our HV team had a specialist breast feeding counsellor who was a godsend with both my DC - do your team have similar?

pileoflaundry Wed 24-Jun-15 20:02:11

I agree, get latch, tongue tie etc checked by a breastfeeding expert (for example a lactation consultant, or at a breastfeeding support group, or via La Leche League).

A good way to increase supply is to bf as often as you possibly can. This is because babies are better at stimulating the breast than a pump, so they will cause the breasts to produce more milk.

If you do need to pump to increase supply, you should be seeing some results by now if you are pumping after almost every feed, including at night, and pumping until after you get the last drop out (I think that it should be for 3 more minutes, but I can't quite remember).

Do you know why the HV suspected that your supply is low?

melliemoo1 Wed 24-Jun-15 20:20:11

Sorry if this may be something you are already doing but are you drinking enough water and eating enough. As that can affect your supply. I find l need to drink at least 2 glasses of water after every feed. Even more when my 3 week old decides to cluster feed.

BreeVDKamp Wed 24-Jun-15 21:28:00

Ah thank you for the replies.

He's 4 weeks old. Took him 4 weeks to get back up to birthweight even though only lost 8%.

He hasn't stopped licking his lips and putting his hands in his mouth since he was born. He would suck 24/7 if he could which I know is natural, but is of course impossible to have him latched constantly. We are moving house in a couple of weeks, and even if we weren't, I absolutely have to leave the house every day for my own sanity. I'm fine feeding in public, I was feeding in the GP waiting room when he was 3 days old. But there are some times when you can't feed, eg driving or cleaning the loo or whatever. I can't feed as much as he wants to because that is all the time. And it wouldn't be feeding anyway, it would just be comfort sucking for the most part. So he has a dummy and has had since about day 5.

I have had latch checked and feeds observed numerous times and had him checked for tongue-tie on Saturday. I'm drinking loads (I do normally anyway) - at least 3 litres water a day, nursing tea as well sometimes. Basically from about noon I am constantly either switch feeding and doing breast compressions, or pumping. Mornings are a bit more satisfying for him.

Other things various midwives have suggested are drinking cocoa and fennel tea, haven't tried those yet. Have tried eating lots of oats, seemed to have some effect. Do lots of skin to skin.

I have enquired with 2 lactation consultants, haven't booked a session yet though. I don't know, I'll be pissed off if I pay £90 and they don't suggest anything other than what I've already read about for free online.

Health visitor originally advised expressing because I rang up saying that he was feeding every hour and never seemed satisfied and i was looking for advice on how to get longer, more substantial feeds. I think he is/was snacking and napping rather than sleeping and eating. She then came round on Monday to see how the expressing was going and said I could use formula if I wanted - it was quite refreshing to hear that! Everyone else acts like formula is poison ha.

We did give one formula feed Monday night, he slept for 6 hours and was then of course v hungry so had a big feed, so I hoped I'd broken the hourly-feed cycle, but it seems not. He is so fussy this evening. I've spent all day winding him (when not feeding!) to ensure its not that. He is crying for a feed and giving all the signs, but after 5 mins each side he won't latch. He is still acting like he's hungry and opening wide to latch, but won't close his mouth and suck. Just kicks his legs and punched my breast and cries sad

I've just palmed him off onto DH as he was at that fussy point of not-latching, and he's fallen asleep now. But will wake up shortly for more food. If he stayed with me he would have fallen asleep and would have kept rooting but not latching, I'm sure. So it's relentless when DH isn't here!

So then I plug him in to his dummy which is the saddest.

Formula did seem to go down well, but I don't like the idea of just stuffing him full to keep him quiet. Also bottles just flood down his throat (have tried both Medela Calma teat at Dr Browns size 1). I don't like that, I sure wouldn't want to gobble that fast myself! But I hate seeing him never satisfied, whereas the formula does seem to satisfy him.

I really want to keep going to with BF now I've started. I'm not anti-formula and I promised myself when I was pregnant that if BF didn't work out I wouldn't feel bad or guilty, but I'm doing so much reading and everyone says that it's basically impossible/very rare to have low supply, and you should just try a bit harder and longer, and those who have moved on to formula say they have 'given up' or 'gave up' formula. So it's just a bit sad and I would feel like a failure giving up. But I want him to be satisfied!

I want to keep going until 6 weeks because apparently it gets easier then. Originally I was thinking of feeding for only 3 or 4 months, 6 max, but now it will be a miracle if I make it that far!

Sorry, I did have another thread here, but started this one for a quick answer. But now I have rambled on and spilled everything out on this thread! But I just don't really know what to do. I sound quite positive on that thread! But every evening does end up frustrating for both me and DS because he isn't feeding well.

Racheyg Thu 25-Jun-15 06:54:38

Op, I have been reading your threads as we are in similar situations. My ds2 is 4 weeks today and lost over 10% and is still 14oz off birth weight.

Can't really offer advice as my milk flow is good but my ds2 feeds 24/7. Boobs never feel full ect as he eats all the time.

Is ur lo constipated or been checked for a intolerance as this could be the cause for the uncomfortableness?

I hope u get ur questions answered and ur son feeds better and is more comfortable xx

BreeVDKamp Fri 26-Jun-15 06:57:07

Ah thanks Rachey. Hope your DS puts all his weight back on soon!

Yesterday was good, suddenly! 3 hours between feeds and good long naps. Have stopped pumping for now and just feeding whenever he wants, DH suggested that as the pumping was confusing and time consuming and a bit disheartening when nothing much was coming out!

This morning my boobs aren't leaking or hard or anything, and I know that doesn't mean anything but DS was already a bit frustrated doing his punching and kicking at his 6am feed confused soooo we'll see.

BreeVDKamp Fri 26-Jun-15 06:57:46

Oh don't think he's constipated as he's doing lots of poos! But have been using gripe water for wind.

pileoflaundry Fri 26-Jun-15 20:36:22

I don't know, I'll be pissed off if I pay £90 and they don't suggest anything other than what I've already read about for free online.

Have you tried a breastfeeding support group? Your HV may have details of free groups in your area.

If you do pay the £90, and if the consultant finds that there is nothing wrong, and that your DS is just a fussy baby, would that be reassuring?

You said that you had your DS checked for tongue tie. My DD's tie was missed the first time round, and your DS sounds a lot like she was, may it be worth getting a second opinion?

My DD was really fussy at the breast. The tongue tie was released at 6 weeks (and that was a horrendous 6 weeks), but stayed fussy. Often, she would suck only a little from the first boob, then lots from the second, and then go back to the first. Sometimes she needed jiggling about or winding part-way through, or just a change of scene (e.g. being carried around from room to room). Sometimes I had to go through a variety of holds before I found the one that she wanted at a particular feed. There was nothing wrong, as far as I ever worked out. She grew out of the fussiness eventually.

Both my kids cluster-fed in the evenings (4 hours of swapping from boob to boob was standard for my DD at one point) I got through a lot of books.

I can't feed as much as he wants to because that is all the time. And it wouldn't be feeding anyway, it would just be comfort sucking for the most part.

I think that a lot babies are like this. They feed every 1.5 - 2 hours, each feed takes 45 minutes, so then there are only 45 minutes until the next feed, and the baby just wants to spend this time snoozing on the boob.

My DS (8m) still feeds every 1.5 hours in the day. Each feed now takes 10 minutes at most, so it does get better.

So it's just a bit sad and I would feel like a failure giving up.

You are working really hard at this and if you do move to formula it won't be failure, please don't think that.

pileoflaundry Fri 26-Jun-15 21:03:59

I really recommend Breastfeeding Made Simple. The advice in it is based on scientific studies, and not anectotal evidence, old wives tales or internet rumour (don't even get me started on the What to Expect horror). It gives a good idea of the range of baby feeding behaviours, lots of reassurance, and how to fix some common and less common problems.

BreeVDKamp Fri 26-Jun-15 23:27:43

Thanks Pile, lovely posts smile I will look at Brestfeeding Made Simple tomorrow.

I don't know about local BF support groups other than the 'cafes' that are around. I'll definitely be looking up all the local support once we move in a couple of weeks. And maybe ask my new HV team to double check for tongue tie.

Having said that the last couple of days have been good! Has been going 2-3 hours between feeds and sleeping much better which is amazing!!! smile hopefully it's not a fluke. Maybe it just took a while for my production to catch up.

Your DD's fussiness sounds EXACTLY like my DS. Maybe he's just a tinker!

22Dee Sun 28-Jun-15 14:52:10

to answrr the question...

to increase supply

it took me only one day. i think its case of everyones different. i pump and give bottles of half and half cos lil one is a nightmare on the boob like yours. but my supply was dwindling after a few delayed pumping sessions when i had guests over. whrn they left i had a bf day with no bottles or formula in that day. lil one was very hungry in thst day and was on the boob a lot.. next day i had heaps of milk! too much in fact.

be aware tho. i didnt realise how painfull it is. u can feel your boobs increasing supply and it wasnt a nice feeling. others may be different of course smile

BreeVDKamp Wed 01-Jul-15 09:33:23

Just thought I'd update in case anyone comes across this in the future, might be helpful.

So my supply seems to be better! Wahoo!

I've been having oats at every meal - bircher for breakfast, oatcakes at lunch and hobnobs at dinner.

Also having a cup or 2 or Neuner's Nursing Tea every day.

Think the thing that helped mostly though was just giving in to the feeding and just feeding contantly, and STOPPING PUMPING! Even though I was advised to do so to trick my body into thinking the baby was feeding more than he was, DH suggested giving it up as it was confusing and stressing me. It just seemed futile, pumping out milk to give by bottle that the baby could just drink straight from the breast.

Anyway, he seems much more satisfied and less fussy - still fussy towards the end of the day but much much less. He's also now generally going 2-3 hours between feeds instead of 1 hour, PHEW!

And I've read lots of articles stating that babies who are 6 months need the same amount of milk as a baby who is 1 month, and now DS is 5 weeks, hopefully we're set until 6 months.

Thanks so much for all the advice everyone! I would have given up without it, and I am SO glad I didn't! Yet!

BreeVDKamp Wed 01-Jul-15 09:35:40

And it did take about a week to see any changes in the baby and milk supply so... And DS was born at 8lb10 and is only 9lb2 at 5 weeks, but think we are on track now smile

MrsAukerman Wed 01-Jul-15 09:39:26

Yay! Glad you've ditched the pumping and let your baby lead the way. Well done. Go with the flow, it's so much less stressful.

crje Wed 01-Jul-15 09:45:08

Fennel tea is good , my mw advised a day in bed with lots of skin to skin and that helped too.
Put the baby in a sling to free up your hands for jobs.

Can you draft in some helpers for the move ?

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