How many ounces to pump

Posted by @kequick, Wed, Oct 25 12:06pm

Hello – Glad to have found this group as I’m a new mom just returning from a 12 week maternity leave. I attended the “return to work” pumping class offered by Mayo and it was helpful but now I have some questions/uncertainty as I’m getting into the swing of things. At the class it was recommended that mamas pump 2x per day. Since my baby has been EBF while on my leave, I’m thinking it will be a bit of trial and error until we figure out how much milk he’s needing each day. Currently my schedule is to feed him twice before work, and then pump twice while I’m here for ~20 minutes, then we nurse after work and before bed. My current pumping schedule yields about 12 oz of milk, which is what he’s been eating while I’m at work. My question for you all: do you think I need to be pumping 3x? Or is it OK to just pump enough milk for him for the next day? I have a decent freezer stash from my leave. As he gets older/bigger, I’m guessing he’ll need to eat more at each feeding… which would mean I would need to add a third pumping session to my work day? Do most women have trouble increasing their milk supply as baby grows? Sorry for all the questions – just looking for a little advice from someone who’s been in my shoes before 🙂 Thanks!

REPLY

BethFlattum
@BethFlattum

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 09, 2015
Posted by @BethFlattum, Wed, Oct 25 1:51pm

Hi Kristen! My four were EBF also before I went back to work each time, so I totally know the feeling of guessing how much baby will eat. You’re right that it’s trial and error. For me, it works to pump 2x/ day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon). I get about 8-12 ounces each time (depending on if/when my daughter nursed in the morning before I left for work). For the first couple months after I returned to work I also ended up pumping right before bedtime if my daughter didn’t completely empty both breasts before she fell asleep. That helped augment my stash for those days when my supply was a little lower and I didn’t get as much during my pumping sessions. I’ll occasionally also get in a pumping session over the weekend if I’m starting to feel “full” even after she eats. I feel like my stash has been pretty stable over the past 3 months – I can roughly replace what she drinks at daycare (20-ish oz). Now that we’re creeping up on 6 months and I’m starting to think about solids, I’ll continue to pump 2x/day anyway. That way I keep “wiggle room” in my stash (again for those times I only pump closer to 16oz total on a given day). Hope that helps at least a little! That’s my two cents, anyway… 🙂

Posted by @kequick, Wed, Oct 25 2:44pm

Thanks so much for the quick response! Do you use the hospital grade pumps Mayo offers? I office in City Center (next to Terza) and use my Pump n’ Style. How long do you pump during each session? I may need to look at ways to increase my supply – I just pumped 20 mins and yielded about 5 ounces. Thank you again!

BethFlattum
@BethFlattum

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Joined: Nov 09, 2015
Posted by @BethFlattum, Thu, Oct 26 2:23pm

Because my meetings are all over campus (and sometimes out at MCHS sites – and sometimes in offices if there isn’t a lactation room nearby), it’s easier for me to just lug along my pump instead of all the “pieces” to use the hospital-grade pumps Mayo has in the rooms. I also use the Pump in Style Advanced for about 20-25 minutes each session. I’ve had pretty good luck with it over the past 8 years and 4 kids – so far, so good!

Jocelyn Webb
@jjwebb

Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 14, 2017
Posted by @jjwebb, Wed, Oct 25 3:29pm

Hi! My 10 month old was EBF before I returned to work as well. I was lucky that I produced enough during my leave to nurse her plus build a significant freezer supply. After returning to work, I pumped twice a day at work, however, I know some moms who pumped 3x; morning, lunch, and afternoon. You just need to find what works best for you! Similar to what Beth said, I also pumped before bed, if I wasn’t completely empty. Regarding increasing my supply as she got older, my body did the opposite, my supply slowly decreased. I swore by ‘booby bites’ while I was nursing and pumping, I ate 2-3 a day (mainly to help with my sweet tooth cravings!). I noticed a 2-4 oz drop in my supply on the days I didn’t eat any.

Lactation bites
2 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c flaxseed
3 tbsp Brewers yeast
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
Chocolate chips or raisins

Mix all ingredients together, roll into balls, refrigerate.

Good luck with your journey!! 🙂

Posted by @kequick, Thu, Oct 26 8:56am

These sound so yummy! Thanks for chiming in 🙂 I ended up pumping last night before bed after reading the response from you and @BethFlattum. I *loathe* pumping but need to just suck it up… I will try the lactation bites too! Have a great day.

BethFlattum
@BethFlattum

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 09, 2015
Posted by @BethFlattum, Thu, Oct 26 2:17pm

Ooh! Those sound delish! I’ll have to try them out! @kequick – I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal each morning, as that seems to help my supply (oats are key, in my opinion!). Add some dried blueberries and/or freeze-dried strawberries if you want a little extra flavor. I have tried the Mother’s Milk tea (you can find it at Target in the coffee/tea section) – it’s not too bad and maybe helps?? I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. 🙂 Also, I noticed when I’m extra-short on sleep (what mom *isn’t* short on sleep, but this is when I’m extra-short…like during a growth spurt and we’re up multiple times a night) I don’t produce as much milk. Maybe TRY (as much as possible??? :)) a little extra sleep and see if that helps too? Pumping doesn’t rank high on my “fun” scale either, but I did find a few ebooks on the Kindle that I got sucked into reading that made the time seem to fly by faster. Good luck! 🙂

Posted by @kequick, Thu, Oct 26 2:43pm

Thanks @BethFlattum!

Amber Caron
@ambercaron

Posts: 49
Joined: Apr 26, 2011
Posted by @ambercaron, Fri, Oct 27 3:28pm

Hello! I had to pump 3 times for a while, i struggled making enough for both of my boys. I had to eat so much!! As soon as i didn’t get enough calories or exercised too much my supply would plummet. I honestly made exactly enough each day. After they started eating solids the amount they drank was more stable and didn’t increase as much. Good luck!!

Posted by @kequick, Mon, Oct 30 8:44am

That is so interesting, thanks so much for sharing! I recently got wire braces, which I feel like cut the foods I can eat in half so I’m working hard to find meals and snacks that are easy to eat while still being caloric (soup is not cutting it). I’ve been feeling guilty for not being able to find time to exercise but maybe it’s actually a good thing 🙂

Amber Caron
@ambercaron

Posts: 49
Joined: Apr 26, 2011
Posted by @ambercaron, Tue, Nov 7 3:44pm

i had a lot of guilt about not exercising but i really wanted to be able to continue breastfeeding so i just let it go. 🙂 I am now working on getting back into my exercise routine. Slowly but surely i will be able to be back in shape.

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