Increasing Milk Supply For Good

At the start of my pumping journey, my milk supply was over the top.  I was ecstatic at how easy it came and how lax I could be on my pumping schedule without losing ounces.  Then life happened.  Emmett came home from the NICU, things got crazy, my milk stopped being hormonal driven and a failed 3-day breastfeeding attempt. One day I woke up to realize I had gone from 30+ ounces per day to barely 13oz!  Obviously, I was upset and started panicking turning to trusty old google.  I found a ton of advice on supplements, cookies, diets, etc. I could do to increase my supply but none of that really peaked my interest.  I even tried giving him a formula sample to help solidify my decision to just quit, and when he hated it and gagged the entire feed I made the decision to dedicate myself to increasing my supply.  I was returning to work in just a few short weeks so I didn’t have a lot of time.

My list of problems:
  • – took 40-60 minutes to empty and only getting 2 ounces per session at most.
  • -struggled to get multiple let downs.
  • -lack of time and sleep with a newborn needing my attention every 2-3 hours
  • -flanges didn’t fit well and spectra didn’t offer smaller options.
How I fixed this:
  • -Ordered Pumpin Pals and these adaptors to work with medela parts for my pump (my photo above shows my spectra/pumpin pals set up).  I struggled with this as they are expensive and the reviews were 50/50.  My advice is to now go for it! Especially since they are refundable.  These were a large part of my success in increasing my supply and emptying in 20-30 minutes each time. Plus they are pain-free!
  • I used a hospital grade pump, I chose the spectra s2 but would also recommend renting a medela symphony!
  • -A few times a day I would hand express after my session.  You’d be surprised how much milk you can continue to get that way!  The emptier I could get after each session, the more I signaled my body to produce more.
  • -My son would latch on but was never great at transferring milk, the NICU made him a lazy baby.  However whenever he was fussy or just wanted to pacify I would put him to the breast.  Even though he wasn’t emptying me, I can tell this helped as the side we favored consistently produces an ounce more each pump. I still made sure to pump on my 3-hour schedule.
  • -I worked out a plan with my husband so I was able to pump in the middle of the night while still getting sleep. He would wake up with me and feed Baby E a quick bottle that I prepared so I could go straight to pumping.  We were both back to sleep in 30 minutes tops.
  • I made the dedication to go back to pumping 8 times a day.  It wasn’t easy but every time Baby E ate, I would lay him down for a nap or set him next to me on the Boppy for tummy time and then pump for at least 20 minutes.
  • Any chance I got, like a long car ride or the days I would work from home I would pump/power pump as much as possible.
  • I stopped making excuses for why it would be OK to skip.  It’s not OK. The rare time that I skip a pump is when I’m so sleep deprived I can’t see straight. I thought about taking supplements and making lactation cookies but I didn’t want a temporary fix, I wanted one that would last so I could eventually lower my pumps per day without losing supply.
  • I focused on my diet eating more protein and drinking more water, and then made time to relax. Once a week I’d pump and then pour myself a glass of wine and sink into a bubble bath.  I even went as far as hand expressing into the tub for a milk bath (it helps my eczema) and to make sure I was completely empty.
  • Anytime I was just hanging around the house I tried to keep an empty bottle near by so if I had a random let down (you know the ones you get after thinking about anything baby related) I could take advantage of it and hand express into the bottle for a few minutes.
  • I also made sure to take my vitamins regularly and to keep taking a high quality prenatal.

I know some of these seem extreme but the more often you signal your body that you need milk the more it will make.  It took maybe two weeks but I am now up to 24 ounces per day (that’s ten ounces more than I was producing at my lowest!) and still hoping it will keep improving.  I am thrilled that I can at least keep up with Baby E’s appetite without having to thaw my freezer stash.

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