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Old 05-25-2012, 12:40 AM   #1
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Question Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

I believe I have supply issues and my 5 week old has been having trouble gaining weight. I've been trying to pump after some feedings to help empty my breasts and try to stimulate more production. I know that how much one is able to pump (I'm using an older PIS btw) is not indicative of how much milk one produces, but tonight I decided to try to pump one breast while baby nursed on the other and so baby nursed on the more favored breast (the left) and I pumped the right and for the let down, I got 1 ounce on the right. She stopped nursing (was distracted by the sound of the pump while nursing) so we stopped right after let down ended and I gave her the ounce I pumped instead of switching breasts. So, would it be safe to estimate that she got about 2 ounces or a little more from that feeding? About an ounce from the left breast she nursed on and an ounce I pumped and then fed her immediately from the right? Or is this faulty logic?

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Old 05-25-2012, 05:03 AM   #2
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

First I want to say I am not an expert just a Mama who has nursed 3 childrens for 1+ years each. I can't say for sure that your logic is correct, but I would make the same assumption that you did (LO got 2 or more ounces - more than likely more since babies are usually more efficient than pumps). The breast my LO favors produces about 2x as much as the other when I pump & my sister gets more from the favored breast also (although not 2x maybe 1.5x). If your session ended early it sounds like you would be producing a normal amount (my LO took 2-3 ounces pumped milk at a time at 5 weeks about every 2-3 hours). My sister was having issues keeping up with her LO so I suggested she eat oatmeal daily, try Fenugreek, & contact a lactation consultant (can find one through your hospital). She did all of the above. She noticed an increase in the amount she pumped within a few days from the oatmeal & fenugreek (which the consultant also recommended) & did even better once she got their latch corrected (they were havign issues with her DD latching on lazily sometimes). She called me disappointed at first because she was only pumping .5-1 ounce more per session, which didn't seem like a lot to her, but when I put it in terms of % increase (25-50% more) she realised it really was helping. Her LO was still eating as often but was a lot less cranky as she was getting more. So if you think you may have supply issues my first suggestion would be to add oatmeal to your diet daily, make sure LO is eating often enough & staying awake, & contact a lactation consultant (they help with latch issues & supply issues). Look into Fenugreek before you try it as it is an herb that is used for medicinal purposes & can have a few side effects (although minor for most). I only recommended it to my sister as I know her history. I also told her to look it up before she tried it to make sure she wanted to.

Is LO by chance falling asleep when nursing? or distracted easily? If so I would strip LO down to diaper & change diaper right before nursing (keep LO a little uncomfortable & awake so she finishs eating) & be sure to nurse some place where there are less distractions. Also if LO is having problems gaining weight nurse LO every 2 hours (or more if LO wants) waking LO up to do so. Only supplement with Formula if it is needed (continued problems gaining weight); BUT if you do supplement be sure to pump each time you supplement to get your supply up to where LO needs it (every time you supplement without pumping LO gets what they need but your body isn't given the message that they need more & then you will have supply issues).

Good luck!
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

When I double pump, one side often makes significantly more milk than the other. So, I don't think your pumping output on your less preferred breast is any measurement of how much your little one is getting from nursing the other side.

Second, your pump might need some tuning up. When is the last time you replaced valves and membranes? That can make a huge difference in output. You might Leo want to think about a new pump. The motor on a PIS usually lasts about a year for pumping a few times a day. When the motor goes, milk production tanks.

Good luck! Supply issues can be hugely frustrating.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

I am totally lopsided when it comes to pumping output, and possibly lopsided overall in production. There are days when my left will produce 3-4 times more milk than the right. Other days they are much closer to even. With DS1, my right was consistently 1/2 of the output as the left.

In terms of pump motors, there are some places that can test the pump motor to make sure it is still producing enough suction. If you have any BF'ing supply stores near you that carry Medela, you may want to call and ask if they can test your pump. I have an older PIS that has now lasted 8+ years and 5 babies and is still going strong. I recently thought the pump was dying, but found the ac adapter was frayed in one place. I replaced the adapter and the pump is seriously as good as new. I don't think my pump is even close to normal in its lifespan. It just keeps going....

I do agree to replace valves and membranes if you have not done so recently.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:52 AM   #5
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

I definitly have one breast that produces more than the other! My left breast is visibly bigger, and I get more than twice the output with my left than right when I pump. Also, like other mamas said *in most cases* babies get more milk from the breast than a pump. How big is your baby? a bit over 2oz may be fine. this is alink talking about supplimenting, but, the sme info would apply...it says that a baby your DC's age needs about 2.4oz per feeding (which is on average, so the baby could take way less some feedings and way more other feedings). http://www.lowmilksupply.org/supplem...-howmuch.shtml

IS baby gaining? How fast? I'm not a doctor and don't know your baby, but, I have heard such a wide range of normal and suggested amounts of weight gain for breastfed babies. I would think a steady gain is more important than anything. I think 4-7oz/week is normal.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

She is only a few ounces over her birth weight of 9 lbs 2 ounces at 7 weeks old. She was not gaining at all for awhile there, just basically sustaining her weight. She is happy and healthy in every single way and hitting all her milestones (smiled at 4 weeks, rolled over at 6 weeks). She is really a little advanced, even. So, I know she is fine...but I'd like to see a little more weight gain.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: Pumping one breast while baby nurses on the other?

I would suggest you weigh baby before and after a feeding without changing the diaper on a sensitive scale (lactation consultants can do this, but, I've convinced my baby's pediatrician to let me do it a few times too), whatever baby "gains" is her intake. You mentioned something about helping to empty your breasts. Is baby not emptying them? Do you have any concerns about your baby's latch or suck?

And I agree with others about replacing the "soft" parts to your pump...that should help with it. Olive oil on my nipples always helps me too.
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