Thursday, March 4, 2010

Milk Supply Issues

I wanted to breastfeed for a year. I still do. I love breastfeeding. So does Meg. Pumping, I don’t love. My pump is so inefficient compared to the baby. My supply has been steadily declining since Christmas. Before Christmas, everything was going great. On days I worked, I got as many ounces as Meg took in bottles. On days off, she nursed exclusively and I pumped an additional 4 ounces after her morning feeding. Which means on days I worked, I got 4 ounces less (I only got as much as she drank, instead of 4 oz extra). Which was fine.

I took the week after Christmas off, so between the holiday and week off, I didn’t work for 12 days. I was getting really sick of the pump, so I decided to give myself a break. Bad idea. For those 12 days I didn’t pump the extra 4 ounces. So when I went back to work, suddenly I wasn’t getting the amount Meg needed. I was getting 4 ounces less. My supply adjusted. I tried to get it back. I would sit there pumping for 30-40 minutes. On days off, I pumped for 20-30 minutes after her morning feeding. It didn’t work. Plus, a lot of the frozen milk I was pulling out of the freezer to make up the difference was sour! We bought a deep freeze in November. Before that, our freezer was stuffed full of bags of milk, ice cream, frozen pizzas, etc. So full, it didn’t work that great. I ended up pouring 100ish ounces down the drain.

In the month of January, I went from having 300 ounces in my freezer and assuming I would still be getting 12 extra ounces of milk each week to having 150 ounces in the freezer, with 12-16 ounces flying out each week (more when some of it was sour). By this point (early March) I have about 75 ounces in the freezer and my supply has deteriorated further, to the point I’m pulling out 20-24 ounces a week.

To be honest, I’m so frustrated with the pump, I’m ready to just quit. I would mix the remaining frozen milk half and half with formula for her daytime bottles and continue to breastfeed in the morning and at night. The problem with that plan is that I really want to continue breastfeeding during my days off. I love it!!! Its easy, I can read a magazine, we snuggle, Meg loves it too, and she eats more slowly and therefore often falls asleep while nursing.

Its frustrating that if I wasn’t working, we would have no problem. The only problem I have is the inefficient-ness of the pump. On my days off, Meg gets enough milk and everything goes great. I don’t know what to do. I’m so torn between quitting the pump and maintaining nursing on my days off. I keep meaning to call a lactation consultant. Maybe I have the wrong size BreastShield or something? I’m hoping for a quick fix, but I don’t think its going to happen.

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