The Troubles of Being a Breastfeeding, Working Mom
You could do everything right when it comes to pumping breast milk, yet still struggle. Here is how I'm working through a dwindling supply since I've been back to work.
Being a pumping working mom is a lot of hard work. I’m a month into my second journey of being a full time working mom and trying my hardest to provide sustenance for my little peanut. I struggled the first time around, and was committed to doing all that I could to fix all the wrongs I did before. I educated myself. I built up a 400 oz stash of breast milk in my freezer. I don’t miss a pumping session. Yet, here I am, a month in, and once again I find myself not pumping enough to replace what the babe needs each day. I’m so grateful I have my stash, but I know that if I don’t improve my output, one day I will run out.
Before I went back to work, my supply was great. So much so, that I pumped twice a day and yielded a decent amount after nursing the babe. One day, about a week before I went back to work, I even pumped for a missed feeding so my mom could give her a bottle, as my mom is the one caring for my girls while I’m at work, and I pumped six ounces! Six! I thought that meant that I was golden for when I returned. Boy was I wrong.
Each day I pump before I leave for work as I’m out of the house by 6 AM and I don’t want to wake the babe at 5 AM to feed her. I then pump three times a day at work. So I’m pumping four times a day to make up three bottles. You’d think that’d be plenty.
My problems started to arise once the babe stopped sleeping through the night. She gets up two to three times a night and nurses. Albeit she’s not nursing a lot, but it’s some. So what is happening is that when I pump in the morning I’m not yielding a lot of milk. Maybe three ounces tops. Some mornings I’ll be lucky if I get five ounces if her last wake up in the night was around 2 AM. There have been two nights, though, where she did sleep through the night and on those mornings I pumped 8-10 ounces. So I know my supply is there.
During the work day, when I pump, I’m averaging 3-3 1/2 ounces per session. So that’s about 10 ounces during the day, plus my average of three ounces in the morning, for a total of 13 ounces. That is not enough. Not at all. During the day, the babe will have three, six ounce bottles. Well, she did. I started to think that she was possibly getting overfed since I wasn’t pumping that much. Since she’s eating at night now, she didn’t need as much in a bottle, so I brought her three bottles down to five ounces each. She seems very satisfied with five ounce bottles and my mom doesn’t have to defrost any extras, yet that still leaves me with a deficit. On a good day, I pump 13 ounces, but some days it’s 11 or 12. I know it’s not a giant deficit, but I worry about what’s going to happen once I go through all of my stash to make up the deficit.
I thought that perhaps if I rented a hospital grade pump I might see an increase in my pumped breast milk, so I called my hospital’s lactation consultants. The woman I spoke to said that the pump I am using is actually one of the best out there. She suggested that I take three Fenugreek pills three times a day. She told me that the other supplements with Fenugreek as an ingredient like teas, don’t have enough of the galactogogue in it to make a substantial difference. So that’s what I’ve been doing, maple syrup smell and all. At times, I’ve felt slightly engorged, especially on nights when my daughter sleeps for four hours straight. So I know the Fenugreek is working. However, I’m still not pumping more than before after five days of taking the Fenugreek.
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