Ask Judy: Pumping Tips

Hi Judy,
You mentioned in your article that you started of being able to pump 10 oz at work while your baby drank 17 oz during the day.  I’m having the same challenge. How did you manage to get a whole bunch of leftover in the end? Did your pumping output increase? Mine seems to have plateaued despite my best efforts to eat oatmeal everyday and drink lots of fluids. Please help.
Thanks, Irma 

Hi Irma,

How long have you been back at work? Things will even out over time – so if it is your first week or two back – hang in there, it will get better as both you and your baby adjust to your new situations.

There are a few things you can try to help increase your supply and make sure your baby is getting the right amount of your milk while you are away. The first is to educate your care giver about paced bottle feeding. It is very easy to over-feed a breastfed baby – and using these techniques, your baby will only be getting whatever he/she needs.

Another thing you can try is to get in an extra pumping session when you are home too – I used to pump at 10 PM. I only got a few ounces, but it helped so that I was able to keep up with my baby’s needs.

And finally, if you haven’t tried it already – when you are at work – try pumping for 10 minutes, turn your pump off for 2 minutes, then pump for another 5 minutes. This always gave me a 2nd let down.

If these things don’t help, you can try taking herbal supplements. And for the oatmeal that you are eating – make sure that you are getting the STEEL CUT OATS, not the instant oatmeal.

I also highly recommend talking to a local lactation consultant who may be able to help out with your specific situation. Best of luck to you and please keep me posted on how it is going.

Do you have any other suggestions for Irma? How did you keep up with your baby’s needs when you went back to work? Please leave a comment to let us know.

2 comments to Ask Judy: Pumping Tips

  • Alicia

    Power pumping is a great tool for boosting output — the way I did it was to pump for closer to 20 minutes – then wait 10 minutes – then pump for another 20. Do this at least once for 2 – 3 days in a row. Also – how many times are you pumping at work? Can you add in another session? And, are your pumping sessions long enough? I always found that pumping for at least 30 minutes resulted in optimum output. Finally – doing massage and breast compression while pumping can increase output as well – and, as suggested – adding one at home pumping session. GL – you can definitely make this work!

  • Megan

    First thing in the morning (7am), I pump my over-producing breast while nursing my son on the under-producing side. Sometimes I switch if he nurses longer than 20 minutes. I pump at work mid-morning (10am) for 20 min. Then I go to daycare at lunch (12pm) to nurse him. Mid-afternoon (2:30pm) pumping. I pick him up by 5pm and nurse on demand through the evening. After nursing him for the last time at night, I pump again (sometimes after and sometimes while nursing, like in the morning). Altogether I generate 12-15oz within 24 hours. He uses about 10oz. at daycare. Breast massage before and during pumping have helped a lot. I also had to teach the daycare workers to pay closer attention to his cries/hunger cues. They were actually feeding him when he was hungry. Instead of soothing him to sleep, they were feeding him. All the babies there are formula fed. He’s the only breast milk baby. Good luck! Oh! Also make sure your pump flanges are the right size!

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