Ask Judy: How Do I Keep My Milk Supply Up While Working?

Dear Judy, I have a question for you already. I just returned to work Monday. I noticed yesterday and today that I am not pumping 4.5 to 5oz like I did Monday. My lactation consultant has me taking Fenugreek, which I have been on for about a month. My daughter seems to still be satisfied when I feed her at home. I believe my cycle is due in the next week or two. Considering the above information, do you have any suggestions to keep my milk up? Also I’ve tried pumping for 10 mins taking a 2 min break and pumping againg for 5 mins. Then I have tired 20 mins straight. Okay, I think that is everything I am doing.

It is pretty common for moms to have lower than expected milk out-put during their first week back to work. Your body is adjusting to spending so much time on the pump and you may be feeling stressed or anxious about being away from your baby and about getting caught up on work. I wouldn’t worry too much about it this week. Keep pumping regularly and see how it goes. If you are still noticing lower than expected volumes next week, let me know and we will brain storm some ideas. In the meantime, please read this article – it is all about pumping and working.

Keep in mind that your baby is much more efficient at getting your milk out than your pump – so you may have to add in an extra pumping session to be able to keep up with what she will need while you are away. What worked for me was to pump every evening after my baby went to bed. He would go to sleep at 8 PM and I would pump at 10 PM. I only got 2 ounces, but it was enough to always make sure that I had enough for him to drink the next day. Adding in a pumping session like this works best if you are consistent about it. You will get more milk if you do it at the same time every day.

How much of the fenugreek are you taking? You should be taking 3-4 pills 3-4 times per day. Your body should smell like maple syrup. You can read more about fenugreek here.

Also, have you ever experienced dips in your supply due to your cycle before? Many women see this. It may be due to your time of month as well.

One final tip – it is easy when you are at work to forget to drink water – having enough to drink will directly affect your supply – make sure you are drinking LOTS – even EXTRA water!!

Kelly Mom also has some great tips on pumping and working which you can read as well.

Did you experience a dip in supply when you went back to work? What did you do? Please share your experiences by leaving a comment. The mom who wrote me this question will be checking in to see what advice you have for her. She has gotten lots of great tips from Mommy News & Views readers in the past – so she is looking forward to what you have to share with her today too!

2 comments to Ask Judy: How Do I Keep My Milk Supply Up While Working?

  • A couple things that worked for me:
    -Breastfeed and pump right when you get home from work (and your breasts have missed baby)
    -Pump first thing in the morning, especially if baby has slept a lot that night
    -If you work a regular 9-5, try breastfeeding more at night so baby isn’t as hungry during the day

    I wrote a blog a while back regarding juggling work/breastfeeding:
    .-= Cate´s last blog ..We Support Because We Love (Breastfeeders) =-.

  • I had a dip when I went back to work with my dd. I took fenugreek also but I had better results when I took Blessed Thistle also. I always noticed a dip in the few days before my period would start but by day 2 it would rebound to what I was used to getting. I have also heard that oatmeal and dark beer will help your supply but never tried either of those. I always wake up at least once through the night to use the bathroom so before I went to bed (once she slept through the night) I would set the pump up in the living room and I would pump when I got up through the night just to have that extra to take to the sitter’s in the morning. It takes a lot of dedication and work to do it but it can be done. Good luck.


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