Breastfeeding nightmare!

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Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454
Breastfeeding nightmare!

So yesterday I pumped three times at work and only got 3oz out... total (I use the Medela Harmony manual pump)! I was so upset about it, and freaked out that I wasn't going to be able to pump enough out for him when I'm here at work that I went straight over to the hospital to rent an electric pump. I spent an hour talking with the LC about which model would be best and she showed me how to do everything. I spent $60 on what she told me was the "Cadillac" of breast pumps (this was to rent it for just one week just to try it out... $17 for the week and $45 for the breast kit with the bottles and pumping needs), used it twice last night, and only got DROPS out!!! I'm so unbelievably frustrated I don't know what to do. I had it up on the highest possible setting and NOTHING! I get more out of my manual pump! How is that possible? Am I drying up already? Thank God I'm getting off early today and am off tomorrow so that I can pump like a maniac (probably with my manual!) for when I have to work on Monday, and then Tuesday on my day off I can take that dumb machine down there and let them show me what I'm doing wrong. I went and bought some fenugreek thinking that maybe my supply is dwindling... Any thoughts?

JuneorJulyBaby?'s picture
Joined: 10/20/08
Posts: 2479

Some people don't respond to the pump the same way as baby. Were you stressed or rushed for time? Do you have a picture of Trystan to help you get your "let down"? You can also try squeezing your breasts like you would to hand express while the pump is working to help get started. I usually do this on the "let down' feature of my breast pump until I start to see milk flowing and then switch to the full pump if that makes sense. I would definitely go back to the hospital and have them show you how to use it.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

My only thought is to get him to the breast as often as possible, that will stimulate your milk more than anything. Also, try some Mother's Milk Tea, Fenugreek (sp?), oatmeal and increasing your water in take.

I remember getting more out with the electric pump but I think it was mainly because it was quicker and I didn't give up as fast. With the manual there was definitely more of a suction because I could squeeze the handle harder and longer to draw it out more.

I hope your supply increases soon. If not you may want to call your OB and see if you can get an Rx for Reglan or something that will help you out.

DitherDither's picture
Joined: 04/16/09
Posts: 152

BF, esp pumping, can be very psychological....I went through a similar thing when my DS was about 6 months old. I was use to pumping 4oz a night, and then suddenly one night....nothing. Of course, I panicked. This went on for weeks....luckily he was older and on solids, and I also had a stash in the freezer. Still, I would go nights where my breasts were so heavy, full of milk, but when I pumped....nothing. I couldn't get a letdown. I would try for over an hour....nothing. And the more I focused on it, the worse it got. I finally started taking fenugreek, and pumped while watching TV to distract myself.

I don't know if the fenugreek helped my supply, but it at least made me feel like I was doing something to 'fix' the issue, and I was able to pump normally again after a while.

So....for me at least, it was a total mental thing, and the more anxious I got about it, the worse it got. Try not to stress...hard, I know! Your supply is most likely fine, but taking something (oatmeal, Fenugreek), certainly can't hurt! Or even just upping your water intake?

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

first, breathe.....totally normal! I had the same issues with DS1.

Here is what I did: I took fenugreek, it does work! And drank lots of water. I had to pump while nursing. Baby on one boob, pump on the other (actually that is what I do with Jonah now too!). That stimulates the let down for the pumping breast. I can get 5oz out with baby on the other boob but only 2 w/o him there.

Then at work, have a picture of baby with you and pump what you can with the electric pump. I have the Medula Pump in Style Advanced, works great! You may not be able to keep your supply up with a manual. But don't stress out if you don't get much out at work. When I worked, the majority of milk was from the baby/pump sessions.

Good luck momma!

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

Thank you girls so much for your suggestions!

Angela, I do have a picture of Trystan (or "T" as we're all starting to call him now lol), so I will try that! It's kind of weird to me that something like that would help... but I'll try anything!

Jenn, it's really weird to me that the suction is better with the manual! How is that when those freaking electric pumps cost so much money! You'd think that they could duplicate a baby's suction by now... I mean we put a man on the moon for God's sake lol! I did buy some fenugreek and started taking it last night. I try to drink plenty of water and will start eating more oatmeal if that means more milk too!

Dither, you might be right about the stressing. I tried to watch TV last night and not be stressed (besides the fact that I had to wake myself up at 1AM just to pump... so I was exhausted).

Amy, I'm going to try and pump with Trystan as soon as I get home... him on one boob and pump on the other. Did you use the electric one when you did that or a manual one?

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

I always get more out my manual medela harmony than the electrics!! I think it's because I can control how hard I pump. I do the breast massage while I pump (squeeze fairly hard, especially the lumps), and it helps to think of baby or maybe record him crying on your phone if you can and play it back? I notice too that I can pump way more in the evening than the rest of the day, it can definitely fluctuate. I was told to pump as often as possible, even if it's just a few drops, to stimulate things. I know its hard at work to do.

Deep breath - I am sure it will be ok!!

ETA - I have now mastered using the manual pump on one breast and nursing on the other. LOL!!!

kmm123's picture
Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1839

For me pictures weren't necessary but relaxing and clearing my mind always were. Sometimes I'd read a book or play online. Anything to think less about "how much" I was going to get -- if I relaxed and just let my body respond I'd get a better let down.

I'm_a_pepper's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 606

Hugs!! How frustrating! I don't have anything to add but wanted to echo what they others have said.

gaidinsgirl's picture
Joined: 08/28/06
Posts: 2004

The highest setting isn't always best either Krystal. Try starting with a faster speed and harder suction first to mimic how the baby first latches and then lower it to a lower speed. That helps some women. I hope you can your supply up (( hugs))

Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 1346

Are you using the right size phlange? I get a lot more milk when I only do one side at a time and use my free hand to massage and gently squeeze the side pumped. Hope it gets better!

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

I can so relate. Baby girl is so fussy on the breast sometimes I have to resort to a bottle. Then I am all flustered and worried and only getting twl ounces out of the breast. I feed her that and then put her on the boob and I can see milk bubb,ling in the corner of her mouth so I knlw there is more in there. One time I coldnt pump anything and put her on and there clearly was some. My sister suggested the pumping and feeding at the same time today too so I will try that... I think the mental game is at pleg with me too bc I am hacing issues with her latchng cryingand being overall frustrated at the breast. My sis suggested covering her with a blankeet so she isn't distracted and that has been helping a lot too. I am hoping to pump a lot during the day and bottle feed and breast feed her at night. Hopefully mg supply will improve for me to do that. I didn't have these issues with ds so it is all new to me.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

Thanks for all of the support and comments girls! Things have gotten a lot better over the past couple of days. I started pumping on one side while feeding him on the other, and that seems to help a lot (or it could be a combo of that and the fenugreek). I'll get one oz on each side out when I do that during the day, and then when I did it last night I got three oz out of just the left side! I left my mom with 9oz today, I was so proud! I'm still getting the same amount out with the electric as I do with the manual, but when I'm feeding Trystan and trying to pump at the same time, it's easier to just use the electric one, so I think I'll end up keeping it!

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973

I am not pumping at the moment but I will have to when I go back to work. Lots of good tips here. Krystal I am glad that you were able to pump more milk out for Trystan. I need to invest in a pump so I can try and start building a supply now for when I do go back to work and so DH can help me feed him. He commented that sometimes he feels useless because there isn't much he can do for Ryan right now.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

"_Jessicah_" wrote:

I am not pumping at the moment but I will have to when I go back to work. Lots of good tips here. Krystal I am glad that you were able to pump more milk out for Trystan. I need to invest in a pump so I can try and start building a supply now for when I do go back to work and so DH can help me feed him. He commented that sometimes he feels useless because there isn't much he can do for Ryan right now.

I think my DH sometimes feels this way too, so whenever Trystan is not sleeping or eating I ask DH if he wants to hold him (he'll never just grab him from me, because he knows how attached I am to him!). He always perks right up and says yes, and just holds him, talks to him, and kisses on him. I think that they sometimes feel disconnected, as they seem to always be attached to mom, but this really does help a lot. You could also ask him to give Ryan a bath, that will definitely help with the bonding.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

I'm so glad bf'ing is going better for you Smile I had two feeds today with lazy/bad latches and that was enough to drive me crazy, so I can't imagine how frustrated you must have been!!

Veni Vidi Vici's picture
Joined: 03/13/10
Posts: 113

another idea... record a short video on your phone of your baby when he's crying for milk. watch it before (or while) you pump at work and see if that helps trigger let-down.

PAmom2boys's picture
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 1494

Today Eli was crying about something and it made me let down. Haha

I'm glad you were able to pump more. I tried manual pumping the other day while feeding Andrew and it was impossible unless I had three arms and levitating. Lol

kmm123's picture
Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1839

For anyone who is going to have to pump routinely I bought a Medela Freestyle and it wasn't cheap but I LOVE it! I had an Ameda double electric with Evan but wanted something smaller, easier to bring places etc so I went for the Medela this time. The Freestyle is small, easy to bring places, operates on rechargeable battery. Right now every morning when we get up I nurse Rory on one side and pump the other. I'm a milk machine so I get roughly 6oz every morning for my stash. When I go back to work 3 days/wk I'll pump multiple times a day and it's easy to use on the go if I'm away from home for dog stuff etc. I never used any formula with Evan and hope to not this time so I figured the pump's expense would more than balance out.

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

"Starryblue702" wrote:

Thanks for all of the support and comments girls! Things have gotten a lot better over the past couple of days. I started pumping on one side while feeding him on the other, and that seems to help a lot (or it could be a combo of that and the fenugreek). I'll get one oz on each side out when I do that during the day, and then when I did it last night I got three oz out of just the left side! I left my mom with 9oz today, I was so proud! I'm still getting the same amount out with the electric as I do with the manual, but when I'm feeding Trystan and trying to pump at the same time, it's easier to just use the electric one, so I think I'll end up keeping it!

So glad that it's better!!! I think having the baby there, it stimulates the let down. Also, it saves time Smile

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I think my problem is Im just not getting a let down, so there's hardly anything coming out! Like I said before I only get a good amount out is when Im pumping while he's feeding on the other side. Im definitely going to try the videotape of him crying to see if that helps with the let down!