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Mummy the cow hits a snag

Sorry for the near-week-long pause in my blogging-roll. I really was on a roll, and even now there’s so many things on my mind to share but I have nothing better than the classic “not enough time” line… with office work getting busier, Nathan’s teething sagas (another tale, another time) and myriads of various things to do.

Anyway for today’s post, we’ll be revisiting the breast pumping topic. The ‘office day’ routine has been going pretty well both on the homefront and at the office but has been hitting a snag at the milk pumping sessions at work.

As I’ve mentioned, I pack a little kit with the required equipment and accessories to express my milk during the feeding session while I’m away from Nathan. I use a Medela Mini Electric Plus breast pump which previously worked pretty well for me, enabling me to express around 3-4 ounces per session.

However for the past two weeks, for some reason it’s just not been giving me the same results as before. The pump appears to be working fine just the same, but the milk flow has been completely pathetic. For those past two sessions I’ve had to resort to using my hands or using a manual pump.

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This manual pump came with the kit (as a backup I think) and works fine but is a little bit more laborious to use than the usual one-handed manual pump styles. Because it’s rather tiring to use, I can only manage to squeeze out barely an ounce. That’s really pathetic if you compare to how much I was able to express a couple of months back as you can see…

CIMG4235

The older people will immediately remark that perhaps my milk supply is dwindling. I’m 100% confident that is not the case. Nathan is still gulping down big mouthfuls directly from me and he’s always happy and content after each feed and naps very well until the next session.

After some research, I read that I can’t really compare the amount of milk produced during the earlier weeks with the current situation. This is because at the early stage, the mother’s body is still adjusting the milk supply to determine the optimum amount to produce, and most likely will over-produce at first. Of course it’s good to have excess supply, but it may not be very comfortable for the mother. I remember I used to have that constant ‘engorged’ feeling and my let-down was always very forceful at that time, which is no longer the case these days. Furthermore, expressing milk using a breast pump will never be as effective as baby’s sucking reflex. One discussion forum said it was very common for some mothers to have to express their milk in several sessions to make up for one feed.

For now I’m managing fine as I’m not expressing milk that frequently (perhaps that’s the problem?) but I hope to find a solution if down the track I choose to return to work full-time and want to continue to provide a supply of breastmilk for Nathan’s well-being.

Comments

  1. Hi Serene,
    I read through your post quickly (busy with work too!) and here's what I think could be the problem:

    a) You've gone back to work, which means you could be slightly tired since you're now a working Mum. Fatigue does affect milk supply.

    b) Are you getting in enough pumping sessions? Not sure how old your baby is but I recall having to pump every 3 hours at the office in order to keep the supply up. I could only relax at every 4 hours after he started solids at 6 months+.

    As you've mentioned, the pump won't work as well as baby suckling, which is why you need to work more frequent sessions in order to keep the demand-and-supply rhythm going.

    c) Are you drinking enough fluids? Having a hot drink just before a pumping session, relaxing and looking at my baby's photo or sniffing his clothes helped a lot :)

    Lastly, I found the AVENT Manual to have a stronger suction than the Medela Manual although it's a pain having to sterilize and put together the AVENT. Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete

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