Pumping

Why Has My Pumping Output Decreased?

I love when we receive emails with questions that our blog readers could benefit from!  Here is a question from one of our mamas who is wondering why her pumping output has decreased.  

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Hi Robin!

I met with you awhile back when I first went back to work to set up a good pumping schedule.  It has worked like a charm these last 6 months.  Thank you for that!

My little guy is about to turn one and I’ve noticed a big reduction in my pumped breast milk the last few weeks. I’ve gone from pumping around 25 ounces of milk/work shift to around 15 oz.  It feels like it happened overnight. I’m just wondering if you have any suggestions on things I can do to get milk back or if this is just a normal progression.  I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding yet, but want to make sure he is getting enough milk.  He has been eating ALOT of solid food for about 5 months, so I’m sure this has had an impact on my supply :-(

Thanks for your time!

N

Check Out These Lactation Rooms at the San Diego Airport!

Traveling just got easier for breastfeeding and pumping moms traveling through the San Diego International Airport!  Just in time for the holidays, right?

Last month, the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force was contacted by a local breastfeeding mom, Emily Mest, who frequently travels through the San Diego International Airport for work.  Here is Emily’s story, which set the wheels in motion to make breastfeeding and pumping easier for all moms traveling through the San Diego airport.

Work. Pump. Repeat. with Jessica Shortall

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  Today’s story is a special interview with author, Jessica Shortall.  Jessica is an entrepreneurial mother of two, with a career dedicated to the intersection of business and doing good. She's been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a non-profit co-founder, the first Director of Giving for TOMS Shoes, and an LGBT advocate. She's the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.

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Jessica, what inspired you to write this book?

When I had my first baby, I was the first woman at the start-up where I worked to have a baby on the job. And my first business trip was a week in rural Nepal when my son was 5 months old. I was totally panicked about how to manage pumping and working, especially with such extreme travel, but I assumed that, as with everything on parenting, there was a book that would tell me exactly how to do it. I couldn't find what I needed: an intensely practical, non-judgmental, and approachable resource. I realized that if I wanted that to exist, I'd have to write it myself. So I set myself on what would become a five-year journey (my baby just turned five!!) of interviewing hundreds of working, breastfeeding moms and sharing their stories, their hacks, their triumphs, and their struggles.

Breastfeeding Memoirs: Third Time's a Charm

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  

Today’s story was written by Lilly Penhall.

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Being a freelance contractor has its benefits to a work-at-home mom, that’s for sure. Flexible schedule, control over your workflow, and a certain sense of freedom comes with working for your own business instead of someone else’s. However, when it comes to maternity leave, freelancers don’t have the advantage of six weeks of paid leave that some employers offer. I returned to work two weeks after the birth of my daughter, who is now 18 months old, and started working only ten days after my son was born in June. To complicate matters, I was determined to breastfeed my babies.

Top 6 Tips for Protecting Your Milk Supply While Traveling for Work

We had this terrific question posted on our Facebook page:

“Dear Robin,

I leave tomorrow for a four day work trip and I can't take my baby with me. She has 6 feedings a day (one of those at night) so I'll be doing a good amount of pumping while I'm gone. Do you have any tips, specifically for pumping at airports and/or on planes? I'll be on a red eye there and a direct flight on the way back.”

Absolutely!  Just because you have to travel for work doesn’t mean that you can’t protect your milk supply while you are gone.  

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Here are my top 6 tips for protecting your milk supply while traveling for work

American Airlines: Please change your policy about checked pumped breastmilk!

A few weeks ago, the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force was contacted by Theresa Morawski Pulickal about an incident she needed help resolving with America Airlines.  Theresa has already done an amazing job advocating for herself and almost completely resolved the situation she had with the airlines, but she needs your help to change American Airline's policy regarding transporting breast milk.  She doesn’t want another mother to have to deal with the challenges she dealt with a few weeks ago. 

Here is her story.  

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I am trying to change an American Airlines policy after an experience I had traveling from Puerto Vallarta to Phoenix to San Diego a few weeks ago. While in Puerto Vallarta, I pumped breast milk for my child home in San Diego. He was not traveling with me. At the Puerto Vallarta airport I was told by the TSA agents that I could not carry my breast milk on the plane. I tried to tell them that the rules in the US state that it's okay to carry pumped milk onboard the plane and it could be tested, but they gave me a firm ‘NO’. I took my breast milk coolers to America Airlines (AA). I told them I was told to check my breast milk by the TSA agents. The American Airlines ticket agent generated a check bag tag and said it would cost $499MXN pesos. I asked if the could be waived, as it is breast milk. I told them I was not expecting a fee. They said, no, because the baby was not with me and that it was company policy to charge a fee and that he (the AA Agent) didn't agree with it either, but had to charge me.  I paid the fee, as it was very important to me to bring home my milk. I checked the bag to Phoenix. In Phoenix, I spoke to the AA customer service representative. The agent told me that they should not have charged me for the bag in Puerto Vallarta, but he was unable to reimburse at his location. He told me there is no one to call and I would have to make a claim online through the comment/compliant website. I picked up my bag and went through TSA in Phoenix to San Diego with no problem. They looked at my milk and tested the cooler bag. I was allowed to carry on. 

How Can I Pump Enough for my Baby When I’m at Work?

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Going back to work can be a very stressful time for many new moms.  It’s difficult to leave your baby for the first time.  You may feel nervous about returning to a job you’ve been away from for months.  Your schedule/routine may have changed due to child-care arrangements.  Plus, if you’re anything like me, none of your work pre-pregnancy work clothes fit yet!  A concern that often adds to this stress is the fear that you may not be able to pump enough for your baby’s bottles while you’re at work. Some moms find that they are constantly playing a game of catch-up, trying to keep up with their baby’s intake while with the caregiver.  Below are some things you can do to improve your ability to keep up with your baby’s needs.

Help a Mama Out: Tips for Talking with your Boss about Pumping

'Help a Mama Out' Topic of the Week:

Tips for Talking with Your Boss about Pumping

What's your best tip for discussing your pumping rights/schedule with your boss? 

Shelly Hovies Rogers: Be assertive with your rights, but be flexible and willing to work with your boss and coworkers.  I found my workplace to be quite accommodating to me when I nicely, but matter of fact, told them what I needed.  Also, although I didn’t have to quote the state law, I familiarized myself with it, just in case I needed to use it. 

Kelly Reyes: Before I left for maternity leave, I discussed my need to pump with my boss and then HR, just to make sure we were all on the same page.  When I had issues with the way the ‘wellness room’ schedule was being managed, my boss went to bat for me and fixed the problem that day! 

Marie Bishop: My best advice is to know the law and stand up for yourself and your baby.  In states, such as California, it is required by law that your employer provides a non-restroom space that is private for you to pump.

Meggin Dueckman: We just talked about it!  We’re all pretty close at work, so it was no problem.  I was the first of our staff to want/need to pump at work.  Mind you, here in Canada we get a year of maternity leave, so it’s not as common for people to want to pump as frequently when they return to work.  I only pumped 1 times a day at work, more for my own comfort!

Jamie Howell Swope: As a teacher at a school, it wasn’t an easy process, but I went in knowing the law and advised my principal ahead of time why I wanted to meet with her.  That way she had time to think about how to make it work, too.

Kat Picson Berling: I was really lucky in that 2 of my coworkers were pumping moms, so they had paved the way.  I told my boss that I was going to take 2 pumping breaks at x and y time and I will be in this office and it will take 15 minutes.  He was fine with it.  I’m not going to lie…. Because I had a cubicle at work, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to pump.  Even our HR coordinator wasn’t sympathetic for me.  Just make sure to know the law. 

Chantel McComber: My advice would be to put your fears aside.  Sometimes it’s hard as a working mom to ask for things because not everyone has them.  Remember that you are doing this for your health and your baby’s health and those are two things that should always come first.

Jennifer Haak: When I discussed my date of return, I told my boss that I needed a lock installed on my office door and I explained why.

Andrea Blanco: First, know your right.  Be sure that your company falls under those rights.  Then file that information away and try *not* to use it as it can be perceived as a threat (and no one likes to be threatened.)  Second, have a plan in place.  I find that if you’re willing to have the conversation in advance, go into it as sweet as possible, and have it all planned out as to how it will work for you (with consideration given to work environment/demands/pumping law.)  Then, it is much harder for your employer to say no. 

For each state’s detailed workplace pumping law, please check out www.breastfeedinglaw.com

Also, don't miss The Boob Group's most recent podcast episode, Workplace Lactation and Your Pumping Rights!

Thanks to everyone who responded to our questions on our San Diego Breastfeeding Center and The Boob Group Facebook pages.  Check back every Tuesday for a new Help a Mama Out tip!

Help a Mama Out: Getting the Most Milk Out While Pumping

Alison: Massaging the breasts!  That’s the biggest helper for me.  Also, leaning over a bit, as gravity can sometimes help.

Nova: Crank it up if you can tolerate it.  If your pump has those little white membranes, change them once a month or so.

Sondra: Relax!

Melissa: Whenever I pump at work, I put a little coconut oil on the inside of the pump flanges.  This way the inside is lubricated and my areola doesn’t chafe alongside of the plastic flanges.

Laura: If I need to increase volume, I get into a pumping boot camp and spend an hour pumping with 10 minute intervals and 10 minute breaks.  Whenever I have a supply dip, this would bring it back within a day or so.  Also, I’ve had great output when I watch a comedy where I am laughing out loud.  And it never hurts to have my hubby give me a back massage just before pumping or during a break.  Also, my supply is related to my water intake, so I make sure to drink a minimum of 100oz per day.

Jen: Pump the full 20 minutes.  I always get a late let down of another ounce or so if I wait it out.  Also, a hands-free bra is a lifesaver!

Jennifer: A picture of my baby always helped when I was away from him.  Focus on him and how much you love him.

Ann: Relax for sure!  Lots of deep breathing and looking at photos of my sweet girl’s chubby cheeks.

Sarah: Staying hydrated (lots of water and coconut water) and pumping at the same times each day.

Stacy: Hands-on pumping (massage and compression), staying hydrated, and changing the cycle speed and angle of the flanges.

Veronica: Watching videos of my little one always made a big impact.

Lydia: Warm compresses, relaxed and comfortable, use the correct flange size and check the suction.

Pumpin' PalsAngelica: Pumpin Pals!  Made pumping so much more comfortable!

Ria: Massaging my breasts while pumping almost doubled the amount I could get!

Carmen: Hands on pumping!  See the Stanford pumping video about maximizing pumping.

 

Don't miss our Boob Group podcast episode about Maximizing Your Pumping Sessions

Tips for Mothers Who Exclusively Pump

Article written by guest blogger, Misti Ryan

Whether exclusive pumping is a decision or a necessity due to surrounding circumstances, there are several things you can do to make your efforts more successful.

 

Start early 

We know that the earlier after birth you begin expressing, milk production is set up for long-term success.  Hand expression of colostrum is often more effective than pumping in the early days and can increase your milk supply even when you begin using a pump.  You may not reach full production until around 10 days, so be patient as amounts in the early days may be very small. Here’s a fantastic video from Jane Morton at Stanford University, demonstrating Hand Expression