Breastmilk quantity during expressing

Hi all. I have a 15week old and have been purely pumping. I pump every 3 hours and I do that 5 times a day. However on Saturday I missed one session and only pumped 4 times a day. However I planned it in such a way that I had almost 5 hrs between each pumping session. I noticed that I made more milk in total by giving a 5 hr gap compared to my normal routine 5 time pumping. I am wondering if I could do this on a daily basis or will this reduce my milk supply gradually if I do that? I tried calling the national breastfeeding helpline number many times but never got a response. Any suggestions please?? Thanks xx

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  • I exclusively feed my boy with my milk - I would say he's 98% breastfed and 2% milk given in a bottle when we are out or other convince.

    He eats around 8x a day - which means around 4 x on each boob or less (sometimes only 3x one boob) and sometimes I express once in the evening/night (if my breasts get too big and hurt)

    I notice the increase of milk if I stay well hydrated (water, tea, coconut water, watermelon)

    Maybe try to do it 4x and see as you can always pump more and bring the supply up.

    I wish I could do only 4x a day. Sometimes I can go few days with him only eating but then the supply goes up and I need to express... in my experience the supply nearly never goes down.

  • Thanks Chriswest1983. I am planning to try it out for few days although I was worried that body will slowly get used to producing milk in every 5 hrs and supply will reduce. But I guess I have to take the risk to find out.

  • I think that supply will reduce too.... My daughter only put on 3oz from week 3-6 and when health visitor asked how often I fed her I said 6 times per 24 hours, she told me this was why, she said to feed her 8-10 times, since week 6 (now week 17) I have had a non stop battle with bringing my milk back, I thought the longer in between feeds the better and the more she would get, but no. I have just brought a hospital grade pump to try and increase it, for example my daughter sleeps from 10.30-8 and if I didn't pump through out night I would wake, boobs wouldn't hurt or leak, and I can only get about 6oz from both boobs, now I have a decent pump I am trying to get up more to do it. My advice to you would be not to leave it five hours and do as you were, but that's just me. Best of luck with what you decide to do xx

  • Thanks!! I thought the same. For that one day when I saw an increase in quantity after I gave a longer gap, I got excited as I got so much other work done between sessions plus the milk supply was more. May be that was only a one time offer xx

  • I understand your concerns and go for what's seems right!

    As I don't have supply problems - I always wake up with full breasts in the middle of the night and in the morning (does not matter if my boy had 3, 4 or 5 feeds that day from each breast)

    Now it's 3am - my boy is asleep and I quickly pumped for his next feed (I try not to pump much to don't encourage oversupply) and got his 3oz in 2 minutes with my manual pump.

    I believe that it all depends on person and how the body works, if person is relaxed, eating decent and stay hydrated and how many milk ducts it has and how much milk breasts can store in one go.

    When I bottle feed my boy he hardly ever eat more than 2,5oz (x8 or x10 feeds is 20-25oz in 24h) if for example Rebecca's little one eats less than 2,5 oz - then less milk is produced and she will put less weight on because she's not getting enough milk and not because Rebecca has milk issues (if there's no demand then there's no supply and 6 feeds is 3x on each breast a day) . If someone's baby has 6 feeds but eats 3,5 oz then baby eats 21oz a day, but if tummy is tiny and appetite is poor then baby who eats 2oz in one go and has 6 feeds gets only 12oz in 24h- half of that what my boy has.

    I have tried block feeding where I would feed 2x or 3x one breast before switching them. Which is 6h in one breast and then 6h other. Still plenty of milk.

    I recon each body is different and acts different so we need to find what's best and fit for us.

    Or maybe because my boy feeds at night or I express for him in the middle of the night - it keeps my breasts with plenty of milk.

    Not sure.

    PS: well done for 15 months of expressing- hard job, lots of patience and determination you have there. (Knowing Me- I probably would have quit it at 1y or less because exclusive pumping does not sound easy)

    PS2: maybe you ate something / drunk something that increased your supply! (If I eat half of a water Mellon then next day I have huge breast)

    Usually I don't pump empty breast - just to have a relief or feed baby- so I had no idea what to expect if I did try to empty a breast. So I nearly emptied a breast once and it was 7oz from my right breast which produce more than the other. No way my boy would eat 7 oz in one go. And let's say that other breasts produced 4oz, So in total if I did 4 pumping sessions a day then my body would produce as much milk as I pumped out but that would be more than we need anyway.

    Good luck!

  • Apologies, just realised that there was a mistake in my post. My boy is 15weeks old not 15months. I am already planning to give up pumping after he turns 6 months when I start working.

    Can I ask you what is your diet like? Wondered what is causing that overproduction xx

  • Sorry - was super busy with my 10week old all day.

    I have a bit too much milk from the week 2 I think. Not sure what causes it, because I eat normal stuff (i eat quite a lot because I am hungry, and as I have no weight issues (week after giving birth I was back to pre-pregnancy clothes) so I prefer high fat diet I would say: avocados, bacon, cheeses, full fat yogurts, milk and sadly can't say no to bad carbs either :( I love my vegetables, salmon. then I drink around 4 cups of decaf PG tips tea with milk, few glasses of water and squash. Oats are ment to bring the supply up - and I love them, so I buy the bakery granola bars from Asda and Tesco - they are so yummy. Coconut is supposed to bring supply up - and I love Vita Cicinut water and coconut yogurts. I read that dark beer brings the supply up (like Guinness) but I have not tried it - just had few non alcoholic beer on handful of occasions.

    The interesting thing is: i can pump 4oz off the breast thinking it's empty and then feed baby a full feed - so there's more milk in them than we think.

    Also what I think contributes to my milk abundance is that I have no much stress. This is my first baby - so no toddler to look after at the same time, my partner is taking care of us financially - so I don't have to worry about going back to work, childcare etc, and my family lives abroad- so no one to preach me on how to ride a child.

    I still admire you for exclusively pumping!

    Good luck with the supply and in reaching your 6 months line! Only 2 months to go - time flys by way too fast.x

  • Thanks for sharing!!! I too eat a lot or carbs!!!

    Sorry taking the topic to some other direction. So you express as well as feed the LO directly? And you have no parents around to help? How are you managing? I have had parents and in laws here since March. To be honest it feels too crowded and everyone has their own opinion which is frustrating at times. We are therefore considering whether or not to call them back for help.

    For you it's good you have not no stress. Hope it stays this way xx

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