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Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't Judge the Adequacy of your Supply by Pumping

Look at the baby, not the pump--

I frequently get an inquiry like this:
"It's been a month since we last nursed :( but I still have drops of milk.... I thought by now there wouldn't be any more milk - ??? How long until I dry up. What's normal?"

I heard from another mom a similar situation. Her twist was that she couldn't produce enough milk to have a good weight gain in her newborn and used a lact-aid supplementer for the long haul. She still hasn't dried up. Her toddler happily asked to nurse after a month of weaning.

"Not drying up may be entirely normal."

I always explain to new moms that you can't tell how much milk you make by expressing. On the other extreme, I am nursing my 4 year old. He is faithfully at the breast morning and night for a lengthy cuddle and "feed." I have never had a milk supply issues; he never had weight gain issues. I haven't seen a drop of milk in years in his mouth or by expression (hand or hospital grade pump). David insists somethings coming out. I see no evidence. But he is happy. AMAZING IT IS!

You can't judge the adequacy of your milk by how much you can or can't express.


pearly1979 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
womantowomancbe said...

This is so true. I've never had a problem with pumping (was able to completely b/f my son while pumping for a friend's adopted newborn, at my max [after 6 weeks, but with a *lot* of pumping] I was getting 30 oz. a day, mostly in 1-2 very long sittings). However, a friend of mine had a healthy breastfed infant with no weight problems, and went on a long trip and intended on trying to pump enough for several bottles, and couldn't get more than an ounce no matter how much she pumped. Her milk just wouldn't let down for a machine!

Lauren said...

Thank you for this reminder. I pumped yesterday & today for the second time since Christmas. (bridal shower tomorrow) I noticed that I hardly get anything out of my right breast, but got much more out of my left. I felt a little unsettled seeing just drops from my right breast and less confident. Perfect timing for this post, Dr. P!!!

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