Advice about Pumping
The Parents Network >
Advice about Breastfeeding >
Advice about Pumping
Difficult pumping at work
I went back to work part time when my daughter was four months old;
she's now six months old. I only work 3 days (non consecutive), but
they tend to be long days, and I am away from her for about 10 hours
at a time. My goal was to continue to exclusively breast feed her, and
I've been pumping at work. I have a really great set up for
pumping. During the first few weeks I was getting decent amounts, but
I've noticed over the past couple of weeks that my milk supply has
diminished, and I'm almost at the point of having to supplement with
formula - which I was hoping to avoid. I'm trying to pump more, but
pumping more than 3 times during the day is simply not feasible; I
already spend more than an hour a day pumping, and more time at the
pump will mean even longer days at work. On the days I'm home with her
my milk seems sufficient for her. Also, she has begun to wake up more
frequently at night to nurse, which probably doesn't help milk
production. All the books I'm reading tell me that pumping at work is
doable, it alsmot sounds easy! And this has certainly been the
experience of many women I know, which leaves me even more
frustrated. I'm now wondering how come this works for everyone else,
what's wrong with me. I also feel like I'm failing my baby. Any magic
tricks out there for increasing and maintaining milk supply while
Two great websites with info on breastfeeding in general, and that address
pumping probs, are www.lalecheleague.org and www.breastfeeding.com. Also,
my understanding is that increased nursing at night will stimulate more milk
production, not less.
a breastfeeding mom
I've also been having problems with milk supply since returning to work.
Part of the problem is that my now six month old baby needs more milk. I've
been taking fenugreek capsules (available at organic food stores) as well as
a Korean dried kelp (consumed in soup). Both increase my milk production
but I still need to supplement with formula. Our baby is starting to take
solids so I am preparing myself for the coming months as we make the
emotional and physical transition from breast milk to solids.
Madeline (and Isabella)
My lactation consultant recommended Fenugreek food supplement to maintain
good milk production. My friend was recommended alcohol-free beer for the
I took Fenugreek all through the time I pumped at work. My situation was
similar to yours, in that I worked a lot (up to 70 hrs per week), and had to
pump 3 times. It worked though - I nursed my ''baby'' until 27 months (only
pumped until 12).
I had nursing problems early on and had to use a pump to keep up my milk
production. Problem is that you are hooked up to cold hard plastic, not a
warm little baby whom you
are crazy in love with. Some people take a picture of their little nursling
to work and look at it as they pump. This can sometimes get your breasts in
the mood! Your train of thought definitely affects how much milk you can
pump. It also makes a difference which brand and style of pump you use.
Since you are pumping at work you need a good workhorse, no pun intended.
Medela makes a good pump, can't recall the name., but Birth and Bonding
Family Center rents it. Their number is 527-2121. As far as nursing during
the night, the more you nurse the more milk you should produce, so that is a
good thing. I have a wonderful lactation consultant that you can talk to.
She can give you support over the phone. Her name is Janaki Costello and her
number is 525-1155. Mother's milk is by far superior to any formula out
there, so I hope that you are able to work it out. Drink lots of water! Good
If you are unable to pump more than three times a day at work, perhaps you
should try pumping additional times during the day not at work. Milk
production by the body is at it's highest overnight and in morning hours.
Could you get up a little earlier and pump before work as well as your three
times during the day? Your child nursing more at night should not effect the
amount of milk you are able to pump during the day. By six months your body
is usually making milk in response to the demand, so the more nursing, the
more milk is made. However, pumps are never going to be as effective as a
baby at triggering milk production so you won't get as much from the pump as
the baby. By pumping more frequently over a longer period of time can you
get your pumping supply up. When I was a pumping mom I joined an email group
through www.pumpingmoms.org . It was very supportive, full of great advice
and knowledgeable women. There are several LC's affiliated with the list as
well as moms who pump so you will get lots of support through them if you
choose to join. Give it a try.
Pumping is a learned art, and it isn't that easy for ALOT of moms, so don't
feel inadequate. I have so totally been there - at school full-time two
days a week, and I've just given up pumping within the last month as it had
become an exercise in futility. BUT, my boy is nearly one, so here are some
tips that helped me get that far.
Part-time pumping on non-consecutive days is the most difficult to pull off,
as the longer you nurse/pump the better your body becomes at responding
efficiently to your baby - and at distinguishing baby from pump. Guess
which one your body prefers! So, as you've noted, your supply *with* baby
is just fine, but letting down to the pump becomes problematic.
Here is a great strategy, that can help solve two problems at once: first
thing each morning, for the first nursing of the day, set yourself, baby,
and pump up on the couch, with the baby nursing on one side (football hold
works great for this) and the pump on the other. Do this _every_ morning,
and you can store milk to be used when you are at work. You will get the
let-down for the baby, and supply is usually highest in the a.m., so you
will probably be pleasantly surprised at how much milk you get this way.
Don't worry, your daughter will still get plenty of milk from nursing only
on one side. Also, this may help to ''recondition'' your body to respond to
But without a regular, day-after-day, same-times-each-day pumping schedule,
your pumping success may continue to be erratic. If you can, pump even when
you are with her, at the same times you would pump at work. If this is too
much of a pain (I never managed it!), just stick to those extra pumpings
each morning. That will probably get you enough milk, and as your daughter
is probably going to start solids soon, you can supplement if need be with
solids, rather than formula.
Also, alot of women have great success with ''supply boosters''. Here are a
- Water, make sure you are drinking enough of it.
- Fenugreek capsules, from the health food store, 2-3 caps, 2-3 times a day,
increasing until your sweat and urine smells like fenugreek/fake maple syrup
(its what they use in Log Cabin for flavoring), up to a max of ~12 caps/day.
- Oatmeal, 1/3 cup raw, cooked any way you like.
- ''More Milk Plus'' herbal tincture, they have it at Whole Foods.
In general, your supply is governed by the frequency with which your breasts
are drained of milk, so actually night-nursing is GOOD for your supply, if
not for your beauty-rest! I've never tried to limit night-nursing, for this
among other reasons. I just try to stay as asleep as possible (don't turn
on lights, don't look at clock, don't count how many times it has been,
etc.) and to be relaxed about it.
I stuck it out pumping until my son was nearly 11 months old, when I was
really getting minimal amounts. But, he is still nursing from 10-12 or more
times in a 24 hour period, when I am not away from him. He now takes small
amounts of milk from a glass with meals (like, 1-2 ounces), but otherwise I
am still supplying all of his fluids, and he is plently well-hydrated. When
I'm at school he takes goat's milk in a bottle. So don't worry, if you can
stick it out for a few more months, your pumping days will be happily behind
you. And you'll still have a great nursing relationship!
A fabulous source for great information is www.breastfeeding.com,
particularly the message boards. I highly recommend the ''General
Breastfeeding Support'' and the ''Pumping and Working Outside the Home''
boards - the site is very well trafficked, and the information from fellow
moms tends to be really practical and no-nonsense.
Best of luck!
I understand your frustration around having enough milk pumped to be able to
use breast milk exclusively when you are at work. I pumped for a year
(working partime at 20 hours a week). Towards the second half of the year,
I definitely scraped by with just enough. I actually did try to supplement
with formula a couple of times but my girl would have none of that. Here
are a couple of tips that worked for me. I did my best to pump also on my
non-working days by pumping right after she nursed and ''siphoning off'' the
leftovers. There actually was a little milk left. My daughter got what she
needed and wasn't left hungry. I also pumped at night before I went to
sleep, almost every night. It was definitely some work but I was able to
pull it off. I also never found that doing this caused me to have less
milk for her when she actually nursed, which was often in the middle of the
night for her whole first year.
In terms of taking so much time at work, I also felt frustrated with this
and eventually decided it didn't feel realistic to me to pump 3 times during
the work day.
Anyway, everyone's situation will be different and what works for one may
not work for another. I really admire your commitment to breastfeeding as a
working mother and if for some reason you are not able to use breastmilk
exclusively, your daughter will benefit greatly from the first six months
she did receive only that. Also, even if she does get some formula from now
on, she will still benefit greatly from whatever breastmilk she gets in the
future. Good luck!
a working mom
I too have had difficulty pumping at work, and from the research I have
done, the solutions are different for everyone. I notice that when I get
tense and/or nervous about not pumping enough, I tend to pump less, so I
practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing and focusing on my baby
to help. It also helps me to stay well hydrated, keep a bottle of water on
my desk at all times, and sometimes to drink a cup of hot liquid before
pumping (hot chocolate, herbal tea, etc...). Keeping my office warm, oddly
enough, also helps tremendously, and eating a lot of dairy products seems to
help. I have also heard that getting enough rest helps a lot, but with a
fussy 4 month old, I haven't had a chance to try that one!
I also wanted to mention that the fact your baby wakes up more at night
probably helps your milk production. From what I've read, the more the baby
feeds, the more milk you make. Bottom line -- don't feel bad, I think a lot
of people have problems, try to relax, and if you end up supplementing with
formula remember you haven't failed. You've tried your best and that's the
First of all, don't feel bad - you are doing a wonderful thing for your
baby. Even a little breast milk is better than none at all. I had the same
trouble, and almost lost my milk supply. After much research (books, La
Leche League), here is what I suggest based on what happened to me:
1) Nurse as often as possible when you are with your baby. The more you
nurse, the more milk you will make. It may not SEEM like it, but the fact
that she wants to nurse at night is improving your milk supply. Stimulation
from the baby's mouth is necessary for you to continue to produce milk. I
pumped exclusively for a few weeks and almost lost my milk supply. It is
back now, but I nurse her once in the morning (both breasts) and two to
three times in the evening. I now punp once per day at work. If I worked
10 hours a day, I would pump two or three times, as you do.
2) Get thyself to a health food store and buy Fenugreek capsules (I found
them at Berkeley Bowl, but have seen them at other stores for a better
price). Fenugreek is an herbal supplement that is safe for nursing mothers.
It is used to flavor pancake syrup and it will make your perspiration smell
like maple! It REALLY works. Take 2-3 capsules three times a day. It
increased my supply immediately, but sometimes takes couple of days.
3) Call La Leche League for advice when you need it. It is free. You can
call to ask questions and they don't require you to go to meetings. You
will be refered to an experiened nursing mother in your area who can answer
questions and give you detailed, precise information about what to do.
Breastfeeding can be very mysterious to us first-timers, even if we've been
doing it for a few months. They've heard it all before and know all the
4) I HIGHLY recommend a book called The Nursing Mother's Companion, by
Kathleen Huggins' And Mariette Hartigan. My daughter is 10 months old, and
I still refer to it. It explains everything about how to maintain your milk
supply. It breaks breasfeeding down by your baby's age, fully explains
problems that can occur while breastfeeding, and it has a guide to drugs
that you can and can't take. It is like have a lactation consultant on-call
24 hours per day.
I totally sympathize! I tried pumping at work and found that my supply
dwindled as the months went by. It was demoralizing to pump 12oz and have my
daughter drink 22oz! Luckily I had a freezer full of frozen backstock and
didn't have to start supplementing with formula right away. I tried drinking
lots of extra water and that ''mother's milk'' tea, and I would pump while I
was breastfeeding at home. My daughter had a nursing strike at 8 months and
again at 10 months, when I decided not to persist. I really think that she
wasn't getting enough breastmilk and felt frustrated. My goal had been to
breastfeed until she was at least a year old and I felt bad that we quit. On
the other hand, I hated the whole pumping thing and breast feeding
contributed to my overall exhaustion--it was great to have my body, time and
I was lucky to have a private office with a door, a good pump, a flexible
schedule, and a fridge. Sometimes bodies just won't cooperate!
please please please all this guilt about nothing.... What is it, a Berkeley
obsession that either you breastfeed for life or you are a failure?
I went back to work full time when my daughter was 5 months old, I could not
pump to save my life (no matter how long, no matter how often, no matter how
fancy the pump.) Also, let's face it, no matter how considerate your work
environment is, you cannot just take off for 20 minutes stretches every 2/3
So I breastfed my daughter every morning, evenings (nights...) and weekends
and supplemented with formula. She is now 2 years old, happy healthy strong
and -horror! horror!- SHE did not care about breastfeeding at 11 mos.!
Stop reading the books, listening to ''breast-freaks'', and being
frustrated, there is nothing wrong with you.
It is very common to have a pumping slump at 6 months. Most babies at that
age are just starting to really notice the world around them, and thus nurse
less attentively; plus, this is the common age of starting solids, which can
also lead to less nursing. You also said, ''Also, she has begun to wake up
more frequently at night to nurse, which probably doesn't help milk
production.'' In fact, that is a *great* boost to milk production--the more
she nurses, the more milk you produce.
The main problem with pumping outputs is that the pump is not nearly as good
of a stimulus for your breasts to produce milk. This, coupled with a 6-month
slump, can send your production into a nose dive. A friend said to me, ''You
can either drive yourself crazy, or you can supplement a little.'' She chose
to supplement; I chose to 'drive myself crazy.' I discovered many, many
hints for boosting production.
This bulletin board post has a lot of great suggestions:
(btw, the Working & Pumping board on Parents Place is excellent.)
It is often helpful to pump in the morning or late at night. I pumped on one
side while nursing on the other. (For this, I bought an Avent Isis
pump--quiet and pretty easy to do one-handed.)
When I was just emerging from my slump, I compiled a list of hints (some
will duplicate those in the above link). Some things may be out of date, or
it may read a bit odd, but hopefully, something(s) there will help you out:
(I also started drinking fenugreek tea--smells like maple syrup but just
tastes slightly herby. It did seem to help, too.)
Best of luck, and be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for getting
After four months off with both babies, I pumped at work for
eight months with my daughter, and am still pumping for my
son (7 months old.) If you're pumping three times in 10 hours,
you're really trying, and you should give yourself big credit!
Pumping at work is feasible, but it can be difficult. Don't let
those books bully you into underrating your effort!
1. Dring lots of water. I find it to be especially important to
drink alot in the mornings, so there's something to pump during
the day. This really helps my milk production.
2. While it's no fun, if she's nursing at night, she's getting
breastmilk, maybe even to make up for what you can't pump
during the day. I don't understand why you think this
doesn't help production. Nursing, at night or any time,
does increase production.
3. Try to (get your caretaker to) feed your baby food
during the day. If you're feeding her dinner or breakfast,
for example, switch to lunch. That way she's getting her
non-breast milk nutrition when you're gone.
4. Do you have an top quality pump? This can really help.
You might try renting a hospital grade pump for a week, to
see if it's really your milk supply or just your pump.
I'm not a LLL person or a lactation consultant, but if you
just want to talk to another pumping mother, feel free to
When my son was 5 months old I had to pump at least three times a day to
leave him adequate supply of milk next day. I work every day but part time.
I didn't want to introduce formula, so after talking to his pediatrician we
started him on solids. The only problem was that usually doctors recommend
to start introducing solids with cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.
In my situation I could not pump that much, and my baby hated (really hated
:) ) cereal mixed with formula, so we ended up with mixing rice cereal with
apple and it worked just fine. He is now 8 months old and eats solids twice
a day with the babysitter.
I also pumped for a year while working. There is a very busy, very
informative e-mail group called pumpingmoms on Yahoo E-groups (they have a
website here: http://www.pumpingmoms.org/ as well)
which will be of some help.
The main suggestions that I got from them were as follows:
Herbal Supplements (fenugreek and blessed thistle in large quantity),
Pump more frequently. One way to do this more quickly is to have multiple
sets of bottles/horns and the like,
Make sure you have a really good pump
Some things to consider;
-if your baby is eating solids, you won't be making as much milk.
-If your child is at daycare you can load them up with solids there, and
save the breast feeding for at home. My baby had one ~six ounce bottle of
breast milk at daycare and most of her solids
-Add a nighttime feeding (not great for sleep, but if you can manage it
you'll feel better)
And the main thing to remember, is that any milk you can provide is a great
thing for the baby.
A former pumping mom
I wanted to address your feelings of being a failure bcs you are having
trouble producing enough milk via breast pump at work. I don't think it is
at all true that it is easy to pump while you are working - at least it sure
wasn't easy for me. I lasted exactly one week, because just like you I was
spending an hour pumping and any more time on the pump would have simply
meant a longer than ten-hour workday! I heard tales of women who could pump
while they talked on the phone etc. - not me, I needed both hands and all my
concentration to do it. plus there is setting up the equipment, washing it,
putting it away, storing the milk etc etc. It is HARD. I don't think it
works for ''everyone'' and I don't think you should feel badly if it's not
working for you. For me, I chose to keep working and stopped pumping; it
just was not worth the effort. You can, in fact, nurse at night and give
formula during the day - your production will adjust to the schedule. And
personally, I think your baby will be fine. But, I am not a nursing
fanatic, and I'm sure you will hear plenty of ''hang in there''s to
counteract my views.
Here's my experience after nursing two children and pumping at work (in
variously comfortable or uncomfortable surroundings). For me, milk
production went down dramatically at six months. Baby is eating more solids,
needs less milk, and doesn't stimulate milk production as much. They're more
distractable and pull off more frequently. It seemed to get more
concentrated too, less of the watery stuff and more of the cream. I really
wanted to exclusively nurse for as long as possible b/c I have asthma and
allergies, and this was the best (probably only) thing I could do to prevent
my kids getting those conditions. What I did was try to pump on weekends,
pump one side while nursing the other, and store in smaller containers to
avoid waste. I also did a lot better with the more expensive Medela
''Lactina'' model (in the ugly blue cases) than the Medela ''Pump in
Style.'' While pumping, I tried to do something completely unrelated so that
I didn't focus too much anxiety on milk production (which depresses
expression). E-mailing was a great distraction, and yes, you can do hands
free pumping! I tucked the shields inside my nursing bra and once the
suction was established, could use my hands. The funny thing was, my right
side (smaller breast) always did better than the other. Every time. Don't
ask me why.
Eventually, I decided to give myself a break and ''allow'' myself to use
formula to supplement. I felt myself so anxious over milk supply at the end
of the day that I would get annoyed if the day care provider was thawing a
bottle that might get wasted later. They didn't like to let her cry if she
was hungry in the last 20 minutes until I showed up, which I could
understand and appreciate. I definitely think supplementing with formula is
ok. My second child, who got a lot more formula than her older sister, has
no signs of allergies or asthma. Her older sister who also got supplemented
with formula has some slight allergies, but no asthma. I very successfully
nursed on demand while I was there and used bottles of formula (then milk
later) when I wasn't until the kids were each 18 months old. Pumping is not
easy and not fun, and I enjoyed nursing a lot more when I let go of the all
or nothing mentality.
Try not to feel frustrated, and CERTAINLY do not feel like you are failing
your baby. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I breastfed both for
over a year while working 3 1/2 days/week and pumping. I have many friends
who also have worked and pumped, and I don't know anyone who did not run
into the problem you are describing. I had more trouble with my first baby
than my second and had to supplement some with formula. I too felt terrible
about it at first, but that is really ridiculous when you think about it.
Your baby will still be getting tons of breast milk every week and just a
little bit of formula. I personally think our bodies know the difference
between a baby and a breast pump and as we become more efficient milk
producers (only letting down when needed, etc), it makes sense we'd get less
while pumping. Everyone says baby gets more out of you than any pump. I
found the different amount I'd get pumping twice versus three times was
negligible so eventually relaxed and accepted it was best for everyone to
not stress about it. You are doing the best for your child by continuing to
breastfeed her when you can and pumping in a way that is reasonable. Now do
the best for you and don't worry about supplementing.
Eat, eat, eat and drink lots of water ! I pumped at work from when my baby
was 3 months to 7 months old and found I had plenty of milk pumping only
twice a day. However, I had to eat and drink somewhat beyond my appetite
and thirst. That is, I had to be sure to have a hearty breakfast and lunch,
as well as nutritious snacks and a large bottle of water at my desk. That
way, I had plenty of milk to pump and enough for my baby when I came home.
On days that I forgot to eat or drink enough, I had significantly less milk.
Interestingly also, when I decided to cut down on pumping at work to only
once a day, I still produced about the same amount of milk as from two
pumpings; so for me it wasn't the number of times pumping that determined my
milk supply, it was really how much and well I had eaten and drunk that day.
I understand how you would like to give your baby exclusively breast milk
for as long as possible, but don't stress about it so much that it overtakes
your life and interferes with your enjoyment of your baby! I had a very
difficult time pumping at work, and tried to also pump at home, as many
people have suggested for you to increase supply. I found that spending so
much time pumping, or thinking about pumping, was just too stressful.
I can't tell you how much better, and more relaxed, I felt once I let go of
the pumping and just supplemented with formula during my work hours.
Formula is not poison, and my baby is growing, healthy, and happy. I am
more relaxed, and she is able to breastfeed when we are together. I'd say
that our quality of life has improved, and that I am able to be a more
attentive and joyful mother.
There is such pressure, especially in the Bay area, to do everything
perfectly, and a certain way, whether it be breastfeeding, cosleeping, or
whatever. If pumping had worked for me, then I certainly would have
continued. However, it didn't, even after much effort, and I do not feel
guilty about my decisions.
pump-free and happy
Hi - You aren't alone! Pumping at work is very hard work!
Many will probably refer you to the pumping moms listserv:
Like many, I found the volume of email it generates overwhelming, but there
are a lot of good tips and good support on it.
In my experience, being away from my baby about 9 1/2 hours a day 4 days a
week, pumping twice a day at work was not enough. I nursed him in person at
lunch every day AND still had to pump at home in the evening and extra on
weekends to get enough milk for him. And I used Mothers Milk tea which
seemed to help a little, but most important was to get enough fluids, rest,
I found my milk supply went up and down, but having several bottles stocked
up in the freezer got us through the down spells.
- Glad to have pumped, glad to be done!
I've been pumping at work for about 3 months now, keeping the
milk in the refrigerator there and bringing it home with a blue
ice pack for the 25-30 minute commute. The problem is, my office
is moving in about 3 weeks. Our new location will not have a
freezer nor will I have access to one. Our current location has
nearby restaurants where I can borrow ice for the milk when I
forget the pack. The new location has restaurants a few blocks
away, but I'd rather not take the time every day to walk to them
unless I have to.
Is there such a thing as a cold pack that lasts 10 hours? Do I
have to rent a freezer? Could I rent one small enough to fit
under my desk? And, most importantly, is it worth it for the
pitifully small (about 2 ozs) of milk I can get in a good day?
My baby is 7 months and gets mostly formula when I'm not with
Thanks for any suggestions.
When you mentioned that your stash comes to about 3
ounces a day you answered your own question.. In your
position I'd just stop commuting with milk. YOUR comfort
and quality of life is as important as that 3 oz of milk,
especially now that your baby is 7 months. I went to 14
months with my first baby nursing before and after work and
on weekends, and just not stressing about the daytime
being formula. Good luck.
If you have a good insulated bag with blue ice packs, your milk
should be fine (maybe unless you work in a foundry!) Breastmilk
can be left at room temp. for about 5-6 hours without spoiling,
so if you are able to keep it cool, it shouldn't spoil.
Do you have a fridge, but no freezer? I don't use the freezer for
my 3 ice packs. I just freeze them at home and then leave them in
the zippered insulated compartment of my pump in style during the
8+ hour day, and they have always stayed cold enough to keep the
milk cold for my 45 minute-1 hour commute home. Of course this
assumes you have a refrigerator to store the milk and get the
milk cold after you pump it; i don't think my ice packs would be
able to do that too.
I have two related (I think) questions for all nursing, working,
Firstly, how old was your baby when you stopped pumping at work?
Secondly, did you continue to nurse when you were at home and if
so, how well did your supply keep up?
When to end pumping depends greatly on the demands your job makes
of you - with my daughter (now 2), I pumped twice a day and
nursed the rest of the time until she was 7 mo; I then stopped
pumping (she got formula for those feedings) and just nursed in
the morning and evening, and then stopped nursing altogether at
10 mo. With my son (now 4 mo), I went back to work after only
2.5 months and my job had gotten much more intense - so I decided
to stop pumping after about a month back at work, and now I just
nurse when he wakes up in the morning, and then again in the
evening and once in the middle of the night (i.e., he's not quite
sleeping through...). Both times I had no problems at all with
my supply - it was a bit uncomfortable when I dropped the daytime
pumpings (one at a time over 2 weeks), but the body adjusts to
whatever schedule you settle into - it's amazing.
I stopped pumping at work after one year, but I still nurse my
daughter. She is 14 months old, and she nurses as soon as I get
home from work, once before bedtime, and again if she wakes up
at night. If she doesn't wake up to nurse, she'll nurse as soon
as she wakes up, but I usually have to bring it to her
attention. She is always eager to nurse as soon as I get home.
I only nurse about 3-4 times a day. I was concerned that I'd
dry up because of infrequent nursing, but my supply has adjusted
perfectly to her demand. I hope this helps, and I hope your
transition is as easy as mine was.
I went back to work when my son was 7 months old and pumped for
another 5 months, but was unable to pump enough for all of my
son's needs while he was in daycare, so we supplemented w/
formula. When my son was about 1, I stopped pumping entirely
because I wasn't getting much milk. However, I did not stop
nursing. Instead, I nursed my son in the mornings and nights &
weekend days -- basically, whenever I was home. While Mondays
were sometimes a bit uncomfortable because my supply increased
in response to the weekend demand, it was not long before my
body adjusted to the schedule, and my son was able to nurse
whenever he wanted (which was a lot). He was also eating &
drinking soy milk a lot at the time, so breast milk was not his
exclusive form of nutrition. I continued to nurse him while
still working until he was 2.5.
Hope this helps.
I ended pumping when my baby was 6 months (after 2 1/2 mo of
pumping at work). It happened by accident when I forgot to do
it a couple of times when I got really busy. I had already been
supplementing formula since she needed more than I was able to
pump. When I realized I wouldn't spring a leak at work and she
seemed satisfied with morning and night nursing when I was home,
I stopped pumping altogether. I seemed to produce enough milk to
satisfy her. She decided she was done with nursing totally on
her own at 8 months. She just seemed far more interested in
moving around and checking everything else out while she was
drinking which was much easier to do with a bottle than being
attached to me. I didn't have any problems with engorgement or
pain when she stopped. It was sooner than I expected but she is
healthy, very large and has a huge appetite for formula and
table foods (refuses baby food now too) so I feel okay about it.
I stopped pumping when my daughter was about 10 months old. I
knew it was time to stop because my supply was dwindling and
each pumping session would get me only 2 oz. total. I tried to
keep her in breastmilk by pumping before I went to bed at night,
and again, it was about 2 oz at most. (I was also drowning in
mother's milk tea to help my supply.) I was just getting so
tired from staying up later, and frustrated with how little I
was able to produce. It stopped seeming worth it, so I
stopped. I continued to nurse her when I was with her, but we
supplemented with formula when I was away. We continued like
that until 13 months, when she self-weaned.
My daughter is 16 months old and I went back to work full time
when she was 4 months old and have been pumping until about 2
weeks ago. The reason? She has lost interest in the bottle
during the day and won't take milk from the sippy cup. Therefore
my husband doesn't need the milk during the day. She nurses a
lot in the evening and in the morning and I haven't found milk
production to be a problem. It is still enough for her for those
My son is 13 months and I am still pumping for him. I was
planning on stopping when he turned a year but he refused cows
milk so I a stuck until he will take it without mixing it will
MM. I think it depends on your situation. My son would not take
formula so again I was stuck. If you can pump for a year I think
that would be great. Heck it is great if you can pump for as
long as you can or want to.
I still nurse my son at home. And to keep my supply up I nurse
right before I leave for daycare and right when we get home. And
then of course exclusively on the weekends. Please feel free to
email me directly if you have any questions.
I had to return to work/school when my baby was 2 months old. I
pumped until he was 8 months old. Unfortunately because he got
comfortable with eating from a bottle while away from me, he
actally stopped nursing at about 6 months. I continued to pump
and tried to nurse him when I was home, but it was a major
effort. Just before I stopped pumping he began nursing again.
Once I stopped pumping I just nursed him in the morning and the
evening for about 3 weeks and my supply was ample for those two
feedings. My milk never dried up until I weaned him just before
he was 9 months old. I think as long as I was consistent with
the feedings, my milk was always available. As soon as I began
to wean, my milk was gone in about 5 days. I miss nursing my
baby, but I don't miss pumping at all! Good Luck!
First, congratulations on being able to work and nurse! For our
daughter, our firstborn, I didn't stop pumping until around 15
months. Milk supply dropped but she continued nursing 4 times
a day. And by the way, I had a huge burst of energy when I
stopped the pumping at work! For our son who is now 15 months
old, I just couldn't find the time to pump consistently, and
stopped at 10 months. Milk supply dropped considerably and we
needed daytime formula. I continue to nurse him 4 times a day
with a very low milk supply and I believe he'll be weaned much
earlier than my daughter. I have no idea from your message how
old your baby is, but if your baby is less than six month old,
be prepared for a big drop in supply, and take the transition
slowly to prevent engorgement and/or mastitis.
I continued pumping until my son was about 10 months (I am in at
work three days a week). My supply did taper off some after that,
but I continued nursing during the days I was at home, and seemed
to have enough milk to keep him satisfied. But I did have to
supplement with formula when he was at daycare, of course. It
wasn't until I went out of town for several days, when he was
about 11 1/2 months old, that I really lost my milk supply -- even
though I pumped when I was gone. After that, I nursed him once a
day, in the morning; but when he started wanting a bottle in
addition, at about 12 1/2 months, I figured I just didn't have
enough milk any more, and weaned him -- without any protest from
Well, obviously it's an individual decision, but I can tell you
what I did. I went back to work when my older son was 3 months
old. I pumped for him at work until he was a year old, at which
point he took cow's milk bottles and I continued to nurse him
morning, evening and weekends until he was about 15 months old.
As to my milk supply, well, it began to dwindle when he was
about 7-8 months old. I started out pumping 20+ oz. per day
during an 8-hour work day (usually 3x per day), and by the time
I stopped, I was pumping more like 12 oz. per day, so that we
had to supplement with some formula. The pump just didn't
stimulate production like a baby does. And after I stopped
pumping, my body concluded that I was all done, and my milk
supply continued to wane, so that by the time my son was 14-15
months, there really wasn't much there. One day he just didn't
nurse again, which was a fairly painless way to wean, although I
wish I had known that the night before was going to be the last
hurrah. Anyway, that's one woman's tale. I'm now pumping again
for Son #2, but he's just now 6 months, so I can't yet say if
history will repeat itself. I don't intend to pump past 12
months, though, since I can't say that it's my favorite activity.
Bodies respond in different ways but... I went back to work full
time -I was gone 10 hours/day- when my daughter was 4.5 months
old, I pumped for only one month as pumping for me was very
unproductive and frustrating. I continued to breastfeed mornings
before I went to work, in the evening (sometime at night but not
often) and during weekends until she was 11 months. My milk
supply kept up just fine, my daughter drank formula during the
day and started solids at 7 mos. Everybody was, and is, happy
With my daughter, now three, I went back to work after six
months and pumped about 3 times per day. However, due to my
erratic work schedule, I found I couldn't keep up with demand
and added one bottle of formula per day at 7 1/2 months. This
continued until about 12 months when the pumping became too
difficult to fit into my schedule. I gradually stopped pumping,
going to all formula during the weekday (because of allergies,
we waited to go to cows milk until 14 months), but continued to
nurse my daughter once in the morning and once at night and full
time on weekends. By that time she was eating a lot of food, so
breastmilk was more of a ''snack'' and supply was not an issue at
all. She was also becoming less interested in nursing at this
time (because she couldn't look around) and self-weaned at 13
months. Now I have a 7 1/2 month old son, who is still getting
just pumped breast milk when I am away. However, he is already
becoming difficult to nurse because he would just rather be
crawling! There is a group you could join on Yahoo! called
pumpmoms that has a lot of advice on pumping for work and other
I pumped twice a day at work until my son was 7 1/2 months old.
It was at this time that we both got a bit tired of the
situation, even though we had been very successful at nursing
prior to this. He wanted nothing to do with nursing during the
day anymore, too many interesting things to do and look at -- so
I had to pump twice on weekends even when I was with him all
day ! Also, he began to sleep longer through much of the night
(although still very unpredictably and rather erratically) but --
yikes, I couldn't because I had so much milk that I was in pain
and would have to get up to pump at 3 am even though he was
sleeping until 5 or 6 am. He was also getting teeth and starting
to bite. So, while many moms might have ''solved'' these problems
another way (and you can read about them a lot in the
newsletters about moms who breastfeed for years), I decided to
try to do what one of my friends did. She successfully cut down
on pumping at work gradually at about 8 or 9 months until she
was only breastfeeding her 10-month old before bed and in the
morning. The baby had formula during the day. They were very
happy with this twice-a-day nursing until the baby weaned
herself at 12 months. I thought this sounded great ! I took
about a month to cut down gradually on pumping at work, from
twice a day to once a day, to zero times a day. I found for me,
however, that it was either feast or famine -- I produced a
whole lot of milk or not quite enough. My son was getting a bit
fussy before bedtime, and it was hard for me to tell if it was
because he was tired and didn't want to be held in one place for
nursing or because he wasn't getting enough milk. At about 9
months, we switched over entirely to formula. It was a very
easy transition for him to make, not so easy for me, but, in
retrospect, I think it was good timing for the two of us. And,
despite my fears that nothing would get him to sleep like
nursing, he went to sleep just fine after weaning, too ! If you
are trying to figure out which type of nurser you might be --
milk on demand like my friend or just a lot of milk all the time
that drops off without constant nursing like me: Note that I
always produced milk all the time -- I would always feel a let
down of milk every two hours or so, whether I thought about my
baby or not (well, maybe I was thinking about him all the time ?)
or whether I heard another baby cry or not, so perhaps that was
why my body didn't do so well at extended nursing on demand when
the demand only came twice a day.
Don't know if this will be helpful, since I stopped pumping when
we moved and at that time I temporarily stopped working. Our
son was 18 months old then. I went back to work 9 months later,
when he was 2.25. When I was pumping at work, I did continue to
nurse at home. My supply did keep up. I nursed on one side
only at night, letting the other breast fill up at night and
pumped that one out first thing in the morning. That helped
keep my bottled milk supply up. Nursing when I got home, on my
days off and at night seemed to keep my breast milk supply up.
My son is 19 months old. I quit pumping when he was 13 months
old. At that point, he was eating lots of solids and drinking
lots of water. He never really took to a bottle. He'd get
his ''mama's milk'' from a sippy cup instead. Around his first
birthday, I would come to pick him up from daycare to find that
he'd not taken one of his bottles. Since I really hated
pumping, I gladly took that as a sign that I could stop. I was
already down to two pumping sessions a day, so I dropped one
session and then the other over the course of about two weeks
and never looked back.
I haven't really noticed an impact on my son's and my nursing
relationship. I quit pumping 5 months ago and he's still avidly
nursing. During the work week, we nurse first thing in the
morning, when I see him after work, before bed, and,
occasionally, during the night. We nurse a whole lot during the
I think the key to keeping up your supply is to nurse ''as usual''
whenever you are together. I have friends whose milk supply
dried up shortly after they stopped pumping at work, but they
tended not to nurse during the day on the weekends ''so Baby
wouldn't get used to nursing and miss it during the week.'' If
you're thinking about weaning soon, taking this route might be a
good way to go.
Dear Pumping Mom,
Since I was a pumping mom at work and I'm still nursing at
home, I'll share with you my experience.
Sofia was 10 months when I stopped pumping at work. I returned
to work when she was 3 months old. I work part time so I leave
my home at 6:15 (I feed her before I leave) and I'm home by
12:30 for her afternoon nursing snack. When Sofia was younger,
I pumped at work around 9ish. Now, I am cutting back her breast
milk feedings because she is eating more solids. My supply is
keeping up quit nicely. I am not too full all the time but I
have enough milk to feed her 3-4 times a day (once in the
morning around 6ish, once in the afternoon around 1ish and
sometimes at around 3ish-but that one is really short-and once
right before bed time around 7ish. If you'd like to chat more
about this, send me an email and we'll
talk. It's the greatest feeling to hold your child in your
arms and provide for them.
Glad to be a nursing mom
this page was last updated: Jan 30, 2005
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network