Friday, 23 August 2013

The truth about breast milk supply

Hello Mommies

I'm here to share with you my breast milk pumping experience and milk supply ^^

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I pump & feed my baby breast milk (almost) exclusively.. You can read my previous post on exclusively pumping HERE and why did I choose exclusive pumping.. Anyway, I'm here not to discuss about exclusive pumping, I'm here to share with you my experience and hopefully it can be useful for you, mommies.. :)

I'm currently using Medela Freestyle and it's a pretty good pump although I had to change the breast shields, I found that the 24 mm/medium breast shields (the one came along with when I bought the pump set) were too small and made my nipples sore, thus I changed to bigger breast shields which are 27 mm/large size and I felt much much better, although there were times that my nipples just wouldn't corporate with me & causing me milk & water blisters :(

If you mommies find that you are having these annoying milk blister, water blister or plugged ducts on your nipples.. (oh boy, I often got them), just let these blisters heal on their own, trust me, it worked on me and don't panic, it will just heal itself!! What I did was to clean my nipples & remove the whitish dead skin with warmed cotton bud whenever I took a shower.. Then, I applied some nipple cream and that's it!! I also adjusted my breast pump to a lower suction, when I had nipple blisters, I adjusted my Medela Freestyle suction to level 5 for 10 minutes then increased to level 6 for another 10 minutes.. Trust me, my blisters (I got both water & milk blisters) dried & healed in 2 days and I have kind of gotten myself a pair of clean brand new nipples after these ugly blisters gone, yay.. :)

Anyway, back to my current topic.. When I first pumped, my pumping output in 1 day was only 300 ml (the first two weeks post delivery). At that time, I pumped 4 times a day.. I couldn't pump every 2 hours because firstly I was recovering from quite traumatic placenta delivery during birth (a little complication), I needed to rest more & secondly, my nipples hurt like no one business, I got bleeding nipples! I couldn't do it & wouldn't force myself.. At that time, my baby was supplemented with formula milk almost 60% of his daily milk intake..

Then, when I got better at the 3rd week post delivery.. I slowly increased my pumping session up to 5 times a day (well, I did that every other day, example: Today, I pump 5 times, the next day I pump 4 times)..  I didn't want to stress my body out and surprisingly from the 3rd week to the 4th week post delivery, my pumping output doubled up to 600 ml a day (Good days, I got around 600 ml and bad days, I got around 500 ml). At that time, 60% of my baby's milk intake was my breast milk..

At 4th week post delivery, I requested my husband to get me Funegreek supplement from GNC store and I heard many good reviews from women that it worked wonder to increase breast milk supply.. Unfortunately for me, it didn't work to increase my milk supply, plus my husband hated the Marple syrup smell when I sweated, he said it was a terrible smell on my body.. So, I quit taking Funegreek..

My milk supply stayed at 600 plus ml for another month.. ( at 5th week to 9th week post delivery.. ) Pretty much the same level.. At 7th week post delivery, I bought some breast milk supplements, the first one was Mother's Milk Tea and the second one was More Milk Plus.. At 5th week to 9th week post delivery, I increased my pumping session up to 6 times a day, some days, I pumped just 4-5 times.. I didn't have & follow a strict schedule!

At 9th week post delivery, I noticed my supply has increased.. From previously 600 ml to 700 ml per day and I still pumped up to 5-6 times a day.. Apparently, "the statement, the more you pump, the more milk you make.." didn't work on me.. It just didn't!! I noticed regardless how many sessions I pump, 6, 7 or 8 times, I pretty much made the same amount.. Pumping 8 times a day was too much to do, so at 9th week, I managed to pump at least 5 times a day.. Some days, I pumped 4 times a day

Something just happened when I reached the 12th week post delivery, my milk supply jumped up to 800 ml plus a day.. An increased of 200 ml in 3 weeks time :) I read that at 12th week, the milk supply is based on supply & demand, no longer hormonal issue like before 12th week mark.. Apparently, that's true!

At 12th week, I cut down my pumping session and I pretty much made the same amount, 800 ml a day.. My baby is now having exclusive breast milk and some days, we do supplement with formula milk, but it's only 1 bottle daily :)

From previously, 5 bottles of formula milk to 4, then to 3, and now only 1 (maximum) a day.. It's of course my greatest achievement as an exclusively pumping mommy :) Most days, my baby has ZERO formula milk :)

Here's the example of my pumping schedule & output:

Pumping 6 times a day      VS    Pumping 5 times a day
4.50 am : 200ml                        5 am: 190ml
9.30 am: 150ml                         10 am: 160ml
1 pm:  120ml                             1.30 pm: 120ml
4.40 pm: 140ml                         7pm: 180ml
7.40 pm: 100                             11pm: 160ml
11 pm: 110

Total: 810ml                               Total: 810ml

Right now, pumping 5 times a day is just nice :)

My right breast produces more milk than the left one.. The right one can produce up to 170 ml each session and the left one can only produce up to 90 ml each session

The picture below is my average pumping output when I don't pump for many hours (7-8 hours).. It's about 210-250 ml per session..

Right now my baby drinks about 150ml of milk every 3 hours (at 3-4 months old)

Lots of bottles in the fridge, I keep at least a good supply of 3-4 feedings in the fridge, just in case if I need to go out for appointment, my mum-in-law or helper can help to warm the milk up & feed my baby :)

I highly recommend this wonderful tea, Mother's Milk Tea to breastfeeding mommies.. It worked wonder in increasing my milk supply.. I have been drinking this tea for 2 months and I noticed my supply has increased 50-100ml a day which is great :) (Bought this tea at Thomson Medical Centre Pharmacy)

I'm not sure if more milk plus supplement worked on me or not.. But there were times I tried this supplement 4 times a day without drinking Mother's Milk Tea and it didn't work in increasing my supply.. Nevertheless, I have bought it, so currently I'm having this supplement 2 times a day (each one pill) and 2-3 cups of Mother's Milk Tea.. So far so good :) Pumping output is pretty good too :)

Lots and Lots of washing after milk pumping and I'll tell ya, it's really tiring & time consuming but the only thing that motivates me is my SON.. Seeing him growing up so healthily, it's just so worth the pain & time :)

Till Next Time, Mommies :)


(Little EJ is going to be 4 months old this 26th, 4th month update coming up soon)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful post!
    I am a first time mom also exclusively expressing for my little girl. I am at 5 weeks post delivery & struggling to pump the recommended 8 times a day. I have managed to reach 7 times on good days, 5 times on not so good days, but like you I didn't find it made any change to my total output. I am currently getting 600+ ml per day which is more than what my daughter consumes currently.
    I have been worried that my supply would not increase by the required amount in the coming weeks to match her increasing demands so your post definitely gives me hope. :)
    Just goes to show how all our bodies are so different & sometimes we need to figure it out ourselves rather than go by what we read/hear about everyone else.