Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Lee | 2011/11/08



i have been breastfeeding my 4-month old son since birth and i recently gone back to work and I have discovered that I no longer have enough/express breastmilk for my son during the day. Does breastmilk dry out at some point? My son also feeds at night.

Expert's Reply



The stimulus for your breastmilk production is your baby's sucking on your breast or if you express your breastmilk. It is probably due to the breaks through the day that this stimulus is being reduced. You will either need to provide expressed breastmilk for your baby while you are at work or will need to start you baby on a formula milk as supplement if you have insufficient breastmilk.

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user comments


Posted by: Racoon | 2011/11/08

This happened 2 weeks after returning to work with all 3 my boys, and what helped tremendously was taking Eglonyl. It increases milk production, and takes away the stress that you might not be providing enough milk. Ask you doc about it. I can certainly recommend it. It expressed up to almost 1 year for my boys!

Reply to Racoon
Posted by: Purple | 2011/11/08

When we express we get significantly less milk out than what baby can get out.

When we first return to work, its a difficult adjustement, so sometimes the expressing is a bit difficult.
Also, a pump does not get the hormones going and the milk flowing in the way that your baby does.

To combat this, when you express, have photos or videos of baby to look at on your phone.
If its not going well at all, taking in baby''s night clothes to smell can help.
Warmth helps too, so drink a cup of tea or coffee while you express and cup your hand around it and then put this hand on your breast while you are expressing.
It sounds funny, but give your breasts a little shake and " wake them up"  before you express.
Also use breast compression while you express (gently push the breast against your chest wall and squeeze it with fingers and thumb).
Mini electric pumps usually work a bit better than manual pumps, but there are some good manual pumps available too.

The best thing for expressing at work is practice while still on maternity leave.

Be sure to keep on feeding baby in the mornings, evenings, nights as you are doing and weekends, and demand feed during those times.
If your supply is very low at the moment, a good way to increase it is to express for 3 - 5 minutes on each breast after as many of these feeds as you can. You probably won''t get any milk, but the point is to stimulate further production not to get milk.

To get extra milk to top up what you express during the day, on weekends leave your pump in a convenient place at home and just express for a few minutes every time you go past. You can then put this milk into ice cube trays (so that you are keeping every little drop) and you should have an extra 60 - 120ml after every weekend that you can add to what you leave for baby each day.

Also, breastfed babies only take 60-120ml of milk per feed. If baby is taking more than this, then check the technique of the person doing hte feeding. This is also quite relevant if you are constantly being asked to provide more milk. This is a constant amount from when baby is around a month old. Baby uses the milk more efficiently, but doesn''t need more and more the way a formula fed baby does.
The teat should never be pushed in when baby has turned head away or pushed it out with its tongue. These are signs baby is full.
Also, the bottle should be held a bit down so baby has to suck it and the milk doesn''t just pour out so baby has no choice but to swallow (if a caregiver comments how happy baby is with the bottle because he just sucks - you can be sure baby is swallowing because he has to and not because he necessarily wants to). Personally I find some reassurance in using the Medella Calma teat as no milk comes out no matter how the bottle is held, unless baby actually sucks it. This gives me peace of mind. They are very expensive though, so I only bought two and asked nanny just to wash them inbetween or if she can''t, then to put them in the fridge between feeds.

Also, unlike formula, a bottle of breastmilk that baby has fed from can be kept and used throughout the day, as any saliva that got in there will not cause the milk to deteriorate because of the living properties of the milk. You must discard this if its not used in 24 hours though, as its been out the fridge and warmed in a warmer and so on.

If someone had baby in a routine of three hourly feeds and didn''t demand feed in the first month it affects the number of prolactin receptors which can mean a sudden shortage in milk at around the 4 month mark. With a return to work, its more likely its just the usual expressing issues we all have when we first return to work.

Good luck.

Reply to Purple

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