Big Drop In Pumping Output! HELP!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2009
Big Drop In Pumping Output! HELP!
Sat, 07-03-2010 - 9:01am

DD is 10 months old. We've been EBF til 6 months and then a little solids since then.

I work part time 3 nights per week and am away from home for about 5 hours each night. I pump once during my hours away and I've always gotten 2.5-3 ounces each time. This allows me to pretty much keep up with her one bottle (3 ounces) that she gets while I'm gone.

Last night at work I only was able to pump 1.5 ounces. I'm a little panicked! I can't get much pumping at home since she's always feeding, so I really need to get the milk at work.

I'm on my period (towards the end) so I'm not pregnant, not on any medications or BC, our routines haven't dramatically changed.

I know 1.5 ounces is still within a "normal" range for the average mom... but for 6 months I've consistently pumped 2.5-3 ounces... why the sudden drop?

I'm using a pump in style, and I recently replaced the membranes. I'm considering replacing the tubing to see if it helps but I cant find them anywhere. I checked Target and Babies R Us.

Any idea what could be causing this


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2004
Sat, 07-03-2010 - 9:19pm
I can't help you with the volume, but lots of women have gotten free tubing by simply calling medela and asking about it. Personally, I bought my extra tubing from the hospital's LC office for $5.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2007
Sun, 07-04-2010 - 10:08am

If you think it's the tubing, you can call Medela and they will send new tubing for free. However, some women see a slight decrease in supply during their period (it will return to normal after AF).


Menstruation or ovulation can result in a temporary drop in milk supply. You might also notice cyclical dips in milk supply before your period returns, as your body begins the return to fertility. Hormonal changes also cause milk supply to decrease during pregnancy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Sun, 07-04-2010 - 1:11pm

Not sure what could be causing it but just to throw out a few ideas:

- Have you tried doing breast compressions while pumping?

- Have you tried fenugreek for an output boost?

- If you find that the dip coincides with AF, have you tried the calcium/magnesium supplement?

Sorry if these are things we've suggested before, I can't remember how much of this we've already talked about with you.

Hang in there, Melissa!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 9:33am

Don't forget if you pump between bf sessions at home you can bf right after pumping. The breasts always have more milk available and the pump can't extract it as well as bf anyway.

Another thought is to have whoever is watching the baby focus on solids during the time you are away and you just bf when with the baby on those days. That way you might not need to pump as much, though you are doing a good job leaving the appropriate amounts.

When you pump, keep pumping as long as there is a flow of milk and continue for 2-5 minutes after the time you see the flow switch to no or practically no flow. This signals the breasts to make more.

Here's a bit more.

Declining pump volumes and what to do:

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2009
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 10:04am

Thanks for all of the feedback ladies. I will call Medela about the tubing.

I do compressions when I pump. DD was a NICU preemie, so I EP'd the first 13 weeks and have always done compressions while pumping and feeding. (She was a sleepy eater in those early days! :)

I have never tried fenugreek or anything like it because I've never had an issue with supply. I've always produced a lot, and even overproduced a little when I EP'd. MY output dropped in pumping when I switched to EBFing, which my LC said was because my body regulated to what DD needed.

I've had AF back since 5 months PP, and it's never caused a drastic dip in supply before, but I can try to supplements to see if they work. I still take my prenantals. Maybe I need more than what is in them?

The only way I can get milk at home is if I feed her within a half hour or hour of when she is due to eat. if I pump an hour or two after feeding her, I get less than half an ounce total. So, I am trying to pump right before she eats and she still seems able to get enough. My breats dont feel emptied by the pump like they used to. (which is why I think tubing could be an issue, not as good of suction or something?)

I'm gone for overnight hours, so solids really won't work. She gets up for a bottle between midnight and 2 am. If it were in the evening hours I would try that.

I work tonight and my AF ended on Saturday so we'll see if the output gets back to normal.

Fingers crossed! We're so close to a year! I don't plan to stop nursing at a year (will continue as long as DD desires), but I at least want to make it to a year at the minimum.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2009
Tue, 07-06-2010 - 1:18pm

When I started pumping more and breastfeeding less, my milk supply dropped a lot. When I ended up exclusively pumping, I could only pump about 1 ounce per pumping with a hospital grade pump.

My advice would be to breastfeed only but I know this can't always happen.

I started using an herbal tea called Breastea and eventually able to get my milk supply back up to about five ounces per pumping. It's helped me a lot, so it might want to be something you look into.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-10-2007
Tue, 07-20-2010 - 2:28pm

Here is a link to a store near me that carries the tubing for the PIS and a lot of other medela parts. You can order through their web site. You may also want to give them a call as I have always found them to be wonderfully helpful. The owner is a huge breastfeeding and attachment parenting advocate.