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Your question:

I'm expressing for my ill baby and my milk supply seems to be dropping. What can I do?

Expert’s answer:

Mums who are expressing for a premature or ill baby may find that their breastmilk supply reduces after a few weeks. It is helpful to keep a log of the amount of milk you are expressing every day so you notice any changes.

If your baby was feeding at your breast your baby would have ‘growth spurts’ every few weeks to help maintain your breastmilk supply. During this time babies increase the number of feeds they take for a couple of days to help build their Mums milk supply to meet their growing appetite.  After a couple of days they settle back into their usual feeding routine.

When you are expressing your breastmilk your body is following the natural routine of breastfeeding.  While you are expressing your breastmilk, you need to remind your body to produce extra milk.  When you notice a drop in your milk supply:

  • Increase the number of expressing sessions each day for a couple of days. Power pumping is also beneficial and involves completing a normal expression. Turn off the pump for 10 minutes and do some breast massage. Pump for 10 minutes and then turn off the pump again for 10 minutes. Massage the breast and pump again for 10 minutes. If you follow power pumping to increase supply for a few days, you should notice your milk supply increasing.
  • Make sure you express at least once at night between the hours of 12 midnight and 6am
  • Try to get some extra rest and
  • Make sure you eat well and are taking plenty of fluids

Babies will generally have another growth spurt around six weeks and three months.  If you are still expressing breastmilk at this time you may also notice a reduction in your supply.  Increasing the number of expressing sessions each day for a couple of days will help build your supply again.

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