Milk Production Ups and Downs

In two Mondays, on April 23rd, William will turn 6 months old. This is the halfway point to my goal to give him at least some breast milk each day until his first birthday. There have been days when it seemed like this would be easy and days when it seemed like this would be hard. This photo was taken from January, the month I first returned to work. These bottles each represented numerous times pumping and the one with the Snoopy sticker on it had been thawed overnight from the freezer, the sticker telling Candy to use it first.

Back then, while pumping wasn’t easy per se, I figured I would at least be able to pump 10 oz of milk each day. However, I’ve noticed decreases in pumping volume. I’ve wondered if this was due to stress or the fact that meetings at work have made it so I can’t pump every time I’d like to. Even adding an additional pumping time at work only helped a little. I’d have days where I’d pump 6 ounces or even less. I could usually do at least 8-10 ounces on the weekend combined (depending in part on how much I fed William directly and how much I gave him formula), until last weekend when it took pumping Friday night, Saturday and Sunday throughout the day and I still got less than 6 ounces total.

I worried a lot about this, which I shouldn’t have done as ironically stress can drive your milk production down even lower. In order to stress less I told myself to concentrate on just getting as much as I could per pumping session and that even if I could just pump 5 oz a day, it was still great. I ended up pumping 2 oz at one sitting, then it leveled off again.

Another thing Lactation Consultants say is to look at photos of your child while nursing. I’ve tried doing that and even a video of me nursing him. However, I don’t notice a difference in amount pumped when I do that.

Every weekday I make up a formula bottle for Candy or Maribel to give him, depending on who is watching him that day and have breast milk ready as well. Even though some days he’s gotten less than 8 oz of pumped breast milk, I’m still happy he gets it. He also gets what he can drink from me before bed and when he awakes in the middle of the night, which I’m convinced is partially hunger and part to hang out with me during is awake hours.

A fellow mom once said to me even if I could only give him a mouthful a day, that’s still great. I don’t know what the future holds for our breastfeeding journey, especially as I have only one bottle of 5 oz of breast milk in storage. Yet, I’m trying hard to make my goal in breastfeeding and know I will make as much effort as I can to get there.

~ Danielle


45 year old mother to our infant son, William, with my husband, Matt. We live in California with our mischievous cat, Inky. I love our local sports teams (Go Giants! Go Sharks!), photography, the beach, WWE, reading and now spending lots of time as a family with one kid and one cat.

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