Q&A: getting more with less pumping access

Emily writes:

"I have a question about pumping and working. My 3 month old son is in daycare every day from 7-3:30 while I work. I am a teacher, and my schedule only allows me to pump once -- at lunch -- at 11:45 every day. During that time, I seem to be only able to get about 6-8 oz. This seems to be enough for my son right now, but I'm worried about what will come once he hits a growth spurt. I nurse him right before I drop him off in the morning and as soon as I get home to try to maximize his TOT (time on tit). I really don't want to supplement with formula, but it seems like my only option. I have not tried anything to increase my milk supply, because I worry that anything I do won't really make a difference because the once-a-day pumping will decrease production. I'm also worried that I'm setting myself up for a nasty case of mastitis. My schedule would allow me to pump twice -- once at 10 and once at 11:45 -- 3-4 times a week, but I don't know if that would make any difference.

So, I'm looking for help and ideas. Can you be of any assistance? I hope so. Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts."

Remember that I'm no lactation consultant, but I think if you can add in that extra pumping session at work even twice a week it will help. I'd also try some of the easier things to increase your supply--eating some oatmeal every day, drinking a Guinness every once in awhile in the evening, drinking Mothers Milk tea, or taking fenugreek capsules. Taking flax seed oil or lecithin capsules will help prevent plugged ducts and mastitis (plus they'll make your hair shiny). (Or you could eat those crazy brown rice "treats" with the flax seed oil in them from yesterday.)

Here's something that might also work, and I'm going to need to see if anyone else has tried it--trying to switch your pumping schedule so you produce less while you're at work and more later on when you can pump. In other words, if you could pump another time right after your son goes down to sleep, and then again right before you go to bed, you could end up in a week or two producing more milk in the evening and being able to pump enough then to make up for his needs during the day.

The reason I think that this will work is that some babies go through a phase when they refuse to nurse during the day, and will only nurse while they're drowsy or falling asleep, and that phase can last fro a month or two, and the mother's milk production just seems to accommodate that. They tank up at night and play during the day. I don't see any reason why you couldn't use your pump to get the same effect.

I'm betting some of the pumping working moms here have some suggestions, and you should also check out the PumpingMoms group on YahooGroups, which is sort of the oracle of pumping.

Has anyone tried switching their supply to be able to pump more while not at work?