You received your new size flanges and your first pump session is amazing! What a wonderful feeling of comfort and a surprise to see you actually emptied your breasts! Your next pumping session comes around and you expect to get the same amount of milk but as your session ends, you realize your supply is lower than expected and actually may even be lower than before you used these flanges. You’re understandably freaking out, but don’t worry, I have the answer for you. The fact that I know what you are going through means this situation is normal. Hundreds of my clients have had this happen to them and I ease their concerns quickly.
What is happening?
Did you decide to size down because you were not emptying all the way? If the answer is yes; Your breasts have been on a set schedule of refilling every few hours with the same amount of ounces every single time. Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to get a few rare pumps with higher ounces but you still feel like you could empty better. You pump with the new size for the first time and get the highest yield you ever had! Your breasts are soft, and you can feel like you are empty… And you are! Your next session comes as normal and you pump only to see you have less milk than before. This is because your body is used to only having to refill them with a certain amount of milk, in a certain amount of time, knowing that not all the milk will empty. So when you actually did empty the first time, your breasts were caught off guard and not prepared to have to work at refilling at their normal rate.
The extra amount of milk you collected during your first session, with the new size, likely would have been the amount you normally would have gotten from your next session. For example:
Your normal output is 2 ounces.
You pumped 6 ounces with the new size giving you 4 ounces more than before.
Your next pump was only 1 ounce.
This means you were able to get 3 ounces in the day even though your last session was only 1 ounce.
You are getting the same amount as you normally would just at a different time.
What does this mean for your future sessions?
Routinely emptying your breasts signals your body to adjust it’s refill rate. Right now your refill rate is slow and it can take a week or so for your body to adjust to this new demand but you should be getting the same amount of milk as you were prior to sizing down. Not only does emptying your breasts signal your body to adjust the refill rate but this can help you increase your breast milk supply in the long run. So as a rule of thumb, don’t worry too much if your supply is lower on one session, it’s the end of the day calculations that counts. With a little time, your body may start to produce more milk as your refill rate is adjusted. If you don’t get the same amount of milk at the end of the day, try the The Switch Method® to help you transition to the new size.
If after a few days, you are still not able to get your normal output, go back to your prior size and stabilize your output. If and when you feel like trying the new size again, use the same techniques covered in this blog. Do you think your size may still be off? Take a look at Pumping Pretty: A Breast Pumping Success System.