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    Question Breast milk storage capacity. Your experiences?

    Hi Ladies,

    To all the breastfeeders, I have some questions about the above and would love to hear any/all of your thoughts.

    •In your opinion/experience, what are some indications of your breastmilk storage capacity other than pumping output (which I know is usually misleading)?

    •Does anyone know what is considered the average storage capacity?

    •True or false: a larger storage capacity will see your baby cut out nighttime feeds sooner than if you have a smaller capacity.

    Thanks for any responses!

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    headoverfeet is offline The truth will set you free, but first it will **** you off. -Gloria Steinem
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    •In your opinion/experience, what are some indications of your breastmilk storage capacity other than pumping output (which I know is usually misleading)? Breastmilk doesn't really store, you reach maximum level but your milk filters out and in constantly. A full breast will make milk slower than an empty breast, so an empty breast will make more milk but a full breast will have more immediately available though a breast is never actually empty. Confused much

    •Does anyone know what is considered the average storage capacity? I have no idea and I don't think there is an answer to this? It would depend a lot on supply demand, the more your demand is the higher your production would be, at one point I was tandem feeding my boys (newborn and a 14 month old who fed every 3-4 hours) and was pumping 1L a day for donation.

    •True or false: a larger storage capacity will see your baby cut out nighttime feeds sooner than if you have a smaller capacity. False, an empty breast will make fattier milk than a full breast so theoretically if your feeding your baby from an empty breast they will be getting breastmilk with a higher fat content which would fill them up more.

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    Izy  (03-06-2012)

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    Those lovely people over in WA have researched this extensively. http://www.chembiochem.uwa.edu.au/re...uman-lactation
    Capacity varies enormously. Mine was about 60 ml per breast first pregnancy, and is about 150ml this time, which is measured at the point where they are solid and tense, to being completely soft. My second baby feeds much less frequently than her big sister did, but still at least twice overnight. Some women have 500ml capacity, and I'd imagine their babies feed less.

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    I personally don't believe a baby will feed less just due to high capacity in the mother. I think the baby's stomach capacity, appetite and temperament of the baby would be stronger factors.

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    Bubbles10  (04-06-2012),Izy  (03-06-2012),mim1  (04-06-2012)

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    well at one stage I was pumping almost a litre in 15mins. I'm sure if I didn't have to stop the pump and swap bottles over I would have gotten a litre then. My son was still feeding every 2-4hrs in the day at the time, but not really feeding overnight.I don't think it's as simple as 'capacity' but more functionality and response times...
    Last edited by Izy; 03-06-2012 at 21:58. Reason: oops, missed the not

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    I don't believe any of that, I know my son had a 600 ml feed once (I was at a weight watchers meeting and weighed myself before and after the feed). I have also fed 3 infants from the same boob one after the other with no apparent slowing of milk. However, they have all had their own feeding patterns. I believe age of the baby, babys appetite and growth rate, temperament of the baby are far more significant factors. I don't think the anatomy of the mother plays anywhere close to the part that the baby does.

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    I think they both do. Child yes, and mother yes. Bottom line is our breasts are not bottles...

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    Thanks Ladies. Still confused; breasts are so complex and fascinating!

    Great link SPC, thanks!

    I guess I'm asking this question in the first place to try and understand my DS better. He's nearly 19 weeks old.
    He still feeds 2x night, but wakes up more. It doesn't seem to matter if I feed him more regularly during the day (about 3 weeks ago we had been feeding literally every 2 hours during the day and every hour leading up to bedtime) or if I feed him every 3 hours or so. I think he just prefers to get his major feeds at night. Is this because he can get a bigger slog of milk (prolactin and all that)? I don't mind this (but someday soonish I'd like to sleep for more than 3 hours straight!), but I'm often worrying about my capacity and my supply.

    He was born on the 75th percentile, but now he's on the 25th. I've recently started monitoring his nappy output, which seems really good. Usually 5-7 wet nappies and 1-3 poos a day. He never stops moving and he's been extremely alert from day 1 and not a big sleeper...do I guess his weight is normal considering that?? But still find myself wondering if it's my supply and capacity letting him down, wondering if it will be like this with all my children.

    Even if it is mostly his temperament, I still hope my storage capacity is bigger with next baby. Seems like things would be easier.

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    If only it were that simple. It's not so much about what you store. Your breasts won't empty and then refill, your body is continually making milk, and if you're concerned about your supply, maybe do the occasional pump session in there as well as the feeds. Might come in handy to be able to send the other half in for ONE feed in the night with a bottle too

    If you can manage to have one feed taken from you, even if it's only once in a while, you might find that the extra sleep helps your body to respond to bubs better too, and might help with milk.

    I found that if I was extra tired, or not eating healthy, or stressed, my milk would reduce a little. So same boobs, same baby, less milk. Then it would increase again afterwards... ebbs and flows. Supply and demand.

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    You'll probably find he'll feed more when he's approaching a new milestone or running through one. So maybe he's learning to sit up, or roll over etc etc...

    And only 2 feeds in the night for a 19mth old isn't too bad

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