Milk supply post 12 months
I actually posted on the weaning forum, but I'm not really trying to wean, so I wanted to visit this section for my question, too. Maybe it should be on the pumping section, though...
My daughter is 13 months and had been getting breast milk 5 x day (in the morning, 3 breast milk bottles, then nursed at night). On weekends she's EBF 5x. (FWIW- ped says it's time to drop to 3 - 4 bottles/nursings a day).
I've still been pumping 3x a day M- F and until the last month generally pumped three 4 oz bottles which she drank entirely. I started to introduce a smoothie in place of a third bottle, but I decided to keep the third pump session until I was sure she was OK with the smoothie, then I planned to drop a pumping session.
Around the same time though, my output dropped to the amount I'd expect to get in 2 pump sessions, anyway! Why would that happen? So, I have the output I want, but dang, I don't want to pump 3x for it! I was ready to work LESS hard at this.
Should I take the plunge and drop to pumping 2x/day and assume I can make about that much still? Or will my supply dip further (and should I care)?
Or is it possible that my body knows she only needs the 2 bottles-worth and will yield roughtly that whether I pump 3 or 2 times?
Worse case, if it drops further she can get cow's milk, but my wish is to be able to pump twice and get about the yield I'm getting now, I'm just afraid to make the move and be wrong! Any thoughts on this or better yet, any experience?
Am I over-thinking?
Re: Milk supply post 12 months
To be clear, are you nursing when you're with her and giving bottles while you are at work?
If so, it's perfectly okay to stop pumping altogether during the day. As long as your daughter still nurses 3-5 times per day you don't need to introduce any other milk (cow's milk or alternative) unless you just wish to. And of course you can continue to pump and send milk if that's your preference. But pump weaning at around one year old is common and it will not affect your milk supply when you are with her. Your supply is well-established by this time and will very quickly adjust to meet your child's needs, whatever they are.
And you didn't ask about it, but I'd ignore your ped's advice. There is absolutely no need to limit your child's breast milk intake now or at any other time, unless you are actively trying to wean.
Re: Milk supply post 12 months
:ita There is no reason to decrease your child's nursing or bottles. Breastmilk remains the healthiest substance a person can consume. The only thing you might want to do, since your child is now over a year, is to start offering sippy cups instead of bottles, since bottles can be hard on a kid's teeth, particularly if given at bedtime or nap time, just because of the way they deliver fluid (allowing it to pool in the mouth).
I know you're wishing to pump twice and maintain the same yield you have now, with 3 pump sessions... But you know that old expression- "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride, if wishes were watches I'd wear one by my side, if 'ifs' and 'ands' were pots and pans, there'd be no need for tinkers". Basically, you can wish all you want but unfortunately there's no reason to think that your body will maintain current production levels with less pumping. Supply = demand, and less demand = less supply. I guess you have to decide how important your current output is to you at this point. As the PP suggested, you can certainly day-wean from pumping and still nurse at night!