Supply starting to diminish at 9 months old... need help
I have a few questions and was hoping you ladies could help me out. My LO will turn 9 months old next week (time flies) and I am still breastfeeding (nursing when I'm home and bottle when with sitter). My goal was to breastfeed for 6 months and here we are at 9 :-) so I'm very pleased with how things have gone. Here are my questions/concerns:
1) I have been working part-time (two days a week) since April. I have been able to pump twice while at work (hours are 9 to 4) and this has been okay because I am home the other days and weekends and I just nurse. After nursing, I pump to empty the other breast. This allows me to pump a few times a day to get some extra bottles. My concern is this: I will soon be going back to work full-time and currently on the days that I work and I'm away from LO, I am only able to pump sometimes only 2.5oz (total from both sides) at each pumping session. With this type of output, there is no way I will be able to keep up with what baby needs each day while I'm at work. So, I have considered supplementing some of his feeds with formula :-( Is there a certain type of formula that is better to use for breastfed babies? How much formula should baby have if he has been taking 4oz of breastmilk from the bottle?
2) LO is still eating every 3 hours during the day (whether he is nursing or breastmilk from bottle). Schedule is: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 5:30pm, 7:30 - 8:00pm (bedtime feed and is always from a bottle) and then I nurse during the night only if LO will not go back to sleep on his own and is hungry. Is this still ok or should the feedings/nursing sessions be spaced further out? He is eating solids (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
3) When is the best time to begin weaning baby from the breast? from the pump?
your comments/suggestions are very much appreciated!
Re: Supply starting to diminish at 9 months old... need help
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it to 9 months of nursing! I love hearing when someone exceeds their original goal. It's like someone saying "I was thinking I'd run the half-marathon but then I was having so much fun that I just kept on going!"
2.5 oz at a time is pretty normal pump output for a mom of an older baby, whose supply is probably pretty closely matched to demand. When a baby nurses, he/she will typically take no more than 2-4 oz at a time, throughout the first year- which can be kind of shocking when you see formula-fed babies of the same age chugging down gigantic 6-8 oz bottles! Here are some things you can do to maximize pump output:
1. Pump as often as you can while at work. If you can squeeze a third pump session into your workday, go for it!
2. Squeeze in additional pump sessions during the non-work parts up of your day. You can pump after nursing when home with your baby, or even pump in your car using a hands-free pump set-up.
3. Make sure your pump is in perfect working order. Pumps do wear down after heavy use!
4. Make sure you have the right shield size. Even if your shields always seemed fine, your size may have changed since you began pumping.
5. Use the best possible pump. A good double electric (e.g. Medela Pump in Style, Hygeia Enjoye) is the minimum you want for full-time work. If you have some spare cash to throw down, a hospital-grade rental pump may get more milk in less time, and the cost of a rental is often competitive with the cost of formula.
6. Consider sleeping with your baby and nursing at night. Babies who night-nurse can take in a lot of calories, and that can mean less need for bottles during the day. Also, night nursing is great for your over-all supply!
WRT the questions about formula, ask your pediatrician. It's not that La Leche League is down on formula- it's just that the moms here tend not to know too much about it. :o
Your nursing routine sounds pretty normal for an 8 month old baby, albeit a little on the low side for nursing frequency. Until a year, babies are supposed to get the majority of their nutritional needs met with breastmilk, and for most babies that means nursing at least 8 times a day. If you want to bump your supply up, nursing more frequently would probably help. There's no way I would space baby's feedings further apart, particularly if you don't want to use formula!
Weaning is a very personal decision. There's no one best time that works for all moms and all babies. Because breastmilk is supposed to supply most of baby's nutrition until a year, ideally weaning should not begin until after the baby's first birthday. After a year, many moms wean from pumping, and simply nurse on demand when home with their babies. Some continue to pump into the second year, because they want to, or because their babies aren't yet eating solids, or because their babies have allergies to cow's milk. One thing a lot of moms don't realize is that if you nurse long enough, your child will eventually self-wean, without you really having to push the process at all.