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Thread: Having second thoughts about weaning

  1. #1

    Default Having second thoughts about weaning

    Hi Everyone! I've lurked here for years since my son was born in 2009 but this is my first post. I'll try to make this as brief as possibly. Basically, I am conflicted about ending the nursing relationship with my 7.5 month old daughter. I work 50 hours a week and was able to nurse my now 2.5 year old sonfor the whole first year by pumping during the work day and nursing in the evenings and weekends. I had been hoping for the same thing for my daughter and was able to build up a nice little stash of frozen milk. But-- over the last two months my daughter has not wanted to nurse. At first I thought it was because of her ear infection, then I thought it was because of her amoxicillin, then I thought it was because she was getting used to a faster flow from bottles (even though we use newborn nipples). In addition to using my Medela Freestyle, I rented a Medela Symphony to try to boost my supply. I tried Fenugreek and Mother's Milk Tea. She still wasn't interested. As a side note, she is very very mobile- crawls everywhere, pulls up cruises, etc. She is "too busy" to nurse or at least that is how it has seemed to me. I've tried nursing her in a dark room with no distractions but she still pulls away. It got to the point this past weekend where she didn't want to nurse at all (I had been able to get her to nurse when sleepy before). She also has another ear infection now. We ended up at the point where I decided (I thought) that for everyone's sanity I would just end it since she seemed not to want to nurse and it seemed selfish of me to force it. We started her on some formula on Sunday and have been supplementing with frozen breastmilk. I pumped twice on Monday, once on Tuesday, once on Wednesday and on Thursday I was able to get her to nurse a little before she went to bed to take the pressure off. Today I pumped once. I had been eager to get my extra weight off (never took all the weight off from the first pregnancy) and so I started the Medifast diet on Wed (800-1000 cal lower carb, higher protein, very processed with lots of artificial sweeteners). Well, now today she is very very sick with an ear infection, vomitting and poor breathing that the pediatrician thinks may be the beginning of RSV. I started to have second thoughts about ending nursing.

    So I guess I'm just looking for advice:
    1. Should I continue pumping and try to feed her that milk in a bottle-- will there still be immune benefits? I just want to see her get better!

    2. I know that most people believe that child led weaning doesn't happen until the child is 2.5-5 but if I truly tried everything that I did and she still just didn't want to nurse, what's another explanation? Is there anything else I can/should try?

    3. If I decide to get my milk back, I should be able to with some work right? I'm not completely dried up. I pumped 3 oz from each side earlier (though that is a drastic decrease from the 15-20 oz a day I was pumping just a week to a week and a half ago.).

    4. Another thing I thought of is just stopping the pumping at work and instead only nursing when she is sleepy (which is when I have the most luck). Aside from a bonding benefit, would there be a physical benefit to this?

    5. If I continue nursing in some way (partial or full (with pumping)) should I stop the restrictive diet? If I partially nurse it seems like I would be able to possibly keep up a supply even with low calories but I would then worry about toxins released into the milk by the breakdown of the fat and also toxins from acesulfame potassium, splenda, etc.

    If anyone could give me some advice I would be very appreciative. I feel so ambivalent about what the right thing is to do. Part of me feels that I've already not been nursing or pumping for this long, I might as well just dry up and the other part of me feels incredibly guilty for "giving up" on this relationship before a year. Would love any comments. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    Aw, this sounds rough! It is uncommon for a child to wean themselves before a year, but it does rarely happen. Based on your post, it seems your daughter's sicknesses may have played a part in this nursing strike. I hope one of the more experienced (with strikes) mamas will stop by to encourage you and share stories/tips with you soon.

    In the meantime, keep pumping, and keep giving your baby your pumped milk. It ABSOLUTELY has immune benefits. Fresh breastmilk has the most immune benefits, so give her the milk you're pumping (i.e., don't freeze it, just stick it in the fridge) as well as frozen if you can. If she has RSV, she's going to need it.

    You should be able to get your milk back with some work, as you say. I am more concerned about the low calories in your diet (that can definitely reduce milk supply) than I am about artificial sweeteners, honestly. I do have to wonder about the health - for YOU - of a diet that includes that much processed food and sweeteners, though, I'll be honest. I'm no expert, but I've never heard that breastfeeding moms can't use Splenda, etc., and I doubt that's a major problem (haven't researched this, though).

    Whether to continue is YOUR decision. I can only tell you what I would do. And with your daughter's health issues, I would probably try to give her at least some breastmilk. That's what I would do. At this point, you may or may not be able to get her back on the breast, but every little bit of milk helps. I would take it day by day - no commitments - and just see what you can do in the next few weeks and hopefully get your baby through this sickness. You may be pleasantly surprised. In any event, you never need to worry that your milk won't benefit your baby - whether it's in a bottle or from the breast, is good for her. Exclusively pumping (without nursing) is hard work, don't get me wrong, and I'd try to get the baby back on the breast as well. But first things first, I think you'll need to get your supply up a bit again.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,878

    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    Excellent advice from the PP. Milk in a bottle definitely has immune benefits, you can get some or all of your supply back if you are willing to do the work with the pump, nursing part-time has lots of physical benefits to both mom and baby, and you and ONLY you know if this is the time to wean or not.

    I wouldn't take dieting off the table completely, but I think I would stop it right now, while you're trying to get your supply back (if that's what you choose).

    Don't beat yourself up over the self-weaning, mama! It's true that babies rarely self-wean under a year. But there are circumstances that can make self-weaning much more likely, like when mom is working, and the baby is confident that she'll get fed even if she doesn't nurse, or when baby is exceptionally busy and curious and just forgets to nurse.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    to both of them.

    I exclusively pump, and I feel that my baby gets something immune-wise from it. I do try to give him mostly fresh milk, like pumped within 24 hours, not frozen, as the freezing process definitely alters the immune status of the milk. But anything is better than none, kwim.

    If you want to do this, it is hard work, but doable. Start pumping every 2-3 hours with that Symphony. Eat more (sorry, but that isn't enough calories). Give it a week or two. You have the ability; because you did breastfeed for a few months, you have prolactin receptors. While you might not get totally back to where you were, you will get enough to make it worthwhile in the long run. Or you might be able to pump yourself right back to where you were before

    There are a few moms floating around here who either never did nurse successfully who successfully relactated or quit then relactated. It can be done.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    At 7.5 months it's definitely a strike. Which is different than a child walking away. And a striking child can actually be nursed almost entirely while sleeping or when about to fall alseep. Because they are still napping twice a day. But are you working? So you'd be pumping to feed during the day anyway?

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6

    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    Thank you for all your replies. Yes, I am working and had been pumping for her at work. The issue came because she had been entirely refusing including on the weekends. I have a 29 month old at home too and it is very difficult to pull out the pump while spending time with both children. He likes to get a little rough with her from time to time. Since last week, I have been trying to be more persistent with her and have gotten her to nurse when she's sleepy. I also ended my diet and I have been trying to pump more. My supply has increased a little from where it was but it's still no where near where it should be. I am pumping about 6-7 oz daily now in addition to nursing her once in the AM when she's sleepy and once before bed when she's sleepy. I have had no luck getting her to nurse when she is alert. Any ideas or suggestions? I'd be appreciative of any ideas. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,500

    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jjrn711 View Post
    I had been eager to get my extra weight off (never took all the weight off from the first pregnancy) and so I started the Medifast diet on Wed (800-1000 cal lower carb, higher protein, very processed with lots of artificial sweeteners).
    ...
    5. If I continue nursing in some way (partial or full (with pumping)) should I stop the restrictive diet? If I partially nurse it seems like I would be able to possibly keep up a supply even with low calories but I would then worry about toxins released into the milk by the breakdown of the fat and also toxins from acesulfame potassium, splenda, etc.
    This sounds like a terribly unhealthy diet! For you and for your lo. With all the highly processed foods and artificial sweeteners...Much better to eat more naturally. Not to mention, restricting your caloric intake to anything less than 1200 cals is rather an invitation for your body to begin hoarding more fat in the long run, not help you lose it (though it may seem to work in the short term, much of the weight you lose will actually be water and muscle, not fat).
    ~Sylvia~

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!


    Daughter of God

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    See if they are striking they usually won't nurse while alert. You just have to ride it out. As far as dding in a session I would be actively trying to add in session on the weekend. The up and down from naps. Also sleepy times. And then an actual dream feed if you can fit one in.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Having second thoughts about weaning

    It would probably be helpful to get a consult from a certified lactation consultatn (IBCLC). Some hospitals offer free breastfeeding support groups that are run bu an IBCLC. Nursing strikes are harder to overcome when you are away so much and she has to recieve so many bottles but it is possible. I would try a position like football or cross cradle to give you more control. Also express a large drop of milk on your nipple then if she latches compress your breast to help the milk flow out faster. Try talking or singing to her so she focuses on you and doesn't get distracted. On the weekends you could nap with her and offer the breast in side lying position. Another idea to increase milk is power pump I know you are busy but doing this once a week can really help your supply. Basically you pump for an hour in 10 minute intervals. Pump for 10 min rest for 10 min for an hour. Hope some of these ideas help. Definitely the more breastmilk she gets the better for her immune system. Also to increase milk supply you should up you caloric intake to 1600. You should still drop some weight with nursing and if you can get some exercise in. However I know how that is there aren't enough hours in the day. Good luck.
    Did this for 9months with Kailey and Hailey
    who are now 8.

    weaned Dane somewhere around 3.5 no longer he likes to sleep with his sisters He's now 5

    Now I am , , My baby Cruz who is almost 6 months and my last baby

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