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Thread: How to temporarily wean from one breast?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default How to temporarily wean from one breast?

    I've posted before about a bout of shingles while BFing my 11-month old. I have tried to pump on the affected side and nurse on the other, but it's hard b/c I can't massage or compress the breast (too sore) and so pumping is not very effective. I have been nursing with my breast covered in bandages, but I'd feel more at ease if I could just feed my baby from the other breast until the lesions heal.

    So... I am thinking about weaning temporarily from the affected breast. But I have no idea how to go about it. So far we nurse on one breast per feeding, alternating the breasts pretty evenly so that each breast makes 50% of baby's total intake. We are nursing about 4-5 times a day.

    Is it feasible to wean the right breast? How should I do it? I don't want to risk plugs, engorgement or worse b/c the breast is already so battered by the shingles.

    Not sure what to do... please advise!
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,983

    Default Re: How to temporarily wean from one breast?

    I responded to your other post, too. I did temporarily "wean" off one side when I absolutely had to (I had a biopsy incision that was gushing milk and I needed to dry out that side to help it heal), but it took a while, longer than the time frame you're looking at here. And then it took a while to get my supply back on that side. Overall, the process lasted months. 2 weeks to dry out that side (I never stopped pumping entirely, but I got it down to twice a day), and about 6 weeks to get my supply back up to normal afterwards. If you try to wean too fast, you're at risk for plugs, so depending on your supply and the way your breasts work, 2 weeks might even be pushing it. Also, remember, I didn't actually completely wean off that side, I just reduced my supply considerably.

    I think you may want to try to reduce your feedings on that side down to twice a day or so, though. That shouldn't be as difficult. You do have to feel "full" to send the signal to your body to make less.

    To address clogs, are you allowed hot baths? It's really hard when you can't massage out a plug.


    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
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: How to temporarily wean from one breast?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    I responded to your other post, too. I did temporarily "wean" off one side when I absolutely had to (I had a biopsy incision that was gushing milk and I needed to dry out that side to help it heal), but it took a while, longer than the time frame you're looking at here. And then it took a while to get my supply back on that side. Overall, the process lasted months. 2 weeks to dry out that side (I never stopped pumping entirely, but I got it down to twice a day), and about 6 weeks to get my supply back up to normal afterwards. If you try to wean too fast, you're at risk for plugs, so depending on your supply and the way your breasts work, 2 weeks might even be pushing it. Also, remember, I didn't actually completely wean off that side, I just reduced my supply considerably.

    I think you may want to try to reduce your feedings on that side down to twice a day or so, though. That shouldn't be as difficult. You do have to feel "full" to send the signal to your body to make less.

    To address clogs, are you allowed hot baths? It's really hard when you can't massage out a plug.
    JoMo, thank you for this reply and the other one (just read it). Wow, it must have been hard to have the biopsy and the gushing incision. So many things we go through while breastfeeding, huh?

    I didn't know it could take so long to wean temporarily. It really doesn't make sense then. And actually I'm already down to nursing her twice a day on each breast anyway. (Four nursing sessions total, one breast per feeding, down from five sessions before this whole thing started.) Thank you so much for explaining this to me, it's easier to make an informed decision now and to stop second-guessing myself.

    I have to look into hot baths. I'd never had shingles before and I don't know much about it, and it all happened so fast before our trip abroad that I didn't have time to research much what I'm supposed or allowed to do for my condition. It's all been about figuring out how to keep feeding baby with all these constraints!... And it's all worth it. Those moments when I feed her I forget about the pain and I feel such peace and contentment.

    Thanks for your advice, so very much.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

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