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Thread: Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

    Hi everyone. As some of you know, I was forced to wean DS (then 8 mos) rather abruptly due to my chemotherapy. (Previous post here.) It was pretty gut-wrenchingly awful, stopping BF before we were anywhere near ready, but probably moreso for me than for him. He took right to the bottle (which he'd never had before) and the formula, which I'm feeding on demand despite my pedi's instructions that I wean him off that too. We upped the BLS and he's eating everything in sight 2 or 3 times a day.

    I ended up having about 6 weeks to wean him. I started with two weeks of 1 or 2 feedings a day, manually pumping in between. Then I switched to only pumping, decreasing from several times a day, to just once, until eventually I was pumping every only other night. I did one week of every third night and then I just stopped altogether.

    It has been about 2 weeks since I pumped at all now. I have no pain to speak of, and nothing I'd call engorgement, but there is still milk. It is right at the surface when I give myself a squeeze.

    So my questions are: Do I pump it out, or just let it be? How long will it take my body to realize we're not nursing anymore? What becomes of this milk if I just leave it in there?

    I do not want to get clogged ducts or mastitis (I never had any trouble with either while nursing) but I do not want to stimulate production. Although I had originally hoped to pump through treatment and then return to BFing after it was over, it turns out to be logistically unreasonable. My treatment plan (more chemo after surgery) will prevent me from BFing until DS is about 15 mos old.

    Any thoughts on how to gracefully de-lactate would be welcome.

    P.S. Wasn't sure whether to put this in "Weaning" or "Too Much Milk". Hope this is ok.
    Last edited by @llli*kaylex; March 27th, 2012 at 06:57 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

    I'm just so sorry you've had to go through this! That said, I'm glad that the weaning is going pretty well with your DS. For you, I believe it's common to be able to continue to express milk for a long time after weaning - some women can express a few drops for years. If you haven't pumped in two weeks, and you are not feeling any pain, tender spots, or engorgement, then I would probably just let it be, and let your body get the message that the milk is no longer needed. Pumping would only signal your body to increase production, which you don't want. As far as clogged ducts/mastitis, you really want to be on the lookout for tender, sometimes red and swollen lumps or sections of your breast (and, of course, any fever or flu like symptoms). If you feel anything like that, massage the area and apply wet heat (so, hot compress, or my favorite, in a hot bath). If you're not feeling that, then what you're experiencing is just a normal part of the weaning process. You'll probably see a lot less milk in a few more weeks, but possibly a little milk for a long time to come.

    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
    Jun 2011
    Southern NM

    Default Re: Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

    I had a mammogram at least 6 months after I weaned DS1 and I squirted all over the place. As long as you are not feeling engorged or have the symptoms of plugged ducts/mastitis, I would let it be.

    I am glad that the weaning process was not as painful as you feared. I hope that your treatment is going well.
    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
    Thing 2 6/6/05, bf 12 mo, obsessed with dynamite
    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

    As long as you're not getting engorged or plugged, just let the milk be. It's totally normal to have some milk for weeks, months, or even years after weaning.

    I am so glad that weaning went smoothly, and that the baby took to bottles and formula like a champ! It's awesome that you're bottle-feeding on demand, and not weaning baby from the formula yet. He's not even a year, right? My pediatrician would tell you that breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of baby's nutrition until the first birthday, and would advise against weaning before that time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Re: Milk still flowing after semi-abrupt weening

    Agreed with pp...you should be fine if not feeling any discomfort. It is good to hear you are doing okay. How is treatment going?

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