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Thread: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

  1. #1
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    Default Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    I pump at work and in the past week or so, I've noticed a drop in my pumping output. I used to usually get around 9 oz (but could be up to 11 oz) with my first pump of the day and then about 6 oz with my second. That is way more than my son drinks, I'd say he usually takes about 6 oz while I'm gone but it could be up to 9 or 10 oz if he's particularly hungry or if I'm having a longer than usual day. Last week, I had two very busy days where I wasn't able to pump properly--one day I went 7 hours (!) without pumping, which I never had to do before. When I did pump I got about 12 oz but since then it seems like my supply has dropped by at least a few oz and not come back up. My son also seemed hungry this weekend--it took almost an hour to nurse him down before bedtime and he was sucking furiously (not just comfort nursing) the whole time.

    I got my period back last month and am about due for it again, so I think that may be contributing to the decrease in supply, along with a couple days of not-optimal pumping. I also think I'm having some trouble letting down for the pump; I can feel that there is still some milk left in there but I can't seem to get it out.

    Anyway, I'm thinking of dropping down to one pump per day in about a month (he will be 11.5 months when I do this; I am taking licensing exams one month from tomorrow and while I do get break time it would be nice to only need to pump once instead of twice that day). So I expect my output will diminish further then.

    I do want to continue nursing into toddlerhood and I'm just anxious that I can see my supply dropping when I've worked so hard to keep it up until now. I'm worried it will drop too much and that I won't have enough for DS, which is what it seemed like happened this weekend. This weekend I just let him continue nursing and nursing until he was finally satisfied, hoping that would stimulate my production, but I felt bad about it because I could tell he was hungry/thirsty.

    My mom watches DS during the day and we're trying to figure out how to balance solids vs. milk at this stage. Up until now I've always had her give a bottle first and then offer solids (usually a bit of whatever she's having for lunch). Now, given that I'd like to pump wean between 12-15 months, we're wondering if she should be giving the solids first or instead of a bottle? I've asked her to offer solids twice a day while I'm at work; I usually just nurse him when I'm at home. He's getting more interested in solids and eating more than he used to, and I think we could encourage him in that direction if we wanted to, but I don't want to decrease his breastmilk intake prematurely either. I'm just not sure how to balance it all. I do want to pump wean at some point fairly soon after a year but it doesn't need to be right at a year, 14 or 15 months would be okay.

    What do you suggest in terms of the solids vs. milk question, and how do I make sure my milk supply holds up for as long as I need it to, until DS is ready to take more solids? Thanks in advance!
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Is it safe to say that you have a major freezer supply going? Because it's VERY common for women to hit a wall between 9&10 months in terms of pumping. So I would be concerned about you dropping to one session next month when you are already in the "10 month Slump" unless your real plan is to be done by right by the 12 months point. You will be fine for two weeks I would imagine. If that isn't your real plan I would really watch your out put at this point and consider ADDING a session for the time being as you seem to feel like your decrease in output is directly linked to skipping your pumping session. However based on your numbers if that is not possible you are in a position to supplement with frozen milk to get you there based on your output vs intake is that correct? If you have the frozen oz to get you through, I guess you can just keep doing what you are doing.
    In terms of solids again it just depends on what your goals are. By 10 months my child was having 3 solid meals a day and still breastfeeding on Demand. By 12months it was 3 meals a day and 2 snacks and still breastfeeding on demand but I think by that point we were only nursing about 6-8 times a day. HOWEVER right at the year point the night nursing increased dramatically due to the 1st year molars breaking and that lasted a little more than 6 weeks and right when things calmed down he went thru a growth spurt at 14months that I am SO GLAD I wasn't soley responsible for! He cleaned EVERY plate he had for 7days and asked for 2nds at dinner time!
    I would NOT decrease his breastmilk intake AT ALL before the year point. Just add in the solids around it. Let her give him bottles first and have her feed him two meals and if you haven't already begin to have him participate in your dinnertime ritual.
    As far as portions, at that age I put 3-5 different solid whole food from our meal on the saucer from a cup and saucer set. That seems like the right amount of solids per feeding session. It's is still really about experience and practice at this point.

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*djs.mom View Post
    Is it safe to say that you have a major freezer supply going? Because it's VERY common for women to hit a wall between 9&10 months in terms of pumping. So I would be concerned about you dropping to one session next month when you are already in the "10 month Slump" unless your real plan is to be done by right by the 12 months point. You will be fine for two weeks I would imagine. If that isn't your real plan I would really watch your out put at this point and consider ADDING a session for the time being as you seem to feel like your decrease in output is directly linked to skipping your pumping session. However based on your numbers if that is not possible you are in a position to supplement with frozen milk to get you there based on your output vs intake is that correct? If you have the frozen oz to get you through, I guess you can just keep doing what you are doing.
    In terms of solids again it just depends on what your goals are. By 10 months my child was having 3 solid meals a day and still breastfeeding on Demand. By 12months it was 3 meals a day and 2 snacks and still breastfeeding on demand but I think by that point we were only nursing about 6-8 times a day. HOWEVER right at the year point the night nursing increased dramatically due to the 1st year molars breaking and that lasted a little more than 6 weeks and right when things calmed down he went thru a growth spurt at 14months that I am SO GLAD I wasn't soley responsible for! He cleaned EVERY plate he had for 7days and asked for 2nds at dinner time!
    I would NOT decrease his breastmilk intake AT ALL before the year point. Just add in the solids around it. Let her give him bottles first and have her feed him two meals and if you haven't already begin to have him participate in your dinnertime ritual.
    As far as portions, at that age I put 3-5 different solid whole food from our meal on the saucer from a cup and saucer set. That seems like the right amount of solids per feeding session. It's is still really about experience and practice at this point.
    with this ALL of this, excellent advice
    Autumn
    Moma to *Silas* 10-30-07

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    First, thank you for the advice

    Second, yes, I have a pretty good freezer stash (100 oz or so from the past 3 months), but I also have a lipase issue and even though I scald my milk before freezing it still seems to go bad pretty quickly in the freezer. I haven't ever actually given him the frozen milk, because I've always had enough fresh and the few times I've defrosted it, everything more than a month old tastes bad. So I'm not sure how far the freezer stash will take me

    Third, maybe I wasn't clear about this in my original post, but my pump output from my 2 pump sessions still matches or exceeds my son's intake. I can still get 8-10 oz from the two sessions combined, and he usually drinks 6 or 7 oz (never more than 9 or 10 oz). Given this, I don't understand why you're suggesting I need to add in another pumping session? (I'm also not sure logistically I CAN add in another session--things are ramping up for me at work and fitting in two is hard enough some days. I guess I could pump in the car on the way to work, if needed).

    Fourth, the thing about always offering milk first is that if he's just had a bottle, he won't take much in the way of solids. That's not a problem right now, and I understand that most of his nutrition should come from breastmilk for the first year (right now, his nutrition is probably at LEAST 80% milk, if not more), but I don't understand how we are going to ever get to the point where he takes more solids if he always has milk first? And I won't be able to even start the process of pump weaning until he eats more solids than he does now. I would at least like to drop to one pump session a day by 12 or 13 months. I'd like to be done pump weaning by 14 or 15 months. I'm just not clear on how this process is going to happen.

    From what you are saying, it sounds like maybe we wait until around the one-year mark to start offering solids before milk? Then hopefully, over the next couple months, he will start eating enough solids that by 14 or 15 months, he won't need breastmilk while I'm at work, and he can just have solids/ cow's milk during the day and nurse while I'm at home. Does that sound right? I'm just trying to understand how all this is going to happen. I'm concerned that if I don't get him eating more solids pretty soon, I'm not going to be able to pump wean (or at least drop to one session per day) by 13 or 14 months.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Not really. When you drop to one session if you have less milk to send you will just send less milk. In the mean time it's the process of offering food and participating in the ritual that is important. Portions will be small whether he is drinking milk before or not. Because he still eats for the experience. Not because of hunger. And that won't change until after the year point and the disappearance of bottles entirely. Pump weaning is not weaning. So if you are still planning on nursing while together after you pump wean it's not like your childs entire nutritional balance is going to swing entirely to solids once you pump wean. That is where weaning will BEGIN. And so it's the act of mealtimes and the process that are important now. So that when there is less milk and that turns into NO MILK during the day eating solids won't be an alien or strange process.

    Way too lazy for formula

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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Alright, so it seems you are saying I have it backwards, that basically at some point after one year, I decide to drop a pump session and start sending less milk, and at that point, my son will start eating more solids due to hunger? And then at some point I pump wean and stop sending milk and then he will be okay with eating just solids and/or cow's milk during the day? I had thought I had to wait for him to start eating more solids on his own before I could start sending less milk but it seems you're saying it goes the other way around, and when I start sending less milk he will naturally start eating more solids. OK, I think I've got it. I understand that the important part for the time being is offering him the opportunity to eat frequently and letting him practice, not so much getting him to eat a certain amount of food. And yes, I do definitely plan to keep nursing him past a year when I'm at home so it's not like he will suddenly be getting only solids. Thanks!
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Yeah. Also again based on your numbers I think you are over thinking because if your son is only usually drinking 6-7oz while away from you, that in a 24hour period of time that is roughly 25% or LESS of his daily intake. So.....that amount going away in place of solids at the year point isn't really going to be that major. I sort of think that based on the amount you seem to produce, that even if your baby striked entirely, and ate and drank NOTHING while away from you, that he would be able to reverse cycle enough to make up for it with no real alarm on your part. So this is my long mathematical way of saying don't worry. The subversive language that Pedis use around the year point makes people really think that 12months is do or die time and it's not. I remember at the year point being really worried about solids replacing breastmilk and being scared and feeling really overwhelmed by that. By they didn't and they aren't going to for you either. More solids and pump weaning is where weaning BEGINS. But your milk is still there and still perfect and it will fill in the gaps while you and your child figure solids out. And your child is currently taking in 75% or more of his nutrition from you directly while with you. So I think it's nothing to worry about.
    Also I mentioned adding in another pumping session specifically because you seemed to see such detrimental results from missing just one. So I was thinking you would want to re-level your playing field so to speak before dropping to only one session a day.

    Way too lazy for formula

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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Thanks I hadn't thought of it as 6-7oz being only 25% of his total daily intake, but you're right. That isn't really that much to replace with solids once we get past a year. I have been anxious about the solids transition so glad to hear I'm not alone in that, but also to hear it isn't really necessary to worry.

    I think you're right about adding in another pumping session, I will try that today and try to do a third session any day I can manage it. I'm struggling to get 8-9 oz with 2 sessions (pumping for 30-40 minutes a time and using breast compressions the whole time), where I used to get 12-15 oz from the 2 sessions combined. 8-9 oz is still okay but if it drops any more I'll be in trouble. I think I am about due to get my period again (got my period back for the first time about a month ago) so maybe that's part of the reason for the low output this week (in addition to the skipped pumping sessions last week). Hopefully it improves again once my period is over, if that is indeed what's going on.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    So I've been pumping three times a day for the past week and have seen a modest improvement in my pumping output, to 10-12 oz a day with 3 sessions, from about 8-9 oz a day with 2 sessions. This is still less than I used to get from 2 sessions (used to get 12-15 oz from 2 sessions) but is more than my son drinks so I think we're okay. I still haven't gotten my period either, which has me wondering, though I have the Mirena IUD so pregnancy is unlikely. I will take a pregnancy test anyway if I don't get my period soon, just to be sure, but I think it's more likely I'm just having irregular cycles due to the Mirena and/or breastfeeding. Anyway, now that my pump output has improved, do you think I need to continue pumping 3 times a day to keep it up? Or could I drop back to 2 sessions a day again? I'm only gone for a total of about 7-7.5 hours per day, including my commute time, and I nurse immediately before I leave and then again immediately when I get home. So 3 pumping sessions works out to pumping about every 2 hours, vs. 2 pumping session is pumping about every 3 hours. I never used to have a problem from going up to 4-5 hours between pumping sessions--I think I have a pretty large storage capacity as I used to sometimes get 9-12 oz from a single pumping session--but it seems like at 10.5 months, something has changed hormonally and I just don't make as much milk as I used to. So what do you think? Keep up the 3 sessions, which are a pain in the rear, or drop back to 2 sessions and see what happens?

    BTW, my son has suddenly started eating a lot more solids in the last week or two so I'm thinking pump weaning shortly after a year is probably a realistic goal for us, now. I'm leaning towards dropping back to 2 pumping sessions and seeing what happens to my output.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Diminishing pump output at 10.5 months?

    Well finish out the week at 3 session and then Drop back to two. When are you moving to one session? When does that happen?

    Way too lazy for formula

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