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Thread: How-to of pump weaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    Default How-to of pump weaning

    Yesterday was my DS' first birthday! We made it to a year! Woo hoo!

    Now I'm starting the process of pump weaning (actually started last week). I plan to continue nursing on demand while at home. I'm not going to completely pump wean for another couple months because DS only has four teeth and doesn't take solids that well so I'd like him to continue to get some breastmilk during the day. I would like to drop to one pumping session though. I had been pumping three times per day and am now trying to pump twice. I'm also trying to make the first session of the day (on the way to work in my car or just after I arrive at work) a shorter session (had been pumping 30-40 minutes, would like to cut it to about 20 minutes to save time). However, I've been feeling very full and kind of uncomfortable when I shorten the morning session. Does this mean I'm trying to pump-wean too fast? Or is some amount of discomfort/engorgement just part of the process?

    I just finished my first pumping session for the day a few minutes ago and I can tell I didn't completely empty my breasts. I'm concerned about getting mastitis or plugged ducts from leaving milk in there, but if I continue to do the breast compressions while pumping, doing long pumping sessions in order to get a 2nd or 3rd letdown like I'd been doing, etc. then I don't see how my supply will ever drop enough to let me eventually go down to just one pumping session.

    Any help or suggestions for how you go about doing this? 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
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    I think the key is to go slowly and pay attention to your body - as you are! For example, going from 40 minutes to 20 minutes may be too fast of a drop; just shave a few minutes off to begin with, do that for several days (or even longer), make sure you are still feeling comfortable, then shave a few more minutes off. Also, my approach has been to first trim down the last session of the day, when I have less milk, rather than the first. I don't think discomfort and engorgement needs to be part of the process if you take it slowly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    Letting your breasts stay full is part of the process of sending your body the signal to make less milk. So yes, definitely some engorgement will be part of it. But if it is painful or too uncomfortable you could try pumping just enough to relieve the pressure. It definitely should not be painful- you don't want to end up with plugged ducts or mastitis.

    That said, when I was pump weaning I dropped from two sessions (morning and afternoon)to one (at lunch time), and then went from one to none cold turkey at about 13 mos and never had any problems. To some degree, the extent you need to be concerned epends on your tendency to have issues with plugs.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    OK, thanks. I do have a tendency towards plugs but will back off on the breast compressions, hand expression at the end of each session, etc. so my body gets the signal to make less milk. If I do end up with plugs I'll deal with it then. Part of the problem seems to be that my pump just isn't that efficient anymore, so I feel like there are some segments of my breast that don't get emptied at all unless I add in compressions to those areas. This wasn't a problem until recently; I have a feeling the pump motor is wearing out and just not working as well as it used to. (Good thing I don't need it for much longer). I'll try to do a minimum of compressions though, just enough to relieve the discomfort but leave some milk in there. I appreciate the advice!
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Cleveland, OH
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    525

    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    Instead of shortening my sessions I pushed the time of my first session later and later until it ran into the time of my second session, then pushed that pumping session later and later, etc. Just another way to do it.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!
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    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    And I would only work through one letdown. Don't WORK for thw 2nd letdown! When the streams start to taper off the 1st time, stop. So your body gets the message to MAKE LESS.

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    1,056

    Default Re: How-to of pump weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sassypants View Post
    Instead of shortening my sessions I pushed the time of my first session later and later until it ran into the time of my second session, then pushed that pumping session later and later, etc. Just another way to do it.
    This is what I did as well. I was prone to plugged ducts, and so I did better completely emptying, but just later and later each time.

    ETA: To be fair, both times I pump-weaned, I was preg, so I wasn't getting much anyway
    Little SW, Aug '09
    Miss MW, Jan '11
    Sir RW, Oct '12
    3 kids in 38 mos

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