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Thread: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

  1. #1

    Default Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Hi, everybody! I have a lovely 7 month old daughter who is thriving and growing like a weed. Our breastfeeding experience has been extremely rocky from the start. It took an abnormally long time for my milk to come in, and we ended up supplementing with formula for the first 13 weeks. Miraculously, after I went back to work I was soon able to pump enough to get her off the formula and we didn’t look back.

    I have always been prone to plugged ducts, but recently she has started sleeping through the night. That, coupled with a recent bought of mastitis followed by thrush and then a killer cold on top of all of that has resulted in a pretty nightmarish month for me. I am routinely waking with excruciating plugs that take several days to resolve (where previously it was almost always very easy to get them out) and now my supply is starting to suffer. I have considered waking at night to pump to try to head off the plugs, but I was hoping my supply would regulate to her needs. So far we are on day ten of sleeping through the night and that does not seem to be happening (at night any way, I am seriously struggling during the day to pump enough for her bottles).

    I am not looking for advice to get plugs out. I have tried everything known to (wo)man. I have seen a lactation consultant, my pediatrician, and my OB. Nobody really has any suggestions for me. I guess I am just looking for support. I don’t want to wean at all, but I cannot handle the constant pain and stress that is starting to be my daily routine. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on enjoying my daughter’s first year and exciting milestones because I am just looking forward to being done with all of this. But then again, I have fought and struggled to get to the point of exclusively breastfeeding and I feel like a ridiculous failure if I just give up. I am really bad at failing at things.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Sorry you're having so many problems. What's the problem with pumping at night? Do you think that would work? Or what about waking her to nurse in the middle of the night instead of pumping?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*luxxia View Post
    But then again, I have fought and struggled to get to the point of exclusively breastfeeding and I feel like a ridiculous failure if I just give up. I am really bad at failing at things.
    Mama, I'm sorry you are having so many problems. I think many of us who struggle early on feel the same way: it's almost like weaning earlier than you would like negates the entire breastfeeding relationship and milk that was provided. But it doesn't....you are breastfeeding your baby and it sounds like you truly enjoy that relationship!

    How do you think your DD would handle weaning right now?
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Don't do it. She is still so little. And you are doing it. You are making enough milk for her. It sounds like a TERRIBLE month. But you warriored though. Don't stop now! Let us help you figure out how to PREVENT the clogs. What do you think that will take? Will it take pumping once at night? Will that alleviate the pain you are in? And would that help you solider on?

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    I had a similar problem and it took about 3 weeks for my supply to regulate. I didn't pump because I didn't want that to signal my body to make more milk, what I did do, however, was wake up at about 3 am and hand express just enough to make me comfortable from each breast. I would put a clean bottle by the side of the bed, squirt it in there, throw it in the fridge and go back to bed. If you can't get much from hand expression you could also pump just a little, but its sooo much less fuss to just use your hands! There are some really great online videos on how to hand express well. This will prevent you from becoming too full and getting clogged ducts. Does your baby nurse from both breasts at a feeding or just one? At the time my daughter would only take one breast, so when she'd wake in the morning, I'd put her on each for a little bit to take the fullness out, and then let her drain which ever one she started on. I hope this helps! I agree, don't wean yet, its too early!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    since this latest bout of plugs came after mastitis, you might think about if you are dealing with subclinical mastitis: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...rent-mastitis/


    If you do not want to wean, and more frequent nursing helps prevent the plugs, you have another option. You could consider just not letting baby sleep so long without nursing, but instead, to encourage her to nurse overnight enough to prevent the plugs. Who knows, if you cut back on nursing frequency gradually enough, your supply may regulate slowly and gradually-that is usually how it works best-and your plugs issue might work itself out that way. As it is, you will still be dealing with plugs the whole time you spend weaning and after, as it may take your body quite some time to stop producing milk.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Everybody makes some good points. I will try to address them all.

    I absolutely do not want to wean. I want to make that clear. I think that LO would not take it well at all right now. She is very much a comfort nurser.

    I am reluctant to wake up at night to pump or feed her when she doesn’t seem to be needing it for the exact reason that it would prevent my body from regulating. If I did that, where does it stop? When it is actually time to wean I would just be going through this all over again. It’s not a bad idea to wake up to pump a little bit to relieve pressure, but I’m not really sure it would help. When I do wake up randomly in the middle of the night my breasts are not super engorged, but I can often feel the beginnings of plugs. I don’t really think that pumping would help much since I am never able to completely drain my breasts via pumping. (I have a Medela Lactina in case that is anybody’s next question. It’s a great pump.) I did set an alarm last night and woke to feed her at 3:00, but I still woke at 6:00 with the beginnings of a plug in each breast. They seem minor at this point, though, and I think I will be able to pump them out over the course of the day (famous last words).

    She always nurses on both breasts during the day. When she was waking at night she would almost always only take one before she fell asleep again, and that was working fine for us. One of my breasts fills up a lot faster than the other, so it was no problem to switch between them at night.

    I have considered subclinical mastitis, but my midwifes look at me like I’m an alien when I bring this up (at this point I seem to know WAY more than they do about the problems associated with bfing). I did complete a full 10 day course of antibiotics with the recent bought of mastitis, and I’m pretty positive that this is what led to the thrush. So I’m reluctant to go down that road again. I do think there is some kind of actual problem in my breasts (and it is both of them), be it scar tissue or whatnot from the recent infections I’ve had. 99% of my plugs seem to originate in the nipple itself and when I am able to get them out myself they are tiny hard, white pellets.

    My last ditch effort to prevent them is to buy new bras and I also ordered a set of breast shells. I am wondering if my nipples being smashed sideways in my current bras is causing at least some of these plugs, or making them harder to express out.

    I honestly don’t think that weaning is going to help much, at least short term. I’m pretty positive that it is going to be a long, painful road for me since my girls seem to have a lot of trouble figuring out how much milk to make (they had a lot of trouble figuring out when to start making milk, so I guess it’s no surprise that they can’t get the hang of when to cool it a little).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    Wait. You aren't wearing a bra to bed are you? And your bras don't have wires in them do they?

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    I know that you said you have tried everything for the plugs, but have you tried soy lecethin (sp?). There have been some mamas with severe oversupply here in the past that took that to deal with plugs.

    I am confused about one thing though. You are saying that your supply is beginning to suffer, in your first post. Then, when we suggest that you nurse more frequently - to help with your supply and help resolve the plugs, you say that you don't want to mess with your supply.

    Also - are you pumping way more than she drinks during the day when you're away from her?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thinking about weaning, but not very happy about it

    I can understand why you're reluctant to go down the antibiotic road again, after the bout with thrush. Still, you may want to consider getting your milk cultured. A problem with recurrent mastitis is that a lot of moms are treated with the wrong antibiotics, which often beat the infection back but do not kill it off. If the mastitis recurs, I would definitely insist on a culture!

    I can also understand why you're reluctant to pump at night, and perpetuate any oversupply dimension to this problem. For the average mom, I'd definitely say that staying away from the pump would be the right thing to do! But it seems like you're a little different from the average mom, and it's possible that you might do well to manage your milk supply a little more proactively and a little less naturally. Maybe wake once at night and take an oz from each breast, just to clear the pores on the nipple and keep the milk moving, without being unduly stimulating to supply. Keep those little white plugs from forming, YK? There's no reason to think you need to completely empty the breast with the pump- that will just perpetuate the high supply.

    I'm wondering if the pump might be part of the problem. The Lactina is a powerful pump, and it could be stimulating your supply more than you wish- at least during the night, when you seem to have the problem. If you decide to try taking an oz or so from each breast, using hand expression might be preferable. But, on the other hand, why not really try to empty the breast at night? Use that production to fill the daytime bottles that you're struggling to produce at work. Just a thought.

    2 other things to try for recurrent plugged ducts:
    - soy lecithin supplement (some people swear by it!)
    - reducing saturated fat in your diet
    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!"

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