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Thread: Needing to understand how it works

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Needing to understand how it works

    Hi mamas,

    So, if you are reading the sleep forum too, you probably think I'm a nut job who is overly stressed out about all things parenting. You are probably right and I am really sorry to just keep asking questions. I spent so much time and energy learning about BFing the first year that now I feel like I'm back at square one--I don't have a clue about BFing past the first year, other than I am doing it.

    LO will be 1 year on Monday (the 3rd). I am super proud of making it this long and am so happy to continue. We've really grown to love our BFing relationship and I really look forward to our snuggle/nursing times.

    I understand that nursing past a year looks different for everyone and I am okay with that. I just need/want to understand some of the science (not sure if that's the word I'm looking for) behind how it works. Mechanically, I'm fine. We have a good (and very active) thing going, and I am happy with his latch and feel my supply is well matched to his demand.

    Here's what I am confused about:

    1. The balance between BM and solids. So, we took the whole "food for fun, until their 1" approach. He likes food, he eats it, it isn't the main attraction. I read on Kellymom (I think) that baby should take 25% of his intake from solids at 1 year. What does that mean? How could you measure that? This really baffles me (and I'm sure it's a really stupid question).

    2. BM intake. Right, so this really has two parts.
    A. I pump two days a week while I am at work and have noticed my output lower a bit over the past months. I'm not worried about this--I think it is normal and I have no concerns about my supply. I've also read that their overall BM intake decreases (after 9 months?). His solid food intake hasn't (seemingly) increased substantially, so how is he getting "enough" nutrients and calories? Does he need less calories now? (I can't see how that could be as he is SO active with learning to walk, etc.). He is doing fine. We haven't had him weighed in ages, but I'm not worried about weight. He is actively, happy and alert. Meeting targets. Wetting and pooping very regularly. It isn't that I am worried he is getting enough, I just don't understand how given that I think he takes in less BM overall and he isn't taking in more solids (again, both of which I think are normal and okay, I just don't get the how/why behind it).

    B. We have always fed on demand, including at night. And, we co-sleep. I have never actively tried to reduce night time feedings. However, lately, he is waking less and when he does wake, he doesn't always nurse. And, when he does nurse, it is REALLY short. So, I am pretty sure he is taking in fewer night time calories. BUT, I haven't noticed an increase in daytime nursing (frequency, duration). So, what's happening with the nighttime calories? Is he just doing without? Is he getting them during the day?


    3. (I know I've asked this before, I just don't get it). I have read that you can go longer without feeding or pumping after a year. Lots of people apparently pump wean? (I'll have to do another thread, later, when I'm ready for this). At a recent LLL meeting, someone was talking about going away for 8 hours and she was reassured that she'd probably be okay not pumping. HOW? I don't get this. It has been so drilled into me that you miss a feed, you pump. I don't get how my supply won't take a hit if I stopped pumping at work or went out for a day.

    Okay, I'm re-reading this post and I know I seem a little loony and obsessive-compulsive. I'm actually a little embarrassed. But, I have to ask because understanding how it works is really key to it working for us (and with minimal stress). The more I learned and understood about BFing in the beginning, the more confident I was about it. So, like I said, I guess I'm just kind of back at square 1 (but not).

    Thank you. And, thank you for not kicking me off the forum for being annoying.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,564

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    1. You don't measure it. You let him eat food and continue to nurse. You could offer food first, if you want.

    2. Meh. I wouldn't worry about it. (A) and (B) Also wouldn't worry about it.

    3. I pump weaned and I was/am away from the kids for 10.5 hours some days. I don't know how/why it works, but it does. Trixie still nurses on demand at 22 months old, but also eats three meals and two snacks a day.
    Tracie

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,214

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    I think one way to think about it is that your LO will gradually start to decrease his BM intake and increase his solids intake. (still.here has a great pictorial of this, see this thread: http://forums.llli.org/showthread.ph...49#post1297249)
    The exact pace at which he does that may be different from the pace at which another toddler will do it, but eventually he's going to get to the point where he's eating three meals and a couple snacks a day. But it doesn't happen from one day to the next. And yes, when you pump wean, your supply will go down to some extent - which is what would be happening if you were nursing LO at home all the time, because as your LO eats more food, he'll nurse less. If you're nursing 3-5 times per 24 hours, he's getting enough milk for the day; if not, you can consider adding in cow's milk.
    Bottom line, I agree with PP that you are probably over-thinking this (and no, you don't have to be embarrassed - or feel like you're being annoying!).... Put it this way - if he's hungry he will eat and/or nurse!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Dallas, TX
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    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    I was still nursing quite frequently at 12 months. LO is now 15 months and the difference is huge! She has really picked up eating lots of solids. It happens gradually. You may just try offering solids first and the nursing after as PP mentioned.

    Pump weaning should be done gradually. I was down to two sessions a day, then went to one. I tried to wean over about a month and that was too fast for me. I ended up with a mild case of mastitis and soreness for a few days as my supply adjusted. If you go gradually, you should have no problems. It did lower my overal supply but I'm still making milk. My body knows now that I don't need it during the day so I don't feel full until evenings.

    Your almost toddler is not growing as fast so it isn't as critical that he gets x calories per day. I read somewhere to look at food intake over 48 hours instead of 24 (for toddlers) and that makes sense to me. Sometimes DD will hardly eat anything and then the next day she will be a bottomless pit.
    Lisa

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,133

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    1. The "25% of calories from solids" thing is a guesstimate and an average. For every baby who gets 25% of his nutrition from solids at 1 year, there are going to be plenty of babies who get more or less than that. My kids, for example, were nowhere near the 25% mark at their first birthdays- they didn't start eating a lot of solids until 14-15 months. So you judge a year-old baby's food intake by his health. Does he look happy, healthy? Is he growing normally? Is he being fed breastmilk on demand or at least 4-5 times a day and being allowed to choose from variety of healthy solids when he's eating a meal with the family? If the answer to all those questions is "yes" then you can stop worrying about percentages.

    2a. Believe it or not, caloric needs do start to decline as baby enters toddlerhood. It's not that the baby isn't burning lots of calories- he is, especially now that he's mobile- or growing. It's that his overall growth has slowed. Most babies double their birthweight by what, around 4-6 months? But your toddler isn't necessarily going to double again (birthweight x 4) until he's well into toddlerhood, and he's not going to double again (birthweight x 8) until he's maybe 4-5 years old (all figures are extremely rough guesstimates).

    2b. He's probably just growing out of his need for nighttime feedings, getting all his caloric needs met during the day.

    3. How long you can go without pumping is going to depend on your supply, how much your baby needs, and on your vulnerability to things like plugged ducts and mastitis. A mom whose supply is relatively low, whose baby doesn't need a lot of pumped milk any longer, and who doesn't easily get a plug or mastitis can go a long time without pumping. When she's with her baby, her baby will be able to get what he needs when he nurses, stimulating a little extra production, and when she's not with her baby, her relatively calm supply will just calm down a little more. But a mom who is still nursing/pumping a lot, and has a relatively high supply, or who is very vulnerable to plugs or mastitis- that mom probably can't go an extended period without removing milk or she's going to get uncomfortable.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Aug 2012
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    IL
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    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    Hi there! You and I are in a very similar situation... Just hitting the year mark, pumping at work 2 days a week.. And I have a lot of the same questions! There's a recent thread from me asking about needing to supplement starting at age one because I'm now pumping less volume. Here's the thing, as was mentioned above, our kiddos just aren't growing at the same rates as early on anymore. Take a look at any of those growth charts and you'll see that the curves all start leveling off a bit at this age. They don't need the same amount of calories for that reason. My guy is eating 3 solid meals a day right now. Big ones. Because he likes it. We are still nursing 5-6 times a day when I am home with him. He gets bottles for the 2 nursing sessions that we miss while I'm working 2 days a week. Those used to be 5 ounce bottles, but since I'm pumping less volume now, we've dropped them back to 4 ounces. I've heard here, read elsewhere, and have been told by my pediatrician, that as long as we are nursing 5-6 times a day, I should assume that he is getting all the milk he needs from me. Once we start dropping below 5 sessions is when I would think about offering cow's milk or dairy in some other form. For now I am still pumping, but I will probably drop down to one session a day soon. And when I do that, we will probably try to drop one of the two bottles he receives while I'm gone, offering a snack between meals instead. Admittedly, I am a bit terrified of a backslide in night nursing with this. Thinking that he will try to make up for missed time by adding in a night feeding. We have just recently (by his choice) dropped a night feeding, but we do co-sleep most of the night as well so it wouldn't be a huge tragedy. His night nursing sessions are less than 5 minutes at this point anyway.

    All that to say, I think you're doing awesome. It's natural to worry, I do too! Keep feeding on demand and you'll both be okay.
    Momma to B. Born 11/27/11 at 10 lbs 2 oz.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    Thanks, ladies. Today makes a year and I am super proud that we are still going strong (and surprised--I never imagined, a year ago, that I'd be loving BFing so much and that we'd be (quite happily) planning to continue at this point).

    Anyway, I really appreciate all your thoughts and reassurances. I'm not really sure what my freak out was about--I know that the change will happen slowly and that it isn't like he woke up this morning with totally different needs. The few people I've known to BF have always weaned at a year, so I think maybe I just had some expectation of dramatic change in my head. I'm happy to know that isn't the case. (And, interestingly, the number 1 question/comment I've gotten this week, leading up to his birthday, is "so, are you going to wean now?/so, you're going to wean now, right?" First, what business is it of theirs?! And, second, why would I wean just because he is a year old?!)

    I am wondering, though, are there any signs you can use to know they are (or are not) getting enough? I think that diaper counting isn't so helpful any more, right? Are there other things to help? (We live in the UK and he does not get weighed regularly, so I can't use weight checks). Also, how many session is the minimum before you need to worry about cow's milk? 4? 5? 6? Also (and I know this sounds like a first week question), does it matter how long those are? Do "fly-bys" count? (We are getting far more than 6 GOOD nursing sessions now, but I'm just curious for the future).

    Thanks!
    Last edited by @llli*evolvingmama; December 3rd, 2012 at 09:00 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*cuddlebug910 View Post
    Hi there! You and I are in a very similar situation... Just hitting the year mark, pumping at work 2 days a week.. And I have a lot of the same questions! There's a recent thread from me asking about needing to supplement starting at age one because I'm now pumping less volume. Here's the thing, as was mentioned above, our kiddos just aren't growing at the same rates as early on anymore. Take a look at any of those growth charts and you'll see that the curves all start leveling off a bit at this age. They don't need the same amount of calories for that reason. My guy is eating 3 solid meals a day right now. Big ones. Because he likes it. We are still nursing 5-6 times a day when I am home with him. He gets bottles for the 2 nursing sessions that we miss while I'm working 2 days a week. Those used to be 5 ounce bottles, but since I'm pumping less volume now, we've dropped them back to 4 ounces. I've heard here, read elsewhere, and have been told by my pediatrician, that as long as we are nursing 5-6 times a day, I should assume that he is getting all the milk he needs from me. Once we start dropping below 5 sessions is when I would think about offering cow's milk or dairy in some other form. For now I am still pumping, but I will probably drop down to one session a day soon. And when I do that, we will probably try to drop one of the two bottles he receives while I'm gone, offering a snack between meals instead. Admittedly, I am a bit terrified of a backslide in night nursing with this. Thinking that he will try to make up for missed time by adding in a night feeding. We have just recently (by his choice) dropped a night feeding, but we do co-sleep most of the night as well so it wouldn't be a huge tragedy. His night nursing sessions are less than 5 minutes at this point anyway.

    All that to say, I think you're doing awesome. It's natural to worry, I do too! Keep feeding on demand and you'll both be okay.
    Happy (belated) birthday to your LO! And, congrats to you on your accomplishment of making it a year. It is so nice to "talk" to someone who is in the same stage as we are--and it does sound like we have very similar situations. Our LO has 2 meals/day and 2 snacks, but we need to work on breakfast (he just nurses SO much in the morning, that we have never bothered with it). Anyway, like you, I've read that as long as you are nursing a minimum number of times, no worries on cow's milk. Jack really like cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese though, so even if we did need to worry about dairy, I am sure it's already covered. I totally get you on the worry about increasing night wakings. We are just starting to decrease them and I would so love to keep moving in that direction! Thanks, too, for sharing your experience with work and pumping. Do you find that you are nursing less during the day when you are home now that you've decreased the amount given in bottles while you are away? I only have 2 weeks of work before the Christmas holiday (off for two weeks), then another two weeks before we go on a 10 day vacation, so I'm planning to hold off on any pump weaning until after that, since I won't be away too much and I want to have as much BF going on as possible while we are traveling--just makes the travel part SO much easier.

    Anyway, thanks for your reassurances and sharing your worries, too. It really helps!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    IL
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    13

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*evolvingmama View Post
    Happy (belated) birthday to your LO! And, congrats to you on your accomplishment of making it a year. It is so nice to "talk" to someone who is in the same stage as we are--and it does sound like we have very similar situations. Our LO has 2 meals/day and 2 snacks, but we need to work on breakfast (he just nurses SO much in the morning, that we have never bothered with it). Anyway, like you, I've read that as long as you are nursing a minimum number of times, no worries on cow's milk. Jack really like cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese though, so even if we did need to worry about dairy, I am sure it's already covered. I totally get you on the worry about increasing night wakings. We are just starting to decrease them and I would so love to keep moving in that direction! Thanks, too, for sharing your experience with work and pumping. Do you find that you are nursing less during the day when you are home now that you've decreased the amount given in bottles while you are away? I only have 2 weeks of work before the Christmas holiday (off for two weeks), then another two weeks before we go on a 10 day vacation, so I'm planning to hold off on any pump weaning until after that, since I won't be away too much and I want to have as much BF going on as possible while we are traveling--just makes the travel part SO much easier.

    Anyway, thanks for your reassurances and sharing your worries, too. It really helps!
    Hi again! You made it, good job!! It's a strange world, huh? Just when you think you've got it all figured out, suddenly the rules change. Well, they don't. But maybe we think they should and that is what actually confuses us! We dropped down to the 4 ounce bottles and he is doing just fine on them. Our normal routine now is...

    5 or 6 am nurse
    630/7 breakfast
    1030ish nurse
    12 lunch
    330ish nurse
    6 dinner
    730 nurse
    Somewhere between 12/1/2 am nurse. .

    The 1030 and 330 nursings are replaced with bottles on the days I work. He has not wanted to add in any nursing sessions on the days I am home with that routine. I kind of think that if I did snacks, he would be fine on the days I'm not home without the bottles... Like he wouldn't really notice. But when I'm here, he normally wakes from naps complaining until he gets his milk. I'll probably aim to start introducing an afternoon snack and that will decrease his nursing intake... I'll then pump a bit less... He'll eat more solids... It's a cycle. That's the way I'm understanding it at least. I'll probably wait until we drop one more feed/bottle to go down to stop pumping. I'm sort of just seeing how it goes at this point. . Try not to worry too much. Adding in a solid breakfast will benefit you both, I'm sure. Good luck with the traveling! That worries me FAR more at this point than breastfeeding!
    Momma to B. Born 11/27/11 at 10 lbs 2 oz.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,133

    Default Re: Needing to understand how it works

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*evolvingmama View Post
    I am wondering, though, are there any signs you can use to know they are (or are not) getting enough? I think that diaper counting isn't so helpful any more, right? Are there other things to help? (We live in the UK and he does not get weighed regularly, so I can't use weight checks). Also, how many session is the minimum before you need to worry about cow's milk? 4? 5? 6? Also (and I know this sounds like a first week question), does it matter how long those are? Do "fly-bys" count? (We are getting far more than 6 GOOD nursing sessions now, but I'm just curious for the future).
    At this point, you can take a lot of the pressure off yourself when it comes to baby "getting enough". If baby has gotten enough from on-demand nursing thus far, he's going to keep getting enough in the future.

    For a toddler who is eating solids, I've always heard that 3-5 nursing sessions per day negates the need for additional "dairy" in the baby's diet. With a younger (closer to a year) toddler, you want to err on the high side of the range. "Fly-by" sessions count if you think they do- is baby pausing just for a very brief suck, or are you getting a letdown? I think the letdown makes the difference between a session you can count, at least when it comes to niutritional purposes. All the sessions count for mothering purposes.
    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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