Hello! My son is 11 months old and has been fed exclusively breast milk & solids until last week. I would love some input and guidance from you ladies on my plan to supplement and eventually partially wean.
Sam was born at 8lbs 7oz but has been dropping down in his percentiles since birth. He developed early motor skills and my husband and I are both tall and lean so we were not really too concerned until the 9 month appointment when he had dropped down to the 3rd percentile. (He was at the 10th percentile at 6 months). I went back to work at 12 weeks and pumped, but quit my job when he was 6.5 months old. I fought really hard to continue breastfeeding while working (I had to go dairy and soy-free and had mastitis with MRSA then surgery for a resulting breast abscess, in addition to the general work of pumping) so I was happy to be able to nurse on demand when I started staying home. Around that time, Sam started sleeping through the night and I think my supply dropped. After the 9-month appointment, I started taking fenugreek and began pumping before bed and feeding that 4 to 6-oz bottle the next night before bed. We also focused on feeding lots of high-fat solids like yogurt, cheese, almond butter (ped gave the ok to nuts and he had grown out of dairy allergy), eggs, and coconut oil on toast. We went back in for a weight check at 10 months and he had gained 12 oz - still on the 3rd percentile, so the ped said he was ok. Big relief! She did say to feel free to supplement with formula if I felt like it. I think she kind of wanted me to, but left the ultimate decision up to me, and I ignored it.
However, over New Years my parents kept Sam for 2 nights and I didn't have quite enough milk stored up so I sent a can of formula (I had given a bottle earlier to make sure he would take it and not have a bad reaction). While we were away I pumped 5 times a day and was pretty devastated by the amounts I got - it was only about 14 ounces total per day, and I would get 4 oz max, even in the morning. In my head, I was thinking he was probably getting something like 6-8 oz in the morning and around 24 ounces total a day (which is what ped said to aim for). I have never had problems letting down for the pump and I had new membranes so I'm pretty sure I was emptying my breasts each time.
So now for my questions: I feel like I do need to start offering some formula, but how do I do it without reducing my already dwindling supply? I always nurse before and after naps but now I'm convinced he's probably only getting an ounce or two each time. So should I drop a feeding to let my breasts fill up more and offer formula instead? Or just offer formula in a sippy cup when he eats (he'd probably drink 4 oz total this way) and continue nursing as usual? Or give him formula after nursing? Since we are nearing 12 months I would actually like to wean him from daytime feedings slowly while continuing to nurse in the morning and at bedtime. But I definitely want to make sure he's getting enough to nutrition first.
I have more questions (about weaning, and the alternatives to cow's milk) but this is getting really long so I'll stop! Thanks so much for your help!
ETA: I offer water in a sippy cup at meals now to make sure he's not dehydrated, so it's hard to use wet diapers as a gauge for getting enough milk. He usually poops once a day and sometimes they can be rather hard and pellet-like (so I usually give pears or apples to help), other times loose.