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Thread: Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

    My DD is going to be 2 in a few weeks. We have been doing great with nursing, in spite of me working 5 days a week most of her life. At this point, I nurse her at night, in the morning, and I pump in the afternoon if I'm at work or, if I'm with her, I nurse before nap, and sometimes after nap if she falls asleep nursing. My plan has been to continue this until the summer, then start weaning slowly, with the goal of having her completely weaned by the time she turns 3. I nursed my oldest daughter pretty successfully until she turned 2.5, then I quickly weaned her so I could try for #2 (doctor's orders... that's another story).

    Unfortunately I'm suddenly having a ton of problems. I am now only pumping 2 ounces, even when I wait until late to pump. Plus I am having a terrible time with dry, cracking skin on my nipples, and I'm feeling like my DD is barely drinking when I do get to nurse her. I'm worried I'm drying up, and I'm worried about the cracking skin that doesn't seem to be getting better.

    I have never used Lanolin (it didn't feel okay when I tried it with my first), but instead use MotherLove's nipple cream. I try to use it after every nursing (at least 2 out of 3), and I soak my nipples in warm salt water every few nights. It gets better and worse, but it never gets batter and stays better. I think it's due to the cold weather, but I've never had this much trouble before.

    Now my mom (primary caregiver) and husband are urging me to wean her. I know that with her being 2 and loving cheese (is 1 cheesestick a day enough dairy?), it probably would be okay at this point, but I want to wean her on my own (and her own) terms, not because of problems.

    Other info - I'm 42, so I don't know how much my age may affect my ability to produce milk. I had no trouble with my first, 3 years ago, but I am older now. Also, I did change BCPs recently, but I have seen no change in my milk production since then. This problem started before that. No other changes to my meds. I did start Weight Watchers about a month ago, but I tried to do their nursing mothers program. I'm wondering if maybe they're calculations aren't right for mothers with much older toddlers, but I would think that it could only be wrong in a way that wouldn't hurt me - i.e. I would be getting too many calories, not too few. But still I went off WW a couple weeks ago and haven't seen a change.

    I need help! Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for me? I know there was a lot in there. My main questions are:
    1- how do I get my nipples to stop cracking and stay healthy?
    2- am I drying up? / how do I stop that?
    3- if I do have to wean her, how much supplemental milk does she need at this point?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

    Hello and congrats on nursing an almost-two-year-old, and for seeking out ideas! Here are a couple of thoughts I had...

    1. Waiting until late to pump would be encouraging your body to make LESS milk. You might already realize that, but it doesn't hurt to remind you that pumping more often will help increase your milk supply.

    2. A two-year-old who eats solids well is probably getting a small proportion of nutrition/food from your milk. However, the antibodies are packed in even higher percentages and can't be replaced by cheese or anything else you can buy! Plus, it's incredibly comforting, I'm sure! So from my perspective, don't worry about your milk supply! Just nurse and pump, and keep the milk flowing!

    3. If you have been lactating for two years straight, it would probably be pretty difficult to dry up your milk supply very quickly. Many two-year-olds go weeks without nursing, then come back to nursing a lot! This is very, very normal for milk supply of a mother of an older child to go up and down. That's the good news -- you can very easily get it to go back up, as your body is very accustomed to making more! Just increase demand by nursing or pumping more often, and within a day or two, you will notice it go up!

    4. Reminder that the amount you pump isn't how much your child gets when nursing. Your response to the pump may have changed, yet your child possibly is getting just as much as usual when nursing. A two-year-old is really efficient often somewhat silent when nursing. A flow that would make a newborn gulp and gulp might not have the same effect on a two-year-old.

    5. Losing one pound a week or so is very safe and healthy when breastfeeding. If you were losing significantly more than that per week, your body could be responding by producing less milk. Again, though, it would be pretty easy to get back in a day or two by nursing and pumping a lot!

    6. Are you in a dry, cold climate? You might have dry nipples from dry skin overall. I find that if I keep my body moisturized (is use a fragrance-free cream), then my extremities, (finger, elbows, nipples!) stay moisturized, too. You can try coconut oil or a refined lanolin designed for breastfeeding moms.

    7. You may want to check your child's latch! A two-year-old's latch can get lazy and cause sore nipples!

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

    Dry and cracking skin that won't go away sounds like thrush to me, mama.

    I don't understand why your husband and mom think you need to wean, unless you want to try for a 3rd baby? Your LO is not consuming enough additional dairy per day for you to cut out nursing sessions- unless you want to replace breastmilk with more milk/cheese/yogurt. The RDA for dairy for a 2-3 year old is 2 cups of milk or yogurt, or 3-4 oz of cheese per day- so she'd need to eat several more cheese sticks!

    Your age should not affect your ability to produce milk. But your BCP might, particularly if it's an estrogen-progestin combination pill rather than a progestin-only formulation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

    At this point, not pumping during the day should not affect your milk production when it is needed. Many many moms wean from the pump at 12 months and successfully continue to nurse when they are with their LO for the next few years. So I wouldn't be all that concerned with your drop in pumping output.

    What makes you think she's not getting much when she nurses?

    Any chance you are pregnant?
    “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.”

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: Nursing trouble with 2-year-old

    I wanted to thank you all for responding to this. Each one of your responses were extremely helpful to me.
    So, an update:
    I realized that as an older baby, my DD had been getting lax on her latch, and I had been allowing that. After a few sessions where I held her firmly (and she whimpered because she couldn't pull back like she likes to), we settled into a system with a much better latch. Unfortunately, my supply continued to lessen (at least as far as I could see when i pumped - I can hear her drinking when we nurse so she's getting some - it just felt like she stopped actively drinking a lot sooner than she used to), and then I went to pump on Tuesday after 4 days not pumping and there was a decent amount of bleeding in both my nipples; and lots of pain.

    So I talked to a few people, then I talked to the local Lactation Consultant, my family doctor and my OB/GYN. Looks like it's thrush. DD is getting an oral solution of Nystatin, I have a topical Nystatin cream, Diflucan and Acidopholus. Hopefully we can get this cleared up quickly.

    Thanks again everyone! It was a really big help.

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