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Thread: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    Hi - it's me again with another question. To refresh your memory.... my daughter just turned one year old this past weekend. I have been EP-ing for a year now. She has only gotten breastmilk. I just weighed her a few days ago, and she is 18.11 lbs. At her last two doctor appointments, the Dr said she is in the 35 percentile. She said that was fine... not a fast grower... but showing that she is still gaining steady. My daughter is a happy, healthy baby. Never been sick, etc.

    My question this time is: How do I know when I can stop pumping and go to cow's milk and solids... and no more breastmilk? Pumping is killing me. I'm really struggling with my supply these last three months. My period is back and I'm taking herbs and pumping 7x/day to keep up with my daughter. About a month ago, I started adding in about 4 oz/ day of cow's milk to start the transition with my daughter. We have also been trying the BLS approach... but my daughter wasn't crazy about food... with BLS or pureed. Finally about a month or so ago she has started showing much more interest in food... and I'm running with it! BLS is still sketchy, but she will take pureed food.... stage 2 and state 3 so far. She loves flavors, but it seems to be texture she is still not sure about. She is showing improvement though and that is encouraging.

    Since she has been so slow to go to solids I've made sure to keep pumping... so she gets the calories she needs, etc. But... now that she is starting to eat more how do I know when she is getting enough solids... so I can stop pumping and just do solids / cow's milk?

    She still gets about 28-30 oz of BM daily. (I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but I follow her lead and she will stop herself when full... she has always been that way) I have started giving her a lunch of pureed fruits and a dinner of pureed vegetables. Sometimes she'll munch on a rice cereal stick, etc... but it's mainly playing and only eating some of it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    Oh my goodness, you have done such a wonderful job! Making it to a few weeks of EP is a big accomplishment. Making it to a year, and then some, is an AMAZING accomplishment! And 28-30 oz of breastmilk per day is not a small amount by any means. Exclusively breastfed babies typically take only around 20-30 oz per day.

    I think at this point, it's really up to you what you do WRT pumping. You've made it to the minimum recommended 1 year of breastfeeding, and plenty of moms wean completely at that point. And lots of working moms wean from the pump at that point, continuing to nurse only when they are with the baby. I think that if you want to wean completely, and just feed your LO solids and cow's milk, that's fine. But if you're not entirely ready to give up on pumping, or your child has a problem consuming cow's milk/other dairy- either she has an allergy to it or simply doesn't like it- then it makes sense to continue on. But even then you don't need to produce such a huge volume of milk- I think the RDA for dairy for toddlers is only 16 oz per day.
    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!"

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    OK... so just to make sure I'm understanding correctly... even though she is only eating solids (pureed foods twice per day)... it's OK to go ahead and stop the breastmilk? She will get enough calories from cow's milk and those two solids feedings each day?

    I'm pumping as I write this... (ugghhhh.... )

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    NO. But you can BEGIN to pump wean. You certainly don't need to pump 7 times day!! Start by dropping one session a day every week. If she will take cow's milk as a replacement great. If not, perhaps the less milk will mean MORE food. At any rate drop one session from your day over the course of the next 3 weeks. So that you are down to only 4sessions a day. And then come back and tell me how you feel.
    My questions at the end of that three week period will be, have you avoided clogged ducts or engorgement? Are you uncomfortable? How is she doing/feeling with that much less milk. And just an FYI, after the year point even if she took NO REPLACEMENT MILK AT ALL, but is eating solids, if you are still pumping 4 times a day for her you would need no substitute. So DO NOT PANIC no matter what over the next three weeks. Pumping weaning is a gradual process. As is weaning to solids in general. And you breastmilk helps fill in the gaps while you get there. So any trepidation you are feeling in terms of weaning, save it for when we actually get to the point where it might matter in terms of nutrition. At this point though you are proving MORE than enough milk. You can bridge the gap FOR SURE with 4 pumping sessions a day and over the course of the next three weeks hopefully you will see some ramp up in terms of solid food.

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    OK.... so glad that I posted this question and am getting these answers/responses. I JUST dropped one pumping a day on Sunday... and have been doing that for these past four days. So, I'm glad to see that is recommended... I'm already on the right track. Pumping seven times a day is absolutely killing me. I just am exhausted with it (also have a four year old at home daily / homeschooled). I wish I was breastfeeding, but unfortunately I had a terrible LC at the very beginning. Looking back, if we had not had that LC and her terrible instructions, I think my daughter would have been a great nurser (she was already nursing, but got nipple confusion, etc, etc, etc).

    I have been giving breakfast, lunch and dinner purees.... so we'll see how she does. I'm going to add in that cow's milk too as advised.

    I'll be in touch! Thanks so much for the responses!!! This site/people have been so helpful for the past year!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    I'd do a slow pump wean and push the solids. And yeah, 28-30oz is a LOT of breastmilk!

    I'm EPing for my second. She turned one earlier this month, but she won't be 12m adjusted until June. I'm lucky to overproduce, so my freezer stash is healthy. I plan to pump fulltime until her original due date, then take six months to very slowly pump wean. *If* I can get to a point where I can get even 10-12oz with twice daily pumping (and I could still express milk months after my 4yo weaned, so I might be able to), I might keep it up until her second birthday (actual). If not, I'll use up the freezer stash and consider it well done. A typical toddler really only needs about 12-16oz of milk a day (or so I was told once upon a time, I can't pull up the evidence for that), so if I can keep going with a diminishing supply + the freezer stash, I'll do that.

    She is gung ho for solids, but cannot have cow's milk, so she'll get breastmilk for as long as I can provide it. Full-time pumping is a hardship on the entire family.

    Have you tried offering finger foods? My daughter refuses most purées, but she'll self feed beans, sweet potatoes, parsnips, meat, chex, *anything*.
    Mum to DS (04/07)
    EPing for former 28 weeker (03/12)

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    OK... so here is a quick update and hopefully you guys can help me a little again! I am down to five and sometimes only four pumpings a day. I have plenty of breastmilk still, but I'm not in pain with that few of pumpings a day. My baby girl (almost 13 months old now) is still taking some BM daily and is doing great with cow's milk. She doesn't mind it at all, etc. As far as her solids... still will only PLAY with food... some tasting, MAYBE very little swallowing it.... mainly tasting, getting a funny look and just pushing it back out with her tongue! I can give her store bought purees... stage two and some stage three that aren't too chunky. I have tried steaming some vegetables (green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes)... and those are the ones she'll play with, but mainly just push back out. I have tried zucchini steamed and then I pureed it... but she HATED it!!

    ANY IDEAS? What on earth can I get her to eat? I cannot believe she will only take pureed foods still and hardly anything with real texture. I want to make sure she is getting the calories she needs daily before I completely stop pumping and go strictly to cow's milk and solids (purees, etc).

    As far as I know, she is still gaining well and seems happy and satisfied, etc.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    If you didn't actually begin solids with any kind of real diligence until now, I'd say what you are experiencing is pretty normal. You are describing what most people who start to experiment or play with solids at the 6-8month point experience. Which is why (for anyone with a baby who may be reading) people begin sooner. Not because a baby NEEDS anything but breastmilk before the year point. A baby doesn't. But the learning curve is the same. Whether you knock it out at the 6 month point or a year. And if you begin at the 6 month point that by the time you are actually ready to begin weaning your baby already knows how to chew,swallow and deal with texture. (As someone who did strictly BLS. People who play with purees have to go through all this whenever they begin actual solids as well.)
    OP, since you are still making sooo much milk it's nothing for you to worry about. But you should be diligent with feeding your baby solids at least once every day. So that she can continue practicing. I always made sure my son had at least 3-5 whole foods on his plate when he was only eating once a day. So he learned that he had choices. And because it ups the odds that even when rejecting, they will still be choosing some foods.
    Also feel free to drop to 4 pumping sessions a day anytime now!!

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    36

    Default Re: How do I know if baby is ready to be off BM?

    djs.mom - Thanks for the reply! I did try solids with her around 7-8 months, but she had NO interest. She acted like all she wanted was breastmilk and I was fine with that since I knew it was enough for her for at least the first year. It wasn't until 10 months old that I could really get her to show ANY interest in solids and still then it was iffy if she would eat them or not. Finally at 12 months I started really pushing them (which is when I was asking tons of questions to you guys on here about a month ago)... and she finally acted like she enjoyed them and wanted them. So.... here we are at 13 months (almost) and I'm still really pushing them. I wanted to do the BLS with her, but started getting so frustrated when she showed no interest... that I started giving purees... but still every day at some point I put finger foods on her plate and let her play/taste/eat whatever piece she might swallow. I have been giving purees 3x daily.... breakfast, lunch and dinner... and she typically will eat those. When I give finger foods daily... I'll start adding variety at the same time... two or three at a time.

    Also... did I mention she still has NO TEETH!?!?! I cannot believe it, but she has none yet.....

    OK... I'm going to drop a pumping this weekend and pump only four times a day!!!

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