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Thread: can I start pumping a little less now?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    292

    Default can I start pumping a little less now?

    Hi
    My LO is 10 months old and is well on her way to transitioning to a mostly solid food diet, she still nurses frequently when we're together and takes bottles at daycare but her breastmilk consumption is gradually decreasing as she's now eating regular meals. She has breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. She feeds herself (unless something like yogurt) and eats a lot of different foods with a lot of enthusiasm. So I definitely plan to pump wean at 12 months.

    During the day while I'm at work, our original pattern (before solids) was nursing before daycare, mid-morning bottle, nurse at lunchtime, mid-afternoon bottle, nurse after daycare. Since she's picked up on the solids, she's started skipping bottles. I started to get concerned about this because it seemed like there were times when she was going a long time without milk, so I have asked her teachers to offer her a small bottle whether she seems thirsty or not if it's been more than 3 hours since she had a drink of breast milk. So the last few days she's been taking bottles back at her old frequency, but in smaller volumes, usually 2-3 oz in the morning and 2 or so oz in the afternoon. I nurse her in between and she has her breakfast, lunch, snack and small amounts of water and I think that's working pretty well.

    My question is about my pumping frequency. My routine has been to pump when she has a bottle, i.e. morning and afternoon. When I pump I am usually still able to get 4+ (sometimes 5, sometimes 6!!) ounces. So if I pump only once, I can usually match her intake for the whole day from bottles. Also, I have a bit of a freezer stash, I'd say about 150 oz, so if I come up an ounce or two short every few days, she won't be without milk for her bottles.

    Am I asking for trouble down the road with my supply if I start skipping one of my pumping sessions here and there? A couple of months ago, I would not have tried to get away with this, but now it feels like it might be OK. It would mean sometimes going almost 5 hours without pumping or nursing whereas before I was careful to pump every 2-3 hours.

    Any experiences to share? I don't want to walk on thin ice, but I would love to feel like it's OK to skip a pump here and there. And if it is OK, how often can I do it?

    Thanks!

    ETA: She also nurses usually twice between leaving daycare and going to sleep at night and at least once overnight, and then upon waking, if that makes any difference. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,211

    Default Re: can I start pumping a little less now?

    Hi sprocket, I started a very, very gradual pump weaning process when I realized that I had enough milk in the freezer to last until my LO turned one. So that was my personal comfort level. At your LO's current level of intake from the bottle, it sounds like you have at least six weeks' worth in the freezer - so in two weeks or so you will actually be there! (Maybe sooner, since you are still pumping extra.) In my case, I have now gone three days without pumping (yay!) and my LO turned one a couple weeks ago - so it still took until past the twelve month point to get myself completely pump weaned. But for several weeks I was down to one pumping session a day which is still nicer than multiple pumping sessions per day. So I think it would be okay to gradually start pump weaning in a couple weeks. But I would still take it slow because you don't want there to be a sudden, dramatic drop in supply especially before the one year point. Maybe you can get yourself down to pumping once a day by 11 months - for example gradually cutting back on the afternoon session, then off - and then cut out the last session gradually over the last month (again, gradually cutting down on how much you're pumping, and then off) and be done by 12 months, or thereabouts. It's really nice that you're able to nurse at lunch!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    292

    Default Re: can I start pumping a little less now?

    Thank you so much for your response, it is great to hear how you've done it and congrats on no more pumping! That must be a nice feeling. It sounds like I can start cutting back little by little pretty soon. I am more worried about my supply dwindling than I am about not having enough milk for her. But I guess that if I notice that I'm not pumping as much as before, I can add a pump session back in? For once I am very glad that she nurses at night because it feels like that will help maintain my supply when I do start to pump wean.

    And it sounds like you think the best way to do it is to pump less milk at each session rather than skip a session. That does make sense. Even if I could skip a session once a week, I would be so happy though. I think I might try it and see what happens on a day that I'm leaving work a little on the early side. Like if I pump at lunch and leave at 4 instead of 5, it's really not that long to go without pumping. She still nurses often on the weekends but her longest intervals between nursing are also getting longer, too. She probably usually doesn't go 4 hours, but if she ate well at lunch and nursed really well just before that, she might go close to that long, I think.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,211

    Default Re: can I start pumping a little less now?

    Well, I think if you take it slow, and time it so that pump weaning does come around the 1st birthday, then there's less of a concern about your supply dwindling too much, you know? The idea is to slowly decrease pumping in tune with her decreased intake of milk. For me, even as I was cutting back on pumping, she was drinking less during the day, the way your baby is (sounds like they are also both enthusiastic about solids!), so I went from freezing milk to not freezing milk, but I still wasn't having to dip into my stash, and she was going from being on the higher end of 1 - 1.5 ounces/hour to the lower end of 1 - 1.5 ounces/hour. If that makes sense. I know it's really ingrained in you by now not to go more than a few hours without pumping or nursing, but I think 4 hours (or even 5!) is going to be just fine. Right now, I'm nursing around 7:30 or 8 in the morning, then not again until 6:30 at night, and yes, there's still milk in there! And if you're still going to be nursing at lunch time, you won't even be going for such a long stretch. And it is really nice not to pump!

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