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Thread: Supply decrease or self weaning?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Default Supply decrease or self weaning?

    Hello ladies.

    I know what the responses are going to be... "No baby before 12mo self weans"

    So if it isn't that, then my supply has dropped a lot.

    I used to pump at least 3oz, sometimes 4 every pumping session. Now I'm getting 2.5 at most!! I pump every 2 hours. My DD is 10mo and super distractible, crawling everywhere... An she doesn't seem to be interested in nursing except at night and maybe a couple of times a day if I'm with her. She doesn't fuss much... And she is eating solids pretty good.

    I had supply issues at the beginning but we were doing fine after that. So I am concerned I won't be able to keep doing this for 2 more months (at least!). Also I have a tear in one of my nipples, which is healing now, but it's pretty painful still.

    Do I need to start something to help my supply? I guess I can bake some cookies... I'm getting worried!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    I personally know 3 babies who self-weaned at 9-10 months. It's a super-distractible, super-headstrong phase, and some babies just decide that they're done.

    That being said, it doesn't sound like your LO is self-weaning. First, while your pump output has dropped, it hasn't dropped that much. A lot of moms experience a "pump slump" in the 8-10 month timespan, as the baby transitions to eating more solids and the pump starts to wear down. Second, your baby is still nursing. Maybe not a lot, but if you're with her she does nurse even during the day, when many busy babies refuse.

    I think the way you deal with this is with patience, persistence, and repeat offers. If you're home, you offer to nurse when a couple of hours have gone by. Make it playful and low-key. If the baby latches on for even just a second and then toddles away, you still reminded her that nursing is there for her. At work, just keep doing what you're doing and think about rehabbing your pump (maybe the embraces need to be changed, maybe you need new flanges).

    I think you'll make it to a year with no problem.
    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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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    What are signs of self weaning?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    My DS is the same way--very distracted during the day, learning to walk--he's "cruising" on the furniture, crawling everywhere. He's 9.5 months. I can only get him to nurse well when he's going down for his 2 naps (morning and afternoon), going to bed, or waking at night, which he does twice to nurse. Any other time I try to offer, he nurses for maybe a few minutes at best, a few seconds at worst. He eats 3 meals a day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    The one sure sign of self-weaning is a baby who refuses to nurse all or most of the time.
    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
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    Hmmm. That is a good question! The only signs I know of that indicate "self weaning" are that the child slowly starts to drop nursing sessions because the child is approaching the age the child will be physically and emotionally ready to stop nursing. This is just the natural process of weaning, I don't really like the term "self weaning."

    Some babies under the age of typical weaning do stop nursing. This can happen even with much, much younger babies who are clearly nowhere near weaning age. It can happen for many reasons. It can happen even when mom really does not want baby to stop nursing and works hard to keep going. But it is not, imo, natural weaning. Maybe it is a nursing strike gone really bad, or “triple Nipple Syndrome” (a fancy name for bottle/pacifier ‘preference’.) Maybe mom has lost production or her flow is less for some reason, and her baby is not happy about that. Or mom has a really bad forceful letdown and baby does not like THAT. Maybe comfort nursing has never been a big part of the nursing relationship. It need not be anything anyone did or did not do. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. But something has made the situation different than the normal course of things.

    We often use the term ‘weaning’ to describe the end of nursing. But I think it is more helpful to see it as a process, one that begins as soon as baby eats any food substance besides breastmilk or formula. It is a process that typically takes a very long time. Many, many months, or several years, as breastmilk nutrition is very gradually replaced by other food, and breastfeeding is gradually replaced by other comforts. Of course sometimes mom wants the process to go faster, and she can make that happen if she chooses.

    But a baby does not wean due to distraction, or due to a sudden aversion to or dissatisfaction with the breast, or due to being too busy to nurse. Nor does a baby wean “to” something else-formula, cow milk, a pacifier. A baby who receives bottles of breastmilk or a breastmilk substitute may start to prefer bottles for a few reasons. But that is not weaning.

    'Weaning' meaning, the END of nursing, assumes a baby no longer requires the nutrients of mother’s milk nor the comfort of nursing at the breast. They are nutritionally ready for a diet of only adult foods and water. And they no longer require suckling at the breast as an important source of connection and comfort.

    So if a baby weans 'to formula' or 'to the bottle' or even 'to the pacifier' is that natural weaning? I would argue no, it is not. Even a baby ‘weaning’ but then nutritionally requiring milk from another mammal is suspect, imo.

    Is it within the realm of possibility that a baby is nutritionally and emotionally ready to wean prior to a year? Maybe. Can some children ‘choose’ to go from nursing very often to totally weaned from the breast in just a few days or weeks? Possibly. If there is one thing I have learned about babies, it is to never say never. But the evidence suggests that for the vast majority of children, a typical natural weaning age is somewhere older than 18 months and that, when weaning is left to its own course, it is a very gradual process.

    OK, those are my thoughts on weaning.

    What I am confused about is why you think your child is weaning. Pump output is not a very good way to measure anything, except pump output. Lots of things can affect pump output. If your milk production IS low, that could certainly lead to dissatisfaction at the breast. But neither of these things (low pump output or low production) necessarily indicates that your 10 month old baby is ready to stop nursing. As far as fewer nursing sessions, that is of course part of the process. But if it is happening very quickly, that is something to look at.

    If my child was noticeably losing interest in nursing at such a young age, the questions I would ask is why, and also, with what, if anything, is breastmilk and nursing being replaced?

    One thing to consider- It sounds like you have had a very bad breast injury. That can affect things in ways that may be surprising. Maybe your pain is causing you to (very understandably) feel a bit ambivalent about nursing. Babies pick up on our feelings. Plus pain could very well affect letdown.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 1st, 2013 at 07:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2012
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    Wow! Thanks lllmeg - very thorough! -- And thanks to all who have responded!

    So... a couple of the reasons I thought "the baby is weaning!": She has dropped several nursing sessions in the past couple of months, maybe 2 or 3, not sure if because of being distracted, or increased interest in solids -she wants to eat everything we eat, reaches for food-, and also the not wanting to nurse if not offered.

    She does take bottles during the day since I have to work, but that didn't seem to be an issue up to now I guess, I returned to work when she was 8 weeks old, as many moms who work. She used to take 4 bottles, now takes 3, sometimes even just 2.

    And yes, I have a tear in my nipple which was product of her clamping down real hard one of the past nights and then pulling off while clamped down (yes, it was as painful as it sounds!). She has never bit me before, I am not sure what happened that night, she was asleep I think. Anyway, the tear is healing now, and not as painful as it was a couple of days ago. I did nurse more on the other side because of the pain, but she didn't seem upset about that. Or she didn't seem hungry after (the few sessions) we did that. I still hurt a little when pumping, and when she latches on. I've been nursing in a different position on the injured side since I got the tear so it wouldn't be as painful...

    My goal is to at least BF to a year, and it doesn't seem to far from now... maybe I'm just concerned since I did have supply issues at the beginning (and almost gave up due to constant pushing from family and constant comments such as "she is starving, give her formula!" which I ended up doing for a while!). And also concerned she wasn't getting what she needs because she's dropped all those sessions, and that made me think maybe she was weaning...

    Oh... time to go pump!

    Thanks ladies!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Supply decrease or self weaning?

    I think everything has been covered by previous posters, but what you are describing does not sound like a reason to worry. It sounds very normal for a baby your daughter's age!

    One thing I had to do around that time (my pump output was dropping), but I had to stop stressing about how much milk I was getting. I would pump every 2.5 hours while at work, and my baby would get that milk the next day. I had to "let go" of the idea that my baby would get X oz of milk every day, and just let it be what it was. Trust that your baby will make up for it in solids or by nursing in the evening/night when you are together.

    There is a very good chance your daughter will nurse for one year and beyond if that is what you desire!
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

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