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Thread: Weaning & Back to Work Questions

  1. #1

    Question Weaning & Back to Work Questions

    My son is 13 months old and has been exclusively breastfed since birth. I will be going back to work in about a month and have some questions regarding this new transition. He currently nurses 4 times a day: wake up, 12:00, 4:30 and before bed. I am going to definitely have to cut the lunch nursing session. I was considering still being able to nurse him when I get home from work, but I’m afraid it won’t happen because of rushing to get dinner ready. Hopefully a morning and night feeding along with whole milk during the day is adequate. I currently have 400 ounces of milk stockpiled in the freezer. I’ve been using it for his oatmeal which he still loves. When he goes to daycare, they will provide whole milk. I’ve also been pumping about 30 minutes twice a day, but now only get roughly 2 ounces total a day. I question if it is even worth it to keep doing it but I feel the health benefits of breast milk have been beaten in my brain and I feel guilty thinking of quitting. I guess my questions are:

    1. When should I start weaning him and getting him to drink whole milk?
    2. Once he drinks whole milk, will he refuse breast milk?
    3. Because I only get roughly an ounce at a time pumping, do I need to slowly decrease it or can I stop pumping cold turkey?
    4. Is it recommended to use up the breast milk quicker by offering it to him in a cup for lunch or save it and spread it out over a longer period of time (like just in his oatmeal)? I feel I worked hard to build my freezer stash and don’t want it to go to waste. Again, he will be going to daycare in a month.

    Mommy doesn’t feel ready for these changes, but I have to go back to work. I never dreamed I would enjoy breastfeeding this much and am having a really difficult time thinking about the changes that will occur in the next month.

    Thank you in advance for your advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    7,493

    Default Re: Weaning & Back to Work Questions

    If you have 400 ounces of breastmilk stored, can't you convince the day care to give your child that?
    1. When should I start weaning him and getting him to drink whole milk?
    This is entirely up to you. Human milk is the species of milk that is made for human children. Cow milk is suggested because some children do not get enough nutrition from their diets, and vitamin fortified cow milk is an easy way to get some of the important nutrients into a child. But it is not the ONLY way, so whether this is an actual concern in your child's case or not is something you will have to figure out. Many healthy children never, ever drink cow milk.

    Even if you know you want your child to have cow milk, apparently he is going to get it at day care anyway (unless you can get them to use your own milk) so I do not see why you need to give him any before he starts daycare (?)

    2. Once he drinks whole milk, will he refuse breast milk?
    Probably not, human milk is much tastier than cow milk for most children. However, if a child is getting all their thirst and nutritional needs met elsewhere, THAT can certainly interfere with normal nursing patterns. The amounts of cow milk some toddlers are fed boggles the mind.

    3. Because I only get roughly an ounce at a time pumping, do I need to slowly decrease it or can I stop pumping cold turkey?
    This will depend on how your body responds to pump weaning. If you do not become uncomfortable, you are probably ok as far as avoiding issues like plugs or engorgement or mastitis. If you feel full or uncomfortable, you might need to pump or hand express as needed for a while in order to pump wean more gradually.
    How not pumping at work will affect milk production is anyone's guess, but it would depend a good deal on 1) how you feel going long hours with no milk removal and 2) how often your child nurses when you are together. Of course, how much is "enough" also varies. Some toddlers go a very long time only nursing one to 3 times a day, and there is enough milk for them until they wean entirely. It is just unknowable how it will go for you as every nursing pair is so different.
    4. Is it recommended to use up the breast milk quicker by offering it to him in a cup for lunch or save it and spread it out over a longer period of time (like just in his oatmeal)? I feel I worked hard to build my freezer stash and don’t want it to go to waste. Again, he will be going to daycare in a month.
    MY best suggestion is to have them give your expressed milk to your child at daycare instead of cow milk. Won't they do this?

    Otherwise, I do understand what you are asking but I do not think there is a definitive answer. Personally I would not try to give my child tons of milk in a short period in food or in cups (when I was home and we could nurse instead) because I would be concerned it might interfere with my child's desire to nurse. IMO NURSING itself if so valuable, in many ways more valuable than the milk in the toddler years. That - preserving the nursing relationship- is what I would be most concerned about if I was in a similar situation.

    Some moms donate their expressed milk if they are unable to use it all for their own child. If that is a possibility for you, this can be very rewarding in a different way.

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