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Thread: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    Default weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    I have a question related to pumping and weaning. I have a 6.5 month old, she is supplemented with one bottle of formula a day and gets two 4 oz bottles of breast milk while I am able to pump twice at work. I am going to be going down to one pump session a day in the next weeks, and then down to zero pumps during the day by September (I work at a school and my pumping schedule will be too unpredictable/stressful when the kids come back). I plan to continue breastfeeding her three times a day, once in the morning, once after I pick her up from daycare, and before she goes down to sleep. My question is - on the weekends should I resume feeding her breast milk exclusively, or should I maintain supplementing a bottle of formula during the day? I ask because I'm not sure if feeding her on the weekend will leave me prone to clogged ducts during the week since it will increase my milk flow for a couple of days. Also any feedback about if you were able to maintain a milk supply with only three feedings a day.
    Thank you in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    7,688

    Default Re: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    I think the answers to your questions are going to depend on what happens when you start this plan, with you and your baby. Every mother is a bit different when it comes to milk production/storage capacity and every child is a bit different when it comes to willingness to continue to nurse on a "reduced" schedule or when milk production decreases. So even if we said three times a day is enough to maintain some milk production, your baby may well lose interest in nursing when on such a reduced nursing schedule, and even if baby wants to keep nursing, you may lose so much milk production that baby is not getting enough milk and gives up.

    The same goes for supply getting ramped up on weekends. It might, and it might not, and it might be an issue, and it might not.

    So this is when listening to your body and your baby is going to come into play. If pumping is not an option at work, not even quick sessions without the concerns of saving your milk, cleaning the parts, etc, you could practice hand expression to the point it might help in order to deal with fullness problems when at work. And if you see that baby is starting to be reluctant to nurse, you will know the likely reason why.

    Generally, here is what we know.
    Breastmilk is the primary nutrition for children under age one. Even a child who has started solids usually continues to needs something like 80-90% of their calories to come from breastmilk or a breastmilk substitute (formula.) In order to achieve this, a typical baby is going to nurse a bare minimum of 6 times a day even after starting solids. 8+ times would be more typical.
    For milk production to be normal, milk must be removed from the breasts as often and as adequately as a normal baby would normally nurse- 6 to 12 times a day.
    Babies tend to be more likely to refuse to nurse the longer they get bottles and the more bottles they get and the less often they nurse.
    Physiology matters. The larger the breast storage capacity a mother has, the less often the baby can nurse/mom can pump without negatively impacting milk production or causing issues like engorgement and mastitis. Storage capacity is not related to breast size and might change over time in the same mother. But even in that case, milk removal of at least 6 times a day is probably needed to maintain normal milk production.
    Any nursing/milk removal is better than none, but that does not mean nursing will be able to continue long on a reduced nursing schedule. How long this is going to 'work' is just going to depend on so many factors.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 31st, 2015 at 11:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Default Re: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. Maybe some additional information would be helpful. LO has been drinking from bottles 3-4x a day since she was 2.5 months old. She has not (yet) refused the breast from too many bottles. I have a high stress job as a therapist at a special needs school and will have a very unpredictable schedule in crisis management. While I would love to continue to pump several times a day, this is not realistic and I will end up engorged and infected. I have had mastitis once already. I'd like to keep a lunchtime pump session as long as possible.
    Let me ask you, how is it that so many moms who post on these threads are able to maintain morning and nighttime nursing sessions? It seems that the information you provided would indicate that it is more than likely that my milk supply will be too depleted to maintain 3 nursing sessions on weekdays. If there is something I can do to maintain my supply without weaning her altogether, I'd appreciate the feedback. Breastfeeding my child is very important to me. Keeping my job and financial stability decides this however.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    I think that a lot of the moms who have switched to just morning/nighttime nursing have older babies, like a year or more. Those babies are eating a lot of solids and have had a year to learn just how much they love nursing. So they're unlikely to give up that source of comfort due to heavy reliance on bottles, as younger babies sometimes do. This is not meant to be discouraging!!! You gotta do what you gotta do, and if that means you are going to need to pump wean and start combo feeding, that's okay.

    You definitely can continue to nurse more on the weekends. If your supply really drops, the weekend nursing will need to be supplemented with bottles- you'll be nursing more for comfort, somewhat less for nutrition.

    Are you open to nursing at night? One of our working moms here once said something brilliant, which was "Night nursing is a working mom's best friend" when it comes to maintaining milk supply. Adding in a dream feed or two could really help you maintain your supply. I know that's not easy, because obviously sleep is a precious commodity when you are a worki mom! But unfortunately, supply-maintaining tips come in 2 flavors: easy ones that don't really work, and hard ones that do.

    ETA: just noticed that you are in Philly. I strongly suggest contacting the Bryn Mawr birth center http://www.lifecyclewomancare.org, and asking them for a recommendation for a LC in your area. BMBC is really trustworthy and they are going to know the right resources in your area. Also, they are the ones to go to if you have more kids or for regular well-woman care!
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; August 3rd, 2015 at 07:04 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    3

    Default Re: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    Thank you for the encouragement. Lately she has been waking up around 4 a.m. to nurse, and I don't have any problem with that! It would be challenging to wake her up to feed at night, but I'm glad to know that I do have an option to maintain the supply! Thanks again for the help.

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: weaning/supplementing pragmatics

    One option would be to wake her right before you go to bed, which I assume is between 9 and 11 pm-ish? That way you nurse her once when you get home, another time right before bed, once more at your bedtime, one more time in the middle of the night, and then once first thing in the morning- voila! You're up to 5 feedings a day.

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