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Thread: Leaving 10mo old for ten days! Need help w/ freeze stash

  1. #1

    Unhappy Leaving 10mo old for ten days! Need help w/ freeze stash

    Hi all,

    This is actually my first post here and I wasn't sure where to post it. Hopefully I picked the right forum.

    In 88 days exactly, I will be leaving my exclusively-bf baby (who is six months old now, will be almost ten months then) for ten days. I have never had a problem nursing him and have always made JUST ENOUGH milk- no extra, but never had supply problems either. I am a stay at home mom and so I have never had to pump a lot before.

    However, with this away-time looming, I am trying to build up a freezer stash so that he will hopefully not have to be supplemented while I'm gone. I guess I have a few questions:

    1) Given that my boobs have always produced exactly the right amount, I have never felt that I had enough extra to pump. Sometimes when I do try to pump I will pump 30-45 min and only get 2 ounces from both boobs (always pumping after the baby has recently nursed; I'm paranoid about what happens if I pump and drain my boobs, and then baby decides he's hungry). Rarely, when baby has had an off-day for nursing, I will get more (4-5 ounces) but that's it and its simply not enough to keep him going ten days. What are my options? I'd like to increase my supply so I have an oversupply so I have enough to pump.

    2) While I am gone, I plan on pumping about three times a day. I am expecting a small dip in supply but hoping that when I get back, he'll be delighted to see me (and my boobs) again and that going back to exclusively nursing him will quickly reestablish supply. Is this a reasonable expectation? Also, right now he is nursing at night once-twice. Do I therefore need to be waking up at night while I'm gone as well to pump? Or will it depend on whether he is still night-nursing when the time comes for me to leave?

    3) how do I know how much he eats per feeding? I'm trying to estimate how much I will need (I figured if I pumped 4 oz every day for the next 88 days, that should hopefully be enough.... Roughly 35 ounces per day?) but how do I know? Does this sound on the mark?

    Any other advice you can give me would be appreciated. This is the first time I am leaving my baby and I am a first time mom and really anxious. Ultimately, I know there is always formula and he won't starve but I'd rather he have breastmilk and I also don't want this ten days away to mean the end of our bfing relationship- really want to go to 12 months and beyond!

    Please help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Leaving 10mo old for ten days! Need help w/ freeze stash

    My first thought when a mom posts with a situation like this is "Can you take the baby with you?" And my second thought is " Can you delay the trip until your baby is over a year, and less dependent on your milk?" If the trip is unavoidable, it's okay! It's just that a lot of moms seem to get... Pushed? Lured? into baby-free trips that they don't actually need to take. Often it's a vacation with their spouse, during which they're supposed to reconnect and have baby-free fun- and I am all for that, unless it is causing unreasonable levels of stress about milk supply and pumping and separation from the baby!

    Your goal of 35 oz per day of absence is probably about equal to your baby's needs. Most babies need about 1.5 oz per hour of separation from mom, and 1.5 oz x 24 hours = 36 oz per day. When a baby is nursing, milk intake generally maxes out around 30 oz, but babies tend to take more from the bottle than they do from the breast. Now, with an older baby who is eating a fair amount of solids, the total milk need may be less, but I still think your goal is fairly reasonable.

    2 oz after nursing is excellent yield for a mom who is also nursing. It's pretty common for moms to get nothing at all with the pump when their supplies are well-matched to baby's demand. When you're pumping instead of nursing, you'll likely get more.

    Don't worry about draining yourself right before baby nurses. Supply = demand. The more the pump and baby demand from the breast, the more you'll make. Pumping right before nursing, and being very empty when baby feeds, may lead to a fussy feeding, and to baby wanted to eat again much sooner than average. But it's not harmful and all that stimulation and demand will let your body know that it needs to increase supply. Basically, if you want an oversupply you are going about it in the right way.

    Your plan to pump just 3 times a day while you're gone does not sound adequate to me. In order to maintain supply at the level the baby needs, you want to pump about as often as baby nurses, or even more often because pumps aren't as good at emptying the breast or maintaining supply as babies are. And I don't think you should look at your time away as an opportunity to skip the nighttime sessions, even if the baby is sleeping through at that point. I know that sounds super mean, but I'm serious. I know when my girls were weaning and dropped down to 3 nursing sessions per day, my supply pretty much vanished.

    Now, if you pump just 3 times a day and your supply takes a major hit- and I suspect that it would- then you can still reestablish it when you come home, provided that your baby is willing and eager to do the work it takes to make that happen. Nurse more, and you'll make more.

    Breastfed babies typically need just 2-4 oz of milk per feeding, compensating for the small size of the average speeding by nursing quite frequently. Your bottles should probably contain only around 2-3 oz, with a 1-2 oz "chaser" bottle for your care provider. That way the feeding must pause while the care provider reaches for the second bottle, enabling baby to have a chance to decide whether or not he's really hungry for more.

    Has baby taken a bottle before?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Leaving 10mo old for ten days! Need help w/ freeze stash

    Thank you so much for your detailed response!

    Yes, we are taking a babyfree vacation, and I admit I feel horribly guilty about it. I never thought I'd leave my baby until at least a year, and I have my worries.

    That being said, and to get to your points: we have tried feeding him a bottle before but he would not take it. Instead, our pediatrician recommended a sippy cup with two handles and a soft nipple and that has worked much better for us- he will generally drink 2 ounces at a time from it (and when I say drink, I mean he gnaws on the nipple and milk comes out, which he then swallows). I expect that as he gets older, he will want to eat more at one sitting, but eat less frequently in general, is that correct? Or is it different for every baby and dependent on the amount of solids he's getting?

    In terms of frequency of pumping while I'm gone, I'm definitely willing to pump more if it means it will keep my supply up. Even though we are taking this trip I still very much want to be able to nurse him when we get back, so anything I can do to keep my supply up, I will. Should I take supplements (ie, fenugreek) with me and take them while I'm gone? For that matter, should I be taking it now?

    How many times a day do you think I should be pumping now to build up an oversupply and to build my stash? After every feeding? I pumped first thing this morning (after he had spent the previous hour dozing/nursing off and on [we cosleeep]) and got two ounces from one side, which is a lot for me, but just now when I pumped after he ate I only got a measley 1/3 ounce for thirty minutes of pumping. Rather discouraging. I need to build this supply up!

    Thanks again for any further insight or advice. I appreciate it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Leaving 10mo old for ten days! Need help w/ freeze stash

    Is the trip one of those non-refundable, non-transferrable deals? Or can you put it off, or get your money back, or even give it to a family member? Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying you shouldn't go or that you should feel guilty for going or anything like that! People take trips like these all the time, sometimes because they have to and sometimes just because they want to, and usually everything works out just fine. It's just that when I hear a mom say that she feels guilty and is doing something that may not feel right to her... How fun is that trip likely to be? Especially if you're stuck taking pump breaks every 2-3 hours throughout the day, and waking up at least once a night to pump? I know I personally did not feel comfortable leaving my first kid until she was completely weaned- and luckily I had that luxury. My current nursling is 3 and I still wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her for more than a day. But that's me! Everyone has their own personal tolerance level for being separated from their kids, and the only right answer for you is the one in your own heart.

    It's terrific that your kid will drink from a sippy. Keep offering it to him to make sure he remains comfortable with drinking from it.

    As your LO gets closer to a year, he may take larger amounts of milk less frequently, or he may not. Many breastfed babies continue to nurse frequently and take relatively small amounts throughout their first year and even into the second. The amount of solid food the baby takes may or may not change that feeding pattern! There are older babies/young toddlers who eat lots of solids and still nurse very frequently, and also babies/toddlers who nurse very little once solids start to dominate their diets.

    Taking supplements with you on the trip is a great idea. Just don't expect it to give you such a huge boost that it replaces the hard work with the pump. When it comes to increasing supply, increased pumping is like standing on a ladder. Fenugreek is like standing on a board. It certainly won't hurt to take it now, and it may get you a bit closer to your goal.

    In order to build up an oversupply... IDK how many times you should pump. It's so individual for each mom! And you don't want to build up such an oversupply that you end up making nursing less pleasant for your baby. I'd probably stick to pumping once, maybe a couple of times per day, and then when you get a lot closer to the trip, switch to pumping 3-4 times a day. But please don't wear yourself out with the pump! You're already doing a lot of work and you shouldn't feel like you have to stimulate some sort of crazy oversupply. Simply pumping frequently while you're on your trip should be enough to maintain a good milk supply, no oversupply needed.
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; April 30th, 2013 at 10:35 AM.

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