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Thread: not ready to quit - advice?

  1. #1

    Default not ready to quit - advice?

    Hello ladies.

    I am in my 11th month of breastfeeding and today was the first day I broke down and cried after a pumping session. I pumped 6 oz on Monday, 3oz on Tuesday and 2oz today

    I've been going up and down on bf amounts since May - when my baby girl wanted to try solids. I went out of town the last week in May and during that trip my pump malfunctioned and I couldn't get more than an ounce or so with the pump. When I returned home I was back to using the employer provided pump during work hours and nursed at home. I increased my pumping sessions to make up for the malfunctioning pump. After a few weeks of that I was feeling full all the time so I went to a lactaction consultant who said I was now over-producing and could cut back.

    I got my new pump for my morning sessions, cut dow to 2 pump sessions at work and would nurse on-demand when home. At the end of July we had family in town and my on-demand nursing sessions were reduced to one or two as the baby was so distracted by the visitors. Since that time I've seen my milk supply, and my freezer stash dwindle down.

    In mid-August I was no longer pumping enough to keep up with her bottle needs while I was at work so we brought on formula. I continued to pump 3 times a day and nurse on-demand but our nursing sessions were more like drive-bys as she is moving on to the next shiny object.

    In September I met with my midwife who suggested I try More Milk herbal tincture to help increase my supply. I tried that for 2 weeks as she directed but only saw the first day of increase and back to low production after that. I increased my sessions as well and would get 1/2 an ounce total each session and sore nipples

    I am now down to 1 pumping session a day, nursing when I get home and "snacking" between 6pm-9pm where she nurses for a few seconds at a time. When she does nurse she doesn't seem satisfied as far as hunger goes and will make her hunger noises a short while later. I keep offering breast but she nurses for a minute or two and jumps off to look at things. If we offer a bottle she will chug that right down.

    I am sad that formula is now the main "milk" in her diet and that breastmilk has become a treat and I work so hard for it. I just started a new job and with all my training and learning I admit my water intake has been minimal.

    I am not ready to let go off the nursing experience and embrace formula as a full time meal. Today I am making efforts to drink lots of water and add some more short pumping sessions for stimulation.

    Her weight is normal range, her diaper output is normal. She is happy and healthy and enjoying a couple of solids during the day.

    Any other suggestions to hang on to my breastmilk?

    I really appreciate the feedback and advice - Thank you.
    Last edited by @llli*shelbie007; October 2nd, 2013 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Hi, welcome to the forum! Combining working and nursing can be very challenging, but it can be done!

    Milk production does not disappear overnight. You pumped 6 ounces 3 two days ago-and 2 today...over how many pumping sessions? I am confused. But with this sudden a drop off in output, if everything else was the same (how long you pumped, how often you pumped) the first place I would look is the pump.

    Overall, I suggest the book Making More Milk for more info on galactagogues. www.kellymom.com has some info as well. It sounds as if you tried one galacatagogue blend and it only worked a little, Maybe you simply needed something different.

    But galactagogues can only do so much. The way to increase milk production is to increase demand. That means nursing more often, and, when your baby cannot nurse, pumping more often. I am confused about the pump you are using-what kind is it? Is the the best pump you can get? Have you tried troubleshooting it, changing membranes etc?

    You nurse when you get home, and then until 9 pm. And then what? Baby does not nurse overnight? I would strongly suggest encouraging baby to nurse at least once overnight. Babies often nurse much 'better' at night for any number of reasons. And your milk production needs that overnight stimulation.

    You do not want to be dehydrated of course, that is unhealthy and will affect milk production. But over hydration does not increase milk production. This is a myth. Eat as healthily as you can and drink to thirst.

    You give your baby a bottle and she chugs it. Is this also happening at day care? And how large are these bottles? A baby who is fully fed with bottles is not going to be very interested in nursing. Make sure all bottles are given in a breastfeeding supportive way. See http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Since your baby is 11 months, you could also consider transitioning to cup feeding. She may be less likely to chug down the formula that way. Here's some information about cup feeding:

    Also, part of the decline in your supply is undoubtedly related to the fact that you are now only pumping once a day. I agree with your idea of adding back some additional pumping! But, in any case, many moms who work outside the home "pump wean" at a year and continue to breastfeed on demand when together with baby, without introducing formula at that point. So, one approach would be to increase the pumping right now to increase your overall supply, stop giving baby formula when you are together (and encourage lots of nursing, including at night, as Meg suggests), use formula if needed during the day, and then at a year wean off the formula altogether. You could then also start backing down on the pumping at that point. Or, you could simply continue on the path you're on - in which you have essentially started the pump weaning process a bit early - but just be very sure that LO does not get excess formula during the day and that mornings/evenings/nights you nurse exclusively without giving formula at that time, to maximally stimulate your milk production. Baby should not get more than 1 - 1.5 ounces of milk + formula while you are apart - if she gets too much she will not be motivated to nurse in the evening. She may be a bit fussy about not getting the bottle in the evening, but a healthy 11 month old with normal weight gain can weather a little decrease in her milk intake for the few days or a week it takes her to get your supply up to where it needs to be for her evening/nighttime/morning nursing needs.

    You're really so close, and it is so nice to be able to continue nursing beyond a year when you no longer need to do all the workday pumping, so it's worth trying to keep going!

  4. #4

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Thank you for your responses

    I will definately do some maintenance on my pump - I have a Medela Pump in Style Advanced.

    A normal schedule for Emma is:

    Wakes at 9am, is given a 4oz bottle by dad (SAHD)
    nap time between 12:30 and 2 - depending on Emma, has 4-6 oz bottle before nap, sleeps for 2 hours
    during the day she may have solids with dad but not every day, just depends on her interest
    wakes from nap and nurses when I get home at 4:30, will nurse for about 10 minutes
    has "dinner" with family, which is just bites
    between 6 - 9 is our playtime together and she will come nurse when she wants for a minute or two and go back to playing. At 8:30 I try to do the pre-bed time nursing. Sometimes its enough to put her to sleep sometimes not so I let her play a bit longer (tho I can tell she's tired) try to nurse again and if that doesnt seem to satisfy her she gets a 2oz bottle which helps her wind down for sleep.
    She's asleep between 9 and 10 pm and she is out for the night. (she has slept thru the night (12hrs) since she was 2 1/2 months old) If she does wake due to teething, diaper leaks or growth spurts I nurse her and she's back in bed. This is rare though.

    My schedule used to be I would pump when I got up at 5:30 for 15min, that would go in the fridge for her morning meal. I would pump at 10am and 1pm at work each for 15 min. When those started to decrease in output and the tincture wasn't making an impact I got frustrated and tired and dropped the morning pump and then at my new job I would get so distracted that I would forget the 1pm pump. In my frustration I think I started to give up and last night as my daughter was asking for "nursies" I realized I was not ready to give up.
    At the beginning of Sept. I was pumping about 6-8oz in the morning and then I would bring home another 6oz total.

    I will talk to my husband about bottle size, especially now that its formula so that he's not overfeeding during the day. And we will look at the links too

    I just did another pump session and got another 2 ounces I really appreciate the support and advice.
    Last edited by @llli*shelbie007; October 2nd, 2013 at 01:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    It sounds like a combination of things - losing the two pump sessions, and probably also getting less nursing stimulation from baby in the evening as she got frustrated with there being less milk in there, especially if she knew she was getting a bottle instead. I do think that if you let her work for your milk in the evening, and try to get rid of that evening bottle, it could do good things for your supply - although you may have to live with some temporary fussiness, and maybe some nighttime nursing too! - but if you add back some pumping to bulk up your supply, there may be less fussiness trying to get her off the nighttime bottle. 2 oz is not much but she's old enough to know that she doesn't need to work for your milk because she's going to get the bottle in the end anyway, if she learns that the bottle is not going to be there then those evening nursing sessions might get longer!

    What do weekends look like? That's another time that you could try to do a lot of nursing.

    Changing out the membranes on the PISA is a simple and relatively inexpensive thing to do, and sometimes makes a big difference!

  6. #6

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    The weekends used to be all nursing, no bottles. With the milk being less from me we have had to do bottles on the weekends as well, usually just before nap time and if we are out in public during a normal feeding time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    OK, I do not know what happened the last couple of days as far as pump output, but this stuck out to me as an issue generally with milk production:

    She's asleep between 9 and 10 pm and she is out for the night. (she has slept thru the night (12hrs) since she was 2 1/2 months old)
    I suggest that is a big part of why your milk production is low, as evidenced by your baby's lack of interest in nursing. Frequent milk removal, day and night, is what keeps milk production at normal levels. Most mothers need to nurse at least once or twice overnight, and certainly very few babies sleep 12 hour stretches. But especially when a mom is pumping most of the day due to daytime separations, nighttime nursing is vital in keeping up milk production. I can only guess that your personal milk production potential is higher than average, or you would have seen the affects of this long stretch of not nursing much earlier. bfwmomof3 mentions pump weaning at a year, but that is (I think, please correct me if I am wrong) assuming more nursing frequency during nights. Milk production responds to demand.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Well, yeah, I think the overall frequency of nursing/pumping per 24 hours is low. If you're losing half the day to sleep, and a third of the day to work (albeit with a pumping session), that doesn't leave much nursing time. And my mantra has always been that nighttime nursing is a working mom's best friend!

    How about nursing baby before you go to work? (I'm guessing that would be around 5:30 am, based on when you used to pump?) That would be a relatively painless way to get another nursing session back in (since you're up anyway) and baby would likely fall back asleep, if she typically is sleeping several hours beyond then. Another relatively painless way to get another nighttime nursing session in is to do a dream feed before you go to bed, if that is later then when baby goes to bed. Alternatively, adding back pumping sessions at those times; but it's always nicer to nurse than to pump, doesn't involve washing dishes, and is better for stimulating supply.

  9. #9

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Thank you ladies!

    I cut out the before bed bottle and sent her to bed with just nursing and she woke at 5 am hungry so I nursed her and put her back to bed. I thought, great this will get that extra feeding in. Then a new challenge came up yesterday - why is parenthood full of so many challenges. My father-in-law is in town to visit the baby and he loves to feed her. My hubby and I have been fighting this all week, trying to explain that solids is not nurishment - milk is and if bm is available use it first then if she seems hungry, offer formula or a very small piece of fruit, veggie or yogurt. I have also asked dh to reduce the amount of milk in her bottles to try 2 ounces at a time(especially for formula), wait and if she still hungry give 2 ounces more. Well father-in-law has complained that we are starving the baby. We have explained this all week to him and we keep telling him not to offer her food so much cause she will eat it even if she's not hungry. He is not honoring that, so that's a whole separate issue but is impacting my attempts to nurse more.

    Yesterday she didnt nurse at all - not even before bed! so I put her down and thought for sure she would wake in the middle of the night for food. NOPE. Was sound asleep when I got up this morning and it was snowing so I had to leave an extra 30 min early to get to work on time :/ I think she got alot of solids during the day and wasn't hungry.

    Thankfully father-in-law leaves today. I am pumping 3 times a day now.

  10. #10

    Default Re: not ready to quit - advice?

    Just keep upping the nursing and pumping as you can. more milk out - better production.

    Of course it is helpful to nurse before solids, (after too, when baby is thirsty) But I think grandpa can have his fun to. As long as baby is allowed to self feed (pick bits of food up, get it into her mouth, and chew and swallow, all on her own, rather than having soft puree spooned into baby) I do not think baby will overeat. An 11 month old does get calories and nutrition from healthy foods, although certainly not as much ounce per ounce as breastmilk.

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