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Thread: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdown)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    21

    Default Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdown)

    Bottom Line Up Front: For the last 8 months, my 16 month old "expects" the milk to come instantly when she nurses. I have to use the pump to start the letdown, then she will nurse fine (albeit short because she stops as soon as the letdown slows). I need ideas as to how to "wean" from using the pump to illicit letdown.

    Background: My baby has been breastfed since birth. She was a very "fussy" nurser. She took bottles starting at 4 months when I returned to work, but nursed when I was home (never got a bottle when together). She also takes a pacifier to sleep and in the car. At 8 months she really started to struggle with breastfeeding and would latch, unlatch, scream, relatch, repeat, repeat. I could tell she had developed a bottle preference and was frustrated that the milk wasn't instantly letting down. I used the pump to illicit letdown and she would nurse fine. So, we saw an IBCLC who diagnosed her with Tongue and Lip Tie. We also started paced bottle feeding, including "simulating" letdown by making her wait for the milk for 30 seconds or so. She screamed during that time with the bottle too. We had the tongue and lip tie revised and while her latch improved, her patience for waiting for the letdown did not. She continued to scream while we "simulated" letdown with bottles. So, we ditched bottles altogether and went to straw cups. No change. So, here I am, 8 months later (she is 16 months) and I've been using the pump to start a letdown when she wants to nurse for all feedings except middle of the night (she nurses just fine then) and first thing in the morning (she's only gotten frustrated a few times first thing in the morning because she's sleepy). Sometimes, if she's super drowsy and I catch her waking from her nap, and she doesn't get too distracted she will nurse normally upon waking. Never when fully awake or falling asleep. Those times ALWAYS require the pump. She will actually sign to nurse, latch on for about 15-20 seconds and if no milk comes out she gives up and either goes about doing something else or screams (if she really, really wants milk). She often seems to prefer the pacifier to the breast, and she has never been a comfort nurser. I have always breastfed on demand, and never limited her access to the breast. I have never sleep trained and encourage nightime nursing. I would really like to get off using the pump to start the letdown. Any suggestions????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    62

    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    I have a similar problem and want to see what ideas get posted (my LO is almost 11mo.). Here are some things that seem to be helping us make very slow progress:
    -Nurse while baby wearing
    -Play on the floor with her while I'm shirtless
    -let her have an hour with Daddy, then offer
    -carry her around on my hip and walk around the house while I'm shirtless
    -nurse while she's still in the car seat after a trip
    -as soon as she latches, sing or dance or make goofy faces to keep her entertained while she waits for LD
    -compressions as soon as she latches
    -make a game of squirting her in the face
    -nurse while she's on the changing table after a change and is playing with a toy
    -nurse while she's still in the high chair after solids

    I spend a lot of time shirtless these days...
    Last edited by @llli*kayla9214; February 8th, 2014 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Additional thought

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,912

    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    There is an herb that is supposedly helpful for letdown issues. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of it and I've lent I ut my womanly Art of breast-feeding which is where it's mentioned. Can anyone help? I imagine it is also mentioned in making more milk.
    No luck with hand expressing or massaging rather than pumping prior to feedings?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    Fennel is used for increasing let-down. Looks like some say too much of it can inhibit let-down (not sure how or why) but just the right amount can hasten it.

    Also, I've used the let-down cue method described on KellyMom with some success. It's a trained response, so basically a routine right before nursing helps. Something as simple as getting a glass of water every single time.
    Last edited by @llli*aphimama; February 9th, 2014 at 09:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    Hi Ladies,
    I have tried the let-down cue method without success. In fact, now I think my letdown cue is my pump. My letdown used to be fast, but now it takes 60-90 seconds of constant stimulation. The problem is she latches on but will only stay for 15 seconds then off, then on again for 5 seconds, then off and my letdown just won't come with that on/off behavior.

    I have watched the videos on how to hand express and can hand express well after letdown, but have never been able to initiate letdown through hand expression. When I tried a little milk comes out, but she isn't willing to nurse unless it's practically pouring out and easy for her to get.

    I do have luck with her latching often if I remain shirtless, but only for about 3 seconds, then she's off. It's like she is checking to see if the milk is there, and if it's not she just moves on. She will latch for longer while laying on her changing table, but it's such an awkward position for me my letdown would probably take even longer and we've never had luck getting a letdown while she's latched that way.

    I also can't do compressions while she nurses because it instantly breaks her latch. She must have a terribly shallow, weak latch.

    I have thought about buying a hand pump and using it for 20-30 seconds, then trying to get her to latch on while I hand pump the other side for the other 15-20 seconds she will normally stay latched and hope that would result in a letdown?

    She nurses just fine in the middle of the night and normally first thing in the morning (unless she's wide awake, then she isn't willing to wait).

    Thank you for any suggestions you give! I know this is a very unique problem, I am probably the only person crazy enough to use a pump to get letdown for 8 months. LOL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    Oh, and when the milk slows instead of comfort nursing, she cries and wants her pacifier. I've never encouraged this behavior and it hurts that she prefers her pacifier to me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    And now she is suddenly refusing to nurse at night and in the morning if the milk isn't immediately there. This is out of the blue after nursing great during these feedings for months. She was up 4 times last night signing for milk, latching on then coming off crying and arching when the milk didn't come within 10 seconds. We were both in tears most of the night and she couldn't settle back to sleep having not gotten any milk. I am so upset that this is how our breastfeeding journey is going to end instead of a gradual baby led weaning process. And despite nursing her for 16 months I am feeling like I am failing her.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    401

    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    I don't think you should give up. Your milk supply has likely taken a hit, which is exacerbating her existing preference for a fast flow. That's reversible.

    I'd contact Dr. Jack Newman today.

    http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...d=62&Itemid=33

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    21

    Default Re: Unique Problem - Need Ideas (16m old won't illicit letdo

    Thank you, I have been pumping when she refuses to try and maintain my supply. I also still pump twice a day at work and get 3-4 ounces each pump sessions so I think I still have a decent supply. Definitely not what it used to be, and I have noticed my letdown taking longer and longer. She has a significant preference for a fast flow, in fact when she does nurse she nurses very vigorously and then abruptly stops. She doesn't slow down, she just abruptly stops. Sometimes only 60-90 seconds after letdown. I suspect that's when the letdown slows up a bit. She is "living on the letdown" but I don't know how to fix it. I will contact Dr. Jack Newman and see what they have to say.

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