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Thread: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

  1. #1

    Default Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    Hello, I am new to LLL and this is my first post. I have used the site to get through a few rough patches in the last 7 wks with our first (a little boy!) and overall our BF experience has been a positive one!
    I will be returning to work around March 20th. I have pumped successfully and LO takes an occasional bottle from Dad or me just fine. He had some formula during last growth spurt, no more than 4 oz per day for a week or so, and is now back to EBF.
    My concern is this: my job does not always allow for planned breaks (I work in healthcare, as a lab technologist) That is to say, I may get breaks one day and no breaks the next, depending on the workload, STATs, staffing etc. In short the reality is I may not always get the time I need to pump at work. (Also Daddy has said he really wants to feed little one too!)
    I work from 2nd shift and would like to BF my LO in the mornings and at night when I get home, and possibly give some formula during the day. Any advice on this idea? How can I regulate my milk supply to do this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    Hi! Congratulations on your first baby! I know you're enjoying being a mom. I think you have to start gradually changing BF time until your baby adjusts. So by the time you get back to work, your LO is already used to it. I'm not sure how to regulate your milk supply since it's just 8 wks after you've given birth, but your body will adjust once you start to wean.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,957

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    It's so ironic that moms in the caring professions (teaching, healthcare) tend to have the worst times getting adequate time to pump. Here you are taking care of everyone else, so why doesn't someone make it possible for you to take care of YOU?!

    We have some moms here who have similar problems with their work environments. The way they seem to make pumping work is with flexibility and creativity. If they can't maintain a perfect schedule of pump breaks, they take pump breaks when they can. Some of them multitask, pumping while they work on charts or other paperwork. A supportive work environment makes a big difference- if you can have someone cover you temporarily while you run out to pump, or you can get HR to cut you a break regarding break time, that's ideal. I know you said your job sometimes has breaks and sometimes doesn't, but if you haven't talked to your work about this, now is the time. They may surprise you, or even be legally required to accommodate you.

    If you decide to wean to 2 feedings per day, you can. You will need to slowly replace feedings with bottles of formula, dropping a single feeding and waiting a few days before dropping another feeding. This will give your supply time to adjust downwards and reduce the risk of plugged ducts or mastitis. However, if you decide to wean to 2 feedings per day, there are multiple drawbacks, including:
    - Your milk supply will be very low.
    - Your baby may decide to stop nursing. Many babies do when primarily bottlefed and when mom's supply is very low, which can make nursing unrewarding.
    - If you want to go back to exclusive nursing, it may be difficult. It's usually a lot easier to maintain supply than to rebuild it.
    - If your baby weans completely, you will have to mother without being able to resort to nursing. The breast is the ultimate tool for dealing with a cranky, sick, tired, bored, or teething baby.
    - Any amount of breastmilk you produce is good for your baby and good for your health. But if you wean partially or completely, you'll lose the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. If your baby goes to daycare, he's more likely to get sick, and that could mean more days away from work- which is why it is to your workplace's benefit to allow you time to pump!

    Finally, I totally understand that your husband would like to feed the baby. Giving a bottle can be fun. (The first few times. After that it gets boring, IMO.) But it's not worth the cost of having mom wean partially or completely.

    ETA: One last thing. If you're thinking that partially weaning to formula would mean that your DH would be able to get up at night and give your baby a bottle, allowing you to sleep, well... I think you should probably forget that. All my formula-feeding mommy friends say some version of the following: "My husband promised he would get up and do some of the nighttime bottles. But who is it standing the the kitchen every morning at 2 am making a bottle? Not him. Not ever."
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; February 14th, 2014 at 12:10 PM.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    I also work in healthcare and understand the frustrations of finding time to pump. But I remind myself that refuse to let my coworkers and work dictate what I feed my child especially when the law is on my side. Just make sure that you are making the decision because it is really what you want and not because you feel pressure from your work and coworkers to not take breaks.
    If you choose to continue to fully breastfeed, here are some tips from someone who has done it. Make sure you feed your LO as close to leaving for work as possible. Pump during your lunch break and any other opportunity you have. Even if it is only for 5-10 minutes, that is still going to help maintain your supply. Also, you could pump on your way home from work especially if you weren't able to squeeze in another pump break. I assume you are working 8 hour shifts in the evening. I work 12 hours shifts and sometimes go 6 hours in between pumping and only get in 3 sessions per shift. While it is not desirable, it is manageable. If you are only working 8 hr shifts, I see no reason why you couldn't pump during your lunch break and one other time before the end of your shift. Remember the law says you are allowed to get these breaks and your manager/HR need to support you. If you can't get that last session in, then pump either on your way home from work (hands free bra required obviously) or as soon as you get home. Your husband will get to feed the baby in the evening before you come home so there are his times to feed the baby.
    I know it can suck to think of leaving your coworkers during a busy time, but that is your manager's responsibility to figure out how to manage that situation. The law is on your side, so make the decision that is best for you and know that it is completely possibly to get in enough pumping sessions to maintain your supply so you can fully breastfeed on your off days and provide most if not all of his milk for the time you are at work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    rockford,il
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    I agree with the pp. It's definitely worth the effort for your baby's and your health to advocate for time to pump. If you truly can't or go longer in between pumps on some days, you can make it up by encouraging frequent nursing during the night and morning when you're home. Many babies reverse cycle like this naturally. Your body could adjust as if baby had had a long nap or stretch of sleep at night.
    Personally I always find the husbands who insist on taking feedings to be incredibly selfish. Breastfeeding has profound benefits to both mother and child. I've seen several mothers succumb to nipple confusion because of family members insistence on taking some feedings. I know your baby has taken bottles well in the past but some babies do have issues later on. And you'd need to pump at every missed feeding to maintain supply. Not really less work for mom at all! Have daddy feed you while you feed baby. Then daddy can burp baby, change diaper, take a bath or walk with baby etc while you nap. Some families can make the one daddy bottle per day work out. I'd just take it carefully.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    Just so you know the law says your employer has to give you time to pump. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm. Hope that helps, if you really prefer not to wean. Otherwise you've already gotten some really good advice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,420

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    I would suggest not trying to do anything to your supply before you go back to work. Milk production is a biological function, and cannot be turned on and off like a faucet. Attempts to try to make it that way may unnecessarily decrease your production. Your body will likely begin to adjust to the new schedule once you are back at work at least to some degree. but this may be a gradual process.

    You may find that you are able to pump more often than you think you will be able to. There are many good tips for making pumping at work quicker, see the womanly Art of breast-feeding, the pumping forum here, Kelly mom.com, and I also think the website breast-feeding in combat boots is very helpful for mothers with challenging professions. If you find you are getting overfull at work and cannot pump, you could perhaps try hand expression in order to relieve any discomfort and prevent engorgement and of course this would also help you keep up a normal production for when you're home with baby.
    I do think that generally when it is needed, mothers certainly can nurse part of the time and formula feed part of the time. This is called combo feeding and it is pretty common. Of course it can potentially cause many issues for breast-feeding and for overall health, but on the other hand it is far better in many respects then exclusive formula feeding. however I think it is important to remember that being able to pump enough at work is not only important for your baby's health, it is important for your own health. so I agree that discussing your concern with your employer and being aware of your rights may be helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    with previous posters.

    I work in health care. Mommal mentioned most of the working tips I utilized during my first year of pumping. I also encourage you to remember you likely have the law on your side--as long as your company has more than 50 employees, you are legally allowed that time. Talk to your employer now, you might be surprised at how easy it is to accommodate you!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    Thanks everyone, these are all excellent tips! I don't think I'll have any trouble with my employer if I take time to pump so much as with myself and my co-workers. I will feel bad leaving them to pump if we're busy, and I'm sure they will experience some degree of annoyance. Being a "type A personality" I'm finding it very challenging to breastfeed, but I keep reminding myself of all the benefits and I'm not quite ready to give it up completely!
    I also spoke with DH and the lactation consultant at my hospital. She wants to meet the week before I return to work to weigh/feed LO so we have an idea how much he's eating. And we are thinking of doing some practice runs closer to when I return to work: letting DH feed a bottle of breastmilk while I pump during one of the evening feedings he'll eventually be doing. It may not be ideal, but it will give us some piece of mind! If all else fails and we end up combo feeding at least I will know I tried! Thanks everyone!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,957

    Default Re: Thinking of weaning at 8 wks

    Just remember that your pump breaks are temporary! You're not going to be taking them for the rest of your career. So your co-workers can afford to extend a little extra consideration to you for a short time, right? Just like you'd do for them if they had some special but temporary need?

    When you go in and do the weigh-feed-weigh, keep in mind that one weighed feed provides a single snapshot of nursing. Your baby may take in much more milk, or much less, than average when at the LC's office. I'm kind of curious why the LC wants you to take this step- what is she thinking you will gain from it? An idea of how much to offer in the bottles?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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