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Thread: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Default Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    I hope this is the right place to ask about my complex issues with working, pumping, and nursing.

    Data points:

    DD is 10 mos, EBF. I work FT away from home. DD goes to daycare. I reliably produce about one ounce per hour. Up until about the last month, she nursed 8 times a day, spread out pretty evenly. She gets 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. bottles and I go to daycare to nurse at noon. She eats a small breakfast at home, lunch at daycare, and dinner of table foods with us. At 9 mos she had a nursing strike that coincided with a dip in supply around my period. It included a little biting. I hope to nurse her as long as possible. DD has ended her nursing strike for the most part, but she is SUPER distracted. I have tried all of the various techniques but she still pops off, often before she has the satisfaction of let-down. It is not usually practical to pump for let-down beforehand. Sometimes I will pump afterward if I think she didn't empty me.

    I think she is trying to drop the noon feeding and I would like to know how to encourage her NOT to. The distracted feedings have I think led to a drop in supply for that feeding. Today I managed to get her to stay on until let-down, but she nursed less than five minutes before she fussed and when I tried to hand-express I got nothing. She was clearly still hungry.

    So . . . I am thinking that I should try to drop my morning pump and keep the noon feeding. I usually pump at 10:30, which is 3 hours after our last morning feeding. I am thinking of pushing this pump time earlier and earlier until I phase it out.

    The question is, will I kill my supply by doing this? Will I get more milk for her at lunch time, or will it just go down as I won't be emptying the breast as often? I do wish to pump wean at around a year. Originally I didn't think I would start until the one-yr mark, but she has been showing signs of being a less enthusiastic nurser since that nursing strike.

    Another option is to take the little hand-pump to daycare and pump after I nurse her at noon to try to put in an order for more at noon. Or I could do both.

    What do you think? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Hi mama,

    First, very normal for babies this age to be distracted when nursing during the daytime. It sounds like she is still nighttime nursing? My LO made up for distracted daytime nursing by nursing more at night - which is great for maintaining supply, too.

    I suppose one way you could try to encourage the noon feeding is to either decrease the amount in the 10 am bottle, or push it a little earlier, to see if she is more motivated to nurse at noon. Also, where are you nursing her? If you can find a quiet, boring location, that may help focus her on the breast.

    I probably wouldn't drop the morning pumping session at this point. You still have two months to go and unless you have a lot of milk frozen in the fridge, you risk dropping your supply prematurely. I don't think that pumping less will make LO more likely to nurse at noon - although in the short term (first couple days) you may be more full at noon, over the longer term your body will respond by decreasing supply, so you'll lose that effect.

    As you get closer to a year, then you can start the gradual pump weaning process.

    You can certainly pump at noon if you feel like LO hasn't nursed well, either to maintain supply or to provide her with a little extra later on to make up for the distracted nursing session.

    Sounds like you have done great so far, nursing and pumping! Things do get a lot easier at a year when baby can start becoming less reliant on your milk as her main source of nutrition.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    with the excellent advice above! I especially agree that dropping the morning pump session would be likely to result in a short-term gain and long-term loss, when it comes to supply and to the afternoon nursing session.
    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
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    Jul 2013
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Thank you so very much! I suspected that dropping the morning pump would be premature--thanks for the confirmation.

    She is still night nursing. We get in three nurses between reuniting and midnight, and 2-3 nurses after midnight. She's been trying to drop one of the morning ones. So we are still nursing 8-9 times a day, pretty evenly distributed.

    What I decided to do was to have her take her bottles earlier, so that she will be hungrier when we are together (a 3-hour gap btwn bottle and breast instead of a 2-hr one). It's been going really well over the last couple of days. I am also pumping earlier so that I have plenty for her when we reunite. I hope that the extra fullness of 3 hours rather than 2 won't start to slow the supply. I have been taking her to a quiet room at noon and that is helping a LOT. She is still not nursing for very long--I timed it today and she is taking less than 5 min for both sides. I get a second let-down when I pump, but if I'm getting one when nursing she's not waiting for it. She's up and ready to play. At night, she's done and ready to sleep.

    I do remain a little worried about supply, though. It varies a lot, but my range is now 1.5-3 ounces. I hope this is sufficient now that she is getting older and taking more solids. I really don't want to wean yet!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    As a baby gets older and starts taking solids, her milk needs generally decrease a bit. It's a totally different pattern from that of formula-fed babies, who tend to increase the amount of formula they take as the year goes on. Breastfed babies generally take in the most milk in early infancy, and then taper off. So 1.5-3 oz sounds just fine to me.

    Even if your supply simply vanished- which doesn't happen except in unusual circumstances- you wouldn't have to wean. You could continue to nurse when you're with your baby, enjoying the closeness and the cuddles. Nursing has value beyond that of the milk alone.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zenquaker View Post
    She is still not nursing for very long--I timed it today and she is taking less than 5 min for both sides. I get a second let-down when I pump, but if I'm getting one when nursing she's not waiting for it. She's up and ready to play. At night, she's done and ready to sleep.
    Keep in mind older babies are very efficient at the breast, and usually can extract a lot more quickly than the pump can. So she may very well be taking in as much milk in 5 minutes as it takes you 20 minutes or more to pump!

    The other thing we haven't talked about is pump rehab. Pumps are machines and they wear down over time. Have you changed membranes, and possibly valves and flanges?

    Glad to hear things are going better overall!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*bfwmomof3 View Post
    Keep in mind older babies are very efficient at the breast, and usually can extract a lot more quickly than the pump can. So she may very well be taking in as much milk in 5 minutes as it takes you 20 minutes or more to pump.
    . This has been my experience. My daughter was nursing in one to two minute bursts at that age, and getting what easily required 20+ minutes for me to pump.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    I hope you don't mind a follow-up! OK, so she's a 1.5 weeks away from 11 mos, and while things are going better, I am starting to have issues with my let-down reflex during the daytime. We are fine nursing evening and morning. But midday (from about 10-4, thereabouts), even if we are home all day together, my let-down reflex is letting me down. She has been a lot more patient, but I am having an increasing number of sessions where she really only gets a few sips of the milk that's always ready to go, but no let-down (once after her trying for 20 minutes, switching sides every few minutes!). I am an experienced nurser, so even when I don't feel it, I know her suck/swallow pattern when I let down. If I force the issue (which I stopped doing), she bites. She is also a lot less interested in nursing during the day in general. When I am home alone on a weekend or snow day, I am not able to pump to replace the feeding because I am chasing her and she does not nap in a crib. It is also not practical in our situation to pump first and put her on when I let down for the most part. It is also happening at the noon feedings at daycare. Today I was able to pump when I got back to work but that's not always practical.

    I searched all over the internet and cannot find good advice for truly underactive let-down. Relaxing doesn't do it for us. We tried fenugreek but it made her have an upset stomach immediately. I take a Cal/Mag/Zinc supplement every day, and this cycle doubled it every day from ovulation. This problem is definitely worse during my period. It is also not a supply issue. I am pumping enough. I have been checking her latch, too; it may be that she changed it a bit after all her teeth came in . . . BUT that doesn't explain why we have perfectly normal let-down other times of day/night.

    A big part of me just wants to let it go--if she nurses she nurses, if she doesn't she doesn't, and supplement with yogurt or another snack as needed. We only have a month until a year, and I think if we're keeping the other sessions up this doesn't necessarily mean we will wean. Do I need to just chill out or is there something else I can be doing?

    As a reminder, I am nursing three times after midnight and 2-3 times before midnight in addition to two bottles at daycare and (at least trying) one nursing session at lunchtime.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*zenquaker View Post
    ]

    A big part of me just wants to let it go--if she nurses she nurses, if she doesn't she doesn't, and supplement with yogurt or another snack as needed. We only have a month until a year, and I think if we're keeping the other sessions up this doesn't necessarily mean we will wean.

    Thanks!
    This is what I was going to suggest. Offer the breast and let her do what she wants. It sounds like overall she is getting what she needs. And definitely no need to wean. I stopped pumping at work at a year and continued to nurse mornings/evenings/nights.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Keeping the Older Baby Going and Pump Weaning

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*bfwmomof3 View Post
    This is what I was going to suggest. Offer the breast and let her do what she wants. It sounds like overall she is getting what she needs. And definitely no need to wean. I stopped pumping at work at a year and continued to nurse mornings/evenings/nights.
    That's what I was going to say, as well. She is at an age now where it's okay to relax a little. Just like when she was a baby, pay attention to her cues and let her set the pace to determine how much she needs.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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