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Thread: Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

  1. #1

    Default Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

    Hello,

    I just learned a few days ago that I am unexpectedly 5 1/2 weeks pregnant (we needed ivf for the DD, and I'm breastfeeding with no formula supplementation, so I didn't really think that was possible!)

    The first thing that tipped me off to being pregnant was a HUGE drop in supply. I pump at work and had been keeping up with her fairly easily. But now I pump 3 times and can only get 6 oz total (I used to get 12)! In addition to difficulty pumping, she also has started rejecting nursing, which is causing my supply to tank further. Plus now when she nurses she's not getting enough, and I have to switch sides back and forth and compress for every last drop. On top of all of that, it's really painful to pump and nurse because they're so sore.

    I don't know what to do! I'm not comfortable taking any supplements while pregnant. And between the fatigue, soreness and nausea I don't think I can add anymore pumping sessions. I think I'm going to have to throw in the flag and supplement with formula.

    I just feel kind of robbed of the BFing experience. Everything was going so well and I wanted to continue until she was 2. And while I'm happy I'm pregnant, I'm sad about not being able to continue for much longer!

    I'm going to keep pumping and nursing when I can, and I have a 100 ounce stash I can supplement. I'm hoping between pumping and my stash I can last another month until I can switch to cows milk during the day, but it'll be cutting it close.

    I have a million questions...

    Has anyone else experienced this? At what point would you just go to cows milk instead of using formula to supplement during the day? Have any of you used goats milk instead of cows (I hear it's easier to absorb and doesn't block iron absorption as much, though it doesn't have all the nutrients)? If I should do formula, is there a best brand to use for breastfed babies or is there something specific I should look for/avoid (I know nothing about formula)?

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,935

    Default Re: Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the baby to come and on making it through 11 months of nursing!

    Something like 80% of moms lose some or all milk supply while pregnant, due to the hormones of pregnancy. Because this is a normal hormonal issue and not a breastfeeding management issue, there is no supplement you can take and no amount of pumping you can do that can "fix" this situation. You can't change the soreness, either- though it may pass as you get into the second trimester.

    Luckily, your baby is already 11 months old and you have a terrific frozen stash. Now is the time to start eating into it. Hopefully you can get through the next month without needing to use formula, and just go straight to whole cow or goat milk. Just be aware that not all babies like the taste of either formula or animal milk. So so you start getting low on breastmilk, I think it makes sense to offer some formula or animal milk and see if your LO will drink it. If she is happy with it, terrific. If not, you may have to start mixing your breastmilk with small amounts of either formula or animal milk, so that your baby can get accustomed to the taste. (Ordinarily moms are advised against mixing breastmilk with formula or animal milk because the storage guidelines are different- unused breastmilk can go back in the fridge, whereas unused mixed bottles have to go down the drain.) It's also a good idea to start offering your baby some cheese and yogurt, as they are great sources of dairy for kids who won't drink animal milk/formula.

    I'm sorry that you're feeling robbed of your ideal breastfeeding experience with your current baby. I totally understand why you feel that way! But you're willing to keep nursing, and that means that you're not losing much. You might lose this 12th month of pumping, but hey, a lot of moms pump-wean at a year, and continue to nurse only when home with their babies. You might want to check out a book called "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" and see if that's something you'd like to try.

    To answer your specific questions:
    - Supplement with formula until 1 year, use whole animal milk thereafter.
    - Talk to your doc about cow's milk vs. goat's milk. I don't think there's a big difference, but the doc should know for sure.
    - I think that because you're looking at a very short-term use of formula, it doesn't matter much what you use. The stuff in the generic brands is the same as the stuff in the brand-name cans. Unless your child has a known allergy to cow's milk, you want to use milk-based rather than soy-based formula.
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

    Thank you so much for your reply! I'm glad to hear that it's common when pg and nursing and I'm not doing anything wrong, but it's still so sad! I've found that I'm not even making enough milk for her to nurse before bed, and I've had to give her a 2 oz bottle of expressed BM the last 2 nights to help her fall asleep. So I'm definitely going to go through my stash quickly and need to supplement with formula soon.

    I was curious, do you think it's best to start formula now and mix it with BM, that way she'll be able to have BM longer? Or do you think I just get as far as my stash will take me and then switch largely to formula? I'm going to try to keep pumping daily until she's 1 and nurse in the morning, that way she can get the benefits of fresh milk as long as possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,406

    Default Re: Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

    You could consider looking for donated breastmilk. A mom in my local LLL Group did this when she lost much of her milk production after getting pregnant when her oldest was only 7 months old. Also, if this interests you, once your baby is born you can give your older child your expressed milk, or even encourage her to nurse again.

    Also, just because you are not making enough milk or as much as you did before, does not mean you are not making any milk, and many of the benefits of nursing continue even if there is little milk. The taste of the milk may change, so that and the slower flow might cause a child to change nursing habits, but it is entirely possible that your child will nurse right through your pregnancy, which is fine, unless you want to stop because nursing becomes to painful for you. In my personal experience, nursing my older child became more comfortable later in my pregnancy. Your pump output actually sounds pretty good imo, so I am not sure that there is as much a drop in production as you may think. If pumping is painful, that may be inhibiting letdown as well.

    I was curious, do you think it's best to start formula now and mix it with BM, that way she'll be able to have BM longer? Or do you think I just get as far as my stash will take me and then switch largely to formula? I'm going to try to keep pumping daily until she's 1 and nurse in the morning, that way she can get the benefits of fresh milk as long as possible.
    I have no idea if this has been studied with enough specificity to know which is 'better.' I doubt it, so this is probably going to depend on what you personally prefer. I think if it were me, I would keep my baby on exclusive breastmilk for as long as possible, in the hope that in the meantime, baby would increase solids intake to the point formula is not needed (or less is needed.)

    Definitely get Adventures in Tandem Nursing. I think it will answer many of your questions.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hard time breastfeeding 11 month old while pregnant

    I've definitely noticed that she doesn't want to nurse anymore unless she's exhausted, and I feel like I have to force it to get her to take enough. It's made bedtime horrendous. That's why I'm not sure how long the both of us can last. I've though about exclusively pumping for the last month, but pumping is so painful right now. And I think you're right that the pain is inhibiting let down. I used to get 6 oz total per session, and now I get 2 oz. Right now she's taking 12 oz while I'm at work and I'm able to pump 6oz throughout the day (I pump 2x at work and once before bed). I looked into donor milk, but it seems like an arduous process to undertake if I only need 5 oz a day for a month. I think if I needed to entirely wean then I may do it, but it doesn't seem worth the hassle for such a small amount.

    I have been trying a few simple supply boosters (lactation cookies and power pumping), but they don't seem to help at all, and the power pumping actually seemed to make things worse for a few days due to pain (even though I'm on a low setting). Though I didn't expect to be able to boost my supply since a LC and my OBGYN and they said right now there's not much I can do for supply. I just wanted to try it so I know I did!

    But my goal is to go as long as possible using my stash and what I'm pumping now, and after my stash completely out I'll switch to formula to supplement. I'm planning on continuing BF in some way until she's 15 months (I'll be 6 months pg), and then letting my body recover for a bit. I've had some issues with vitamin deficiencies, and I feel like being pregnant plus trying to nurse is going to be really rough on me physically.

    But wish me luck! And thank you guys so much for the advice! I'm definitely going to try to find that book!

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