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Thread: Toddler wants more milk than I have

  1. #1

    Default Toddler wants more milk than I have

    Hi ladies! I have a 14 month old daughter who is breastfeeding. She is still an enthusiastic breastfeeder, and we don't limit nursing when I am home. Toward the end of her first year, I noticed a decline in my pump output, but we made it to a year (my original goal) without formula. I work 2-3 days per week, and have recently finished pump weaning. I believe that pump weaning has decreased my already decreasing supply, so maybe I took that step too soon. The thing is, my workplace is very supportive of pumping up to a year, but that support is much less enthusiastic after a year. And TBH, I was thrilled to stop pumping.
    So here's the problem: my little girl wants more milk. When she nurses, she latches for about 5 minutes, then pulls off and signs "more" but when I offer the breast again she pushes me away. So I switch her to the other side, and the same thing happens. It seems she is rarely satisfied at the breast anymore, because even when she's been back and forth between both breasts multiple times, she is still signing for more. I know that there is still some milk there at the end of the feeding because I can still express drops of milk, so I'm thinking she is just wishing for a fuller breast and faster flow. She is not crying when this is happening, but it still makes me sad. I'm worried that she will wean before she is truly ready because she isn't getting as much milk as she wants.
    I'm not sure if pumping more would increase my supply at this stage, and that would likely be met with resistance from my husband, who would be happier if I actively weaned her. I'm not sure what I'm looking for. I guess I'm just wondering if this is something that has happened with any of your nurslings, and if so, did it cause early weaning?
    Oh, and to be clear, she drinks cows milk and eats solids well, so I'm not worried about the nutritional aspect.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,343

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    If you want to increase supply, pumping will help. There's no point at which increased stimulation and milk removal won't increase supply. It's probably going to be harder than when your baby was young and your pump was new, but you can still increase if you are willing to put in the work.

    The question I have is, do you really want to? On the one hand, increasing supply could make your baby happier with nursing and therefore willing to nurse longer than she would if nursing has become unrewarding/frustrating for her. On the other, maybe she'll keep nursing even at this relatively low level and you won't have to drive yourself crazy with the pump. It's a really personal choice and there's no one right answer!

    Why is your DH so pro-weaning? What does he think weaning will do to improve your lives? We might not be able to tell you what to do about pumping/nursing, but maybe we can help you deal with his issues!
    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: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    Mommal, I agree with you that pumping again to increase my supply would make nursing more stressful at this point, and is not something that I really want to do. I'm thinking I may just be more proactive in offering to nurse, and perhaps that will bump up my supply. She is nursing about 6x/day usually, but I might be able to add another session or two.
    As for my husband, he's not vocal about wanting me to wean. He just doesn't necessarily see a benefit to extended breastfeeding. When my daughter was born, I told him I planned to breastfeed her until she was 1, and that's really as far as I thought I would want to go. But now I see that she is still really a baby ( a walking, talking baby, but still...) and I love our breastfeeding relationship. And he would love to go on trips and thinks that me breastfeeding is impeding that. I've told him that even if I wean her, I still wouldn't want to be away from her for an extended period of time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    Hi mama,
    Nursing a 14 month old isn't really extended breastfeeding, it's biologically normal breastfeeding. Would it help to tell your husband that the WHO recommends nursing until at least 2? And the AAP recommends AT LEAST until age one, and then for as long as is mutually desirable.

    Toddlers can be funny about their nursing behaviors. I'm not convinced that your LO signaling "more" actually indicates dissatisfaction with your supply - maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. I think your plan to proactively offer nursing is a great idea. In my opinion one of the great things about toddler nursing is NOT having to pump anymore, so I definitely hear you on not wanting to pump anymore!

    Another great thing about toddler nursing is that you have so much more flexibility. Whereas during infancy you have to either pump or nurse at least every few hours, once you hit toddlerhood it becomes a lot easier to go longer stretches without nursing. So whatever period of time you feel comfortable being separated from LO, you can spend that time with DH with minimal to no pumping (depending on the length of the separation).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    301

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    I think you might find that this evens out over time. When I first pump weaned, I noticed a big drop in supply. My DD wasn't quite as expressive about wanting more milk than I had as yours is, but she was clearly a bit frustrated with it and did seem to want to nurse more often to bring my supply back up. We both adjusted after a few weeks. So I think I would give it a little time.

    As for going on a trip, I feel the same as you in that I wouldn't want to be away from my toddler longer than necessary, nursing or not. But if you want to get away with your husband for an overnight or a weekend, there is no reason you can't do this while you're still nursing her. I haven't gone away with my husband without our DD yet, but I have had to go away on overnight work trips. I just bring the pump and pump once before bed and once in the morning. It is annoying but a lot easier than when she was little and I needed to pump every 2-3 hours and make sure to bring that milk home for her to replace milk taken from my stash. More recently (my DD is almost 2) I've even gone away for 24 hours without pumping at all (I did a little hand expression in the shower but that's it). For as much as my daughter still loves and demands to nurse, she doesn't expect to nurse when I'm not there.

    For me, toddler nursing, with all its benefits and basically no downsides, is the reward for making it beyond a year.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2,628

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    I think your little girl will kind of have to learn that she can nurse and get some milk and lots of mommy comfort but not tons of milk any more. It's OK for her to be eating more solids to fill herself up or even drinking milk from another species if you want her to. My DD nursed 39 mos and the last year there was very little milk due to pregnancies and miscarriages but she still loved to nurse. I stopped worrying about supply around the 12-15 mo mark and it was all OK. I don't know. I don't think I'd want to stress out about pumping at work after a year and yes you could build your supply but I think you can still get the benefits of toddler nursing without doing a lot to increase your supply.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    Thanks ladies, for your input! I think I am just going to do my best not to worry about it. She is not fussing when she is signing "more" and she is still nursing many times per day, so we will just continue on without worrying so much about the amount of milk I'm making. I agree that it is nice to have more flexibility and also to know that I'm not the major source of nutrition at this point. Takes some of the pressure off.
    As for my husband, he isn't pressuring me to wean exactly, so I think unless he makes a bigger issue about it, I'm just going to leave that alone as well. Breastfeeding at all, much less past a year, just isn't something that he has ever been exposed to. But he may come around on his own. When my daughter was younger my husband was very uncomfortable with me breastfeeding in public, particularly without a cover. I just did it anyway, and he grew to see it as normal. Now he forwards me need stories about breastfeeding in public, and is all for it. Thanks again ladies for your input!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    That's great that your husband has come around! Hopefully he will be soon be forwarding you stories about nursing a toddler.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    301

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    Your husband sounds like a reasonable person and a good guy. My husband, a self-proclaimed feminist and generally all-around very supportive person, also expressed some discomfort with me nursing in front of others when our daughter was first born. I think he was just thinking "people like my dad are going to see your breast?? no, not a good idea!!" but I just did it anyway, and now no one bats an eye, least of all him. He's developed an appreciation for toddler nursing as well... I'm sure there is no sweeter sound to him when he's feeling tired and drained from being with a sick/cranky/etc toddler than our daughter walking away from him and over to me saying that she wants to nurse!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,896

    Default Re: Toddler wants more milk than I have

    I found recently that I was feeling depleted and as if I did not have enough for my daughter who is 22 months now. We have a busy life and increasing nursing frequency to help with this just was not happening on a big enough basis, and there was no way I was going to be able to pump. Things came to a head when I found my production did not bounce back after my third go-around with mastitis a month ago.
    I decided to try galactagogues, a first for me, and went with fenugreek as it is so commonly recommended and it is not contra indicated for me. It's been a week and I feel it has made a big difference.

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