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Thread: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    I would like some reassurance as to whether this is normal or not. Till recently (i.e. before I started giving him solids), this was his usual nursing pattern:
    Nurse at 8ish, then a topper at 9:30 if he wants. Bottle of EBM at 11 (5 oz.) and at 2 (4 oz.). Then nursing at home at 6ish, 8ish, 10ish and then he goes to bed. I would feed 2-3 times a night.

    Now recently, the last month or so, we've been giving him solids. During the week he just has food while we eat dinner. On weekends, he'd have food also during lunchtime. I do some baby food (jars, spoonfuls of cereal) and some "real" foods (wedge of apple, banana, slice of bread, potatoes) and some finger foods (cheerios, veggie puffs).

    I am aware that once I introduced the foods, he will obviously nurse less. But here's what happened. By day when at childcare, he splits his first bottle into two smaller portions - eaten at 11, and 1, and then finishes the full 4 oz bottle at 3:30). Also at night, the three evening nursing sessions are not very long ones (well the first one is because he hadn't eaten in a while, but the last two are short ones). I do offer food after nursing, but since I nurse frequently at night, not much time passes from when he eats food to when he nurses. Like nursing to sleep used to be nice and long (10 minutes) now it's like 4-5 minutes.

    Is this normal? Also, I don't know if it has to do with this or not, but letdowns take much longer to come. By pumping I can get them still within 10 seconds or so, but with nursing I will only get it like a minute into nursing, or more. Also, I can't get more than one letdown in a hour or so (I never got more than one per feeding). Used to be, I could nurse at say, 8pm and then at 8:45 I could nurse again and get another letdown. Lately that doesn't happen anymore. I don't think my supply is low per se, but could it be so exactly matching my baby's needs?

    My boobs always feel empty these days even though I know he is feeding ok (I can hear him swallowing well). He also wants to switch sides while nursing so I end up doing each side twice. Like does he need the change of scenery :-\? I doubt it's supply-related because he's doing this lately even on days when I'm fuller.

    As of now I pump 2 times at work and would like to start cutting out one session when I know my baby can eat food at childcare. Is it normal for a baby to have only 4-5 oz of milk during an 8 hour workday along with a meal? But then on weekends will I not be able to nurse her doing the time of the cut-out pumping session?

    In general, how does it work when you nurse less, how does milk supply decrease? Like when someone is nursing only mornings and bedtimes, does the body just not make milk by day? And what's if bedtime/morning is later/earlier?

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2013
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    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    Generally speaking, breastmilk (or formula) should be the primary source of nutrition throughout the first year. So I personally would not actively start dropping pumping sessions or full out replacing feeds at daycare with solids until after that point. 4-5 oz of milk and only one solid meal over an 8 hour period sounds like pretty low intake to me, and I would personally only be comfortable with that if I knew baby was reverse cycling pretty strongly at home. And if you are at all concerned about your supply, the last thing you want to do is eliminate a pumping session. Many moms have to actually ADD pumping sessions toward the end of the first year to make it through and combat "pump slumps," in fact!

    Baby may be switching sides to increase your supply. Baby may be switching sides because he just likes to. Baby may be switching sides because he is impatient for that second letdown! Lots of reasons, and as long as you are responding to his desire to do so, all should work out well. Generally speaking, it is also normal for nursing session length to decrease as baby gets older and gets more efficient at feeding. However, if you feel that he is decreasing his sessions due to a decreasing availability of milk--it can't hurt to offer to nurse more, and back off on solids offering at this stage of the game!

    Once you are to the point of beginning to pump wean, you absolutely can nurse the baby whenever he wants on the weekend. What happens, in a general sense, is that your overall supply will decrease when you pump wean, but milk will still generally always be available whenever the baby wants to nurse. It might be less milk, but milk will still be there.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    Thanks, sonogirl, for your post.

    Ok, it's just that I absolutely DREAD pumping. I figured that I could wean off pumping (at least partially) before a year, but maybe it really is better to wait until he can drink regular milk. Is it better to nurse 3 times in the evening, with baby not taking in full feedings, or rather nursing 2 times with baby eating more at each? I thought the more nursing sessions, the better so that's why I nurse 3x once I come home from work till his bedtime. But really he doesn't need to technically eat that often. Two feedings should be ok but which way is better to maintain a supply?

    I am backing off on solids at least for suppertime. I'm having the childcare give him the vegetables/fruits so this way when he's with me he mainly nurses and just has a few finger foods to keep him busy during suppertime. If he drinks less then, I don't mind it going to my freezer stash, which I am anyway in the process of replenishing since I found that my last few weeks' worth of milk have excess lipase.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    15

    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    I think the more nursing sessions the better. And I can understand about wanting to cut out a pumping session...I didn't enjoy pumping at work either, but hang in there because your almost at the one year mark. I started weaning from the pump as soon as LO turned one.
    D 1995
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  5. #5
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    Jan 2013
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    NY
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    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    I know pumping can be a drag! I'm a low storage capacity mama, so I was pumping 4 times for 20 minutes each over the course of my 8 hour work shift during the first year...oy.

    I don't know that there is a way to know that baby isn't taking in a "full" feeding when you nurse more frequently. I would think that if he is being allowed to nurse on demand as he wishes, that that counts as a "full" feeding. Small, frequent feeds are very normal for a breastfed baby. I think that the "right" answer here for your evenings is just to nurse as often and for as long as baby wants! You can trust your baby to get what he needs. I would think that if baby is asking to nurse, baby "needs" to nurse, if that makes sense? Whether for food, thirst, comfort, or any of the normal reasons infants want to nurse.

    I think it's a great idea to save most of your solids for daycare! That's what I did, too, during the first year, was to plan for most of my daughter's solids to be consumed at lunch, when I was at work. My daughter happened to take to solids pretty quickly after about month 7, so we added breakfast next, and dinners shortly thereafter, but I always made it a point to nurse before her solid meals until she turned a year. (Actually, she still generally wants to nurse before her meals at 19 months! And after meals, too. My daughter is, and has always been, a very high frequency nursling!)
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  6. #6
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    Mar 2014
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    Central FL
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    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    And beware, I keep reading posts about the "pump slump" that tends to happen around 9 months to many people and they often have to add a pumping session in order to maintain the same output so perhaps you want to look at pump weaning with caution unless you and baby are really ready to transition over to even more solids during the day.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    Yeah I do see a slump since starting solids, but maybe also because my body is slowing down or something. No BF mom that I know ever told me she felt full after six months or so. It's like I make exactly what my baby needs and no more. Which bothers me because I like to be on the safe side. When I do grocery shopping, I buy a little more than I think we may need, not exactly 3.5 oranges and 7 eggs and 2 cups flour

    Baby doesn't really ask to nurse often at night but I just do it anyway. On weekends when we're together all day, I basically nurse him every 2 hours or after naps and he's fine with that. He never was a demander so I just fed when I felt it was right or if it was 3 hours or so. But since about 4 months and on when milk production slowed somewhat, i'd nurse every 2 hours even though well-meaning friends would be like, "what? he can definitely go longer between meals" or "what? you're waking up 3x a night to feed your baby at this age??" to which I always reply, "I'm doing it for ME, ok?!" Well really for baby, but for MY supply, so HE could have a lot to eat.

    So after work on weekdays, my baby doesn't really ask to eat, only when we get home, which I do. But then till nighttime there's about 3-4 hours so I like to stuff in 2 more feedings in that time because why not? He takes them pretty well and if he's not in the mood I don't push. So it's not really feeding "on demand" but more like "on Mommy's demand"

    I'm scared to give him solids for breakfast or supper now because I'm worried about supply. Breakfast time the last few days I just gave expressed milk that I got after that morning's nursing session, and fed with a spoon with a smidgen of oatmeal mixed into it so it stayed on the spoon. This way I didn't compromise on my supply since it was just pumped then - he's just eating it from a different venue. Plus it helps with my supply, tricking my body into thinking that baby wants to nurse more. Like this he has "breakfast" lol.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Hurst, TX
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about my 8 month old's nursing

    Hey there,
    Looks like out LO's are super close in age. I can so relate to what you are going through. I HATE pumping. I rarely get more than two ounces, and I struggled with excess lipase for almost five months. So give yourself a big old hug for making it this long...BF has by far been the most difficult challenge I've faced. We have recently been trying baby led weaning which has given us a chance to explore and play with different/new foods. I work occasionally which makes it very difficult. We are about to start a twice weekly preschool and I'm so nervous. We don't have ANY milk in storage and I'm terrified that I won't be able to pump enough...or be pumping all the time and won't be able to even enjoy my time off. So I'm not sure if this is helpful...but from what I've been reassured by the LC's is that baby will always take what they need. They seem to go through days where I'm worried he isn't getting enough...and days when I'm thinking "is he ever going to stop nursing?". Just when I think I know his little schedule, he throws me a curveball. We have had problems with Noah waking up almost all night trying to eat (maybe reverse cycling?). Anyway...The KEY is to get his weight checked. If you are nervous about his intake...go in to your pedi or local LC center and have a free weight check. That will ease your mind and you can use this opportunity to keep "track". My local LC asked me once "is he fussy?...is he looking pudgy-ish?" From what I understand of babies (and I could be wrong...) but it seems like it could almost be anything...teething, sickness, separation anxiety, headache, sleepy....who really knows? Being a mom is tough. Hang in there, And don't question yourself. You know your sweet little guy better than anyone.
    Proud Mom of Noah
    Born: October 17, 2013
    7 lbs. 8 oz // 21 inches long

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