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Thread: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Hurst, TX

    Default Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    So I'm not really sure where to begin. I have been EBF my son Noah since birth he is now 8 months old and we are doing baby led weaning/feeding. He seems to enjoy eating and playing with food. The problem is that I am really struggling with the idea of continuing to BF. I've been offered a new position at my work which will force me to place my son in a two day a week program. I am actually excited about this because I will get to work out, have some me time, and really I am glad he will eb around other babies and get to socialize. What I'm not excited about is the BF part. We don't have any storage milk because for 6mo. I've had an excess lipase issue. The idea of pumping enough (I only get about two ounces when pumping in the morning first thing), is nauseating to me. Having to clean all of those parts, the time it takes for both my hands to be busy. Anyway, I know I'm preaching to the choir here...but I just feel like throwing my hands in the air and going to formula. I feel very passionate about BF. But I AM EXHAUSTED. Noah wakes up at least four-five times a night, we can never go on dates bc we don't have any stored milk, and I'm always having to nurse in the bathroom in public bc he is incredibly distracted. And does anyone else have the problem of their LO eating less when they are out all day. Our Church is kind of far so we don't get home until around 1pm on Sundays, and he is up eating all night bc he doesn't eat much during the day.
    Anyway...I'm just looking for some advice. And my husband really doesn't want me to wean yet. But he can't really understand since I'm the one up all night, and home all day. I miss my full dedication at work, right now I'm coming home in between sessions to feed. We want to make it to a 12 mo. So if that's the case...when do we attempt to give a bottle? I want him to be comfortable and feel good about weaning and not shock him in to it. Should we use formula at first and switch to cows milk when he turns one? How many meals a day and how much cows milk do they need at 12 mos.? Also...how did you find the night weaning work? I'm not even sure how to begin night weaning. Did this help your babies sleep better? Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.
    Proud Mom of Noah
    Born: October 17, 2013
    7 lbs. 8 oz // 21 inches long

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    I'm going to start with a caveat: when it comes to nursing, only you can really say whether or not it's worth it to you to continue. We can't tell you what to do, and neither can your husband!

    That being said, here's the way I see it: your baby is 8 months old. You have just 4 months to go until you reach the recommended minimum duration for breastfeeding. That's not much time, compared to the rest of your life and your baby's life. So for that reason alone, I would resign myself to 4 more months of nursing and pumping.

    Another reason to continue to nurse is that formula may just replace one set of problems with another. You're up 4-5 times a night to nurse right now, and it's quite possible that nothing about your child's night-waking or need for nighttime calories would change if you switched to formula. You could easily end up 4-5 times a night to make and serve your child his bottles and that's a lot more exhausting than nursing because you actually have to mix, heat, and feed the bottle instead of just lying there nursing, letting your child do all the work. And if your partner is cold to the idea of formula, my guess is that he's not going to be the one who gets up to make and serve nighttime bottles.

    Yet another reason to continue is daycare. Your LO will be going just 2 days a week but he's still going to get exposed to lots of new germs. As you start your new job, you probably want to be present as much as possible. Nursing will keep your baby healthier and lessen the duration of his illnesses, meaning fewer absences for you.

    Now, if none of the above is incentive enough for you to continue EBF, remember that breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing! You could always do combination feeding, in which you offer formula part of the time (e.g. during the workday, or dad gives a bottle while mom sleeps) but nurse at others Combination feeding can offer increased flexibility and many of the health benefits of breastfeeding.

    If you decide to wean completely, go slow. Drop a single feeding, replace with formula, wait a few days. Once your supply has adjusted downwards, drop another feeding. Repeat the process until all unwanted feeding are gone. And until a year, you should only offer formula or breastmilk. Cow's milk is for >12 months.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*texanlindsey View Post
    The idea of pumping enough (I only get about two ounces when pumping in the morning first thing), is nauseating to me. Having to clean all of those parts, the time it takes for both my hands to be busy.
    Mommal covered most of it, just a couple more thoughts. First, when you are pumping INSTEAD of feeding, rather than in ADDITION to feeding, you are likely to get more out. The reason is that at eight months, your supply is likely very closely matched to what baby is taking in, so you don't get much out when you pump. On the other hand, after you've gone a couple hours since last nursing your baby, the milk that he would have drunk at that time is in there waiting to be pumped out. And a normal feed at the breast is 2 or 3 or 4 oz, so it would be normal to get that amount out during a pumping session.

    That said, if you are going to be relying on pumping to maintain supply and provide milk for the baby, you want to make sure your pump is in good working order. A good double-electric pump with flanges that fit properly, recently replaced membranes etc. can help maximize pump output. Also, letdown on the pump can be very psychological so if you're stressed (whether about work, or about how much you are getting while you pump), that can inhibit letdown. Some people find it helps to look at pictures of baby, or have distractions like reading or music, or meditating - basically you have to see what works for you.

    There's no need to be constantly washing parts. You can use the same parts multiple times in the day (stick them in the fridge if you can, but even at room temperature it should be fine), then wash at the end of the day. There is one mom on here who had five sets of parts for her five-day workweek (in your case, two sets would do the same) and just washed once a week at the end of the week.

    Yes, when baby is in the distractible age (which can definitely be the case at 8 months), and nursing less during the day, it is definitely normal for him to nurse more at night!

    If your husband is supportive of breastfeeding (which is great!), why can't he help out a little? Okay, he can't nurse baby. But there are plenty of ways to help take care of baby, whether diaper changes, laundry, or even doing the dreaded washing of the pump parts!

    If you do decide to stick with the nursing (which I definitely would encourage, for all the reasons mommal mentions!) and you want to give him expressed milk in the day, you could also consider using a cup if he does not take to the bottle.

    ETA: One other thing, if you are expressing milk at work, you will probably need to scald it before freezing it to prevent the lipase from breaking it down. This is assuming that baby won't drink the milk if it isn't scalded - some babies will, others won't.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    I just want to say I'm in relatively the same boat with my 9 month old. Wanting to do what's best for my baby, but also having healthy urges to start doing things for ME again. It's not easy and there are so many opinions out there. I'm trying to take it easy on myself and give myself the time to figure out what's best for me and my family. I'm not sure yet. Most likely it will be a mixed approach. I'm going to make a concerted effort to start to do some things (like exercise and spend time with friends) that are very important to my mental well-being, and possibly adding in some formula if that means I don't have the time to pump/breastfeed as much as I have been.

    I also relate to the many night wakings. I am totally NOT a "cry-it-out" person and was very wary of people that recommended this strategy, but at around 6 months, we did a more gentle form and it has made a huge difference for us. If she woke up, I would feed her and cuddle her and change her diaper, so I knew her needs were met, but if she still cried after I put her down, we would let her cry for 5-10-15 minutes. If it was a "fire alarm" cry, we'd always go in, but we let her cry at a low level more than we had previously. It was really, really hard, but it only took about 2 or 3 nights and we went from 4+ wakings per night to around 1. My sense is we went down to the real hunger feedings and she got better at putting herself back to sleep. I know any form of "cry it out" isn't for everyone, but I do feel that for our family, and at that older age, this helped us tremendously with the sleep issue and we've all been happier as a result. But every baby and every situation is different, so you have decisions to make. I just wanted to point out that there are options between neglecting your child's cries (total cry it out) and exhausting yourself by getting up every time he wakes during the night and wants you. I can tell you just getting some blocks of 4 hours of sleep at a time makes you so much less crazy feeling, and that may affect your feelings about breastfeeding (and life!) overall. Some tough decisions! Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*texanlindsey View Post
    Also...how did you find the night weaning work? I'm not even sure how to begin night weaning. Did this help your babies sleep better? Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.
    I know this is a little old, but I wanted to answer the sleep question. In my case, night weaning made nights worse. DS went from waking up for ~15 minutes 1-2 times per night to waking up only once FOR 2-3 HOURS! He screamed and cried the whole time and we could not get him to sleep. This went on for 3 months. It has now been 6 months since we night weaned, and he still does not sleep through the night. So night weaning does not necessarily lead to sleeping through the night.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wean Preparation & Mixed Feelings

    No matter how much straggle you are going through, you must feed him until he is at least 18-20 month old. So, try your best. Good luck.

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