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Thread: Milk drying up - cut down solids and increase supply or wean

  1. #1

    Exclamation Milk drying up - cut down solids and increase supply or wean

    Thank you in advance to the experienced breastfeeding mommies that choose to respond. I need some advice.

    Just a little background . . . my little one is 11 months old (but was 7 weeks premature, so is more like a 9 month old). Because of his preemie history, I am focused on keeping his weight gain going and ensuring he has adequate nutrition for brain growth, etc. He is always on the bottom of the chart for an 11 month old, but gaining consistently so my doctor hasn't had any concerns.

    Recently, we have increased his solids and spread out his feedings to help him settle into a better sleep pattern during the day and at night. It helped for a few days keeping him fuller longer and helping him sleep better. However, in the last few days my milk production has dropped dramatically and my breasts no longer feel full in the morning or even a little dense a few hours after a feeding. My baby has never successfully taken a bottle after we got him to breastfeed - he cries and pushes it away. My hope was to wean him after a year, when he can drink all that he needs from a sippy cup. Right now he only gulps a little and spits out a lot from a sippy cup. I don't think it would give him all of the nutrition he needs and fear it would cause a lot of gas if it were his only milk source. Should I try to feed him as much formula as I can (any way he'll take it) to ensure he gets enough nutrition and let the milk dry up completely or should I try for the next week to do everything possible to bring the milk back (and reduce solids and formula so he'll nurse as much as possible)?

    Do you have any advice? I am starting to drink a lot of water, taking Motherlove and am offering the breast every couple of hours during the day (and whenever he wakes during the night).

    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Milk drying up - cut down solids and increase supply or

    Hi and welcome.

    Many moms have the concern that their milk is 'gone' due to how the breasts feel or child's behavior. But this is actually not a reliable indicator. check out this article http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp...es/low-supply/

    Why do you think your child's nutrition must be liquid and not solid? yes breastmilk is a liquid, but it is a very nutritionally complete food. I am a little unclear what kind of time frame you are hoping to nurse for (or wean by) but the measure for weaning readiness is not how well a child takes drinks from a sippy cup. It would be when a child can consume enough solids to have complete nutrition that way. In other words, if a child has weaned to solids they can wean directly from breastmilk to solids, no formula needed (typically.)

    The problem (if there is a problem) started when you started feeding MORE solids? So maybe that is the problem, although if your child is eagerly eating solids in a self directed way no reason to reduce them. On the other hand if solids are being pushed, it is possible that this is interfering with normal breastfeeding. Formula feedings would of course directly 'compete; with breastmilk and baby eating formula would cause a reduction in nursing, possibly to the point of low milk production.

    Using solids to encourage longer sleep is not really a sound practice scientifically. Children sleep longer stretches when they are developmentally ready to, not because they have more solid food in their stomachs. Breastmilk is also food and is filling.

    Should I try to feed him as much formula as I can (any way he'll take it) to ensure he gets enough nutrition and let the milk dry up completely
    Why would you do this? Breastmilk is better for both babies and toddlers. If your child needs supplements of formula he can get supplements while continuing to nurse. But whether your child needs supplements is a question for your doctor.

    Your ideas for increasing production sound good to me, although again I am not sure a reduction in solids is needed if baby is enjoying eating solids. The kellymom article will have more info.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 2nd, 2014 at 04:45 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Milk drying up - cut down solids and increase supply or

    Thank you so much for your reply. I appreciate your input and I found the article extremely helpful.

    I called my doctor and they had a very similar suggestion . . . to continue feeding solids, but to work to increase my breast milk supply with more frequent feedings, etc. and to hold off on weaning for at least another month.

    I am so glad you provided the KellyMom article. I was under the mistaken impression that feeding solids would compete with my breast milk production (as the supplementation of formula can). My reason for thinking I needed to switch my baby over to formula is because I am always fearful that I am not producing enough breast milk and want to be able to measure his intake and be assured that he is getting all of the nutrition he needs. My little one is at the bottom of the height/weight chart (even though the chart is based on his date of birth and not adjusted for his prematurity) and is lean (no chubby baby rolls). I wasn't successful at breastfeeding my first child and pumped for five months, then transitioned to formula. After the transition he became very chubby and looked very 'healthy' to me. I will schedule an appointment with my doctor or a lactation consultant to check my little one's weight gain. I think this would be a much better solution than worrying about it until his next well child visit to the pediatrician or giving up on breastfeeding because I don't trust my supply.

    Again, thank you so much! Your help is very much appreciated.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Milk drying up - cut down solids and increase supply or

    I was under the mistaken impression that feeding solids would compete with my breast milk production (as the supplementation of formula can).
    This is not really a mistake, as too early, and/or, too rapid or too insistent feeding of solids CAN interfere with milk production- for the same reason formula supplements can, that baby fills up on the solids and will consequently nurse less.

    But normally (of course it is different if baby needs formula supplements) but in the normal course of things with a breastfed child, unlike formula, solids do need to be introduced while baby is still nursing. And over a period of many months, as much as a year or longer, solids eventually come to completely replace breastmilk in the child's diet, and during this time, milk production of course very slowly and gradually diminishes. This is the natural path to complete weaning. Of course some mothers wish to wean more quickly and some babies wean themselves more quickly, but typically a baby can nurse exclusively until around 6 months, then can continue to have mostly breastmilk while solids are slowly introduced for at least a year, and many babies are not ready to totally wean at a year. the weaning process may end well past the age of 12 months. many children naturally wean completely between one and two years, but of course many also continue to nurse for many years.

    The way to avoid the introduction of solids decreasing milk production too quickly is to not "push" solids, not give them too early, (prior to about 6 months) , to introduce them gradually and slowly, and to encourage baby to nurse before solid meals (when possible.)

    Breastmilk is also very thirst quenching, so it is important to watch out how much fluids baby takes in as that will also possibly decrease nursing frequency too much.


    of course it is hard to trust it will all work out 'naturally' when you are concerned about your child's gain, so I think your idea to check gain more often makes sense. Just remember normal growth is not always steady and there is nothing wrong with a child being on the low end of the charts, as the charts reflect the wide variety of normal gain in healthy children.

    An excellent book that you may find helpful is called Help, My Child Won't Eat. by Carlos Gonzalez, a pediatrician. Of course your child does eat but this book covers with wonderful insights the whole area of what is normal when it comes to nursing, formula, eating solids, and growth. I learned a ton from this book.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 3rd, 2014 at 02:41 PM.

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