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Thread: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    61

    Default 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    I am seriously sick of pumping at work. Here's some background: tongue tie lip tie, severe GERD and cow milk protein allergy, crappy plumper and have had to rent hospital pump and pump 4x to get through 10 hr work days to not lose supply. Managed to get baby fully bf no formula through lots of work and stress.

    He is now 18 mos. I have been pumping 4x a day since I went back to work at 3 mos. I'm tired of it. I'm exhausted. I just want to be able to get ready in the mornings and love on my baby until I drop him off and not hAveto drop off ten min early so I have time to pump on the way to my van pool. I want to not have to wash pump parts. I want to have my breaks and lunch to take care of me and business I never have time to tske care of at home. I cant justify continuing to spend money on this rental pump. I feel guilty and selfish because those are my primary reasons for pump weaning. It's hard extremely hard to juggle it with work and be a top performer.

    But I have heard a lot that by this age it's mostly a comfort thing not a nutritional need. Valid? I feel like he is very up and down with food consumption amd I have to work hard to get him to eat anything sometimes. He loves boob. He nurses like a newborn in the evenings. He will finish dinner and immediately ask for nursies and nurse repeatedly all evening. He still seems allergic to cow and has been increasingly refluxy lately which feeds my guilt even more.

    I guess im looking for some support and validation that it is reasonable to pump wean at 18 mos. I'm assuming he wont starve and will eat food food if hungry. I also am seeking validation that I should still produce lots of milk in the eves and night as long as he keeps nursing. Im not ready to be done with that completely and im scared to risk that. I feel completely bipolar and emotional over the whole thing. Im excited and relieved and stressed and want to cry all at the same time. I already cut my on the way to work pump session and am getting 3 oz less a day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,845

    Default Re: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    Is it reasonable to pump wean at 18 months? Yes!!! A lot of women pump wean far earlier, at 12 months or even before if they think their stored milk will get them through to the baby's first birthday. And plenty of women pump wean before 12 months even when their stored milk isn't going to be enough to see the baby to the first birthday; they make their peace with formula and simply continue to nurse when home with their babies.

    At 18 months, a baby/toddler is often still getting quite a lot of nutrition at the breast. They're getting a lot of comfort, too, but nursing usually isn't simply one thing or another at that transitional stage.

    Odds are very good that pump weaning at this point will not damage your evening/nighttime supply. But if your supply does really tank, that's okay- at 18 months your baby can make up any shortfalls with solids. The only thing I would recommend doing is having a conversation with your pediatrician about how much and what sort of calcium/fat rich foods you should give him, considering his issues with cow's milk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    793

    Default Re: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    I agree with mommal. If you're nursing 3 to 5 times a day, you can stop pumping (well, cut back gradually so you don't get plugged ducts or other issues). Lots of moms on here pump only until about 12 months. I pumped at least once a day until about 18 months, when my sitter said my daughter wouldn't drink the milk anymore. We weren't going to give her cows milk, so I pumped a little longer so she could still have some milk during the day. So even if you want her to have some milk, cutting down to two sessions or even one a day will make you feel much better time-wise!

    If you think you're not nursing an average 3 to 5 times a day, then you may have a little more thinking to do to make it all work, but still can be done.
    Mom to my sweet little "Pooper," born 10/12/11, and "Baby Brother," born 6/23/2014, and married to heavy metal husband. Working more than full-time, making healthy vegetarian meals for family, and trying to keep up with exercise routine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,752

    Default Re: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    Yes I agree you can stop pumping. (probably best to gradually reduce pumping for your own health.) It makes sense to stop pumping at work because pumping is making you miserable, and your child is not a young baby living off your milk. So pumping at work is not needed in most cases at this age, and even if it were needed, your health and happiness is important and must be considered.

    But no, it is not valid to say that a child nurses only for comfort at this age. As far as studies indicate, breastmilk continues to have real nutritional and other benefits until at least 2 years (and that is only as far as it has been studied, it is likely the benefits continue as long as the child nurses.)

    As far as will not pumping at work, when you have been pumping 4 times a day, impact your milk production? YES! It will. Milk production is supply and demand, so not doing all this pumping is going to have an impact.

    BUT, This does NOT mean you will not make enough for your child to nurse when you are home. That is unlikely in my opinion, but kind of unknowable.

    IF you find that your milk production is being affected beyond what you wish, you can consider pumping again, (not so often would be my suggestion) or trying other means of upping production- nursing vacations on days off, galactagogues, etc.

    I feel completely bipolar and emotional over the whole thing.
    I imagine you are just trying to stress how upset you are, but I do want to clarify. Feeling emotional in this situation is very normal and understandable. But Bi-polar disorder is a clinical illness due to chemical imbalances in the body and would not be caused by this or any other situation. Sorry to be a stickler about this but there is some misinformation floating around that breastfeeding-related stress might be a cause of psychological illness, and this is a misconception I think is very destructive not only to breastfeeding but to the correct and rapid treatment of mental illness. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, please see your doctor about it. Your health is so important to you and your family.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 5th, 2014 at 11:06 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    I am a few days late on this, but I was very, very reluctant to pump wean at work myself, primarily because of supply concerns. For any other mom, in almost any other situation, I'm 100% on board with 12 months being a reasonable time to pump wean if solids are being consumed. But in my own case, I just wasn't ready, and I couldn't do it. For me, going 9+ hours with no milk removal was going to be a BIG game changer in our nursing relationship if I didn't wait it out a little bit, because I have a very small storage capacity. So, what I opted to do was essentially pump wean down to just a lunch time pump. And for me, it wasn't about getting a certain amount or maintaining a certain yield, it was just what I needed to do for myself mentally to not feel like I had led the charge toward a huge milk supply drop, because my toddler was (and kind of still is) a complete nurseaholic! So, I'm just wondering if it might be easier for you to lead the charge if you have an intermediate goal along the way--maybe just wean off from the 4 pumps, give back your rental, and if you feel like you need to still be doing SOMETHING, use another pump and express when it is convenient for you. And sit with that for a while, and see how you feel, and see how your child is doing with all of it.

    I finally did drop my lunch pump at 23 months. By that point, I feel like everything else had ramped my supply downward gradually enough on its own that it wasn't going to change much about our at home nursing relationship. But I still felt emotional about it. Also, my daughter was old enough and verbal enough that she knew what pumping was, and I always brought home the lunch milk for her, so we had to talk about how that wasn't going to happen anymore, which was a whole other issue for me! I think after two weeks, I was like, okay--this was the right move, and it was okay! Another mom on this board kind of helped me understand that weaning is going to bring up feelings for a lot of people, no matter how you're doing it. Pump weaning is really no different.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that you aren't alone with turmoil over pumping into the second year. I understand exactly how you are feeling!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Lillington, NC
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: 18 mos pump weaning, confused and emotional

    Thanks for this post! And for your reply, sonogirl. Bah, I HATE pumping, for all the same reasons. Also having the guilt of thinking of stopping at 12mo. I keep hoping that he'll stop drinking so much milk so I can switch to once a day pumping. Just commiserating here.
    Mommy to Sam (6yrs), Micah (4yrs), and Caius (11mo).
    Breastfeeding my littlest by night and pumping by day.

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