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Thread: Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

  1. #1

    Default Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

    Hi all -

    I have recently come down with a nasty case of mastitis that requires antibiotics (I have had blocked ducts and mastitis before but never this bad). My supply has tanked and I am just so, so ready to be done with breastfeeding and pumping, for a number of reasons.

    My daughter is 11.5 months old and I think she is probably ready to be weaned. She doesn't really nurse for comfort and her nursing sessions are pretty short and to the point (10-12 minutes in the morning and 5-10 minutes each for her day time feedings). She does usually drink a 6 oz. bottle of expressed breastmilk at night, though (and loves it). I would appreciate any general advice on how to wean, but here are my specific questions:

    1. Should I even bother trying to increase my supply at this point, given that I was planning on weaning my baby at 12 months anyway? Or can I just start the weaning process now?

    2. I have about a week's worth of expressed milk stashed in my freezer, but I figure it'll take several weeks of transitioning before my daughter is ready to drop her bedtime bottle. So what do I do in the meantime if I am no longer producing enough milk for a 6 oz. bottle every day? Do I give her formula? Switch to cow's milk? Some combo of the two?

    Any tips would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,911

    Default Re: Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on making it to 11.5 months of nursing despite the challenges you've experienced!

    Your first question has no answer. Whether or not you decide to try to increase your supply at this point is very personal, as is weaning. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for a minimum of 12 months, but you're the one who actually has to do it. If you want to continue, awesome- I can promise you will get nothing but support here! If you decide to stop, we can support that, too. But you're the one who has to make the decision.

    Your second question is a little easier. It is recommended that babies get breastmilk or formula only until 12 months. If you wean at 11.5 months, you technically should use formula for the last 2 weeks and then switch to whole animal milk. But in reality there is nothing so incredibly special about 12 months that makes it okay to use animal milk rather than formula. For a lot of people- including may pediatricians- 11.5 months is "close enough" if you decide you want to skip the formula stage and go right to offering animal milk. You may want to start offering your LO some small tastes of whatever breastmilk substitute you choose- formula or animal milk- to see if she will take them. Not all babies like the taste. If your baby does not, you may need to gradually mix more and more formula/animal milk into her breastmilk bottles until she is accustomed to the new flavor. You probably also want to work to phase out the nighttime bottle, especially if it is being given in the middle of the night. The way bottles deliver milk is very different from the way the breast delivers milk, and they allow milk to pool in the baby's mouth. With a breastmilk bottle, that pooling effect probably isn't too harmful because breastmilk sugars are not linked to tooth decay. Formula and animal milk are a different story, though!

    When you are weaning, it is really important to go slow. This is especially true if you have a history of mastitis and plugged ducts, as weaning is a time when these problems often crop up. If you'd like to talk about your nursing/pumping regimen, maybe we can give some pointers on how precisely to phase them out.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

    Thank you for the response!

    Our feeding pumping regimen right now is as follows: baby wakes up at 7 and nurses for 10-12 minutes. She gets solid breakfast around 8 and goes down for her nap at 9. After her nap, I usually nurse her around 11 (she nurses for anywhere from 6-10 minutes, total), then she gets solid lunch at 12. I nurse her again at 1:30 before her second nap. After she wakes up, I give her a solid meal (dinner) around 4 pm and then a milk "snack" around 5, but I am thinking I want to move her "dinner" to 5 or 5:30 and have the snack at 3:30/4, so it'll be easier to eventually phase out her bedtime bottle. Her bedtime bottle is 6 oz. around 6:30 pm, and sometimes I nurse her, too, after she has her bottle (usually only for a few minutes). She goes to sleep at 7 and stays down for 12 hours so there are no middle of the night feedings, and I brush her teeth after her first and last feedings of the day.

    In terms of pumping, I have been pumping in the AM after I nurse her and until this bout of mastitis, I would pump 6 oz. for her bedtime bottle and then stop. I would then pump again around 9 pm, which is a habit I got into once my baby started sleeping through the night so I could maintain my supply. Right now I am lucky if I get 2 oz. total with each pumping session. The mastitis seems to have killed my supply, and the idea of going through a lot of pain and effort and pumping to try to get it back up, only to quickly wean her after, seems kind of pointless.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by @llli*squidmom; January 12th, 2016 at 08:14 PM. Reason: forgot to include info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,911

    Default Re: Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

    So it sounds like nursing is really part of your day in a predictable way. You're using it to transition into and out of sleep, which makes it a mothering tool and makes me think that you should work on phasing out pumping first and then work on nursing. It sounds like pumping has become a drag, right? So I would start by eliminating that morning pumping session, waiting a few days and then, if there is no repeat bout of mastitis or engorgement or plugged ducts, drop the 9 pm session. Wait a few days again, and then reassess where you are with the whole thing. Sometimes dropping those onerous pump sessions kind of gives you the strength to continue on with nursing... Which I am not saying you have to do! Just that you might want to, because of the way you have worked nursing into your day- even if your baby doesn't seem that interested, even if your heart isn't entirely in it, it seems to me (you know, an outsider, on the internet ) that nursing is still a useful tool. If you wean completely, you still have to get your LO through those tough transitions- the wake-ups and the pre-sleep fussiness. You just lack a useful tool for dealing with it.

    Anyway, if you wean from pumping and still want to wean completely, then pick your baby's least favorite nursing session and replace that with either a bottle or a meal of solid foods and drop the session. Wait a few days, and again, if there is no negative outcome (plugs, mastitis, etc.), drop another session. As you do this, be sure to avoid your customary nursing locations- babies are often triggered to nurse by seeing mom in "the nursing chair" or what have you- enlist your helpers so that you don't have to deal with every pressured moment yourself, stay out of the house or occupied with fun, interesting activities as much a possible, and offer lots of additional cuddles and hugs. Babies who are being weaned on mom's time-table need reassurance that the love and closeness is still there for them, even if the breast is not.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mastitis and weaning - 11.5 month old baby

    I actually don't nurse her to sleep, ever, because she is sleep-trained, but yes, two of her feedings fall right before either nap or bedtime. For bedtime, the bottle is definitely part of the bedtime routine. That's why I am hesitant about giving up pumping before nursing, because I am not sure how I will get the milk for that bottle. I guess I could use my freezer stash to supply that bottle until I can phase it out. There are just so many moving parts to this, it's confusing.

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