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Thread: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Default After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    I've battled illness all winter (first a stomach flu, now an upper respiratory thing) that has impacted my supply terribly. My daughter is EBF 10.5 months old, we have slowly started solids since 6 months but she's all over the place with it (sometimes chows, sometimes doesn't want any; I always breastfeed first) which I don't worry about since she's not 1 yet.

    I'm now at a point where on the breast things are okay but I'm just not responding to the pump like I used to and am getting about half what I need to send for her to day care (I've tried supplements and replacing pump parts, etc. to no avail). I have a stash that is supplementing the deficit that, unless things get dramatically worse, will take us to the 1 year mark. I'm so sad about feeling forced into this position but want to be prepared the best I can if this continues and I cannot pump enough (or it continues to dwindle). Ideally I want to keep nursing when at home together (including mornings and nights) but am so confused about what to do for sending food to daycare if I need to wean off the pump. I'm not sold that cow's milk is a good replacement and even so (or if something else like goat's milk) how much do I send of it (e.g. the same amount I would if breastmilk?). How much solids? Everything I read is all over the place, I'd love some advice or pointing to some resources. I find even KellyMom isn't terribly clear on this (otherwise I love that site).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    I know you have tried replacing pump parts and supplements, but have you tried pumping more often or upgrading to a more powerful pump? Either of those things are likely to be more effective than new tubing or some fenugreek pills. Maybe these tricks are included in your "etc.", but I just want to make sure!

    You mention the possibility of coming to a point where you need to wean from the pump. May I ask why this is in your thinking? Not pumping a huge volume of milk is not a sign that you should wean from the pump. Unless you want to wean from the pump. Or am I missing something?

    If you run short on expressed milk, then until a year you supplement with formula first, solids second. I know that for a lot of nursing moms, formula is the "f" word. But it is far closer in composition to human milk than anything else that is available, unless you have a herd of gorillas you can milk or something. You want to aim to send about as much formula as you would send breastmilk. Solids are a secondary source of nutrition- more of a plaything or a supplement than a majority source of nutrition- so it's hard to say how much you "should" send to daycare. As much as the baby seems to want? Which, at less than a year, might be a lot of solids or might be nothing at all.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    Yup -- I rented a hospital grade pump and didn't see much difference. Pumping more often yielded next to nothing additional if anything at all. But certainly thanks for checking.

    I am thinking I'll need to wean from the pump eventually because my pumping output has continually been decreasing over the last almost 2 months so it seems eventually it will just be nothing. But maybe it's me who is missing something? I want to wean from the pump eventually but certainly not now. It just seems as if it's already happening. Certainly correct me if I'm wrong!

    Sorry I was unclear: I should be okay on expressed milk until a year so no need to supplement with formula (or solids for that matter). But if that weren't the case (if not wanting to milk my herd of gorillas of course) I would look into formula without hesitation. But that shouldn't be the issue. I'm wondering, at the point after a year if/when I run out of supplemental expressed milk then do I transition her to a milk and if so I'm unclear how much I should aim to provide her (e.g. if she drinks 10oz/day of breastmilk at daycare, and I only pump 3 do we aim to send 7oz of goat's milk?). I also hear of folks skipping non-breast milk altogether or have it be a minimal part of the diet which I find appealing (not a fan of factory farmed dairy) but then worry she won't take in enough via solids.

    [Can you tell I'm a clueless and over-researched first time mom? YUP. You can!] Edited to add: thanks so so much for your reply and help btw!

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    I went back and read your post and you were perfectly clear. I just failed to read carefully enough- sorry! :/

    Regarding weaning from the pump: if you were to get down to absolutely no pump output, then yes, it would probably make sense for you to stop slaving over the pump. But there's no reason to think that would happen- as long as you continue to pump, you should make some milk. After a year, whether or not a mom keeps pumping is a personal choice. So don't feel like you must continue, or that you must stop.

    After a year, what you do about your child's "dairy" requirement is up to you. Giving a child whole animal milk- generally cow or goat- is not the only way to fill that requirement. It's just the easiest way, at least for most kiddos. You can meet your child's needs for dairy by nursing frequently when you are together- it's often said that nursing 3-5 times a day is sufficient to meet a child's needs but I don't see any reason to believe that, since milk supply is going to vary so much from mom to mom. You can give your child dairy products that aren't milk, like cheese and yogurt. That works for a lot of people, especially if their kids don't like milk, which many kids do not. And you can give your child carefully selected fat and calcium-rich non-dairy solids. The vegan-when-it-comes-to-dairy approach is fine, it's just more a difficult one because it can be hard to feed the child the right balance, given the erratic way toddlers tend to eat. If you took that last approach, you would probably want to talk to your pediatrician and maybe a nutritionist as well.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    Thanks so much! I'm not going the vegan approach and am happy to include yogurt, cheese, etc. and am really okay with exploring cow or goat milk. I just see how much breastmilk she consumes during the day and am a little put off by her consuming that much factory farmed milk (I'm such a hippie).

    I do worry that, after 1 year, if I don't give her alternate milk during the day she will not take in enough food based on the unreliability of her eating solids (I will certainly plan on nursing when together) but I also recognize I'm worrying about this prematurely (e.g. I'm basing it on her current very small amount of/lack of enthusiasm for solids when it's totally appropriate for it to be next to nothing now). I admit I won't miss the pump and want to wean from it shortly after a year but not if doing so leaves her malnourished -- so certainly a worry is that she won't take to solids or other food sources reliably.

    It's all so confusing. My ped mentioned by now it's normal for the babe to consume about 6-8 oz of solids a day. This is astronomically high compared to what my daughter consumes so I just worry when it's time to really turn to food as something more than practice/play she's going to be at a deficit.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    Sounds like your pediatrician forgot to mention that it's also normal for a baby to have absolutely no interest in solids. There is such a huge range when it comes to solid food intake! I have a friend whose 2nd daughter is around the same age as mine. By 11 months, her kid was downing an entire jar of baby food at every meal, and opening her mouth for more, more, more! At the same age, my daughter was eating maybe a teaspoon or two of food per day- if you counted dirt that she ate off the floor. 6 years on, both kids eat plenty of solids, but my kid is- IMHO- somewhat more open to new tastes and textures than the kid who had a "better" start with solids. So please don't worry that your child won't eat solids. When she is ready, she will develop an appetite for them. My guess is that it will happen sometimes between 12 and 18 months, because that's when my kids started to become more interested in eating solids other than floor dirt. It does leave you in the position of perhaps needing to pump beyond a year- but I wouldn't worry about it right now. Everything can change so quickly at this age!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    Hi Mommal (and anyone else!), just an update and I'd love your insight:
    It's 5 weeks later and three of those weeks I used the remaining bit of my bonding leave (so lucky to have them) so no pumping, all babe-at-boob on demand in addition to varying amounts of solids. Now back at work, I hoped my pumping output would be more but, alas, I'm struggling to get 2 oz. What's left of my stash can certainly take us to her first birthday (in two days -- wow how time flies!). Then all I'll have is some older (~kept for about 6 months in a deep chest freezer) expressed breastmilk and the very small amounts I'm getting at the pump. A few questions:
    - it seems like if introducing milk, I should ease her into it (generally as well as due to the fact since starting solids we battle near-constipation constantly, even with prunes, etc in her diet frequently and encouraging water consumption). Will the older breastmilk be okay to use? Any thoughts on/experience with non-breast milk causing constipation?
    - how can I tell if she's getting enough at the breast? She seems to get frustrated in the evening (protests mid-nurse) but have been told that can happen from the slower/thicker hindmilk not coming easily (you gotta work for it, baby!). She constantly signs "milk" but I'm convinced she also does that to refer to me and other things, ha.

    I'm feeling terrible (pre-emptive) guilt about her not having enough to eat (if she's not reliably into solids and I can't increase my pump output), can I trust she'll figure it out? I feel like I'm between a rock (her not getting enough) and a hard place (give milk but increase her constipation/discomfort). Many thanks.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    I would use up the older breastmilk- it's been in a deep freeze so it should be good for 12 months.

    Animal milk products can cause constipation for some kids. Not all- in fact, I think some have the opposite reaction! But if you are concerned, I think that sticking to things like yogurt and kefir will be less likely to contribute to constipation than milk and cheese.

    With an older baby, it's really hard to tell how much they are getting when they nurse. Their diaper output doesn't tell you anything and their behavior may be completely perplexing. I think all you can do is to nurse as much as possible and assume that if your LO is into nursing, she is getting something out of it. Maybe lots of milk, maybe a little, maybe just a psychological/comfort benefit. But something!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning

    Thank you SO much! Man, perplexing is right! But that's such a great point that she's getting something whether it be milk or comfort it's lovely and important, thanks so much for the info and reminder.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: After sickness, not responding to the pump, weaning


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