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Thread: Decreasing nursing/pumping with 16mo old

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Decreasing nursing/pumping with 16mo old

    My 16 month old and I both enjoy nursing and I think he still gets much of his nutritional needs from it - I don't want to wean completely! However, we want to expand our family soon. I've had two periods, 2 months apart - in January and March. Only once in late December did I suspect ovulation due to changing discharge. (I posted this in the "Fertility" forum but didn't receive a response).

    I read that decreasing night feedings and decreasing frequency of feeds can spark fertility. Here is our routine right now:

    I work 2 or 3 days (13 hour shifts) a week - but not in a row - and I'm still pumping since it's such a long shift. My son doesn't take bottles when I'm gone - he can go down for nap/bed without any milk from dad or nanny, but he always nurses when I put him down on my days off.

    On my days off, I nurse him:
    10:00 (nap)
    3:00 (nap)
    7:30 (bed). If I'm not home at his bedtime I nurse him at 10pm (and I usually wake him up for that).

    On my work days:
    06:00 nurse
    10:30 pump
    2:00 pump
    6:00 pump
    10:30 wake him to nurse
    I pump about 15oz the whole shift.

    I would like to cut back on pumping, just need to figure a schedule. Here are two ideas -

    Just drop one pumping session, keep the nursing at home the same. I did this yesterday, and it worked out pretty well. It would change time from 4-5 hr between sessions to 5-6 hours.
    0630- nurse
    1130 - pump
    4:30 - pump
    10:30 - nurse

    Or, to stop waking him to nurse at 10:30pm, and stretch out that nighttime interval from 8 to 12 hours... I wouldn't cut out any pumping sessions, just do my last one closer to the end of my shift.
    0630 - nurse
    1030 - pump
    2:30 - pump
    6:45 - pump
    Then go all night (hopefully!) and I'll probably be super full in the morning!

    So, I'm not sure which is more important to have return of fertility - going longer overnight (option 2), or going longer between pumping during the day (option 1). Since he doesn't usually wake up at 10:30pm, the nursing at my bedtime is mainly for my benefit - so I don't wake up suuuuper full in the morning. I've always made a lot of milk, so it's tougher for me to just skip sessions.

    I'd really appreciate your input on how to cut back just enough to have regular periods (and hopefully ovulation!). Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Decreasing nursing/pumping with 16mo old

    What people used to say is that what moms needed to regain fertility was a 6 hour break from nursing once a day (once in 24 hours.) But this suggestion is based on one of the (several) requirements needed to use LAM as a birth control method- that baby is not regularly going 6 consecutive hours without nursing once a day. It is hard to explain this in a post but basically what is required for LAM to be considered to be in place as an effective BC method does not mean that NOT having those things in place means fertility returns. For example another requirement of LAM is that baby is under 6 months old.

    Many moms do not see a return of fertility until closer to age 24 months, even a little later, even if only a nursing/pumping a little. On the other hand, many moms who are nursing a lot see a return early on. It is very individual. So you could probably just leave things just as they are and see fertility return within at most 8 months. But, if you are thinking you need to try something, here are my thoughts.

    What I am hearing you say is you are already going more than 6 hours once a day without nursing and have been for some time? So I am not sure there is any need for more consecutive hours without milk removal. What I am also hearing you saying is you make a lot of milk, even now, at 16 months. So reducing what you make, might be more helpful at this point than decreasing how often milk is removed from the breasts. Of course, the way to reduce milk production is to reduce how often milk is removed and/or reduce how much milk is removed each time.

    So taking away a pump session (or more than one) and/or reducing how long you pump I think makes the most sense. It sounds like that worked already without too much trouble? If you find taking a pump session away at work leaves you feeling full, you can try just a little hand expression to take the edge off until your body starts reducing milk production to meet the new lower demand. (also any reduction in pumping is best done gradually.) I also think an argument could be made that for your own convenience and contentment (as well as your child's contentment) it makes the most sense to reduce the pumping and leave nursing alone for now.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; March 10th, 2017 at 07:09 PM.

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