Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Partial Weaning an 8 month old?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    219

    Default Partial Weaning an 8 month old?

    I’m desperate and need advice. Baby will be 8 months at the end of this month. He had a tongue/lip tie, just like his sister, and revision didn’t help my pain (just like his sister). He’s gotten a couple teeth now, and nursing has become even more painful (he’s a biter, too, and smiles at any attempts to correct it). I’m now getting plugs and bruised nipples again. I was already planning to wean around a year, as I just can’t take this much longer, but I need help/relief now.

    How many times a day should he be nursing to satisfy nutritional requirements? He nurses an average of 10x a day right now, sometimes more; rarely less.

    He’s very enthusiastic about solids, but so far we just feed him dinner (whatever we’re having + prunes and water - he has had constipation issues since birth). As long as I nurse him beforehand, is it ok to offer food at each meal?

    How would I go about cutting down to minimum feedings (ideally, I would like to cut down to ~4 feedings during the day - wakeup and before meals, plus somehow get down to 2x a night), and should I offer replacement expressed milk/formula? Is it even possible to manage this?

    Also should add - he has almost zero comfort or sleep association with nursing - he doesn’t want to nurse when he needs comfort, he goes down for naps awake, and half the time he wakes at night to nurse, hubby has to get him back to sleep or he just lays in our bed talking/babbling til he falls asleep on his own (he sleeps first stretch in a crib in his room, then comes to bed with us).
    Last edited by @llli*mama7008; December 20th, 2017 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,763

    Default Re: Partial Weaning an 8 month old?

    Unfortunately it is probably not possible to generally accurately estimate how often an 8 month old would need to nurse in order to get their nutritional needs met. It depends on too many factors.

    You could try weighing baby before and after baby nurses, to see how much he intakes when he nurses. This would require renting an infant scale and would be pretty inconvenient, because you would want to try to weigh baby immediately before and immediately after as many feedings as possible over a few days to get a reliable daily estimate. But from that, you could figure out an approximation of how much to supplement with formula or expressed milk depending on how many nursing sessions were dropped.

    Before I go on about weaning, I will mention a couple things just to hopefully help in your discomfort more immediately, and also a caution. Plugged ducts are usually a sign that milk is not being removed frequently or effectively enough. Baby may be getting enough, what I mean is that plugs are often a sign that milk removal is not optimal for YOU. So, reducing how often baby nurses while that is going on may in fact exacerbate that issue. Eventually, reducing how often baby nurses (and/or how often you pump) will in turn reduce production, so the key to avoid worsening the plug situation is reducing milk removal gradually. Or, if you plan to pump more and nurse less, make very sure the pump is working very effectively, fits right, etc, and is removing milk from all the sinuses well enough to avoid plugs.

    Nursing pain from erupting teeth is fairly common at this age. One thing that often helps at this age is different positioning that gives baby room to tilt his head back at the breast to avoid a tucked chin and closed mouth. There are possibly other things to try, kellymom has a good article on biting that includes inadvertent teeth rubbing issues.

    So more about weaning off the breast to other things:

    He’s very enthusiastic about solids, but so far we just feed him dinner (whatever we’re having + prunes and water - he has had constipation issues since birth). As long as I nurse him beforehand, is it ok to offer food at each meal?
    You can offer an 8 month old solids several times a day if you wish. Solids/more solids are usually going to increase constipation, so perhaps be very careful to avoid constipating foods like cereals, breads, etc. while increasing solid intake.

    As far as offering to nurse before meals, this is a strategy suggested to mothers who are wanting to protect their milk production and the nursing relationship longer term. What happens with many babies - especially the solids enthusiasts- is they eat more and more solids and nurse less and less very quickly, faster than "normal" leading to earlier weaning/earlier reduction of milk production than mom wanted, sometimes even weaning prior to a year. Since you want to wean sooner rather than later, I do not see why you would have to be careful about nursing baby before meals at all. (Except, again, for your own comfort/health.) But then of course if you do not nurse when baby has solids meals, you have to think about making sure baby gets plenty of fluids another way. Sips of water with meals is totally fine, but if baby needs more fluids I am not 100% sure straight water in larger amounts is entirely safe at this age- you just might want to check with pediatrician on that. Of course if baby gets formula or milk in a bottle instead of water for fluids, that solves that concern.

    How would I go about cutting down to minimum feedings (ideally, I would like to cut down to ~4 feedings during the day - wakeup and before meals, plus somehow get down to 2x a night),
    and should I offer replacement expressed milk/formula?
    Again for your own health, typically the recommendation would be careful to very gradually and slowly reduce milk removal (either by baby or pump.) For baby, a gradual shift is also probably safest, but since you want to go a long way- eliminating 6 nursing sessions a day is a lot- you may not have the time or patience to be as gradual as normal weaning process would be. This is why if you want to reduce nursing that much relatively quickly, yes, it would probably make sense to offer expressed milk or formula as well as solids. Nursing 4 times a day is not typical for a baby of under a year, and even many or possibly most toddlers nurse more than that if allowed.

    Is it even possible to manage this?
    Yes of course, this is exactly what combination feeding is- a mix of bottles of formula or breastmilk and breastfeeding, with solids added when and as age appropriate. Most moms who breastfeed at all past the first few months combination feed their baby to some degree. There is nothing unusual about it and it is ok as long as you understand and are ok with the consequences, which are 1) milk production reducing early and 2) baby nursing less or even eventually refusing to nurse early. Just as with solid introduction, the cautions regarding combination feeding are there because it is a practice that often leads to "early" weaning and "early" reduction of milk production. If you are wanting early weaning and early milk production reduction, then the cautions would not really apply to your situation.

    If it is true baby has no need to comfort nurse, in other words, baby nurses for nutrition only, then weaning your baby should be very straightforward- add in more solids and bottles, and baby would request less to nurse. If you find that adding more solids or bottles do not lead to less nursing, then I would suggest the list of gentle weaning techniques you can find in the books How Weaning Happens or Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: Partial Weaning an 8 month old?

    Thank you so much for your detailed reply!

    I have always been prone to plugs (and mastitis), so I am going to be very careful in reducing feeds. As much as I want to quit cold turkey right now - nursing is excruciating - I know not to do that! Or even to cut multiple sessions even in the same week - aiming for supplementing one feed/week, possibly every 4-5 days if I’m not too uncomfortable. I will look at the positioning suggestions and tips to try to alleviate some of that discomfort during this process - thank you.

    Thankfully, we eat a fairly meat/veggie/fruit heavy diet due to my health issues, so he’s not getting a lot of breads/cereals at all (really just those little cereal puffs while traveling!). So far we’ve been able to keep his gut moving by offering prunes every day, which he loves. We are watching carefully as we start offering food more often.

    I’m not confident that I will be able to maintain my supply for long by pumping - I never responded well to the pump with my daughter, but have done ok with this baby (enough to leave occasional bottles with dad while I run errands). My current plan is to try to eventually get to where I pump 3-4x a day (depending on output) and use that in his sippy with meals/freeze any extra, nurse during the night (as long as my supply lasts), and supplement formula for the remaining feedings he needs. I do recognize there is a great risk both with pushing more solids and using bottles that he will refuse the breast (we do paced feeding, so hopefully that helps) and he may wean earlier, but I have made my peace with that (or, really, still in process of coming to terms with it), as that is what we need to happen.

    Again, thank you for your response! Trying to think through all of this, particularly with the holidays and traveling thrown into the mix, has been tough.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,763

    Default Re: Partial Weaning an 8 month old?

    Glad to help. Protect yourself during the holidays! Running around, travel and stress tend to breed plugs and mastitis as I am sure you know!
    I am so sorry nursing is so painful. Some moms find hand expression helps when trying to keep the milk flowing to avoid plugs while reducing nursing or pumping is not doing the trick.
    Emotionally, weaning tends to be a tricky time for moms no matter the age of child. I have learned over the years that every age has unique challenges and unique joys.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •