This is a hard post for me. I am not weaning, but trying to find a managable system. Briefly: After a hard pregnancy and premature birth, I tried with everything in me to nurse exclusively. We had many difficulties and unfortunately weaned after 6 weeks and little weight gain. I couldn't live with it and have been attempting to relactate for three months (with decent results).
My 71/2 month old enjoys nursing. I can almost produce enough milk if I take domperodine, follow a lactogenic diet/herbs, use a hospital pump after every nursing and get up in the night to pump then add the milk back in using an SNS. And then my monthly hormones kick in and my milk pulmits. I have to supplement up to 3 oz of furmula each feeding in the SNS and work to get my milk back up and the cycle continues.
The problem is that I cannot manage the rest of my life and do this. I have four children that we homeschool and I am not keeping any semblance of a house. One hour of every two is spent on nursing the baby. It is also emotionally draining. (He is not ready for solids, yet. I am trying that route!)
So, ultimately I set a goal to get through Christmas and then to make some tough decisions. I am going to nurse using the SNS a couple of times a day. I will continue to comfort nurse (it is the only way he knows to go to sleep). And I will nurse on demand at night. But I am going to bottle feed some, too. And no more pumping -- this is the hardest part for me.
Anyway, my question is about maintaining some of the milk. Am I destined to loose it with this schedule? How many hours can I go without nursing and not loose all of the milk? I will continue to comfort nurse and nurse with the SNS whether he gets any breast milk of not. I hope he will get the breast milk, too, but I can't continue this impossible routine.
Last night I know that my body is adjusting because when he woke up at 4 am, I was dripping on the side he wasn't nursing. This NEVER has happened. So I probably am already reducing the amount of milk I have had. He kept nursing off and on until around 7 am when we got up and didn't need to eat again until 9:30. I wish that maybe we could "reverse cycle" where he nursed all night and got a significant portion of his calories that way.
I guess I just want to get back 20 responses saying "Oh, yeah, your milk will be just fine." But I also want the truth. I figue he will get more than just bottle feeding alone. And I whole-heartedly agree with Jack Newman saying "There is more to breastfeeding than milk."