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Thread: How long before my milk dries up?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    447

    Default How long before my milk dries up?

    So, as some people on here already know, I give my baby bottles of formula occasionally. I've tried pumping, but it's never been successful, and it's usually painful. I originally thought I had supply issues, because my baby would sometimes refuse to BF and only wanted a bottle. I'm not sure if it was supply or just a choice that she was making. Anyway, she's been having more and more bottles lately. Usually it's only 2 bottles per day, but occasionally she has a third. To be honest, this has made things a little easier for both of us. She seems more content and it's nice to not have to struggle to get her to BF in the afternoons. Basically, I try to get her to eat, and if she doesn't want it, I give her a bottle. I know what the majority of the people are going to say, and let me say that I already appreciate the encouragment to continue BF.

    I'm wondering how long (theoretically) I would be able to continue this before she is weened (spelling?) completely or before my milk dries up. She just turned 3 months old, and I would prefer to continue BF (at least for part of the day) until she is 6 months old. She eats VERY well in the morning (I'm quite full because she sleeps through the night), at least once in the afternoon, and then at night before bed. Those times that I listed are the times that we have no problems at all and she doesn't cry for a bottle. Otherwise, it's pretty 50/50.

    I guess I'm just wondering how long it takes for your milk to dry up. If the other feedings are consistent (i.e. if I ALWAYS feed her at those 3 times I listed, at the very least), wouldn't I be able to do it for a while considering the whole supply/demand thing?

    I know the ideal thing would be to not give her any bottles at all and EBF, but I'm just trying to figure out what would work out the best for us. So, any info. you have to offer would be MUCH appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    32

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    im glad you are making nursing work for your family and are giving the baby the benefits of breast milk and nursing time - even if it is on a part time basis - better than none at all.

    your question is a hard one because it is SO dependant on the person. i found that i Always produced something as long as the kids were nursing - even if only 1 time a day or at night. on the other hand, i have had friends that dried up after cutting out 1 or 2 feedings a day. sorry there is no clear cut on this one.

    keep it up as long as you can. you will look at your child in a few years and think "wow, where did that time go?" these feeding issues seem like such a big deal when you are going through them but after a few years go by you realize how fleeting they were and you will be glad for the effort you made.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    447

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    Thank you for the response, Kubi!! So, I guess maybe what I should do is try it out for a little bit. If, for some reason, we start to have trouble with the good feedings that we're having right now, I'll try to increase my supply. I guess there's always the possibility that I won't be able to. Hopefully not, but we'll see. The way that I'm doing things now has just worked out so much better for both of us. She's a much better baby and seems quite a bit happier (not as many fussy times).

    The thing about my supply is that I let her nurse whenever she wants to. Lately she's been nursing to go to sleep (even for naps), so it feels like she's ALWAYS on my breast. I'm taking fenugreek, so I thought the combination of that and her nursing quite often would increase my supply, but it hasn't really made a difference. I really wish she'd take a pacifier instead of nursing to sleep, because it just hurts so bad lately. Oh well, the bottles she has sometimes has taken some of the pain away.

    I hope I'm able to make BF continue to work for us. Thanks for the help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    190

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    I can say that I understand your predicament, having been there myself. However, my baby is now formula free, but not without some effort on my part. I pumpd all day and took many supplements to help. One thing I found out in the process was that DD has reflux, which gets progessively worse as the day goes, which leads to A LOT of crying and fussing at the breast. She wasn't doing it because she was hungry, she was doing it because it hurt! Plus, I simply wasn't aware of the nursing habits of a little baby. She litterally wanted to eat every 30 minutes. Once again, it wasn't because there was no milk, it was just her own pattern.

    Anyway, having said that, I urge you possibly look into alternatives to her crying. I found that once I figured things out it only took a few days to get "back on top". I too was down to about 2-3 (2 ounces) bottles a day, and just one night said NO MORE BOTTLES. I think I stayed in bed for 3 days just letting her nurse, nurse, nurse, but we did it.

    I have no idea how long it will take your milk to dry up, but I can honestly say that not having to clean bottles or mix formula is WAY easier. And now that she's older and things are more undercontrol, her 10 minute nursing sessions are MUCH easier then her all day nurse-a-thons.

    Good luck! I know it's tough, I've been there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    some older babies can go a long time one just one or 2 feeds a day. My dd is 3 and she only nurses to go to bed at night and then in the morning before we get up.
    If what you is doing is working for you keep doing it.
    good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    447

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    So, Andrea, I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying. Even though I am giving her a few bottles (formula) during the day, that doesn't necessarily mean that I won't be able to continue BF the way I have been? Thanks for the response, by the way.

    Good luck! I know it's tough, I've been there.
    Thank you, North. I appreciate the encouragment. I know that it's possible for me to EBF (although, I never really have, because she's always had at least a few bottles a week), but I'm just not sure I really want to do that, anyway. I'm sure a lot of people don't necessarily agree with my decision, which makes the responses and encouragment I get mean so much more. Truth be told, since I've been doing things this way, I've noticed that we're all quite a bit happier. I'm happier, my boyfriend's happier, and most importantly, Isabelle seems to be quite a bit happier, too. I actually feel quite proud of myself for not giving up, yet, because I honestly didn't think I'd even make it this far. And I guess now I'm trying to figure out a way for us to keep going, at least on some level, and still be able to look back on this time that we have together and not focus on how difficult BF was. By the time I quit BF, I will be going back to work, so I really want to enjoy this time and avoid as many negative experiences as possible. I'm not saying that BF has been negative. I'm so glad I did it, and I really love it. It's just that I was starting to get to the point where I didn't want to do it anymore, so it was kind of a choice between doing it this way and not doing it at all.

    But I do have to commend everybody on this website, because pretty much everyone on here has been through so much worse than me and somehow pulled through. Maybe I'm just a wuss. Seriously, though...some of you girls are TOUGH, and that helps the rest of us brave it out as much as possible.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    190

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    Quote Originally Posted by aimee123
    By the time I quit BF, I will be going back to work, so I really want to enjoy this time and avoid as many negative experiences as possible. I'm not saying that BF has been negative.
    If it's any consolation, I HATED breastfeeding, which is what contributed to her being supplemented. Well, that and some not so good advice. It took a lot of figuring out to realize it, and once I did, I was able to work through it.

    I can say, though, that it DOES get better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    as long as your baby doesn't have trouble switching between bottles and the breast you can keep nursing as much as she will.
    Some babies have a hard time switching between. And the more bottles she gets the less milk you will make.
    breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Even if you baby only nurses a few times a day shes still geting some of the benifits of your milk!
    do what you feal works best for you. you know your baby best.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: How long before my milk dries up?

    Thank you both! I really appreciate the help. She switches between breast and bottle just fine, so I think I'm going to continue with what we're doing. It seems to be working for us.

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