I really hope you can give me advice about what to do…
My DD just turned 7 months old. We had a rough start (traumatized nipples, full-time expression, bottle since 2 weeks old) but got all of it straightened out by the time DD turned 4 months old. Since then, she’s been nursed directly and exclusively. I introduced solids using Gill Rapley’s baby-led introduction to solids approach when DD turned 6 months old. She’s gradually getting the hang of chewing although she hasn’t quite yet mastered swallowing. She is getting something in, however, since her poopy diapers have changed. But, I wouldn’t say it should affect her milk intake by a long shot since she gets solids only once a day (dinner time) and at lunch from Friday – Sunday (when I’m off). She’ll eventually get more solids when she actually learns how to eat, or rather, swallow.
We’ve also started letting her practice with a sippy cup with a little bit of water. Again, she has yet to master holding and tipping it. If and when she does drink from it, it’s more because she’s playing rather than being thirsty. So, I would say she gets no fluids, other than breastmilk, when we’re apart (3 bottles of approx. 120 ml / 4 oz within 9 hours).
We’re going through the second heat wave of the summer with no end in sight. Since the start of it (and my problem) a week ago, DD has a hard time falling asleep at the breast before bedtime. She doesn’t seem interested in nursing. Throughout the day, it’s a chore to get her to nurse. She squirms and is distracted by the tiniest peep or creak throughout the house. And if and when she does latch on and suckle, it’ll be for a minute or two and then she slides off and immediately puts her thumb in her mouth. If I put her down, she’ll start signing “milk” and then it starts all over again.
When I returned to work, I resumed my usual 3 times every 3 hours expressing schedule. To my dismay, I pumped only 2 ounces after going back and forth several times. I usually get a minimum of 4 ounces. I didn’t freak because DD usually nurses 2 hours before. I usually can make up for it during the second pumping session. Again, only 2 ounces. Then I really freaked and it dawned on me… could DD be weaning? A 7 months? Keep in mind that she gets no other fluids and has suddenly lost her interest in solids. My mother-in-law (who isn’t crazy about my applying the Gill Rapley method…) insists I should introduce rice cereal and mashed/pureed solids on a spoon. I know DD… she won’t stand for it and besides, it’s not that she doesn’t want breastmilk… she doesn’t seem to want anything.
When DD does manage to fall alseep, she’ll sleep anywhere from 7 – 10 hours straight. Of course, my breasts have gotten used the looonnng stretch.
I contacted a lactation consultant whom I’ve contacted in the past. She suggests that DD is already starting to self wean but I disagree. I don’t think DD is necessarily on a nursing strike because she’ll nurse if I offer but I suspect the warm weather is playing a major role. And if DD is weaning, it’s within a space of a week!!! It doesn’t seem possible… LC advised waking DD up at least once during the night to nurse until heat wave breaks.
I can accept if DD is ready to wean but I do not want to replace EBM with formula. I think she may be fooling me (not intentionally, of course) into thinking she’s weaning but is there a way to know for sure? And if I want to extend the nursing relationship until DD is at least a year (to avoid giving a replacement), is this appropriate?
In the meantime, I’ve started taking domperidon, and expressing like mad.
Any advice would be WELCOMED!