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Old 08-16-2006, 02:33 PM   #1
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Question Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

My dd is 12 weeks old, and I have been breastfeeding her (but, having to include supplement formula) since her birth. Because of my incredibly almost down to nothing milk production, I could no longer breastfeed her, she's strictly on formula now. It's been heartbraking for me, knowing I just can't provide her my milk anymore, it was slowly dissintegrating (sp??) but, now that I've just been giving her formula, I'm not as stressed. My question is this, (1) I still have a little leakage from my breasts, (It's been 6 days since no longer breastfeeding) how long does that take to go away completely and dry up??? and (2) when will my period come??? does it take awhile for my body to get back to normal, now that I no longer breastfeed???

I hope someone out there has some answers, or even has gone throught this same thing. I'd really appreciate any help. :-)
Angela

 
Old 08-16-2006, 04:05 PM   #2
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

I know EXACTLY what you're going through! We had to supplement when she was 4 weeks old, however, if I knew then what I knew now, I wouldn't have done it. I'm sure by now you know that breastfeeding is based on supply and demand - what your baby takes from your body, your body will replace. Even just ONE bottle of formula can disrupt this delicate system. It's amazing how nature works, huh?

In hindsight I now realize that what we were experiencing was not in fact a poor milk supply, but NORMAL new born breastfeeding patterns (cluster feeding, etc). I've since switched pediatricians to one who is very pro breastfeeding. He also hooked me up with an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant). I've also joined La Lache League International. I went from predominantly formula feeding, to now exclusively breastfeeding. I did what is referred to as "re-lactation". In other words, I re-established my milk supply after it pretty much completely diminished.

If you WANT to breastfeed, re-lactation is very possible. If you still have leakage, and your baby will still latch on (or even if she doesn't, it's possible for them relearn it), then you can breastfeed again.

Since my struggles, and subsequent success, I have become a major lactavist, and self appointed breastfeeding expert.

I've decided to let Ava self wean, as I'm a huge advocate of extended breastfeeding (even though I know it's not for everyone), so I have no idea how to wean at 12 weeks. But, if you would like help in re-lactating and re-establishing a breastfeeding relationship, even if it is only part time, I would be more the happy to share with you what worked for me.

Last edited by debating; 08-16-2006 at 05:51 PM.

 
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

i know how you feel. i started drying up when my son was 3 months old, and i was exclusively breastfeeding, no bottles at all. i don't know what happened. i breastfeed my first baby until he was 16 months, so i don't know what went wrong. my baby had started sleeping through the night at 2 months and then a 3 months he started waking up about 4 or 5 times a night. it took only about 2 days to figure out that i wasn't making enough milk. i kept trying and he kept sucking, then he would get frustrated because nothing was comming out. we tried this for days. i tried mothers tea, and even a prescription my dr. gave me with a side effect of increasing milk supply, nothing helped, and it broke my heart. i cried for days. i eventually switched him to the bottle. if i knew what i know now, i would have tried more than a week to get supply back up, but i didn't. that was the hardest thing to get a baby that has never seen a bottle to take one. and now he is 13 months and doing great. even being a bottle baby. i just wish i had had the same opportunity to feed him, but he did great on the bottle.
it took me about 6 weeks to completely dry up, where nothing came out.
that's good to know about relactating. i hope with our next baby that i can breastfeed for longer and know that their is help out there. thanks
good luck and know that you are not alone.

 
Old 08-16-2006, 07:03 PM   #4
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

I unfortunately had to discontinue BFing DS (although I didn't want to) due to my milk drying up. I'm not sure at all why this happened.. We had issues at first (as I'm assuming most mommies do when they aren't too sure what to do) but then things started to smooth out.. We had a few good weeks of breastfeeding then I slowly started to see that DS wasn't getting full.. He'd be on the breast for hours... Seriously, hours.. I had to supplement with formula because he would cry and cry... I called one lactation consultant who was recomended through WIC and she said to try pumping after he was done to see if I had anything left, so I pumped and pumped and got nothing. I saw another lactation therapist that the hospital recomended and still nothing..

The only thing I didn't try was pills, fenugreek, teas, etc.. I stayed so hydrated, I think I was wizzing every 10 minutes!!! Stress? Wasn't really an issue as I knew that he had gotten atleast all the colostrum and a good 6-7 weeks of BFing, and I knew formula would fill him if that was needed... so what was it?? I have noooo idea.. Maybe someones input on my situation can also help yours.... Besides, if we try for another, I don't want this happening again! North, you out there?

 
Old 08-16-2006, 07:19 PM   #5
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemybabyboys
if i knew what i know now, i would have tried more than a week to get supply back up, but i didn't.
If it's any consolation, it took me TEN weeks to eliminate the bottle. By week 15 (after supplementing since week 4) she was exclusively breastfeeding again. It wasn't without effort though. I pumped after every feeding, around the clock, took massive amounts of supplements, eat oatmeal every morning.

I'll be back later with more, we have company...

 
Old 08-16-2006, 08:53 PM   #6
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

North of 60!!! and everyone else....thank you for your replies..... North - I would very much like to hear how you were able to relactate...is there still hope for me???? It's been 6 days....without breastfeeding at all. Please...please share how you were able to accomplish this. I would definitely rather breastfeed, I'm having a very hard time dealing with the fact that I'm no longer doing it.

I'm sorry to hear there's other people in the same boat, yet on the flip side, I'm glad I'm not alone either.
Ang

 
Old 08-16-2006, 09:53 PM   #7
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

I just have to ask if you are taking birth control pills. When DS was 2 months old I got on the mini pill which my doctor told me would not dry up my milk supply since it was already established, but of course it did. It took me about 2 long crying days blaming teething and gas and coloc and everything else before I realized the poor little guy wasnt getting any milk. I tried to pump and starting crying when no milk came out. I immediatly stopped the pill and began pumping every 2 hours and drinking lots of water and tea and after a few days it was like my milk never even left. He went on to nurse until his first birthday which was at the end of june and I am still producing milk so I dont know how long it takes to dry up completly. If it has only been a week you should be able to get it flowing again. I wish you luck and let us know how it goes.

 
Old 08-16-2006, 10:20 PM   #8
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

No, I'm not taking any birth control. After my last post, I went and got my pump out again, and right away started pumping I got about an ounce-in-a-half (my dd--her name is Bella, was already in bed). I plan to set my alarm every 2 hours tonight and wake up and pump. My dd has been sleeping through the night now for the past 3 weeks, she'll sleep up to 8 hours each night. Do you think since I'm trying to relactate now, I'm going to have to wake up several times a night to pump all the time in order to get my milk back and keep it??? I went on to a few other websites too, and tried to find out as much info. as I could on this "relactating" business, and was surprised to see so much info., although, North of 60... if you are out there, I still would like to know exactly how you got your milk supply back. I have some teas already (Red raspberry leaf, and Nettle leaf), but I read that fenugreek, and blessed thistle, as well as oatmeal are helpful in increasing milk supply as well.
Gosh!!! I feel alive/whole again after hearing that there is still a chance for me to breastfeed my dd.

I wish I hadn't given up, and had gone online sooner with my concern.

Thank you!!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! to everyone for showing me there's hope. Although, I hope if I can develop a supply that I can keep it going until dd is a year old.

Ang

 
Old 08-16-2006, 10:51 PM   #9
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

You definately still have hope...a friend of mine stopped breastfeeding her newborn after a couple weeks. After over a week of trying different formulas that her little guy just couldn't handle, she was advised to start breastfeeding again, she had to take a medication to help increase her milk and it worked well and she was able to breastfeed until she decided to stop at 5 months old. I have had 2 friends use a medication to help stimulate the milk production again. But I would also pump and nurse as aften as you can over this next little while to help increase it naturally as well....the other poster was correct when she said it's supply and demand. Goodluck...I just finished weaning my DS after 11 1/2 months of successful breastfeeding.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:34 AM   #10
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

I'm back....

For the issue of sleeping through the night, and then not being able to satisfy a baby when they wake again wanting to feed - that is the single biggest reason I am an advocate of co-sleeping. The same thing happened to me. I was SO set on setting a bed time, getting her to sleep, getting her to nap, etc, that I completely overlooked HER cues. The best thing I ever learned was to "watch the baby, not the clock". Besides pumping, co-sleeping is probably half the reason I'm still breastfeeding. I was able to take her to bed, let her latch on, and sleep while she suckled all night long. She got what she needed, and it stimulated my body to produce more milk. I've come to learn that babies who "sleep through the night" wean earlier for this exact reason, an extended amount of time without nursing is detrimental to the nursing relationship!

Having said that, we're back to letting her sleep on her own, however, sleeping through the night is not a priority. Nursing is. If she's hungry, she gets fed.

I have also learned, after visiting with specialists (when they suspected I had insufficient glandular tissue) that legitimate poor supply problems are extremely rare. Supply problems are almost always due to breastfeeding mismanagement, which was the case with us. Also, your milk doesn't just "dry up".

Things can happen that will influence a nursing session, like food intolerances, reflux (which DD has), taste changes, which can all manifest themselves as a perceived low supply issue. The problem, however, is not that there is a problem, but that there is a lack of support in finding a solution.

I had a crappy doctor who's first response was to give her formula, and as a reluctant, nervous, and worried mom, I did. Had we have gotten the RIGHT help from the beginning, we would have learned that her reflux, coupled with an INTENSE desire to suck, that was painful on top of that, meant for crappy nursing habits. First and foremost, she was in pain. Plus, she wanted to nurse non stop. But, all that was normal! Once we treated the problem (reflux), everything else just fell into place. It was at that point that I made the decision to stop using formula all together.

However, since I had been supplementing, I DID end up with a low supply issue. Artificial feeding means less time on the breast, and less time on the breast means less production.

So, I got a pump. A good one. A double electric Madela Pump In Style Advanced. I also got an SNS (supplemental nursing system). It's a feeding tube that you tape to the breast so that she can nurse and be fed from a source other then your breast. It serves two purposes. One, it stimulates your body to make milk because there is actually a baby suckling. And two, it gives the baby that instant gratification to keep an interest in the breast. A hungry baby who is not getting enough milk becomes frustrated, and so enters the formula.

On top of the SNS I also pumped after every feeding. I also took fenugreek, blessed thistle, mothers milk tea, and oatmeal. I washed pump parts so many times in a day that my hands were cracking. I had to use nipple cream on my HANDS!

Around 14 weeks old, after 10 weeks of supplementing, I said to my husband "starting tomorrow we're not using formula anymore". That was June 15th. She's hasn't had formula since June 15th. The first few weeks were tough. I was making just enough to get by, but like those first few days after she was born it was CONSTANT nursing. I was essentially waiting for my milk to come in again. And it did. We nursed every hour around the clock.

Now, after being formula free for 2 months, I can't miss a feeding (more then 3 hours) or I become painfully engorged. I have to wear nursing pads to bed at night or I wake up soaking wet. If I go out without her I have to wear nursing pads otherwise I get a let down when I think of her and up leaking. I've also managed to store over 50 ounces in the freezer for days when I want to sleep and let DH take over. I've earned that privilege.

I simply could not let go of breastfeeding. I wanted to quit so bad, but I couldn't. I actually looked for excuse, after excuse, after excuse to quit, but there just wasn't one. I was given breasts for a reason, and by gosh, I was gunna use them!!! I am so glad I didn't quit. It is SOOOOOOOOO easy now. She nurses for 5-10 minutes, then pulls off smiling. No bottles. No stinky formula. No nasty formula poops. No more cracked hands. No more figuring out how to warm a bottle while we're out in public. My hard work paid off!!

AngelaSue, if you are mourning your breastfeeding relationship, which it sounds like you are, don't give up. Many women have endured much harder hurdles then us and still succeeded. Through my struggles I've met women who exclusively pumped until their micro premies were strong enough to latch, sometimes not actually taking the breast until 9 months old. I've met a woman who induced lactation and is exclusively breastfeeding an adopted baby. Those women are the reason I couldn't give up.

I wish you luck!! ((hugs))

 
Old 08-19-2006, 07:44 PM   #11
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

North..... Thank you so much for all your advice. I'm sorry I'm just getting on now, I had to go out of town unexpectedly, so I was away from a computer for a few days.
I've been working on my breastfeeding again, thanks to you, since I last posted, and started doing most everything you mentioned except for the co-sleeping. My daughter sleeps wonderfully in her crib, and I'm terrified me or my husband will roll onto her, he's a very heavy sleeper. So far, it's been about 4 days now of trying to breastfeed again, and I don't notice even a slight improvement. It may be too late for me, she's only on me for a few minutes and she fusses and won't take my breast anymore after that. I'm forced to give her formula, for fear she'll starve. I've even tried squeezing my nipples after she's off me, and there just isn't anything there. I also have the same pump as you, that I bought at the hospital when she was first born, and it's not seeming to help either. I'm not giving up yet, because I know it takes time, but I'm starting to lose hope that I'll produce enough for her needs.

I'll keep you posted, thank you again, if you have any further advice to add, please don't hesitate.

Ang

 
Old 08-19-2006, 07:59 PM   #12
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaSue
It may be too late for me, she's only on me for a few minutes and she fusses and won't take my breast anymore after that. I'm forced to give her formula, for fear she'll starve.
I'm so glad to hear you're giving it another shot. You can do it!!

But, you really should get the SNS. You can buy them at Babies R Us. I believe it's made by Madela. There is also one called the Lact-Aid, though I preferred the SNS. This way, she actually stay on the breast, AND suckle, for an entire meal while still receiving a supplement.

When you think about it, it's no wonder that she fusses on the breast. A bottle works entirely different then your boobs. For example, a bottle is not vacuum pressured like your breasts, in fact, they're vented! This makes for easy drinking, and in some cases, there is little to no sucking required at all. If you hold a bottle upside down, chances are it will drip, yet, our breasts don't drip. Nursing requires work!! It is because of this that fussing may not actually be an indication of low supply, but in reality, an indication of preference or confusion.

If you pumped an ounce and a half, you DO have milk. Your goal now is to switch baby's preference from the bottle back to your breasts. The best way to do this is to give her the instant gratification that at bottle does, yet at the breast. This is where the SNS comes in. You hook the SNS up, put her to the breast, latch her on, and she sucks. She'll get what ever you put in the SNS bottle (formula or EBM), but she is actually sucking at the breast. The BEST way to increase your supply is to nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse. Having your baby on the breast is the best stimulation you can have, and the SNS will keep baby interested in being there, and nourished.

Then, after you feed with the SNS, you pump. AT LEAST 10 minutes. Repeat every 2 hours.

I'm not kidding, it's hard. And tiring. And emotional. But SOOOOOO worth it.

And if you never get back to exclusively breastfeeding, that's Ok too. Any breastmilk is better then none. And just having her on the breast at all is great in and of itself.

 
Old 08-21-2006, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

WOW!!! That's really great information....thank you I'm not quite sure I understand how that SNS thing you mentioned works, but I'll go to Babies R Us and take a look. I've never seen those before. Thank you again. I'll keep you posted.

Ang

 
Old 08-21-2006, 11:56 AM   #14
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaSue
I'm not quite sure I understand how that SNS thing you mentioned works, but I'll go to Babies R Us and take a look.
They're sold in the same spot as the madela breast pumps, at least that's where I found it. I'm pretty sure it was Babies R Us.

I'm trying to think of the best way to describe it, and I guess it's kind of like a bottle that hangs from your neck with a feeding tube. You tape the tube to your breast/nipple, then, you latch the baby onto the breast as per usual, and when they suck, they suck milk out of your breast AND the feeding tube. It's a great way to supplement without using a bottle, and to keep the baby actually on the breast.

 
Old 08-22-2006, 11:48 AM   #15
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Re: Weaning baby off of breastfeeding

my experience....DS was born 6 weeks early. He couldn't breastfeed AT ALL! he refused the breast and only took a bottle (im not sure if it's because they offered him the bottle first)...I tried....and tried....and tried!! from day one, i pumped every 2-3 hours....i continued to offer my breast up until roughly 6 weeks and gave up all hope of ever nursing. however, about 3 weeks later, ds was fussing up a storm...i ended up offering my breast again and he took to it! it was like he did it from birth. By then though, I had already gone back to worlk so nursing was reserved for naps and just before bed...

you can re-lactate, or at least i believe you can. it takes LOTS and LOTS of work...I started to dry up shortly after I returned to work. Life was just so hectic for me. I started pumping every 2 hours initially, drank tons of water and took some fenugreek supplements. I also nursed whenever I could, and let ds co-sleep for the time being. my milk supply was established again! i mean i literally went from making barely nothing to making a substantial amount. so much, that I had an entire freezer full of breastmilk--and i mean packed to the max!

good luck, don't give up...and even if it doesn't work out, at least you gave it a try

 
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