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Thin milk & supply during 2 weeks away from 17 month old

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My 17 month old DD and her dad just left this morning  for the US (we live in Europe). I'll join them in 2 weeks and plan on pumping to keep my supply going while we are apart. DD usually nurses at least 3 times a day: in the morning before I go to work, right when I get home, and before bed. On weekends it is more. Sessions usually last between 5-10 minutes. I've got some questions that maybe you can help with....

 

  1. If I pump once in the morning and once at night, 3 oz at a time, is this reasonable to keep up my supply?
  2. I just now pumped for the first time since they left and noticed that the milk looked thin. When I put it into the freezer next to some frozen milk from May and June, it looked even thinner. Is this normal?
  3. Is the milk from May and June still ok? Will it keep until January? It started out in a deep freeze, then was transferred to our regular fridge freezer, but I could put it back in a deep freeze if needed. If it isn't good for DD to drink straight, maybe I could cook with it? Make some cookies? eat.gif
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

HELP! Supply is crashing!

Tomorrow will be the 1 week mark for time away from DD. Late last week I was pumping 4 oz at a time, but now I can barely get 2 oz per session. I was pumping once in the morning and once at night, but now I'm adding a third right after work.

I had a really nasty cold over the weekend, so that might be part of it.

What can I do to keep my supply up? I'm drinking water like crazy and am going to go buy some non-alcoholic wheat beer (recommended over here Europe in German-speaking countries for nursing mothers).

I won't see DD until 10 days from now.

I talk to her on Skype once a day and a few times on the phone. Skype is mostly her trying to kiss the camera and on the phone she just listens to me and then tries to push the buttons.

I've tried keeping pictures of her in front of me when I pump, but that's also not helping.

She's been a very enthusiastic nurser and I really want to still have milk when I see her again. 

post #3 of 10
I wouldn't be concerned about milk looking thinner. Milk changes from day to day, hour to hour and month to month. So put that worry aside.

Your cold definitely could affect your supply, sicknesses and lack of sleep were always a huge effect on my pumping supply, so make sure you are getting plenty of rest too. I think adding a pumping session and maybe doing some power pumping in addition to beer and drinking plenty of water (don't go crazy, but make sure you aren't thirsty) are all good. I used power pumping effectively while pumping during my working FT. I would pump my normal 20-30 minutes, then break for 5, pump for 5, break for 5, pump for 5, maybe a few more times of that. It's a way to signal to your body that it needs to make more milk. I would do it until you see your supply increase or until you see your DD again.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am so sad, I think she weaned. I saw DD for the first time after 2 weeks and she looked at me kind of in shock. She refused to nurse that night and cried and cried. It's been 2.5 days and she hasn't nursed yet. She will put her mouth to the nipple briefly but then move away.  Otherwise, though, she is happy to be around me.

I feel so guilty for being away from her for 2 weeks. She also got a bad ear infection while we were apart. I am still pumping but it is getting harder and harder to get milk.

I keep praying that this is just a strike. I really didn't want it to end like this.

post #5 of 10
Big hugs Danube. I hope it is a strike too. Try hanging out with her topless when she's sleepy and maybe her instincts might take over. I would also try to hand express a little so the nipple is covered in milk to help jog her memory. Two weeks is a long time to a young toddler and unfortunately it was an unavoidable separation. Things will be ok even if she did wean. You are doing the best you can and I applaud you for pumping for so long. Know that some (albeit not most) toddlers do wean around 18 months if left to their own devices and your DD has already received lots of benefits from nursing as long as she did. Sometimes our expectations aren't met due to our circumstances but if we do the best we can then at least we know we tried. Try not to let this stress you out and enjoy the time you again have with your sweet baby girl. Something may click and she might surprise you both! She might be in a weird place getting to be with you and may be confused or need to adjust give her and yourself time and patient support. Hopefully it will click with her again.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

I suspect she is really done. She will cuddle with my breasts and put her lips up to the nipple, but then pulls back and shakes her head No. I took a bath with her, and while she loved it, she showed no interest in nursing at all.

I'm pumping just 1 oz once a day. I'm thinking of skipping it tonight completely.

As we rocked before bed tonight, I held her and thought of the last time she nursed. It was the morning of her big international flights with her dad. She ran to the couch, put the pillow in the right spot and patted the cushion for me to sit down. Then she jumped up into my lap, gave me a hug, and started to nurse. That was our routine first thing every morning. That's what I miss.

But, tonight I also thought about how big she is now and how nursing helped make her so healthy and strong. I built this child.

On a lighter note, I made toddler cookies (applesauce instead of white sugar) and she loves them. So I guess I still make good things for her. :)
 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Nursing like crazy! We just returned home and she asked to nurse. The night before we came back, she nursed for maybe 4 minutes before bed in the hotel, but last night back in her own room and in her own rocking chair, she wouldn't stop. I'm not sure I have much, if any, milk left, but I'm drinking a lot of water hoping I can get it back. It's a little uncomfortable because she has so many more teeth now and my breasts are so much smaller, but it is so nice to see her back to her happy self. She seems so relieved. We were apart for just over 2 weeks in November and then together for 4 weeks without nursing, so a total of just over 6 weeks.
 

post #8 of 10

Wow, Danube, I'm so glad to read your update! You are my hero for persevering for so long!
 

post #9 of 10

love.gif

 

Yay danube and danube jr.!  Your post about not wanting it to end a certain way really tugged my heart.  I'm so happy for you two!

post #10 of 10

Yay! I loved the way you described your sweet morning routine.

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