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So we made it to 1 year...can I quit now?

671 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Miss Information
(Happy birthday Emily !!!)

I'm only 1/2 kidding. I am a low supply mama. It's been a long and hard road. I haven't been able to EBF. But I've been nursing since she was born.

Now I don't know what to do. I've struggled with weight gain worries and worries about her getting enough hydration. About how much to supplement with formula and how much solids to give her without compromising the nursing relationship.

I don't know where the balance lies. I have been nursing her every 2-3 hours, and some days my milk supply is okay, and other days it just doesn't feel like there's much there. She doesn't need the formula supplements anymore, so it's okay to stop them I guess. She was only getting 1-4 oz bottle in the past month or so. And solids about 2 times a day, though the past week, it's been more like 3 times a day.

How do I make this work if I want to continue to nurse past 1 year? Do I offer water now or cow's milk if I don't feel like she's not getting enough of mama's milk? I don't want to do a followup formula because the can I had (Enfamil) was based on corn syrup solids or something icky like that.

I've not been lucky to have had an EBF relationship, but I'm just grateful I made it to a year of nursing at all. My first two ended at 6 months and 7 months.

If I had the milk to spare, I'd do child led weaning. I just don't. And lately I just don't have confidence I've got a lot in there anymore. I'm tapering off my supply of dom (I probably couldn't have gotten this far without it) and so that is probably the reason for the lack of milk.

Plus, I haven't enjoyed intimacy with my dh since before this baby was born. It's truly painful - I imagine from the nursing hormones or the dom.

I wish I could wean, but I have such mixed feelings about it. I truly feel that I wanted to go for as long as we could. But I just don't know how much longer that is going to be.

Please, I could use some encouragement. I know my baby loves to nurse. She never seemed to be really upset on my low milk days since she started solids. She likes comfort nursing as much as she does nursing from nutrition. Partly the reason too I can't just wean for selfish reasons.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Well, I've also struggled with low milk supply, though not to the point you did. With the help of 20 mg of domperidome a day (I had to stay at 2 pills a day) I was able to exclusively breastfeed my second dd. (First dd began weaning at 9 months and was completely weaned by 12 months, I was pregnant and couldn't take dom.) So, sometime around 11 months pp, I also began to wean off of the dom. A couple of times, I started feeling guilty for my lack of milk and would take a couple pills a day for a few days, to give my supply a boost, but I only did that a few times and then realized that it really wasn't necessary anymore. So, I thought maybe she would wean when my milk supply went down, but she's still at it. She only nurses 4-5 times in a 24 hour period at 17 months now and I don't feel like I have much milk, but she still enjoys nursing. So, that's my story. Oh, and she will finally (in the last few months) take a bottle of the Very Vanilla Silk Soy milk. She was seriously not fond of any other type of milk. We finally stumbled upon that and I'm so happy! I was feeling bad that she wasn't getting enough milk. Oh, and between 9 months and a year she gained only 6 oz. so I was a little concerned about her weight as well, though she looked healthy and was eating enough solids. She is doing great now!

I would encourage you to continue to wean off of the dom like you are doing and try not to fret about it too much. Just let her nurse when she wants to and offer bottles of milk (be it, soy, goat, or cow's milk) in between nursing or afterwards if she still seems like she needs something. And my doctor advised offering many small meals a day, like 3 meals and 3 snacks per day to boost her calorie intake. Good luck!
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I agree with the PP.

Your DC no longer NEEDS breastmilk to survive, although it is still highly beneficial to her. You could quite easily feed solids, offer milk between feedings and let her nurse when she wants to. She may not be getting a whole lot of milk from you, but the psychological benefits of still having a nursing relationship with you are very important.

Your supply may drop to almost nothing, but it doesn't really matter.
First of all - HUGS - for all of your hard work. I'm also a low supply mother. I'm still nursing my 18 m.o. with a Lact-Aid. We are only using the LA at nap times and night now. The rest of the time we nurse without it. Dd is a BIG comfort nurser. We plan to do CLW, although we may wean off the LA at some point. I am still using formula to supplement, since it is closer to bm than milk.
Congratulations for making it this far! It sounds like it's been a struggle.


Originally Posted by kmcmommyto3
If I had the milk to spare, I'd do child led weaning.
Even if you don't have much milk, many toddlers enjoy the comfort of the nursing relationship. And, as a mom who has nursed a few toddlers, I honestly don't know how I would parent a toddler without this amazing comfort tool. I think a one year-old is still so very little-- if you can manage it I think it would be great to keep going!
You can still do child-led weaning with a low supply. I don't have a full supply and never will because I had a breast reduction in 1999. I didn't nurse my first because I didn't know I could. I had to use a lact-aid to nurse with my second child and she used the lact-aid at every feed until she was well established on solids, so about 16 months. I stopped using the lact-aid and she continued to love nursing and whatever amount of milk she got was fine with her. Actually she nursed with no milk for the majority of my pregnancy this time and she's still nursing at 3 yrs 5 months old. She doesn't nurse frequently because the baby needs it more. I am using the lact-aid with every feeding for my 2.5 month old now and will probably use it for the same length of time as I did the first time. Everyone will do what they feel is best but in my honest opinion 1 year old is WAY to early to be weaning.
I'm struggling with this issue too. Should I continue using Dom? Before I started using it, nursing was so uncomfortable (kitten rasping tongue on nipple -- yuck -- ) ! And, I am selfishly wanting to burn some more calories -- I've been pigging out the last 6 mos trying to keep my supply up.

So, I think I'm going to keep on the Dom / More milk plus / everything else I've been doing, and slowly cutting back my calorie intake until I am to my pre-pregnancy weight -- then slowly discontinue the Dom.
Just LOOK at all of these low-supply mamas I've never met before!!! (whisper - no - nudge - no - SHOUT to the mods, CM, Peggy, whoever: WE NEED OUR OWN SUBFORUM!!!)

First of all, three cheers you've come this far!!! What an amazing accomplishment and commitment to doing what you believe is best for your child.

Secondly I have to merely nod and agree with all of the pp'ers, there is so-o-o-o-o-o much more to breastfeeding than just milk. I make maybe a tablespoon per feeding per breast but my son, who is over 18 months, loves to nurse. I nursed him to 14 months with the SNS and then he was willing to take milk in a sippy cup. We started with the transition from formula to whole cow's milk after a year - he did not like straight milk at first so we had to do a mix for a while, about 3 months - and now he drinks a good quart of milk a day, but also asks to nurse at least 5 times a day (waking, mid-morning, nap, mid-afternoon and evening).

Good advice I got about keeping up the nursing relationship in spite of low supply is to try to go into those usual nursing times (pre-nap, etc) with baby having a full tummy. She may then be more willing to nurse without a heavy milk flow.

If you are worried about liquid nutrients you could try Baby's Only Organic formula, it is based on brown rice syrup because it's a complex carb vs corn syrup or lactose (so the company told me when I asked). Plus it tastes relatively good and the smell is pleasant.

Remember: any mama milk is good milk and at this stage in the game your fat content in your milk is quite high. Plus someone told me once (can anyone confirm/deny this?) that the concentration of antibodies you pass through your milk increases as the quantity of milk goes down.

If no one knows the answer to the above statement for sure (I hate to pass on hearsay), I'll contact Dr Newman, he should know...

Keep doing what you're doing! It's great!! Good luck and keep us posted.

xo, jen
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Even a tablespoon of milk a day is still packed with immunities. In fact a toddler's milk is more concentrated with the good illness-fighting stuff than a young infant's milk. Mother Nature/God seems to know that toddlers nurse less so they need more good stuff concentrated in every sip.

Do what you like at this point, and congratulations for a year! Woo Hoo!

Here's food for thought: in their official breastfeeding policy the American Academy of Family Physicians states that a child under the age of two is "at increased risk of illness" if weaned.
Jen - first, let me say I love your sig.

Thanks for all the encouragement. I do feel like we've hit a great milestone and I'm so proud of me for not giving up like I really thought I would around week 3. And so proud of her for not giving up on me when I didn't have a good day. I've been doing this in stages. I just returned the pump when she was 11 months. My supply didn't automatically shut down like I irrationally feared it would - even though I was down to pumping 1X a day.

She never refused me, ever. I'm so grateful for that. She never had a nursing strike (knock on wood).

I know I can probably still do this for as long as she is willing. So far, she is very willing and loves it. I know she does. Even though she can't stand taking baths, I can get her to relax by bathing with her and letting her nurse while bathing. Even if she's facing away from me in my lap, she turns around and opens her mouth like a birdie waiting for it's mama to drop in a tasty morsel. So I know i can't easily stop without creating other issues.

Sometimes I wish my second dd was still nursing. She has horrible temper tantrums that I know would be eased if she were still nursing. Alas, she's not and I find it incredibly difficult to parent her.

Thanks girls for your perspectives. I don't know many low supply moms who have kept nursing past a year. Usually the ones on the internet have the modest goal of 6 months or 9 months or even 12 months before they hang it up.

And yes I do agree that a low supply forum would be so helpful for moms like us. There are very unique challenges and concerns we have that just don't fit elsewhere. There are many more of us than people think.

I've read similarly about the antibodies still being there, just more concentrated in a smaller volume too. I don't think it's just hearsay, but I don't have a reference for where I've read it.

Anyway, it's good to have encouragement. It really does help make me feel like I can keep doing this. Thanks so much.
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