March 01, 2008,
R.L. asks from Round Lake, IL on February 28, 2008
Help Weaning First and Last Feedings of Day
My daughter is almost 8 1/2 months old. I have been very gradually weaning her off the breast over the past couple of months. I am now only breastfeeding her for her first and last feedings of the day. Can someone please tell me how to go about eliminating these feedings so I am not in pain all day or all night? Also, which feeding do you suggest I eliminate first? Thanks for your help!
J.I. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
Everybody's different, I guess, but weaning was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I have 16 month old twins, and we weaned back at Thanksgiving. If you are like me, then the last feeding of the day was followed by going to bed, and I didn't want their sleep routine to be messed up! So I weaned the morning one off first. I was ready for trouble when we weaned the night one, but we just offered a sippy cup of milk instead, and they actually had not problems whatsoever. (A little later we switched the nighttime milk to water, so that they are going to bed with clean teeth.) I, physically, had no problems at all with the weaning, but I have heard from many places that if you do have any pain or engorgement, they don't know why, but cabbage leaves directly on your breasts is supposed to help.
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S.A. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
I'm surprised you aren't about dried about just nursing twice a day. By the time we got to that point with my two, I was nearly dried up. Maybe you should try shortening the length of time of those two feedings by about five minutes every few days until it is just a few minutes. You should dry up pretty well.
P.P. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
I would suggest trying not to do one of the feedings (morning probably) one day and try to feed her rice cereal/fruit or whatever instead and see if she "forgets" about nursing. You can distract her with play right away in the morning ..avoid snuggle moments!! Once you drop that feeding, you will be surprised at how fast your milk may dry up with just one feeding (night) left. This happened to me with both of my daughters. AFter awhile, I didn't even know that I had dried up but they would get so frustrated and finally lost interest altogether for nursing because there wasn't enough milk there. ;)
Each child is SO different however. But, just going down to two feedings a day should dwindle your milk each and every day/week to help the "cause"! ;)
P. (nursed daughter1 for 9 months, daughter2 for 15 months and currently nursing son!)
I.D. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
R. thanks for asking this question! I never even thought to post this here. I, too, have an 8 month old that I will be weening soon. Ladies, thank you so much for your helpful responses!
D.D. answers from Springfield on March 01, 2008
Since she is only nursing mornign & evening I am guessing she a uses bottle for her other feedings? If she will take a bottle in the morning you might want to consider pumping a tiny bit just to relieve some pressure. After a few days of this your milk supply might adjust itself so you won't even need to pump. I weaned at 1 year and did it very gradually & used this technique & had absoultely no discomfort at all. A friend of mine did the same and ended up with an infected duct. Symptoms were of course pain, but also flu like symptoms...fever, aches, fatigue. Just keep an eye out. Good luck!
P.M. answers from Chicago on March 01, 2008
I just went through this a few weeks ago with my 81/2 mo. daughter. I was very afraid of the pain also, but it wasn't so bad. I eliminated the evening feeding first, this way when she woke very early in the morning, I could nurse her in bed. I think that the bottle held her over the evening better too. Good Luck! P. M
J.T. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
From my experience, my breasts seem to equalize to the number of nursing sessions we have per day. In other words, they get used to the same schedule and then you don't get engorged in between (unless you're later than usual.) Are the 2 times per day pretty regularly scheduled? If so, it seems like the engorgment/pain should subside. But, if you really want to cut back to one a day nursing, you should decide on your own which one you like better (snuggly morning time or evening) and cut the other one. If you can get your husband to give a bottle for a few days it would probably be helpful. My daughter won't take the bottle from me if my physical body/breast is in the same vicinity! Even if she is willing, I wouldn't be surprised if I would have "let down" of my milk anyway. See if you can get your husband to help. I prefer the bed time feeding to be the last before fully weening, but it's a personal choice. Maybe you would base it on when you feel the most engorged and keep that one. When you want to totally shut down the milk factory, I suggest going out of town for the weekend. See if your husband will let you go off with your girlfriends or send the kids to grandma and grandpa's. It shouldn't be that hard to deal with since you'll already be down to one-a-day feedings. Remember that if you haven't already, you'll probably start your period after stopping the nursing. Also, even if you don't have your period back yet, you can still get pregnant...so be careful! Good luck. J.
J.W. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
Hi, I just went through this a few months ago because I wanted to wean #1 before #2 comes in April (I know I'm a little crazy, they will only be 15 months apart!). Does she use the night feeding to go to sleep? If so, that will be the hardest to drop for her, and I would suggest doing it last. Our special time was in the morning (she would lay in bed with my husband and I to eat), so we did that last. After about a week of no breast feeding it was as though she had forgotten and she stopped trying. She was 10 months when I weaned.
As for the pain, I didn't have too many problems until I quit completely. I dropped one feeding at a time waiting a few days in between to let my body adjust. The best relief was a hot shower where I expressed just enough milk to relieve the tenderness, but not a ton like pumping that would encourage the milk supply. I was lucky and it only took one "painful" day before I was fine. I think the gradual weaning helps.
G.H. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
You poor thing. Your breasts must be raw. I would eliminate morning fding 1st. Baby has slept hours and wakes up hungry. I think they are more accepting of something different because they are sooo hungry. Good luck honey.
K.E. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
Gradually nurse for less time so that you don't entirely empty the breast. Eventually, try for every other day then keep dropping days until you're done. You can always pump a little to releive the engorgement the first few days. It shouldn't stimulate more milk - just take the edge off.
C.T. answers from Springfield on February 29, 2008
I did the same for my 2. Both were nursing, but at 11 months when not nursing they used a sippy cup only (no bottle). I started to wean them @ 12 months gradually cutting out one feeding at a time by shortening the length and then skipping the feeding all together. It was the night time feeding that they held onto for the longest. My son was 15 months when he stopped and my daughter was 17 months when she stopped. I had no discomfort or engorgement. Then again by the time they were weaned the feedings were so short that it din't take long for me to dry up. I hope this helps.
L.M. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
I have nursed four of my five (still nursing #5). For some reason, mine were always willing to give up the night time feeding first. They hung on to the morning feeding. DH started putting them to bed- we already had a bedtime routine in place- and eliminated that feeding. He'd give them a cup of milk during stories before brushing teeth. After a while, I was able to participate again.
Good luck. I am always so sad to wean them. It seems like they are babies for such a short time.
M.A. answers from Springfield on February 29, 2008
Hi R., Glad to hear you chose to breastfeed, a wonderful choice! I breastfed both of my children and started weaning them at 12 months--it took one month for my firstborn and two months for my second, he was a little more attached. I'm not sure if the few months (8 to 12) makes a difference in the weaning process. Most likely not, since I'm sure you already know that the more you feed the more milk you produce and likewise the less you feed the less you produce. And if you suddenly stop feeding, you will feel full of milk and probably in pain, so best to ease into it like it sounds you have for a couple of months. Anyway, the way I did it was by doing one less feeding during the day for a week and then each week do one less feeding. I left the last feeding to be the nightime feeding since this helped soothe them and get them ready for bed. This was enough time for the production of my milk to slow down and I was not in any pain at all. I got sad that it was coming to an end each time, but also excited that they were each on their next adventure of reaching toward independence. Oh, also during the times I would have have been doing a feeding, I gave a sippy cup of 1/2 juice and 1/2 water or a cup of whole milk, since they were both past the 12-month mark. Hope this helps!
J.J. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
I suggest waiting for awhile and just keeping those feedings the way that they are for awhile. The current recommendations are to breastfeed for at least 1-2 years. So you have only 4 mo. to go if you want to go for the 1 yr. mark. You will have less problems with illness and fewer pediatrician visits. It also helps with teething and developmental stresses.
Here is more helpful information for weaning....
Best wishes. :-)
C.S. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
When I weaned my daughter from the bedtime nursing, I started shortening the length of it. Eventually we would count to ten, then five, then one. Then one night I went out so hubby was putting her down. She wanted to nurse so he said lets pretend. He pretended (through his shirt, basically just her turning her head towards him)and counted to one like I had done. The next night I tried pretending and it worked. With my son my milk started to decrease (because I was pregnant again). So I'd nurse him downstairs and then daddy would bring him up for a bottle. Eventually we just skipped the nurse, and he was fine. I didn't have any pain, so I'm not sure why you're experiencing some. Are you sure it's not thrush or something?
V.H. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
This is what I did: I would eliminate the morning feeding first. And then I started to wean the very last feeding what I did was started a bottle for my child and I woudl pump out a very small amount just to get the pressure out and then the next day less and then no more pumping. As far as the pain wear a fitted sports bra and refridgerate washed cabbage leaves. Stick them in your bra and then they get warm replace them. It works. You don't smell like cabbage either. There is something in the cabbage that does something to your milk plus the leaves are the perfect shape to hold your breast. when you get in the shower you can massage the sore spots a bit in really warm water. The warm water will usually let some of that milk drip out. Once you fully stop BF you are probably going to have very lumpy breasts. That is normal. Once you past that stage you will be almost dried up. Hope it helps. I did this both times I BF and it worked for me.
S.E. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
Advice from a mom of a 17 year old.
I agree with some of the responses, when they say breastfeed as long as you can. Some breastfeed well beyond 2 or 3 years but if it has become uncomfortable for you it is time to say, I sorry to your daughter. Breastfeeding suppose to be time together for both of you. A time of bonding.
I was only able to breastfeed for 4 months because of health issues. When I weaned my son it was at night that went last. I think a child needs that comfort of their mom last thing at night.
My son's Doctor said it was alright to start weaning at 4 months. In fact at 6 months my son wanted nothing to do with formula either. He would take water over formula so we talked to the Dr. again and he said try regular milk.
He loved regular milk. My son is 17 years old, 6' 2" tall, 225 pounds, plays football, wrestles, plays volleyball as well a softball and one of the healthest young men around.
Again I will say breastfeed as long as you can but when you have to wean my opinion is night is the last to go.
H.J. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
Weaning went a lot easier than I'd thought it would. I weaned the bedtime feeding first because it seemed to be what my son wanted. He became increasingly distracted during feedings. You'll know when it's right to cut out those feedings. If your daughter is still very engaged during her bedtime and waking feedings, then maybe it's not time to wean her yet. If you need to wean for yourself, then that's another issue entirely, and you can cut out whatever feeding is more convenient for you.
I didn't find that I had any discomfort or engorgement when I cut out feedings. If you haven't had that problem with your previous weaning then you'll be fine with these too. My son was much more attached to his waking feeding than his bedtime feeding, so that's how I made the decision.
N.B. answers from Chicago on February 28, 2008
I'm in the same boat as you right now, and looking for the same answer, so I will be paying attention to see what people write! I'm trying to wean my third child, and it's the hardest one! Can't wait to read the responses!
C.M. answers from Decatur on February 28, 2008
R., I did the same with two of my kids. The way i did it was well, not so comfortable- but it may depend on the person, too. I started cutting down the feeding time at night first. BF a little, maybe half the normal feeding time, the topped him or her off with either bottle or sippy cup, or you can give the cup, and then bf some. It is sometimes a matter of just toughing it out and doing it. Hate to tell you, but it may be uncomfortable for a couple days, but it does get better in a day or so. It's amazing what our bodies acclimate to. Good for you for making it this long!
K.M. answers from Chicago on February 29, 2008
For mine, the evening feeding was the last to go, they seemed to need it for comfort. You didn't mention if you are using a sippy cup or bottle- If a cup, you can transition right to a cup of formula with breakfast. You might feel a little uncomfortable the first day or two with milk production but then it should go away- you could always pump just a little if you are really uncomfortable. You could always try nursing less and less each morning and then going to have breakfast with the sippy if she has a hard time with the transition.