March 19, 2008,
L.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN on March 19, 2008
Question About Night Time Engorgement
I am unable to breastfeed, so I pump and bottlefeed. My husband and I had both been getting up for all the night time feedings (daughter is almost 4 months now and still gets up like clockwork at 3 hours). I would pump and he would feed our daughter. This month, we cut out one of the night time pumpings (I still pump about 6-7 times daily). Next month, we would like to eliminate the other night time pumping (and I will pump 5-6). Is it possible to do this without leaking everywhere and being very engorged during the night? When it has been 5 hours plus, I just get soaked. :) Funny enough though, sometimes 3 hours will do it... This might be a silly question, but does a woman's body recognize the time of day to make less milk? Basically, I am gradually scaling the pumping back so that I can hopefully maintain my supply for some months to come. I would really like to eliminate the night pumpings if possible....rather than a day time. Please help! :) Thanks!
C.O. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
Just go slow, pump less and less each day. I'm currently weaning off the pump (my daughter is over a year old). I used to pump 6oz in the morning and I cut it back to only pumping 4oz in the morning for two days, then I cut it to only pumping 2oz in the morning for two days, and then I stopped pumping. I had no engorment at all. It usually takes your body about 2-3 days to know to produce more/less milk. Good luck! I think it is great you are sticking with pumping when you can't breastfeed. I am still nursing/pumping for my daughter but plan to wean all the feedings soon.
S.P. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
I had a few uncomfortable nights, but your body really will figure it out pretty quickly. One of the things that worked for me was to simply pump LESS each time, so that your body naturally begins producing less milk. Also, call La Leche League. They have TONS of resources, and trained people who can help you a lot more than I can!
Congratulations for sticking with breastmilk even when you can't breastfeed. It's so much harder than anyone knows - even taking that into account. You are doing such an amazing thing for your baby.
Hang in there!
B.W. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
Exactly like the others said, cut out one pumping at night at a time, and wait a week or two before cutting out another. And it would be wise instead of cutting out all together, to go every other day. Say you pump at 2am and 5am. Cut out the 2am one eveyr other day for a week, then the next week cut it out completely. Then wait a couple weeks, then cut out the 5am one every other day, then the next week cut it out completely. THis will allow your body to gradually adjust to not needing milk at those times.
Congratulations! Pumping is a full time job in itself and you are doing wonderful, I hope you can cut out the nightime pumpings nad get some rest!
A.T. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
I breastfeed for a year, and pumped as well. From my own experience, you will be engorged for a few nights, but your body will figure it out very quickly and you will be fine. It is rather cool how smart the body is when it comes to that! I was worried about stopping pumping when my twins reached a year (I was producing a LOT of milk!), but it was less painful than I thought and again my body figured it out pretty quickly!
S.C. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
It’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts to changes in feedings and milk supply. I am currently nursing my 16 month old but am down to morning and night feedings during the work week. If she asks for it, I will nurse her an addition time or two on the weekend. With each feeding that we dropped, it would take a few days but my body figured it out fairly quickly. When I dropped pumping sessions at work I did as one other suggested and gradually decreased it. I would wait an extra hour and then pump half of what I usually pumped and continue that for a few days and pump a little less, wait a little longer and then just completely cut it out. I didn’t run into any engorgement issues either. This should help your body slowly adjust to producing less milk at those times. Way to go for keeping up with the pumping even without being able to nurse!
E.C. answers from Milwaukee on March 19, 2008
I recently read that 2-4 a.m. is the time the lacation hormone is the strongest. I recently weaned my daughter from the breast over the last 3 months. I did not find that my body knew what time it was. I was leaking a lot during the night as my daughter cut back on her night time feedings herself. I found that I just had over-all decrease in production. But everyone is different. Another good resource is www.kellymom.com.
C.O. answers from Minneapolis on March 19, 2008
Yes, your body will adjust. I pumped exclusively for almost a year and NEVER during the night. Sleep is just too precious! My last pumping session would be around midnight and the first for the day was at 7 am.
I'm impressed you are still pumping 6-7 times daily! By the time my son was 4 months old, I was down to 3 pumping sessions, but then I produced milk like a cow. =) Are you getting a lot more than you need, or is it just enough? If you are getting a lot of extra, I recommend cutting down the number of times per day that you pump. It will make the night-time adjustment easier.
Also, I don't know if you do this already, but I found I could get a lot more in each pumping session (therefore reducing the number of times I had to do it) by squeezing and massaging every single drop out and pumping a minute or two longer than necessary. Again, any change will have an adjustment period but you can experiment and figure out what works best for you and your body. Just make sure you have plenty of nursing pads on hand in the mean time. =)