Hi, I’ve been EPing for my daughter, who is 9mos but was 5 weeks early. I have a significant oversupply and have ~3500 oz of frozen milk and am still making extra milk every day with four 30 minute pumps per day. I’ve donated milk and was thinking about starting to taper this month, but then I got my period back last week and my supply crashed. It’s mostly back, but it spooked me in the sense that I feel like I’m going to have less control over my supply as I taper. If you EPed how did you decide it was time to stop and what was your experience dropping pumps like? Did you feel like your supply dropped in a predictable way?
apricot / 444 posts
I had to stop abruptly at 9 months due to a medical condition. I went from pumping 24ish oz/day to nothing the next. I was slightly uncomfortable for about 24 hours and then I remember waking up the next day and it was all gone. Super easy and basically painless.
When I had my second I decided to go straight to formula so I was not going to do any pumping/breastfeeding from the get go. My Doctor told me to just push through and resist the urge to pump to relieve pressure. It was about 5 days of pure agony and so much pain. Worse pain than the recovery from getting my gallbladder surgically removed a couple of months later. I couldn’t hold my newborn or sleep. After a few days I started taking Sudafed (the one you have to ask for behind the pharmacy counter) which has been shown to help reduce milk production in some studies. Not sure if that helped or if it just went away on its own.
I know your milk production immediately after birth is much different than 9 months in so hopefully you won’t have the pain. Even after the second time, I’d still just do it cold turkey so you can be done faster and just get it out of the way. I wasn’t prone to mastitis, but maybe if you are you’d be more concerned about doing it cold turkey. Good luck!!
nectarine / 2458 posts
I didn’t EP, but I mostly pumped except for the first and last feeding of the day. With DS2 I also had a significant oversupply and ended up dropping pumping sessions so I could just use frozen milk and not have to pump anymore. I started dropping sessions around 9 months. I just dropped one at a time, and waited a few weeks in between to watch what happened to my supply. It worked great and I was able to quit pumping and still give breastmilk until he was ready for cows milk. Each time I dropped a session I would get a bit more during the others for a bit, but then it would go back down and then I’d start dropping the next one. Good luck!
persimmon / 1483 posts
My supply wasn't great to start with, but when I started weaning from EP'ing, I started spacing out my pumps more, so instead of pumping every 3 hours, I went to 4, then 5. It was a good gradual way to get my supply to decrease.
kiwi / 662 posts
I EP'd. When I went to stop, I also had gotten my period and my supply was naturally going down on its own, so I took advantage of that. What I read instructed to pick a session and decrease the amount of milk you pump by 1-2 oz. per week. I dropped one pumping session a week doing this, so that the impact was gradual and I wouldn't be in discomfort. (I was only pumping a few ounces each session already because of my supply dropping.) The last pump was the hardest one to drop, but I just kept taking less and less milk until I went a day without pumping at all. I ended up needing to pump a couple ounces to relieve pressure about two days after that, and then I was fine to drop pumping completely.
pomelo / 5509 posts
I just went through this (my daughter is 11 months now.) When she hit 10 months I dropped from 4 pumps per day to 3. In order to do that I started gradually moving my 3rd pump of the day (it was late afternoon) later in 30 min increments and decreasing the amount of time I pumped by 5 mins. When it got so that the 3rd pump was only about 90 mins away from the 4th pump and only 10 mins long, I dropped it. That first week I’d sometimes have a letdown/leak around the time I’d normally pump, but I wasn’t too terribly uncomfortable. Shortly after I dropped that pump I got my period back and my supply dipped, and I decided it would be a good time to cut back to 2 pumps per day. Since my supply had gone down I wasn’t as committed to following a schedule for weaning that pump; I ended up just cutting it shorter by 5 mins at a time for a few days and then dropped it. I thought I’d stay at 2 pumps per day until she was more than a year old but my supply really tanked after about a week - I was only getting 1-2 ozs per 30 minute pump. It wasn’t worth it to me since I have enough frozen to give her exclusively breastmilk to 1 year and then give her some for a couple more months. I dropped to pumping just once midday and hand expressing in the shower, and I just kept gradually shortening the pump. After about a week of that, I moved to just hand expressing in the shower for a few days. Now it’s been 5 days since I’ve even hand expressed. I’ve had minor discomfort but managed to avoid any engorgement or clogs.
I think if you just do it gradually and don’t put pressure on yourself to be done quickly or by a certain date, and you’re not worried about making enough (which it sounds like you don’t need to be!), you should be okay!
Oh, I also wore sports bras for that week where I was trying to stop completely, just for the compression, and I took Benadryl a few times since decongestants can dry you up.
persimmon / 1409 posts
@annem1990: Thanks for sharing your experience! I hadn't even thought of going cold turkey. I'm making a bit more than you were so I might want to taper a little before stopping, but at least it would give me control over when I drop to zero.
@JennyPenny: @Chuckles: @foodiebee: Thanks for sharing ladies! Did it seem like as you were dropping your supply went down in a predictable way? My ideal would be to drop until I'm making 20-30 oz per day (I've been pumping 45-50+ oz per day most of her life) and then hold there until around her first birthday, but I just don't know if I'll be able to maintain at a lower level. Maybe the answer is to cut pumping volume rather than dropping pumps?
@IRunForFun: Thank you! I know I don't need to be worried about volume, but I am... DH convinced me to try giving her some frozen milk this afternoon to prove that she'll drink it and it'll be fine (I read somewhere that some babies reject frozen milk). I am looking forward to not needing to pump all the time, but I want to know that she has enough.
kiwi / 662 posts
@karenbme: I didn't have this trouble, but I read that if your baby rejects your frozen milk, you should gently scald the milk before freezing to help. I believe it has to do with the lipids in the milk?
As for if my supply dropped in a predicable way, I would say that once I began, my body was ready and it went faster than I had guessed that it would. It was predictable in that I knew which times of day my body produced more and would therefore take more time to decrease. But keep in mind that my supply was much lower than yours by the time I went to wean. I was only pumping around 12 oz. a day total by then, and I always had a low supply and was taking supplements to help with it, so my body was ready to stop. You know your body, and if you scale back the lowest pumping sessions first, you will be able to see how your body does and go from there. I'm going to guess with your supply that you'd be able to decrease and hold out until her birthday just fine.