E is almost 7 months old and has been getting formula and breast milk since day 3 of life. I worked with a great LC and was able to increase my supply and produce enough that she only needed about 6oz of formula. Then I went back to work and she was getting 10oz of formula and we were still able to breast feed when we were together. She started to refuse the breast around 4.5 months and it was making feeding miserable so I decided to exclusively pump (and obviously supplement). It was going well, I was getting at least 1/2 of her needs and felt really great about it. Now I am barely able to pump 6oz over the course of 5 pumps and am thinking about weaning and just giving her formula. The loss of my time just doesn't seem worth it for the amount I am getting. For the purposes of weaning do you think I can stop cold turkey since most sessions I am getting ~1oz or do you think I need to gradually decrease? I have never had major problems with clogged ducts. Also any tips for getting over the guilt I feel over the fact that I am still producing and therefore could keep doing this to keep getting E some breast milk but I am choosing to stop?
pomelo / 5129 posts
I was also exclusively pumping, and ended up weaning for different reasons (I was prone to clogs and it was majorly impacting my mental health)
I'm in a facebook group I'll wall you the name of that's been really helpful to ask questions in. You can probably find people that are producing about the same as you and see what they did.
I was producing quite a bit more, but by the time I got to one pump a day was only getting an ounce or two total each time. It still took some time to gradually wean and not be uncomfortable, but after a few days, I wasn't sore anymore.
If you haven't been prone to clogs, just stopping and seeing how you feel might be fine. I just started carrying the manual pump with me everywhere just in case once I started trying to go more than a day at a time.
I will warn you, there are some unpleasant side effects I wasn't fully expecting! I had terrible intestinal issues yesterday that started after lunch and left me wondering how in the world I was going to get home from work. I imagine they'd probably be worse the faster you tried to wean
pear / 1648 posts
I was in a similar place with DD1 and I also chose to stop pumping when I was only getting ~6 oz. Definitely not worth it to me at that point. I think I did stop cold turkey at that point but I was only pumping 3-4 times per day and only did it that way because we were going away for a few weeks and pumping was inconvenient. I think I brought a manual pump but didn't end up needing it.
If you're not in a rush, I might drop down to 2 pumps for a couple days and then 1 pump just to ensure you don't get any clogs, but you could also see how it goes and only pump if you're uncomfortable. I would definitely only pump a couple minutes rather than pumping until empty.
As for the guilt, I felt it too but I felt SO much better about it once I actually made the decision to stop. I also let myself be picky about which formula I used (I chose one I thought was closest to breastmilk in scent and consistency) but that was just my craziness and not really for DD, since all formulas are really about equal. Totally not necessary but it made me feel a little bit better about it.
honeydew / 7463 posts
Hi! It’s already amazing that you made it that far. Good job!
FWIW I Was an excellent/borderline over-producer and I still stopped at about six weeks for my own mental health. Just because you produce doesn’t mean you should feel forced to do something that your heart just isn’t in anymore. You, your happiness and mental health all matter as well! Think of all the other things you can be doing instead of pumping! Including spending time with your baby.
As far as weaning, I would still just drop one session every other day. Or start by dropping one for a couple of days and if your body barely missed it, you can try to go cold turkey. You can also just pump to comfort for the other sessions (if you even feel uncomfortable at any point).
Bottom line, I would guess you’d be fine to go cold turkey but might as well start slowly and see how it goes.
As for the guilt - I get it. Like I said, I was making a ton of milk (dont hate me but I was getting 12oz every session!) and I stopped because I just didn’t like it and I had ppd and PPA and it was making it so much worse. I felt guilty for a few days. But then I realized how much more I was enjoying life without pumping so much and I got over it
With my 2nd who is now 3 months, I didn’t even bother. I put a manual pump to my boob once and after like a minute I physically felt ill since I was having flashbacks and so I said “nope!” Again I felt a tiny bit of guilt because my first had 6 weeks of breast milk and this guy could have had some but I did none. But again, when I realized how much freer I was to enjoy my baby this time around, I got over it.
You’ll be ok As you drop the pump sessions just do something you enjoy instead and I’m sure that will help.
nectarine / 2458 posts
I think you should be really proud that you made it to 7 months and I don't know how to help with the guilt except to say I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about with stopping. You did an amazing job already and have given so much of your time and energy for your daughter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding that what you're getting for that effort is no longer significant enough to keep up with it. Your daughter will be no better or worse off whatever you decide.
That said, I would recommend dropping slowly. You may find that you get a similar total daily output with just a few sessions and may decide that is worth your time. Or not - and then just keep decreasing. Either way, the slower you go, the more flexibility you have and the lower the likelihood of clogs or other complications.
nectarine / 2180 posts
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I think maybe dropping a session or two will be the way to go and then I can see what happens. You guys are right I did what was right for my daughter and I in the beginning and now I am doing what is right for both of us now. She is an awesome kiddo and will keep being an awesome kiddo. I am proud of myself.
clementine / 828 posts
one thing that helped me as a reference point was some international breastfeeding figures: https://kellymom.com/fun/trivia/bf-numbers/ (especially the chart at the very bottom of the page)
it's great for moms and babies for whom breastfeeding works for longer, but especially looking at these figures i would view 7 months of so much breastmilk as a huge achievement and personally would feel minimal if any guilt for stopping at that point
nectarine / 2180 posts
An update and a question. I gradually weaned over a 2 week period and then haven't pumped since, my last sessions I was getting about 2 oz in 24 hrs. Its now been over a week since I last pumped and over the last few days I have been feeling my breasts get full and sore, with low supply I rarely felt this way. What do I do? Should I just power through and ice if they get too sore, try to take sudifed or something else?