How to get milk to dry up

Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
How to get milk to dry up
8
Fri, 07-16-2010 - 8:17pm
I'm done breastfeeding mostly because I can't get anything when I pump and lately when breastfeeding my son, my breasts would be empty within minutes. However, there is still some milk in there and my right breast is still kind of full. It doesn't hurt at all though and I'm not really uncomfortable. The worst thing is I am kind of itchy but hoping that goes away. I heard cabbage leaves or can I just let it go and it will dry up on it's own? I haven't pumped or fed since Tuesday and I have some milk left in my left one but I still have quite a bit in my right, not as much as I used to but still enough that it isn't soft yet.
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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Sat, 07-17-2010 - 9:56am

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I think you should know that the above criteria you are using to determine if your producing enough milk is a not an accurate way to judge your milk supply. Pumping is a generally less effective then a baby directly suckling at the breast and some women find that they can hardly pump anything despite being able to breastfeed directly just fine. Also, how fast your baby feeds is also not a good indicator of how much milk your breast have in them. Some babies can get very efficient at the breast with sessions lasting as little as 5 minutes. Unless your baby is loosing weight and not putting out enough wet diapers anymore (assuming your supplementing with formula) then your probably still producing enough milk.

Even if your are truly suffering from a low supply, it is certainly possible that you could bring that back up. If your weaning simply because you think their is nothing you can do to boost your supply at this point (if low supply is truly your problem), then there are most often steps you can take to identify the cause of the low supply and correct it as it's fairly rare for low supply to be unfixable.

I assume that since you haven't breastfed in several days that you where supplementing with formula already and in that case I want to point out that you don't have to give up breastfeeding completely just because your baby gets mostly formula at this point. Even if your baby is only being breastfed a few times a day with formula and solids making up the rest of his diet, there is still benefits to partial breastfeeding, especially immunologically. So you might want to consider at least continuing to breastfed part time.

Now if of course you really just want to wean anyway well then that's your decision of course.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Sun, 07-18-2010 - 12:53pm

If you're experiencing engorgement, it means the weaning process is likely going too quickly for your body to keep up with. Are you at all interesting in tips to increase your supply and go back to nursing? At the minimum I'd recommend just a couple minutes pumping on the full breast, not enough to empty the breast, just to relieve the pressure.


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Avatar for sandyc299
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Registered: 01-08-2008
Mon, 07-19-2010 - 10:53am
I'd like to continue even if it is part time. I guess I just got so frustrated because I can't pump what I used to and I have to give him formula while he's at daycare since I couldn't pump more than 2 oz per session. Plus after I would try and breastfeed him he would act like he was still hungry and I ended up giving him some formula and I guess I thought maybe it was just time to stop. I called my LC to see if she could give me some tips/advice about this as well. My original goal was 6 mos which I did but now I am hoping to make it to at least 9. I would like to make it to a year even if it's just part time. Is there any way I can get back to pumping what I was doing? I would pump about 3-5 oz in the morning (enough for 1 bottle for my son) and then about 3 oz after that. Even if I could get enough for one bottle I would be happy. My left breast I have almost nothing and it is soft for some reason but my son has rejected that breast for months now so I am just stuck feeding him on my right one.
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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Tue, 07-20-2010 - 6:27am

Perhaps we can help with some information about what is a normal amount of breast milk to pump, and what is a normal amount of breast milk for baby to drink while you were away.

2 ounces a pumping session is GOOD> The average is half to three ounces, so you were right up there.

It may be less than you used to pump, because your supply may have regulated to just what was needed. Many mothers have a degree of oversupply initially, and when the supply regulates, begin to think that they do not have enough milk.

Another thing that happens is that the breasts can loose that feeling of filling up and getting harder. They feel soft all the time, and produce milk when needed. Rest assured that the milk is still there - the fact that you have felt sore from it is proof. The baby is much more efficient at extracting milk than the pump, and many mothers will let down better for their baby also.

A BF baby should have around 25 ounces per 24 hours. (between 19 to 30). So while you are away, your BF baby should be having about an ounce an hour average. It is better to offer this in small amount like two or three ounces every 2 or 3 hours.

Unfortunately, what often happens is that the carer offers bottles that are too large, and the mother gets caught in a viscious cycle of pumping large amounts that can become difficult to achieve, while the baby is taking in so much during the day, that they cannot drink enough when directly nursing with you at home.

Also, baby can get to prefer the constant faster flow of a bottle over the breat; the way to address this is to slow down the bottle feeds by using the slowest flow nipple, and using paced bottle feeding techniques. The nipple is removed from the baby's mouth every few suck, and wait a while. Then let the baby suck a bit more and pause again. The whole feed of 2 or 3 ounces still takes around twenty or so minutes this way.

It is quite common for breast to have a different supply, and quite possible to feed on just one side. My baby's all had a preference for one side, and my youngest fed exclusively on one side for more than the last year of nursing.

Now that you have stopped for a bit, the thing needed is to boost your supply as quickly as possible again, with lots of nursing and pumping. Do not cut out the formula abrupt.ly, but gradually wean the baby of formula, by dropping an ounce or so every few days.

How can you alter the amounts taken at daycare vs. the amount of nursing at home? First, get the carer to implement paced feeding immediately.

Also, BF the baby, as you are leaving him - that session will keep him going for a bit into the day. Then, BF him again, as soon as you pick him up. Encourage the carer not to give him a large feed right before you are ready to pick him up - if he is starving, just a little bit to tide him over until you get there. Then, at home, nurse first. While you are still at the stage of reducing the amount of formula, try to get him to nurse first, then top up with the bottle. If he refuses, just give him a tiny amount of formula, then offer to nurse, for as long as he will, then a bit of formula if needed.

Because you have nursed for quite a few months, and have only recently stopped, this is very doable to relactate. I am sorry tht no-one had told you how pumping outputs and the feel of the breeasts may have changed a time went on, and so you did not know what you were experiencing was all normal.

All the best.

Teresa

Avatar for sandyc299
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Registered: 01-08-2008
Tue, 07-20-2010 - 5:02pm

Teresa
Thanks so much for you help. My breasts still do feel soft and I am trying to pump. When I tried to express by hand I couldn't get a whole lot but is that an indication that I don't have a lot? I am not sure. After I pumped yesterday (first time in 6 days) my breasts then went soft and they have been ever since. Today I pumped twice ( I wasn't able to a 3rd time as I have a cold and I was trying to get some rest). I wasn't even pumping an ounce but i felt it was better just to stimulate to get my breasts to make more.

My son only started daycare recently. Before we had a sitter come to our house so I was able to see what she would feed him. However, the problem is if I gave him any less than 5 oz he would cry and scream until he was fed more. I know they say babies take less when given breastmilk but not for my son. I don't know what to do with that exactly. The daycare I send him to she is a stay at home mom and her daughter is 1 1/2 so it is not like a daycare center where they shove bottles every second. She only feeds him if he's hungry.

I also was thinking of maybe BF part time if I can't my pumping back on track and just feed him formula at daycare and then BF when I am at home but that is after I have tried everything and my pumping won't work. I have replaced all pump parts so I know that isn't the issue.

I am thinking of taking supplements to boost my supply but not sure where to get the mother's milk tea and the fenugreek from as my child's ped and the LC both suggested both. I would go to a BF support but unfortunately they meet while I am working during the day.

I usually BF him when he gets up in the AM ( I work at home so I have already started work before he gets up) and then I feed him his solids. I can try and BF him again before he leaves if he wants to but not sure. Also I have had the problem of him being distracted and I think that is also why I thought I had no supply but I come to find out it is normal with most 8 month olds.

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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Wed, 07-21-2010 - 5:22am

Any pumping and BF is good to stimulate your supply, as are the herb. The herbs won't work on their own, the demand from nursing and/or pumping has to be there also.

If you find pumping enough for daycare is not possible, it is perfectly feasible to nurse when you are with him, and let him have solids and formula when you are not there. When mine were that age-group, I never fed solids myself at home, just nursed. I left the solids for while I was away. That meant they got more breast milk from nursing at home.

It is true that many babies get quite distractable and fuss at the breast at this age, and they are also able to nurse quickly. Again, it can be quite normal to have soft breast by this stage. But when you begin to nurse, your breasts are able to let-down the milk that is needed as you nurse. That change in how they feel and even size cannot be used to judge the amount of milk.

Teresa

Avatar for sandyc299
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Registered: 01-08-2008
Wed, 07-21-2010 - 1:19pm
Teresa,
I usually give him his solids at dinner when we have dinner and my husband gives him breakfast as he doesn't go to daycare until 8am. We find it works well.
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David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Fri, 07-23-2010 - 7:47am

The main reason I suggested letting him have the solids while at day care, and just nursing at home is that he would nurse more. The direct stimulation would be much better for your supply than pumping, if you feel you are having problems with supply. It would also mean you have to pump less and leave less milk, but he would still get plenty of breast milk in the 24 hour period.

Of course, the decision on when in the day to feed solids is your decision, but could impact on supply for the reason outlined above.

Teresa