When Breastfeeding goes Right… Then takes a Left!

Its been a while since I have been able to write, Atticus has literally become mobile faster than the speed of light! I spend all my days chasing after him. The nap times that used to give me time to write are non-existent! Thank GOD for mother-in-laws who come to the rescue to help a mother out! I wanted to share my experience with successful breastfeeding only to have it end abruptly and unexpectedly….I was not prepared. Through everything I read, I never read anything that advised how to encourage your milk supply in the later stages of breastfeeding when your baby starts eating solids.

I exclusively breastfed Atticus for 6 months, after that we slowly introduced solids and pretty soon he was eating 3 square meals a day. He really is a good eater. As he transitioned into eating more solids we continued to breastfeed as much as possible. Neither one of us discouraged the breastfeeding process, I think we both assumed it would be there when needed. I read so much about baby-led weaning and mom-lead weaning. I always said I would keep going until Atticus self-weaned. Even if that meant we were breastfeeding for 2 years! I was all in and that was my plan!

However things did not go my way and suddenly what I thought would be a long, loving breastfeeding relationship ended quite abruptly. As Atticus ate more solid meals, slowly he nursed less and less, it happened so gradually. As Atticus approached 8 months he stared teathing fairly aggressively and one of the things that soothed him was nursing. Suddenly he wanted to nurse a ton, but I found that I did not have the supply to feed him on demand like I used too. Suddenly I was trying to play catch up instead of preparing on the front end, doing everything I could do to keep my supply up. What I learned is that I should have done the following.

  1. Pump for every missed feed due to the baby eating a solid meal. You have to convince your body that you are still nursing as usual so that your supply remains active. Sadly I did not do this and was trying to pump to convince my body that we needed more milk late in the game, too late, unfortunately.
  2. Continue a diet to promote an active milk supply. Whether you are eating oatmeal, drinking the teas, taking the vitamins, continue to do so as long as you are nursing to promote your supply to remain consistent.
  3. If you encapsulated you placenta, continue to take your pills and when you run out, start taking you tinctures, they are said to help your supply remain robust. I did not take my tinctures, they grossed me out a little, but I wish I did if it meant that I could help my supply and nurse longer.
  4. NURSE often, as often as you can. Nurse your little one 1st thing in the morning, after meals and at night, trust me it will not be too much for your little one. It’s rare that they say no to nursing if anything it will help them fall asleep after a big meal!

It’s difficult because Atticus still wants to nurse and now he is pretty aggressive with trying. He literally claws at my shirt crying and when we attempt to nurse he gets super frustrated that the flow is not happening as quickly and abundantly as before. It frustrates me too, in fact, it breaks my heart. All I want to do is look down at his little face again, watch him close his eyes, fall asleep content.

The other day we went to the doctor, we discussed the fact that we are taking Atticus to Asia and we discussed precautions for keeping him healthy. Our doctor stated that I need to increase breastfeeding so that he gets good antibodies to help protect him while traveling. I literally sunk inside… I felt like I let him down because I could not provide enough milk to keep him healthy. I think I was being a little extreme, I know he will be fine. I just was caught off guard by the whole “you need to nurse him more to keep him safe” notion.

I’m still trying different ways to help increase my supply but honestly, nothing is really working. I’m only getting 1 oz after 20 min of pumping, taking supplements and drinking tons of water. So whats next for us? Well, I have to get used to the idea that this chapter of momma baby bonding is over and encourage Atticus to bond with me in other ways. There really are a million ways for us to have that closeness and I am excited for us to evolve together. But I do mourn the fact that our breastfeeding journey is over. It will forever be one of my favorite parts of being a new mom.

Id love to hear tips on how you kept your supply flowing later when solids have been introduced, I know there are other moms that would love the advice! And I would love the advice for when I do it all again a second time Lord willing!

XO-Dana

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10 Comments

  1. Dani
    January 22, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Loved the honesty of this post! And thank you for the tip about pumping for every meal he eats solids. I wouldn’t have thought about that so I’m definitely going to do it.

    I heard mommies swear by lactation cookies, the pink drink with coconut milk at Starbucks and drinking a sports energy drink. Let us know what you try that you found works!

  2. Lisa Witter
    January 22, 2018 / 11:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing, I honestly have done so much research on breastfeeding a new baby, and none on breastfeeding an older baby! Never really thought about it till now. Wife definitely use some of this advice to make sure my puppy is good!

    best
    Lisa

  3. Ashley Mann
    January 23, 2018 / 6:45 am

    I’m always worried about extra pumping creating an over supply and leading to clogged duck or mastitis. My little one is 7 months and eats breakfast and lunch. My supply has dropped several times and it takes up to 2 weeks to bring it back up, thankful I can. When that happens I increase water (67oz a day is my goal), take 6 fenugreek capsules a day (apparently for some women it decreases supply but fenugreek is know to increase and works for me), and eat healthy. Instead of eating oatmeal (I got tired of that), I make a breakfast shake with 1/3 cups of rolled oats in it.

    • Dana Buerger
      Author
      February 22, 2018 / 8:04 am

      I worried about that too, but I think in late nursing it may be necessary. But because it was never a habit of mine I let it go to the wayside. Thank you for the diet advice, Im still trying to get my supply back but so far its not happening… Sorry for the late reply! I have been traveling! xoxo

  4. Krystal
    January 23, 2018 / 1:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I don’t have any babies yet, but my husband and I are planning to start trying. I’m so sorry your nursing journey ended sooner than expected. Like you said, more time for new and more fun ways to bond 🙂 especially since he’s keeping you so active!

    • Dana Buerger
      Author
      February 22, 2018 / 8:01 am

      Its funny cause nursing solves so many problems! lol, now I have to jump through hoops to make this boy happy! Good luck with your journey….remember to have fun! sorry for the late reply! xoxo

  5. Felicia
    January 30, 2018 / 3:44 am

    Awesome! I nursed my daughter for almost 2 years and I got talked to by several friends for doing it so long. My daughter is now 9 and I can’t deacribe how much nursing time creates a bond. It was hard work but worth it. You are so correct, Nutrition is huge to keep a good supply of milk along with regular contact nursing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dana Buerger
      Author
      February 22, 2018 / 7:59 am

      Thanks for your message, sorry for the late reply! I was just having a moment yesterday missing my nursing days, I feel like so many problems can be solved with nursing! lol, I have had to get pretty clever these days! Next time I will absolutely do things differently in hopes to nurse for 2 years! Boo to anyone who made you feel weird about it! It is quite the accomplishment!

  6. February 6, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    Your baby can continue to bond with you through breastfeeding even if there is no milk. I know that that may sound strange but even with little to no milk as long as he is still interested in nursing you should do it even if it is only once a day. My little guy weaned at a year and probably went for three weeks with no nursing. Then one day he asked for it again and has continued once a day for the past year and a half. Every baby if different so no matter what happens he will be just fine. Have a great trip!

    • Dana Buerger
      Author
      February 22, 2018 / 7:56 am

      I honestly would offer it every time, but he stopped asking, even today he tugged at my shirt and I got excited! but it did not lead to anything. I miss it so much and still struggle a bit, thank you for the kind words. so sorry for the late reply! xoxo

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