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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!