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Dropping breastfeeds - how to do it without the lo getting too upset?

(10 Posts)
missrose Sat 17-Sep-11 21:04:17

I'm starting to drop breastfeeds in preparation for returning to work in a couple of months.

My 11mo dd currently feeds at 6am, 9am, 2pm, 7pm, midnight and 3am.

I dropped the 2pm feed a week ago but she's not happy about it and, surprisingly considering she has another 5 feeds in a 24hr period, neither am I! I'm getting really emotional and upset and if I wasn't returning to work I would carry on bfing for as long as she wanted to.

I co-sleep after the midnight feed. There was one night where my dh managed to settle her at 3am and she didn't feed. We weren't trying to do it, he just got to her first and she fell asleep! (Not that we're racing each other to the cot at 3am...

I guess I just want some advice about what to do next. I was going to drop the 9am feed but it may be a REALLY long day without bfing for both of us. The thought of nightweaning fills me with dread but I will need her to try and drop one of the night feeds otherwise I'll be a wreck at work. Just wondered if anyone had any tips? Feeling a bit in the dark about it all...

IsItMeOr Sat 17-Sep-11 21:11:50

Others may have better advice, but what we tried for night weaning was to gradually extend the gaps between feeds at night. What worked for us was DH comforting DS if he woke up before the new time for his feed (we pushed it back by something like 15mins a night). Not with the intention of getting DS to go back to sleep instead - that wouldn't have happened for us - but to stop him getting too upset. It seemed to work eventually.

My biggest fear was that I would accidentally completely wean DS off bfing when cutting night feeds out. I needn't have worried, as he's still bfing now at 2.6yo. When I went back to work, he just didn't have the post-nap feed on my work days, and sometimes he doesn't get the equivalent of your 9am one if he's doing something else and I have to leave. It doesn't seem to be a problem.

Good luck working out your plan, and I'm sure you will both be fine with it.

BartletForAmerica Mon 19-Sep-11 11:17:18

When I was night-weaning, I decided I was only going to feed DS every 3 hours overnight. Before the time was up, DH got up and usually managed to settle him easily. I had then planned to gradually extend the time between night feeds to 3h15, 3h30, 4h etc but within a few nights of that, DS was only waking up once, if at all.

I was still doing an 11pm dreamfeed though, which I only stopped at about 9-10 months.

Zimbah Mon 19-Sep-11 21:26:49

I started by having a period at night where I didn't feed her - between 11pm and 4am. I gradually reduced the length of each breastfeed between those hours and then stopped it altogether. As your DD has quite regular feed times, it might work better to do what IsItMe suggests and push the time back. DD didn't find it terribly traumatic, she cried a little but not much. Look up the Jay Gordon nightweaning method, that's pretty much what I followed.

As you've found it difficult dropping the 2pm feed and you've still got a couple of months before work starts, why don't you give it a few more weeks to let things settle before dropping the 9am feed. Do you work a 'normal' working day, so you would still be able to do the 6am and 7pm feed? If it's any reassurance, I went back to work 3 days/week when DD was 1yr, on the days I worked I fed her around 6am then at 7pm (desperate rush to get home in the first few weeks as my breasts were huge!) and did a couple of night feeds. The rest of the week fed her once or twice during the daytime as well. It took a few weeks for my boobs to get used to this changing routine, but then it all settled down and we continued like that for months. Weaned fully at just over 2yrs when I was pregnant.

missrose Thu 22-Sep-11 19:36:21

Hi, thanks for your messages - sorry to post and run. Quick update - it took about a week to get used to the 2pm feed being dropped and she refused to take formula or ebm as an alternative. Yesterday she didn't ask for her 9am feed so I didn't offer it but she did take ebm later in the day. The same happened today so it appears that we have stopped feeding in the day. Even though it was really hard to start with it seems fine now. I've been offering lots of extra food as well.

Nights are a complete disaster though with feeding every couple of hours after midnight. I think I will let everything calm down for a couple of weeks and then start on the night weaning. I've read the Jay Gordon article on it and I think I will need to start extending the time between feeds. Thank god I've got quite a lot of time before I return to work!

Zimbah I'm returning to work four days a week and will do the 6am and 7pm feeds for a while yet. I assumed it would be difficult to feed on some days and not on others which is why I dropped all day feeds but did you find you could do that? I mean from a milk production point of view, if you know what I mean?

isitme and Bartlett It seems like you were doing the same thing by extending gaps between feeds. Don't think DH is looking forward to having to settle dd when we start to get to grips with the night weaning!

redbird79 Thu 22-Sep-11 19:54:06

Watching with interest as in similar situation- albeit with a crazy number of night feeds as well as a fair few during the day sad

IsItMeOr Fri 23-Sep-11 17:56:44

Thanks for the update, I was wondering how you were getting on smile.

Sounds like you have a plan, and yes, your DH will be key in your making progress on the night feeds. It's a tough job for both of you, but he can really make a big difference.

Have you checked out kellymom?

BartletForAmerica Fri 23-Sep-11 21:01:03

It took a few nights of DH getting up but then DS was sleeping much better and we all slept better.

Haggisfish Fri 23-Sep-11 21:14:24

we managed to night wean at 13 months, by oh going in and replacing dummy/comforting LO. I have been back at work for 7 months and find my boobs adapt easily to changing feeding patterns - I feed her about 5 times a day when not at work (4 days a week) and about 3 times a day when at work. HTH.

missrose Tue 11-Oct-11 06:20:07

This is the earliest I have ever posted but I am SO SO EXCITED I have to tell someone... DD is still asleep and woke up for a feed ONCE between 7.45pm yesterday and now!!! Well, technically, she did wake up another two times before 10.30 but settled within minutes when we went in to her.

Only two nights ago she was waking up to four times beteen 10pm and 7am and insisting on being fed.

I am not so foolish to believe this is forever now but it's been so bloody nice to have a bit of sleep. Mind you, she did want a feed at 2am so I haven't still managed a four hour stretch confused.

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