Category Archives: Feeding

How I “Weaned” (Rated: TMI. Proceed with Caution)

I am a huge breastfeeding and breast milk advocate.  But there gets to a point in time when breast is not always best for mother and baby.  I reached that point when Baby E was seven months.  I never could imagine reaching to seven months on full breast milk.  But seriously, donor milk and domperidone kept us going.

When I had plugged ducts, I decided after that I was going to “wean” soon.  So, like most things in life, I turned to Dr Google. I googled and went on forums trying to find out the best way to cut my supply and to survive seriously engorged breasts.

I guess in my case it wasn’t really weaning the baby, but weaning my breasts from lactating.  I don’t really have experience in weaning a baby since my baby was bottle fed since he was a month old (sigh, the dreaded nipple confusion).

Turns out, there’s a lot of literature on how to breastfeed but not a lot on how to stop.  The breast specialist I went to when I had plugged ducts said I should wear tight bras and go cold turkey.  I actually think that is bad advice because it causes more plugged ducts and mastitis.  Wearing tight bras perpetuates the problem and doesn’t make it go away.  The only way to stop producing milk is to do it slowly and not do it suddenly.  Crazy.

So anyway, like most things in my life, weaning was a combination of trial and error.  So this is what I did.

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1) I used cabbage leaves for relief throughout the first two days of major engorgement.  I’m still trying to find out why but they manage the pain and apparently cut down the supply.

2) I stopped using my electric pump.  I manually expressed, just enough to feel relief but not to completely empty the breasts.  I still got quite a lot though.

3) I cut down one express a day.

4) I continued this for about a month until my breasts did not hurt anymore.  Then stopped completely.

I was quite surprised at how fast my supply dropped.  It takes so long to build up a supply but it can drop so quickly.

I would be interested to find out how you weaned your child from breastfeeding or stopped lactating.  Do share with me!

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How to Increase Your Milk Supply

When I first came home from the hospital with Baby E, my parents, who are avid believers in breastfeeding, said, “There’s no such thing as low milk supply.  Supply always meets demand.”  My very limited research at the time seemed to suggest that as well.

I believed them.  But it came to a point when it really did seem as though my supply was lower than demand and I couldn’t keep up.  As I had shared in my earlier post on exclusive pumping, I cut out the middle of the night feeds – giving him expressed breast milk instead of direct latching.  Which caused two problems that lactation consultants warned would happened: 1) Nipple confusion 2) A drop in milk supply due to lack of stimulation.

But seriously, I just had a major abdominal operation and I had to wake up a few times a night to feed the little bugger?  Yes.  Who said motherhood was easy?

At the first month check-up, Baby E was at 3% on the growth chart.  It was highly embarrassing.  I dubbed him my little refugee.  Then after I started my crazy rigorous regiment he was more than 50% on the growth chart!  Incidentally, the same nurse weighed him and she was so surprised that he went from 95% breastfed to 100% breastfed AND gained so much weight!

I mentioned briefly in my previous post on exclusive pumping how I increased my milk supply.  Seriously, I am not an expert.  But I did a lot of research, spoke to a lot of people and made myself a guinea pig and trust me, my supply increased.  But this is really not for the faint-hearted and you really must believe in the benefits and goodness of breastmilk to want to do this.

I was first able to pump only about 50 ml per breast but after I made it my mission to increase my supply, I was able to do about 100 – 150 per breast.  When I woke up in the morning, I could get up to 250 ml on one side and about 150 ml on the other.   I have since decided to wean slowly and have voluntarily cut my supply dramatically. 

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So here it is… How to Increase Your Milk Supply:

1) Feed on demand all the time, every time.  I failed at this because I was just too exhausted mentally and physically.  But if you can, don’t express or cut out a feed and replace it with formula.  Feed him yourself through the night.  Demand will stimulate supply.

2) Ask your doctor for a prescription of domperidone or buy fenugreek from the pharmacy.  It has proven to work for countless women.

Domperidone is not actually a medication for lactation, it is used for gut problems, but its indirect side effect is that it stimulates lactation.  Ironically, when I went to the GP for food poisoning he prescribed domperidone and I told him that I had way too many packets at home and  I was trying to reduce my supply and so rejected domperidone for its original purpose.

3) Breast massages and hot compresses before feeding / pumping – so important to stimulate milk supply

4) Pump after each feed until the milk stops flowing.  But don’t pump more than 20-30 minutes because it will damage your nipples and breast.

5) If you are exclusively pumping, you MUST MUST MUST pump every two to three hours.  If you are out in the shopping centre, you should still bring your pump with you.  I have found out that so many friends pump all over the place (at shopping centres, hotels, convention centers, offices, toilets, swimming pools etc…)  just like me! 🙂

6) Easy to say,  but nap when your newborn baby naps.  A good rest also stimulates supply.

Lactation Food — Fact or Fiction??:
Honestly, I have heard from so many people that the traditional Chinese confinement food of papaya soup is good for stimulating supply.  I think this is quite unsubstantiated and doesn’t make much sense to me.  I have also heard that oatmeal and leafy greens stimulate supply too.  I think these are just stories that people tell nursing mothers when they want them to eat healthily.   There’s also lactation cookies and tea in the market for nursing mothers… REALLY?  I don’t believe it.

I am curious if anyone really ate all these items and if they really stimulated their supply.  Please do let me know if it did!

Shove it up your….

The moment E turned five months we started him on solids.  We started with pureed avocado mixed with breastmilk, followed by banana, ground up organic oats, sweet potatoes and mashed peas.  So far, he’s taken to solids easily.  We’ve been lucky on that front.

However, since he started solids, he often went days without pooping.  And if he did, the poop would be hard and pallet like.  After two weeks, we knew we had a problem.  So last week my dad, the expert since he raised three healthy girls, went out to buy glycerin suppositories.

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When I saw the suppositories I freaked out.  You mean you were supposed to put that in his bum??  I refused and thought it kinder to let him go a few more days with pallet like stool.

Last Saturday I brought him to the polyclinic.  Funnily the doctor prescribed suppositories too.  Goes to show that grandparents sometimes know best.  Still I refused to put the suppository up his bum.  Until yesterday night when he was crying from discomfort and I could see poop up his bum that couldn’t come out.  So my husband got tasked with inserting the suppository while I held down the screaming baby.

Amazingly, just 10 minutes after the suppository was inserted, he pooped! And he pooped a lot.  One week of poop emerged!!!  You can imagine how relieved we were!  It’s incredible how much poop was stuck in him.  Poor baby!  No wonder he was a grumpy baby.  Only wish we did it earlier!