Mar 12, 2010

Worried about Weening

It's been awhile since I've asked for some help. God knows I'm always in need of it but I'm a bit of a research nerd, so I like finding the answers myself. Yes, I am that annoying person who likes to be a know-it-all! :p tee hee hee.

Seeing as there is potential for me to return to work in the near future (fingers crossed), I want to start transitioning Jane from breastmilk to formula now so that, if an opportunity does arise, I've already got one big thing taken care of. For the last two months, Jane has gotten a tiny amount of formula every night. After the Zombie Christmas experience, I had to find a solution to the middle of the night wakings that, I knew, were for comfort rather than hunger. So, I started giving her a scoop of formula mixed with 4 ounces of water (basically really diluted formula). It worked for us - she still got the comfort of some milk but not exactly what she was looking for (boob) and, eventually, she ended up sleeping through the night. That is, of course, until this week when the combo of a nasty cold and a front tooth breaking through the gums has resulted in her waking 2-3 times a night again. :p

I understand, from researching (again, yes, geek, whatever) and from my friend's experiences, that it's best to transition as slowly as possible - mixing 3/4 breastmilk with 1/4 formula for a while, 50-50, and so on. That part I get. Unless anyone has any other recommendations, which I also welcome. Here's my problem - I hate (hmmm, should probably stop using "hate" as it's a "bad word"), so I really, really, really don't like pumping. As if you didn't feel cow-like enough as it is, now you have to be hooked up to a "milker" that makes a "mooo-ooooo" noise. Also, after Jane was about 10 weeks or so, my milk had completely adjusted to her demand (breastmilk is a supply-demand system) and so I can't get more than a few drips outta these boobies at this point. So, what the heck do I do? I know that, if I want to get enough milk to pump, I have to start pumping more to increase demand. But isn't that counter-productive? Increase my supply when I'm trying to ween? Is there another way? Could I feed her 2 ounces of formula from a bottle and then let her finish her feed on the breast?

This is also made difficult by the fact that my little angel (tiny bit of sarcasm there) has a painful front tooth coming through and is on a bit of a hunger-strike, only willing to eat foods that she can see and pick up herself. This is common for teething babies as it can be painful to suck. At this point, she's so nervous about me putting anything in her mouth that when I give her the soother for nap time she turns her head away at first until she realizes what it is... imagine the fun of trying to give her a little tylenol for the teething pain? It's like a wrestling match. Poor little girl.

Aside from the difficulties in the logistics of weening Jane, I have to admit, it's a little heartbreaking as well. Although, after having thought about it for the last month or so, I am getting used to the idea and half-excited about having my 34-Cs back. Initially, however, I was almost in tears anytime I talked about it. It's not that I enjoy breastfeeding, rather that every time I feed Jane, it's like a special little moment for the two of us. The only experience I think I can relate it to is when you're pregnant and you get used to feeling your baby kicking you. It becomes a part of you and, as delighted as you are about your baby's arrival, you kind of miss those special movements in your belly.

So, here it is - I need your help again. Any advice you have on weening, avoiding pumping (booooo), etc. is appreciated.

Oh dear Lord, I almost forgot - any advice on formula? Let's not even get into brands because I'm sure everyone uses something different and everyone likely thinks theirs is best. But what's the difference between powder and concentrated/pre-made? Update: Commented below after reading that powder may cause more gas because you have to shake it up, which puts more air in it... which makes NO SENSE to me because the canned, prepared stuff requires your to "shake thoroughly" before use as well. Nonsense I tell you. I think it's just a matter of convenience. With that said, you still have to prepare the concentrated stuff as well... so, really, how's that so much more convenient? Why would you pay more for canned then? Unless you can give me a good reason, I think you might have gotten suckered people! :p I'm open to being enlightened... :)

Today is the last day to enter the Bright Starts Giveaway for a chance to win an awesome playard, automatic bouncer (WIN) or one of two different swings! Winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon-ish as we'll have to read and rate all your hilarious stories! :)

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Kristin said...

My advice is to transition cold turkey. Just give her a bottle of formula and see how she does. Also, you don't have to go all one way or another. When I was weaning my daughter to formula I continued to nurse her. I would just replace one nursing session with a bottle of formula and continue to nurse the rest. Then I replaced 2 daytime feedings with bottles. We stayed at nursing first thing in the AM and right before bed with 2 formula bottles during the day for quite some time. It worked out really well for us. As for which kind of formula, I always use powder b/c its cheaper and it lasts longer (doesn't spoil as fast) but you do have to prepare it. Good luck!!

Jen said...

Kristen, Thanks for the suggestions - Your method would definitely be easier and I could avoid the pumping. I may think about doing that - the one bottle of formula per day and then moving up. The option I have with that method is similar to what I do at night - add a little extra water if she starts having trouble "passing" the formula.

I have been using powder so far because, like I said, I'm using so little formula that to spend money on pre-made or concentrated, I'd just end up throwing out 90% of it because it's spoiled.

I know the "con" I read about powder is that, because you shake it, it gets more air in it and, thus, may cause more gas.... which just sounds STUPID to me because first instruction on any of the canned (pre-made) stuff is SHAKE THOROUGHLY... WTH (heck, no more swearing :p)

Kate said...

I have no advice for you as I'm still BF my 7-month-old, but I'm very interested to read any comments on this, for future reference.

Please let us know how it goes...and good luck!

Anonymous said...

When I started weaning my baby I fed her a little formula and then finished her off breastfeeding. Pumping was just too time consuming for what I would get and this method seemed to work good for us. We had some issues with constipation when we started solid foods so I wanted to avoid another episode of that and this it why I weaned her gradually. I started out one feeding at a time until I was bottlefeeding for all but the first and last feeding of the day. I plan to continue this way until I return to work. This way she is still getting some benifits from the breastmilk and I still get my quiet alone time. I think weaning was harder on me emotionally than it was for her. As for what type of formula to use I think that is a personal choice of what works best for you and for some it is whatever the baby will accept.

Jen said...

Ah ha, that's what I wanted to hear as well - that someone else had tried the avoiding the pump method and fed formula first, then boob to finish... thanks.

I'm going to have lots of options after this - keep 'um coming!

Morgan said...

I really have no advice, just wanted to say good luck =)
My babies all just weaned when they wanted to, I would be SOL at this point as Quincy doesn't have a sweet clue what to do with a sippy cup or bottle, if Jane knows how to drink from a bottle and doesn't mind the taste of formula I think you've got part of what could be a bigger battle won already! The only thing i've heard about powder vs already mixed forumla was from doctors at the IWK. They advised me to use the premixed stuff for the 1st 3 months (if I was going to use formula at all) because the powder has bacteria in it. I know you're past the 1st 3 months but the word "bactaria" kinda gives me the heppie jeepies...haha
Good Luck!!

Stephanie said...

All I can do is tell you my experience... I used premixed because my husband (who is a doctor) felt more comfortable with it (possibly the whole bacteria thing) and because we travelled alot it was easier to throw a can in the diaper bag and just have to pour it in a bottle. And we did the one feeding at a time bit as well. We started slow and added another bottle every week or so. The other thing I would suggest is to maybe start giving her a sippy cup of water once in awhile so she gets used to those as well. That way it will be easier to also wean her from the bottle. We had Lucas weaned off the bottle shortly after he turned one (when we could switch to whole milk). I've heard horror stories about getting them off the bottle too. But since Lucas was so used to a sippy cup I had a harder time (emotionally) giving up the bottle than he did. We started with soft spouted cups similar to the bottle nipple to make it easier. And we did the same thing, started by substituting a sippy cup for one bottle during the day, then after a week or so doing two bottles and so on.
As for losing your "special time" together... you will find other ways. Like cuddling and reading before bed. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I started to wean Samson at about 10 months and put him right onto one of those rubbermaid straw cups with homo milk. This is what my Nurse Practitioner had done with all her kids and another friend had done too. Like others said with formula, I cut out one bf session a day starting with the one around lunch and replaced it with the cup of milk. Prior to this I had put him on a bf schedule so he was feeding at 8, 12, 4 and 8. I kept up with the morning and night bf feedings till he was 12 months, and at around 13months he pretty much weaned himself one night and that was that. Not having to deal with formula or bottles was so easy for us since we didn't have to then wean from the bottle!
Good luck!

Lindsay said...

How soon will you potentially be going back? Like in a couple weeks? or 2 months?

Not sure if there is a real need to go to formula if you won't be going back to work for a bit yet. I started replacing one BF feed/day with homo milk for Sarah as soon as she hit 10.5months (cold turkey btw). By 11.5 months I could succesfully nurse first thing in the morning, she had homo milk during the day, nurse sometimes before dinner and before bed.

She didn't wean until 14 months but by a year old was only doing 2 feeds a day (morning and bedtime).

Just an idea ... I guess if you're going back in a week or two you might not want to put her on milk right away - but it can be done!

kk-krista said...

Please use powdered! The cans of liquid formula are lined in an epoxy lining that has BPA in it. Bad bad bad.

Read this short article:

about which powdered choices are best.