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Imbalance in breast milk when reducing pumping?

  1. #1
    happiness is offline Registered User
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    Imbalance in breast milk when reducing pumping?

    Was wondering does anyone have experience with this - I have been pumping exclusively for 4 months and and now trying to reduce my milk supply with a view to eventually stop pumping altogether. I've been reducing the amount pumped for about a week now but I think my milk is more watery now? Am I not getting hind milk because I am not emptying my breast? Would this imbalance cause baby to become very fussy and underfed!!!
    Any experience would be greatly appreciated ....

  2. #2
    MommieMid is offline Registered User
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    Happiness,
    I believe that you are correct, that if you don't empty your breast and leave the hind milk in the breast, then your baby will be getting insufficient calories from the breast milk and will be fussy.
    You could continue, as you have before, to use your breast pump in order to empty your breast, but pump less frequently.
    The principles of breastfeeding follow the laws of demand and supply, so your breast will produce the milk when your baby or pump, demand it. Thereby reducing the supply if you space out the breast expression. By only emptying half your breast, you may also become engorged or put yourself at risk of mastitis.
    In summary, you have two options. start to pump and fully empty only one breast per feed / expression or pump less often, spacing out the intervals between pumping.
    What supplements are you intending to give your baby? If you pump less, you will have less breast milk.
    Is your baby four months old? If so, it is ideal to follow the UNICEF / World Health Organisation guidelines recommending that you exclusively breastfeed for at least until your baby is six months of age. Therefore, if you can continue to fully give your breastmilk and avoid supplementing your baby with formula or solid foods, for another two months, your baby should have had an truly excellent start to his or her life. Maybe you should delay trying to reduce your expressed breast milk until then.

  3. #3
    happiness is offline Registered User
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    MomieeMid
    Thank you for your reply, you've been a great help. I will indeed follow your advice on spacing out expressing sessions. Luckily I have a freezer full of milk, supplemented by whatever I am pumping that should see baby through the next 6 weeks, close to 6 months old. Unfortunately circumstance made it necessary for me to pump only so the baby never went on the breast, if he had I think I would continue breastfeeding for longer. You're right, it has given him a wonderful start-I have very mixed feelings about putting him on formula.

  4. #4
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    It might be a bit more watery for a day or two, BUT as your supply reduces, it will not be so watery. Actually, I found that when I was exclusively pumping, as I started reducing how much I was pumping, it would get more watery at first, but then as it adjusted, it actually got far more creamy. Right before I stopped pumping altogether, that milk was the most creamy. I exclusively pumped for a year as my baby was unable to breastfeed.

  5. #5
    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    Trust me, I know what a pain pumping is. I did it for my first and im doing it for the second.

    If your circumstances mean you must stop pumping right away, and there is no way around that, then that's all there is to it. Don't worry yourself with having mixed feelings. You did your best as long as you could. You should congratulate yourself (pumping is harder/less convenient than breast feeding or formula feeding, IMHO, so you really should give yourself a pat on the back).

    BUT, if it is at all possible for you to continue to pump for at least two more months, you should consider this. BM is all about quality over quantity. Formula babies need to drink more formula as they age to get the calories they need because formula doesn't change week to week. But breast milk is different; it changes in quality as the baby gets older and his needs change.

    Since the quality of BM changes as the baby ages, feeding him or her milk you pumped 2 months ago wont satisfy him like milk you pumped yesterday, because his body has different needs now than 2 months ago. I plan to pump for at least 6 months and see what I want to do after that, but I'll be pumping for the entire 6 months, because I want my 6 month old to drink the milk 6 month olds need. Just a thought to consider.

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