Breastfeeding Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 10/14/13 – Self Weaning Before One Year?

Mailbox Mondays via @chgdiapers - self #breastfeeding weaning before 1

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Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

Aimee asks:

Anyone have experience with a baby weaning themselves from breast feeding before a year old? My daughter just turned eight months and is slowly weaning herself. To the point where I hardly have any milk to even continue to pump and try to bottle feed her. I have been starting to give her a little bit of oatmeal and some vegetables and fruits that I can purée. I was just hoping that I could be able to give her breastmilk until she was a-year-old. I just feel like she is not getting enough because she’s just learning to eat from a spoon and I don’t want to give her formula, but I’m not exactly sure what to give her. I have thought about goats milk but I do not have a place where I can get it fresh. Are there any other options?

It’s quite rare for a baby to truly self wean before a year old. They may gradually drop nursing sessions and replace some breast milk with food, but breast milk or formula should be their primary source of nutrition for the first year.

You didn’t say if you are pumping & bottle feeding 100% or just part of the time, or why. If you can nurse her, do so often in order to increase your supply. Sometimes as a baby becomes more mobile and active, the world is just too exciting to stop & nurse. At under a year old, you should still be offering to nurse, rather than waiting until baby “asks,” and you may want to find something to occupy the baby (like a colorful nursing necklace) to keep her interested.

If you are exclusively pumping, you may want to consider getting help from a lactation consultant to get more tips on increasing your supply (eating lactogenic foods, pumping more often etc.) so you can continue to provide milk in a cup or bottle. If you are able to nurse when you’re home, nurse as often as you can (before solids) and reduce or eliminate bottles.

Any amount of breast milk if a fabulous gift to your baby, so great job making it this far mama!

Does anyone have advice for Aimee?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Beth Ann
    October 15, 2013 at 7:42 am

    I agree with maybe pregnant! I’ve noticed my supply drop a bit around 13 weeks, but now it’s sort of steady at about 17. My little one is 11 months and only really has two boob meals a day. I’ve noticed she bites or is distracted if I don’t swaddle her or if I’m not putting her to sleep.

    She gets about threeish meals of solids, although usually more now because I’m so scared of not being able to provide enough.

    For awhile I would do a “power nurse” session before solids. She would sit on my lap and have a quick five minute boobie meal so that she was happier during meals. I feel like it really helped keep my supply up. Drinking lots of water and crossing my fingers that I don’t dry up has worked for me pretty well. 🙂

    Hopefully we can make it another month so she can be a year before really weaning. 🙂
    Good luck mama!

  • Jutta P.
    October 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    It’s interesting because I was wondering if you could be pregnant too. I am 14 weeks pregnant and still nursing my 10 month old. It is really hard sometimes and we have been supplementing with about 8-10 oz. of formula a day for about a month now. I am really happy that we have made it this far and I just keep trying to do what I can every day. He still has days where he hardly wants to nurse at all and then will turn around and have a marathon 45 min. nursing session a couple days later. They are changing so much during this time and it’s wonderful watching them grow! But it is really hard when we are so worried about their nutrition.

    • October 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Congratulations on your pregnancy, and also managing to nurse!! When the PP doula dropped off my placenta pills, she was giving me dosing & asked if my 2.5 yr old (at the time) was still nursing. I was kind of sad about it saying I had read that there was no reason you couldn’t nurse through pregnancy but my milk dried up etc etc and she said that a lot of people are “dry nursing” (SHUDDER) and I guess their kids tolerate it? I tried, but my son just said NO WAY.

  • October 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    My son self weened two weeks after his first birthday. I had no idea that the last time he nursed would be our last time. Well, I was two months pregnant to the day. I’m not sure if the taste changed, or the supply was too low or what. We had to do formula for a couple months because he couldn’t handle vitamin D yet. Now he drinks organic vitamin D and is doing just fine. Good luck mama!

    • October 14, 2013 at 11:49 am

      My milk poofed around 8 weeks too! My son was just about two but still nursed a LOT at the time, then just pretty much refused overnight.

  • Aimee Place
    October 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I have been attempting to nurse her as often as possible, but she gets mad and frustrated when there is no milk. I am able to still nurse to her satisfaction two to three times a day. Thank you Maria. She does get distracted while nursing and its hard to keep her focused. I will have to get a nursing necklace to try.

    • October 14, 2013 at 11:09 am

      You could even get a new, small toy for her to hold while you’re nursing. 🙂

    • Tara
      October 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

      I’m sure you already know this, but make sure you are keeping well hydrated and eating enough. I know many mommies who try and lose weight after the baby at the expense of their breast milk.

      • October 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

        Good point! Eat if you’re hungry, drink if you’re thirsty! (Too much water isn’t helpful, as I’m sure you know too!) 🙂 I’ve always hung on to 5ish pounds as long as I’m nursing, no matter what. Trying to lose it just makes me (and baby/toddler) hungry and crabby. :-p

  • October 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I ditto the ‘nurse before solids’ thing. They tell you the opposite at the Dr.’s office, but that’s primarily for formula moms, not nursing moms. I didn’t even START my 2nd child on solids until 8 months, and even then it was only ONE ‘meal’ a day, NOT THREE! I added a 2nd ‘meal’ aka snack at 9 months and a third around 10 months. But I didn’t offer a meal BEFORE nursing until after a year.

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