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I've been pumping breastmilk for my little boy up to five times a day since the day he was born. Now that he's almost one though, I think it's time to start transitioning to cow milk/formula. But, I'm scared. Any time I go too long without pumping, I endure some pretty nasty discomfort. Any tips for weaning? ”

5 replies so far...

  • If you are exclusively pumping (and not nursing), I would suggest dropping one pumping session every 1-2 days. Your body should adjust within 48 hours. If you get uncomfortable, just hand-express a little until the lumpiness goes away.
    You could also just lengthen the time in between pumping to naturally "wean".

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by relaxnsmile on 28th March 2008

  • Congratulations on nursing/pumping for so long! I pumped for 12 months and nursed for 19... I always love seeing other women who do so for a long time, too! Congrats!!! :)

    It's definitely important to wean yourself from the pump - don't just stop, because you'll get engorged, and can get plugged milk ducts, etc. I had cut down the length of the sessions to just 5-10 minutes each, and would drop one at a time. I don't think I dropped more than 1 session a week.

    I had done the cabbage trick, too, lol. There's lots of GREAT advice on the Kelly Mom web site -

    When it was time for us to transition to cow's milk, we did it slowly. I was nursing at the time so I'd give sippy cups w/ milk and still nurse.

    Good luck to you, and congrats again for reaching such a great milestone! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Selene M. Bowlby on 27th March 2008

  • Good for you for sticking with breastfeeding and pumping for so long! Check with your boy's pediatrician before going to cows milk (just in case), and transition slowly, for your sake and his. We mixed milk with formula or breasmilk, using more and more cows milk over a period of several weeks, to help our youngest get used to it (wasn't a taste issue for him -- he'll eat or drink almost anything -- but it was to let his little gut get up to speed). Doing this will also help your body produce less milk as you go longer and longer between pumping sessions. Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid the discomfort completely. I've heard that cold cabbage leaves used as compresses over each breast helps a lot, though (and you can stuff them in your bra more easily than the frozen veggies!)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 26th March 2008

  • I didn't nurse, but they gave me some kind of meds (I can't remember the name now) to help dry up the milk. My boobs would get rock hard and HURT! Ya'll are going to laugh, but an older friend of mine suggested a bag of frozen peas or peas/carrots or corn. Believe it or not, she was right! It looked hilarious and I generally did it when hubby wasn't around. But by God! It worked Now, he DID catch me one day...standing with a bag on each boob and me with my eyes closed. I'm just glad the camera wasn't around or I'd NEVER have lived it down. When he made a slightly snide comment, I very "politely" told him to think of it as if a part of HIS anatomy was going thru it and what would he do.

    Guys just do NOT get it. Never will either....

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 26th March 2008

  • Oh I so remember dealing with the same thing. I continued to nurse, but gradually lessened the time and the amount of times I nursed each day- just did it to feel a little bit better. I also remember a lot of hot baths with the hot washcloth on my chest, and the good ol' heating pad strapped around me...good luck, it's painful but it gets better.
    You BF'd for a long time, that's great!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Earthmama on 26th March 2008