PUMPING SCHEDULE + why we are weaning off of exclusively breastfeeding
When I tell you that it has been a really rough transition going from exclusively breastfeeding to pumping the majority of the time and bottle feeding – understand that it has been hard for ME, but Jack has had ZERO issue. Which is a blessing and a curse in and of itself. I had a goal of 12 months of exclusively breastfeeding. I do not like “failing” – and because I haven’t been able to hit that goal, I felt like a failure. I KNOW that I’m not in my head. And at the end of the day, Jack is still getting breastmilk! It’s an amazing thing. And while I’m in a much better headspace these days, I cried and cried and cried over the decision to do bottles and pump pretty much around the clock. Read on to find out why we made this choice and what my daily pumping schedule is.
+ why we are weaning off of exclusively breastfeeding
Ooff. I had known it was time to go this route for a few weeks. Jack’s feeds were getting shorter and shorter, and I could tell my supply was dramatically dropping. He was just TOO distracted to eat. I wouldn’t even have a let down before he was biting me and unlatching. My nipples were raw, bleeding and sore. It was incredibly painful for me to nurse him and I was pretty positive he was losing weight because he wasn’t eating enough. But I wanted so badly to stick it out. I had women say “it’s just a phase – he’s getting everything he needs”, “don’t be a quitter – my kid bit me but I stuck through it”, and “if you stop now, just know you are doing it for you and not for him”. Ouch, right? That hurt. I also had lots of people tell me how awesome it was that I made it to 10 months of exclusively breastfeeding and that Jack was a healthy, smart baby that was going to thrive no matter what. But the tough comments stung and stuck with me more.
I finally made the decision after a full day of biting and not catching my let downs. I was soaking my bras and shirts because he just refused to nurse. He did fine for his first and last feed of the day but anything in between was turning into a fight. We’d both be cranky at the end of it and it wasn’t worth it to me to be stressing us both out. So, I tried giving him a bottle of thawed frozen milk I’d pumped a few weeks ago. And he loved it. I could be sure of the amount he was getting, he could crawl around and take his bottle with him, he didn’t have to miss any of the action and it meant my mom could babysit him for longer stretches of time.
I cried a lot over this decision, but ultimately, it’s been a total game changer for us. I pump 4-5 times during the day and he gets mostly fresh bottles. Occasionally I won’t pump enough for a full day and I’ll supplement with some of my frozen milk that I pumped a bunch of a couple months ago. But that only happens a couple times a week. I plan on stopping pumping completely around his first birthday and weaning off of breastmilk at that point.
7am – breastfeeds for 10 min and is up for the day.
9am – pump for 10 min
Bottle between 9-11:30
Solid foods around 12pm
12pm – pump for 10 min
Bottle between 1-2:30pm
3pm – pump for 10 min
Bottle around 4:30pm* This bottle is either optional or less oz than his other bottles because it just pushes him through the afternoon to get to dinner. Usually after his short 4pm power nap.
5pm – pump for 10 min
Solid foods between 5:30-6pm
7pm – breastfeeds for 10 min and goes to bed for the night
9pm – pump for 10 min
10-11pm – breastfeeds for 10 min and back to sleep
I am usually able to pump about 3oz per session. I get 1-2 let downs during that time. So for the full day, I can usually pump 15oz. He takes 3 4-5oz bottles per day, so that is basically exactly what he needs for the day. Nothing more, nothing less.
I feel good that I’m still able to give him breastmilk during the day even if it isn’t through breastfeeding. My supply goes up and down during the week so sometimes I pump more, sometimes I pump less. I do my best to get him what he needs, but like I mentioned above, I have a full freezer supply of frozen milk so if I need to supplement I can.
If you are struggling with a similar situation, don’t beat yourself up too hard. I know it can be difficult when you set a goal for yourself and it doesn’t come to fruition exactly the way you planned. I’m a planner so I have a hard time adjusting when that happens. The main thing to focus on is your baby getting fed. It doesn’t matter if it’s through breastfeeding, pumping breastmilk or formula. You’ll know the best thing to do as their mom.
I hope this helps you if you need to create a schedule for yourself as well!