Q & A: dropping down to nursing twice a day

Hey it’s half way through the week.  Whoop!  Our little family is going away for the weekend, which makes me look forward to Friday even more.  Today we’re talking food, but not so much recipes.  Hunter food.  The boob food.

Between 9 and 10 months we made a big switch in our daily nursing routine.  At 9 months he was nursing 4-5 times a day.  Then at 10 months we dropped down to 2-3.  Now at almost 11 months we are just at twice a day.    When I originally made the switch to less than 4, I had lots of questions, so to the internet I went searching… and I came up disappointed.  I couldn’t find that much info on when or how to do it.  So I went with my mommy instinct and dove in.  While I am no expert in nursing or babies, I thought it would be helpful to answer the questions that I had, in hopes I can help another mom out there.  This is what worked for Hunter and I.  Remember, every baby is different!

I should also note that Hunter does not feed on demand.  While we do follow the baby led weaning approach for his food, I did not follow the ‘let him nurse whenever’ approach.  We have a flexible routine, which I’ll outline, but it’s still a routine none the less.

When does Hunter nurse?

In the morning before breakfast.  If he wakes before 7am, I’ll have him play for a bit until 7am, then we nurse and have breakfast.  If he wakes after 7am I nurse him right when he wakes.  He nurses again at 7pm before getting ready for bed.

When did you know that Hunter was ready to drop a feeding?

A few months ago I remember reading about some other babies that nursed just twice a day, that were the same age as Hunter.  I thought to myself, I don’t think Hunter will ever get there!  Well, at the time he wasn’t ready.  He was eating solids well, but still I think his solids vs. nursing was split 50/50.  Then around 10 months (or a little before), I decided one day to just try nursing 3 times – morning ,mid day and before bed.  On that day he instantly made a switch to eating more solids.  He didn’t fuss about nursing less, it just seemed natural.  I was already at the point where he was eating solids first, and then nursing.

How old was he when he dropped a feeding?

Between 9-10 months he dropped down from 4-5 times a day, to 2-3 times a day.  Now at 10 1/2 months he only nurses twice a day.

How did we drop the feedings?

Cutting out the midday feeding was a more gradual thing.  He would eat lunch between 11-12pm, then I would nurse him about an hour later.  He didn’t always seem to need it, but I did it anyway.  Then one day we were busy and I just forgot.  Thankfully he didn’t seem to mind.  For a couple weeks he would want it (he’d get fussy), so I’d nurse him.  Then last week I just decided not to anymore and it’s been fine.  He eats soooooo much food.  I think nursing has become more of a comfort than anything for him.

Do I pump now that he is nursing less?

When we first went down to 3 times a day, I was still pumping.  I wanted to make sure my milk supply stayed up in case he really wasn’t ready to nurse less.  Then on the days I only nursed him in the morning and night, I pumped midday.  Now I don’t pump midday.  I have seem a huge decrease in my milk supply, but I figured that will happen as he needs it less and less.

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Nursing and solids, how does it work together?

When Hunter first starting eating solids, I would always nurse first, then offer solids.  Then as time went by I picked one meal a day to offer solids first, and then nurse.  Then as we continued on over the weeks I’d offer solids first at more and more meals, to where he was always eating solids first, and then nursing.  I tried to make sure solids and nursing were within an hour of each other, so that it was a big meal, instead of two separate snacks.

When will I stop nursing?

My goal was always to nurse to 1 year, and I know we’ll make that goal.  After that, I”m not sure.  This is probably a selfish reason, but I want to get pregnant again, and breastfeeding has definitely been working as birth control for us.  I’ll see where we’re at when he turns a year.

I hope this is helpful to you nursing mamas out there.  Please let me know if you have any questions I didn’t answer!

Have a great day. :)

Heather

 



20 thoughts on “Q & A: dropping down to nursing twice a day”

      • Cool I have similar experience but like u I wanted to get pregnant again soon. My son was 14months I planned to breastfeed until he was 2 years old :( anyway. So I nursed at night for 1 week, 2nd week I stopped breastfeeding, 3rd I became pregnancy. But surprising I was 1 month pregnant.

    • A lot of mamas/ young mamas are exclusively breastfeeding I still am & am 18 turning 19 in May along with my almost one year old son in May as well. I have been breastfeeding since the minute he came out of the whom. & am now almost 11 months later am weaning him from 4-5 feedings a day down to 2-3. & this is all after mealtime. To breastfeed you need ALOT of patients & sometimes, it’s too much. But it’s the best for your LO so might as well & your saving hundreds of dollars on formula

  • My friend had told me how she had done the weaning with her child so, now, when I am looking for info I am going off of that. She did it a lot like you, and would forget to do a nursing session a few days, and then it was gone! Although, I still think my dude loves the boob way too much, I have cut down on my pumping at work and will continue to do so, so that I just can feed at home mainly the morning, noon, and night ones. I’ve had to supplement for a while because my output is so poor, and strangely I still feel guilty giving up these pumps, but it is also liberating too!

    • Going back to work and pumping is such a commitment, I think you are amazing for doing it as long as you have! It has been freeing to me too, nursing less. Although I was sad when I thought about it at first, it’s just the next step :)

  • Thanks for this post Heather! I would like to stop breastfeeding completely shortly after Roberto’s 1st bday. I’d like to have him down to 2 feedings by his bday and then take another month or two to stop those. He’s 8.5 months now and he usually nurses 5 times a day. Are you giving Hunter another kind of milk to transition onto?

    • I have not, and I am hoping to just continue feeding him his normal meals of real food (just offering more) and not have to do much milk…. just seems more natural to me. I think you’ve got a great plan Lisa!

  • Hi there!

    Just stumbled across your blog, very well done. I know this is an old post – however I have a few questions. It seems as though your style is similar to mine regarding nursing/schedules etc.
    My son (also named Hunter! how funny) is 10 months old. As of a few days ago, I dropped to nursing morning and evening only. He eats solids well. Three meals a day, plus a snack or two. I plan to continue this for a month, and then drop the morning for a week and then the evening. I’d like him to be fully done with breastfeeding by 11.5 months.
    In your experience, when you dropped your nursing to am and pm only did you give your Hunter any milk of any sort during the day? How/when did you fully wean?
    I’m a runner and training for a half-marathon next month – I’m excited to be finished with breastfeeding! However, I’d like to avoid formula and bottles.

    Let me know your experience! Thank you!!
    Julie

    • Hi Julie! I never gave Hunter any milk to replace breastmilk. He was always a great eater and just seemed less interested in nursing when he got closer to 1 year. We weaned shortly after he turned 1. When I wanted to drop a feed I offered him food first, then if he was fussy like he wanted to nurse, I would do it, but normally he’d be just fine with food. I didn’t force weaning, just gently encouraged it by giving him food first. :) When we fully weaned it kind of just happened while we were camping. We were down to just evenings and I kind of forgot + he never asked for it, then we were done! Feel free to check out his monthly updates around 12/13 months for more on what he was eating and our schedule: http://www.fitmamarealfood.com/life/baby/
      I hope that helped! It was almost a year ago now so I’m going by mostly memory. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Thank you! That’s kind of what I was thinking. I feel like there is so much pressure about amounts of milk and weaning to formula, blah blah – and I always felt as though breastfeeding came naturally, and then it would end naturally just the way you described.
        You make me feel better about my theory about just letting it fade off without feeling it is absolutely necessary to replace it with something else. Aside from a healthy variety of food for his meals of course!
        My son is also a great eater, however – he won’t feed himself with his hands! I see so many babies younger just shoveling food into their mouth on their own, and the only way Hunter will eat is if I spoon feed him. He does fine with diced food and any texture, so I’m not too worried – I just wonder if you have any advice about encouraging self-feeding. I put little pieces of things in front of him constantly, they end up being fed to the dog!
        Thanks for your response – I plan to read more of your articles, and congrats on your new little one!

  • I know this is an old post but I’ve started to wean my 11 month old baby boy…I think it’s harder on me than him lol. We’ve done a couple days of 2 feeds and he seems to be transitioning well, he often to preoccupied playing to think about nursing these days. But I’m just nervous he isn’t getting enough throughout the day to fill his belly and get the nutrition. I think he’s a good eater but he’s my first so I don’t know…what would Hunter generally eat throughout the day?

  • Thank you – I am breastfeeding my second child now. We have done BLW and he now BF 4 times a day but I am returning to work next month (he will be 9mo) and I want to cut out the 2 day feeds. I think the afternoon one will be easy as he only nurses for a few minutes then anyway but I was getting a bit worried about what to do about the midday one – All the info on the net tells me to replace the feed with formula – I never did this with my daughter so I was all confused. So great to read your experience of just supplying more food/water – very affirming! I am hoping I will gradually be able to wean him off the midday one by the time I return to work or at least by 10 months so I don’t have to express (I haven’t done that at all up til now!). Thanks again for taking the time to blog on this :)

  • Thank you so much for posting this! As you mentioned there is very little information on the internet that comes up in regard to reducing breastfeeding without supplementing with another “milk” form.

    My son is currently 7.5 months and we breastfeed 4-5 times per day as well as 1-2 night feeds and 2 meals of solids (about 70 mls each). I am currently working on cutting out the night feed and will be adding a third solid meal this week.

    I am lactose intolerant and notice he gets painfil gas after l consume dairy. Therefore I plan to limit his dairy intake to ensure he does not become reliant on cow’s milk as a food source.

    I will be going back to work when he is 11.5 months old and he will be attending fulltime daycare. As long as biting is not an issue, i hope to have reduced to the morning and evening breastfeed. Otherwise i will pump for the same result.

    I then plan to keep those two feeds up for the better part of a year. I have read how the consumption of breastmilk up to two years old can help on many levels, including social development and immunity. A lovely fact sheet is provided by KellyMom.com here: http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/

    As the 2 feeds, whether by bottle or breast, will be in the home at wakeup and bedtime, there will be no social stigma attached, no pumping at work, and no rush to wean.

    I will now be using your methods outlined above to help me get there!

  • I have a question about dropping a feed. I am currently breastfeeding my daughter 4 times a day (morning, before nap, afternoon, before bed) but would like to drop down to 3. I am wondering how to do these 3 feeds; as in which side do I feed on. If I feed left, right, left one day then right, left, right the next day will my body be able to work it out or am I going to be getting engorged breasts everyday? Should I instead always feed twice on a particular side (left, right, left everyday)? Any info would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Rachelle, for my body I’ve always (and still) nursed on both breasts each nursing session. I just do my best to alternate which breast I start with, so if I was doing 3 feedings a day I would do R/L, then L/R, then R/L and then the next day start with L/R and continue that pattern. I hope that is helpful and if any other moms reading who do nurse on only one side each session have input as well, please share!

  • Ok I know this post is old but seriously Thank you for posting this bc it seems like the wild world of weaning is very daunting since it seems there are roughly 50000 ways to go about doing so and here I found someone who I agree with on the topic!
    Quick question-
    What time did you do meals after weaning currently my daughter wakes up at 7 is nursed then breakfast
    Lunch at noon
    Nurse around 3 then “dinner” around 330
    Nurse then bed at 7
    Do you just add in a snack or move dinner back and they are fine once you are done weaning? Does this make sense?
    Daughrer is 10.5 months thank you in advance

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    My little guy (10 months) has dropped back to 3 times a day and I been searching the internet to make sure he is getting enough, like you said there isn’t much out there. There needs to be more info like this.

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