R Reid Myers (malawry) wrote in intellipregnant,
R Reid Myers

Weaning in a hurry

Due to health issues, I need to wean my son, stat. He's almost 15mo and only nurses 2-3x/day--to sleep at night, then once or twice for naps or comfort. Has anybody done this gently yet quickly? I plan to take him down to once a day for a week (for bedtime only), then cut him off thereafter. Will this work in terms of engorgement? I think I have 2 weeks max to do this.

Believe me when I say I have to wean him, this health issue is life threatening and I cannot get treatment until he is weaned.
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Can you get ahold of a copy of "How Weaning Happens"? It's by LLL. I think there's a chapter on medically necessary fast weaning... let me go check my copy, I'll be right back.
OK, the chapter is Chapter 8, "Weaning because of medical advice." It really encourages women to look for alternatives to weaning, even when they are told they must. (They don't talk about radiation/ chemotherapy, however.)

What medical treatment are you getting?

Lumpectomy or mastectomy followed by radiation/chemotherapy. *grimace*
Yeah, I kinda thought so. How hard. I am so sorry this is happening to you. ((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))

I think your plan for decreasing the nursing will work. You could still pump and dump (for the entire time of your treatment) but I don't think I'd do that, myself. Too stressful. Chemo in particular is so hard (I've had friends go through it). You need all your extra energy for just being there with your little one... pumping would take away from that closeness. Not that it'll be easy anyway. But you are strong, mama, you can make it through this!

You can also use sage tea to reduce your supply, that might help. You could look into other herbs or even meds to reduce your supply, sage tea is just the one I know best.

May your recovery be speedy and complete!
You should be able to reduce production in two weeks. I can't say anything about your son's reaction (my kids got/get breastmilk, but nursing itself has never been all that successful for us), but reducing production to a reasonably comfortable level should only take 3-4 days of nursing less often, for less time. Thereafter, you will probably need to resort to expressing/pumping a bit of milk every now and then and use some ice packs to get comfortable for 3-4 days.

I assume that you still having milk is not the issue, but him getting any of it is? Depending on how long your treatment lasts, you may be able to maintain a minimal supply (pump&dump) and then re-lactate afterwards. Of course, if he's 15 months, that option may not be worth the effort.
When I wean, that's it. No relactation. Thanks for the advice.
As per the other comments, as soon as I hit send it occurred to me that it might be a breast health issue. I hope things go well for you.
it's probably not going to be easy no matter what, but try to introduce some other soothing devices into the sleep/comfort routine. a blankie, stuffed animal, even a paci or bottle/sippy might work.. i don't think engorgement should be too bad if at all, just understand it'll be a process for you both and hopefully you have someone to help (take him to comfort if he's in a boob only mood) and especially if you're going through treatment for something so serious. good luck. i'm the process of slowly weaning my 23mo before his younger sibling is born in the fall and i sympathise with trying to do it gently and quickly.
La Leche League's weaning page:
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBweaning.html is the main page. The best ones for you seem to be:
http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug98p118.html (sudden weaning)
http://www.llli.org/FAQ/weanhowto.html (how to wean)

And Kellymom:

I've always heard putting cabbage leaves in your bra helps with engorgement, but not to do it too much or too long because it dries up the milk, so, in your case, I'd try cabbage. I'm so very sorry you're going through this. How rough.