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Dear Andi… Breastfeeding Q & A with Andrea Mansor, LC {Part 5}

We are continuing our series with Board Certified Lactation Consultant (and Scottsdale mom/grandma!) Andrea Mansor, who answers Scottsdale Moms Blog readers’ breastfeeding questions once a month. You can read previous Q & A posts with “Dear Andi” here.

This time around Andrea is talking about weaning a toddler while pregnant and waking to pump in the middle of the night. If you have a question you’d like Andrea to answer, leave it in the comments below!

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Dear Andi,

I just found out that we’re expecting twins (this is my second pregnancy) in early March! I’m still nursing my 15-month-old son, and I hope and plan to nurse the twins when they arrive. Do you have any advice for nursing twins?

Also, my son seems pretty committed to nursing. I have him down to nursing just before and after naps and bed–and usually one time during the night. But he asks for it more often. When do you recommend I wean him (I was thinking around 18 months, to give me a few months “off” before the twins–and before my belly gets too huge!), and do you have any suggestions for easing the transition?

Lynn

Congratulations Lynn! I have addressed the topic of breastfeeding twins in an earlier blog post and I think that may be helpful to you.

Because you are carrying twins you may be at higher risk of preterm labor as the babies grow so beginning the weaning process now will allow your son to adjust before the babies are born and not put you at higher risk during your pregnancy. Slow weaning is typically the best way and it sounds like you have already begun the weaning process.

Like many breastfeeding toddlers your son’s most special times to breastfeed are before going to sleep. You may need help with nap time or bedtime routines. You can start by eliminating his nighttime feeding and if he awakens have someone else go to him to soothe him back to sleep.

He may actually wean on his own. The changes of pregnancy affect both the taste and amount of breast milk you produce. These changes usually occur during the second trimester. Your son may not like the taste of the milk and that can most naturally ease the transition for him. If he still wants to nurse despite changes to your milk you may need to offer a substitute such as a sippy cup or bottle. Some toddlers will begin to suck their thumb for comfort. Continue to give him lots of cuddle time as you ease him through this transition.

Dear Andi,

My son is almost 3 months now and has started sleeping longer hours at night, normally only waking once to feed between 7pm and 7am. He usually wakes around 3am. I am having to wake up to pump at least once around 12:30-1am and then wake again to feed him at 3am. I have heard that my body should eventually get used to his routine and then I will only need to wake once to feed him with out getting engorged. Is this true, or will I need to continue to pump in the middle of the night to keep my milk supply up? Thanks!

Brittany

Brittany, Most babies begin to sleep through the night at around 10 to 12 weeks of age. Your milk supply is now well established and your body should begin to adjust to your baby’s changing sleep habits. Although your baby is waking less during the night, he will take more milk from the breast during his awake hours and your body will adjust to meet his needs.

If you are becoming engorged at night it is likely because your body is producing to the needs of the pump and making more milk than your son needs. It can be challenging to tame an oversupply and your body may still wake you at night as your breasts fill. When you awaken, try hand expressing and pump only to comfort. Because your body is conditioned to pumping at that late night feeding you will at be at risk for mastitis if your breasts are not emptied when they become uncomfortably full. You might try adjusting your routine by pumping just before you go to sleep and then not waking until your son’s 3am feeding time.

And remember, flexibility is key. Even though he is sleeping long hours now, your son might awaken again when he begins teething or hits a growth spurt. Many moms find it less disruptive to their own sleep to put the baby on the breast than to pump during the night. 

Do you have breastfeeding questions for Andrea (Andi)? Leave your questions in the comments below. We can’t promise that every one will get answered, but we’ll add them to our list for future Dear Andi posts.

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Andrea Mansor has been assisting mothers and babies with breastfeeding for 15 years, first as an RN working in Obstetrics then as a Board Certified Lactation Consultant since the year 2000. She and her husband George have lived in the Valley for more than 30 years and raised their family in the same Scottsdale home since 1985. The mother of four grown children and grandmother of two (with two more on the way!) Andrea finds immense satisfaction in helping young mothers. She has facilitated a new mom/baby support group for the past 8 years. Andrea encourages mothers to ‘get to know their babies’ and ‘be in the moment’ as they navigate the challenges of motherhood and breastfeeding.

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