Tag Archives: toddler

What Does Pumping Past the First Birthday Look Like?

12 Jun

On our Facebook page, a mama asked about resources for moms that are pumping past one year. Unfortunately, there is very little information about this topic, most likely because so few moms continue to pump for their children after that magic first birthday “deadline”. The American Academy of Pediatrics states their recommendation as follows:

…exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. (AAP 2012)

The final portion of the statement, “as long as mutually desired,” is a little vague, and so most people cling to that “12 months of age” as the definitive word on how long mothers should supply breastmilk for their babies. In contrast, the World Health Organization statement is:

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. (WHO 2015)

Recommendations aside, moms who exclusively pump, or who work full time and pump to supply breast milk to their children during separation, have many hurdles to overcome to continue providing their milk.

Typically, supply issues are a common concern. As the infant grows into a toddler, moms begin to increase the amount of solids they give to their children and decrease bottle feeds. The change in demand will effect the supply, since moms won’t feel so pressured to provide as many ounces, and begin to phase out a pumping session or two. A pregnancy can also negatively impact supply. “I think that I would have continued to pump until my supply dwindled to the point where it didn’t make sense anymore,” Amanda Glenn, author of Exclusive Pumping and Milk Supply, told me. For her, that meant only 1-2 ounces per day, but after the pregnancy, her supply dipped so much that she weaned her son. Moms also get really tired of pumping. I asked Alina L, another mom who pumped while working full time, what she thought about it. “Pumping is not fun,” she said. “I think everyone loves hitting that one year mark when they can ‘hang up the horns’.”

Most of the general rules about pumping for an infant also apply to pumping for a toddler. Moms need to fit pumping sessions in when they can, have enough pumping sessions to fill the demand of your child, and use relaxation and hands-on pumping techniques to get the most out of your breasts. Some things do get easier as your baby grows. “You don’t need to pump as often, as [a] toddler rel[ies] less on breastmilk and more on solids,” Amanda said. “Generally, you can schedule pumping sessions while they are sleeping, and toddler sleep tends to be more predictable than infant sleep.” For moms that pump at work and breastfeed directly from the breast when together, weekends can be a “catch-up” time in order to boost supply without worrying about the breast pump.

What about other challenges?

Alina told me that cluster-feeding and reverse cycling were common in her experience. “A lot of working moms are not prepped for the cluster nursing and nighttime nursing,” she said. “[They] also get trapped because baby wakes up at 5am and wanted[sic] to cluster feed then Mom cannot take a shower and get dressed. […] I used to suggest setting an alarm for 4am and do a dream feed with baby.” (A dream feed is when you put baby to the breast while they are sleeping, and they nurse without waking.) She does note that this will result in less sleep for mom, so it is a personal decision whether or not you choose to do this.

Many moms are concerned about their supply dwindling as they cut down on pumping sessions. I asked Alina if pumping was necessary to continue a breastfeeding relationship if the mom needs to work. “No,” she said, “you can always give formula during the day and breastfeed when you are together. And you have to be willing to get up at night.” Amanda began introducing cow’s milk after the first year, by mixing it with breast milk in the bottles. “I started adding a splash (literally about a tablespoon) to my son’s bottles, just to see what happened [and] if he’d take it. He took it just fine, and I gradually increased the amount until the bottles were completely cows milk,” she said. Alina noted that many pumping moms she knew continued pumping past one year due to allergies to things like cow’s milk. If allergies aren’t an issue, moms may not need to pump during separation and continue breastfeeding when together.

What final advice do these moms have for moms who pump past one year?

Amanda said, “I would say to keep going as long as it makes sense for YOU. You have given your baby a great gift by pumping for as long as you have, and you should keep it up as long as you think that it’s worth it and that pumping makes sense as part of your life. When it becomes a dreaded chore, or you want your pumping time back to do other things, or you cannot handle getting one more clogged duct, it’s 100% okay to stop.”

Alina brought up something I hadn’t considered. “First advice is to check [the] laws of [your] state. Some states only protect pumping moms until baby is age 1.” BABE is based in Texas, and there are no laws here that protect working moms at all. (As of this writing, a bill is being heard in the Texas Senate to fix this. Read more here.) Alina also advised that pumps need to be maintained, and tubes and membranes need to be replaced regularly. The manufacturer of your pump will be able to help you with that. Her final tidbit was that “[m]any women experience a supply dip starting at ovulation and continuing until cycle starts. Taking calcium/mag throughout the entire month steadily can help avoid this.”

Pumping and/or working moms! What is your best advice for pumping past one year? Give us your experiences! There are so few articles out there, but I know you are out there!

Amanda Glenn is the creator of ExclusivelyPumping.com. You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/exclusivepumping

The opinions expressed belong to the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Bay Area Breastfeeding and Education.

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Round Two: 10 Tips for Nursing Your Newborn While Chasing a Toddler

7 Jun

Tears streamed down my face

as I sat in the recliner nursing my one week old son, holding my 18 month old daughter and watching my mom drive away.   Though breastfeeding was much easier the second time around, I was unsure how I was going to manage with a toddler and a newborn.  I had visions of my busy toddler coloring on the walls or playing in the toilet while I was sitting every 2-3 hours (or more often) nursing my son.  How I wish I knew then what I know now!

“Breastfeeding the second time around was SO much easier. Probably because I had the confidence. I breastfed my first for 2 years, so I ‘knew’ I could do it again. I just felt way more comfortable, and I knew the early pain was normal and would get better in a few days. It’s been tough because my toddler still needs attention, but the baby needs to eat! So we’re working on it and figuring it out together. But overall, it has been way easier and more comfortable the second time around.”   Beth, pictured above

  1. Prepare them.  Depending on your toddler’s age, consider taking her to a sibling preparation class.  Classes vary but usually include watching a video about becoming a big brother or big sister, diaper changing and swaddling practice on dolls, a craft project and sometimes a visit from a real newborn.  Read more about preparing your child for baby’s arrival here.  This is a great list of books geared toward sibling prep, and click here for children’s books about breastfeeding.
  2. Feed them.   Have healthy finger foods available for your toddler to snack on during some of your nursing sessions.  Put together little baggies of their favorites that are easy to grab and go.
  3. Surprise them.  How many times have you remarked your toddler has too many toys?  Pack some of them away in plastic tubs for awhile then pull them back out during the times you are caring for the baby.  Designate those as the breastfeeding toys.
  4. Contain them.  As I remarked above, I was concerned what my toddler would get into while I was nursing.  Create a nursing nest in a safe space where you can keep an eye on your toddler.  Installing a gate is an easy way to create a boundary.
  5. Include them.  Encourage visitors ahead of time to make sure and pay special attention to your toddler as the baby is a magnet!  I even suggest in my sibling class that visitors bring a treat to big brother or sister.
  6. Involve them.  Making the baby off-limits to big brother or sister will only cause them to resent the newborn.  Show them how to be gentle while staying close to prevent any accidental head bops or eye pokes.  Let them “help” with diaper changes, baths, retrieving clothes or your nursing pillow.
  7. Spend quality time with them.  Your time will be divided but your love is not.  Steal lots of moments to hug and kiss on your toddler.  When your partner gets home, hand over the baby and take big brother or sister aside to read a book with them, play a game, take a walk around the block or start their bedtime routine.   Plan toddler “dates,” such as a trips to the park or library, where the whole family can get out and brother or sister understands that the baby can be fun, too.
  8. Pack for them.  Take a trip to the dollar store, and pick up a few items like stickers, notepads, colors, pens, etc, and a little bag or basket to pack them in.  Make it the special bag that only comes out at nursing times.
  9. Expect regression from them.  For reasons they don’t even really understand, your toddler may regress to more baby-like behavior after the new baby comes.  If they are potty-trained, they may even regress in that area.  Refrain from disciplining this behavior and understand it is temporary and perhaps the toddler’s way of expressing “I need an extra, extra hug so I can feel like I am still important.”
  10. Embrace flexibility.  Learning to be flexible is a requirement for motherhood as our kids don’t always fit into the neat little boxes our culture creates for them.  Anticipate the diaper blow-outs right before you walk out the door.  Be ready for the toddler melt-down in the store.  Carry an extra shirt to change into after the unexpected spit up.  And most of all, look forward to the intangible rewards being a mom brings, whether you have one, two, or five!

What other tips can you share for moms going from one to two?