XP: Anyone with experience on quitting nursing cold turkey? — The Bump
Breastfeeding

XP: Anyone with experience on quitting nursing cold turkey?

Does anyone have any experience with this?

For a combination of reasons we may have to do stop breastfeeding. The problem is that she is not a fan of bottles and refuses them so we can't gradually do it. We tried, she absolutely refuses the bottle. Dr said that it'll be very difficult but we may have to go cold turkey on this so she'd realize that boob is not an option and start accepting the bottle and that she may protest and go hungry for a long while before she accepts it. I'm super stressed over this. I'm afraid it'll psychologically mess her up if I take away the boob, she obviously finds it comforting and I hate the idea of having her starve so she'd take the bottle. I'm so worried about this, I literally can't sleep at night thinking about it.

I'd love to hear from you if you have experience with this. Thanks in advance

Re: XP: Anyone with experience on quitting nursing cold turkey?

  • How old is your baby? Do you plan to continue giving her expressed breastmilk or formula? Is there a reason you have to rush the weaning? LO was EBF from birth and around 6 weeks we introduced a bottle and she refused the bottle completely until around 9 weeks. It was awful and I quit trying after 2 days the first time, but knew I was going to have to go back to work when she was 12 weeks, so we had to keep trying. Around 8 weeks I started getting really persistant. We went and purchased Tommee Tippee Anti- Colic bottles, the flow is very slow on them and I made sure the milk was very warm (like it is fresh from the breast) and eventually she took to it. I never had to go cold turkey on taking away the breast, I just offered every other feeding a bottle instead of the breast and after two days she finally gave in and started taking the bottle. Good luck, I know this is super hard to deal with.
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  • I have not had to quit BFing cold turkey, but when my daughter wouldn't take a bottle the suggestion was given to try a bottle similar to her pacifier. So if your daughter takes a pacifier and there is a bottle with a similar nipple, try that. For us the Nuk brand worked best.

    I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope you are able to figure something out where you don't have to quit, but understand that might be unavoidable. Good luck!
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  • Thanks everyone. Sorry for not going into details in my original post. I just didn't want to go into too much info but reading the responses I feel like my original post is so vague.

    Here is some background that I hope would help:
    DD is almost 7 months. She was breastfed from the beginning but we supplemented a little bit for her to gain weight  (0.5-1 oz) for the first 3 or so weeks. Starting 8 weeks old, one day she decided she'll no longer take a bottle. We have done so much research and tried EVERYTHING. We have every single bottle and tip in market, tried cold/warm breastmilk, formula, juice...skipping a nursing session for her to be hungry, giving it to her after she's nursed, me being away and DH feeding her..there are probably more things we tried. Sippy cups, straw cups. She does take sips from the straw cup if it's water but spits it out if it's milk.  I ended up not being able to go to back to work.

    Breastfeeding has not been easy. Emotionally and physically. I've seen a total of 6 different Lactation nurses through out these 7 months, perhaps 10+ sessions for various breastfeeding issues. I've been through everything from clogged duct (3 times) to mastitis, thrush.. to having to have a biopsy (after x-ray and mammography) and then breast surgery.. then a couple of months later I dealt with sudden drop in supply. I stuck it out because I really wanted it to work. Currently I am taking fenugreek, more milk plus, goats rue, lencinith, lots of the nursing tea, oatmeal and pumping with a rented hospital grade machine.
    DD is stubborn. She decides one day she doesn't want to nurse more than a couple of minutes per session and then be hungry and grumpy throughout the day.. another day she wants to be on the boob every hour.

    Ever since she has been 4 months old she has been distracted so much so we have to do all the feeding in total darkness after she wakes up from naps. It's depressing. I can't take her anywhere because even in a quiet area, she manages to get distracted and does not nurse. And since she doesn't have a full feeding session she gets hungry quickly and starts to fuss.

    Because she doesn't feed good she doesn't sleep good either. She's waking up 5 times and I try to comfort her first before giving her the boob but still on average she feeds 2-3 times at night. Day or night, nursing seems to be a struggle. I sing to her and rock her while nursing but she is kicking, hitting, delatching/latching, grunting, wanting to be done. It wasn't like this before. Now it seems like a struggle.

    She's also not doing well with solids. We tried purees she is done after 2 bites or refuses to open her mouth. We figured ok she doesn't like to be spoon fed, we are trying BLW and giving her finger food. She plays with them for 30 seconds before she is done and starts her grunting/pissed off noise and wants out of the high chair.

    If she was doing well on the breast I would not stress out about solids because I know food for the first year is for them to learn about textures/tastes and milk is their main food.  I'm constantly worried that she's not getting enough milk and not growing up properly.  We do have a balance and I weigh her every 2 weeks and we have also weighted her diaper as they are so light.  Doctors say as long as she's peeing she's fine.

    The last time we were at the doctor, and she has been with us throughout our breastfeeding journey, she said that it's time to stop but given DD refuses the bottle she said we have to go cold turkey or she won't take it. The lactation nurse I last saw also said she recommends that I wean her off (she didn't mention going cold turkey).

    On one hand I agree, on another hand, it's going to be so hard.  I am googling and reading about it and I am afraid she'll go on for days (7+) before giving in and even then she may not take enough on a daily basis...

    I feel so frustrated and exhausted..emotionally, physically, & mentally. I wish DD would just nurse or eat and not give me so much misery.



  • I'm sorry you have had so much to go through! We had a tough time getting LO to take a bottle. We had luck with the Avent 4+month sippy cup, if you haven't tried it yet. Good luck momma!
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  • Thanks for all your advice.

    We did go to a different pedi to get a second opinion and the second doctor also said it's best for both the baby and myself to wean her off the breast. It's also what the lactation nurse with 30 years of experience suggested. They all say that we have literally tried everything for breastfeeding to work and she got breast milk for 7 months despite all the issues we dealt with but it's to the point that each nursing session is a struggle and stressful and that's not good for either of us long term.
    I don't know, it's just a very difficult decision. It feels wrong in my gut to let her go until she accepts the bottle but honestly I don't know how I am going to get through another day of the current situation...

  • One other thing I thought of last night...what are you offering in the bottle/sippy cup?  Is it formula or pumped milk....and if pumped milk, is it freshly pumped or from the freezer?

    My friend had an incredibly hard time getting her LO to take the bottle...and later realized it was because of excess lipase in her milk, and her baby was really picky about it.  She had to scald it immediately for her baby to take it.

    OMG! I can't believe I didn't write this earlier! That was part of our problem! Now that I scald before freezing, lo is much happier!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    TTC# 1 since 5/10
    Me:34 Type 1 Diabetes, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Hypothyroid DH:35 Perfect
    DX: Unexplained IF
    Many IUI's with various meds all BFFN
    IVF #1 11/11 canceled due to OHSS
    IVF #2 Feb/March 2012 ET of 2 on day 3 4/7 BFP! 5/1 u/s blighted ovum
    IVF #3 July 2012 ET of 3 on day 3 7/24 BFP!
    Healthy baby girl born at 36w4d on 3/9/13
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    TTC #2
    IVF #4 May/June 2014 ER 6/4 18R 8M 8F ET 6/9 1 blast, 2 frosties
    Beta 6/18 BFFN

    FET of 2 blasts 7/24...BFP!
    Healthy baby girl born at 36w3d on 3/17/15

    TTC#3
    IVF #5 June 2018- PGS planned, no surviving embryos
    IVF #6 August 2018- ET of 2 on day 3 - Chemical pregnancy
    IVF #7 August 2019-....?
  • Thank you guys for responding.
    We've tried formula, frozen breast milk, fresh breast milk and warm/cold of all of the varieties.
  • When you say it is so stressful, what is causing the stress? I understand from your post what seems to be stressful, but I guess what I'm getting at is my underlying question which is: is her weight gain ok? Is she meeting her milestones?

    If that's the case, I would encourage you to try to just go with the flow of your baby. I know that can be very, very, very hard, but I take the approach that as long as they're peeing, gaining weight, and meeting milestones, then baby is ok.

    You don't mention allergy elimination - have you eliminated dairy, soy, gluten? Do them one by one and give each one two weeks to see if it makes a difference.

    Do what you can to facilitate nursing - darker room, etc (like you're doing), but at the end of the day:

    If she only wants to feed for 2 minutes, feed for 2 minutes.

    If she wants to eat in the middle of the night, feed her in the middle of the night. Don't worry about trying to comfort first with other means.

    If she doesn't want to eat one day, don't worry about it and pump for comfort.

    I know this is sooo hard, but I feel like from your posts that you're really stressed out about it (understandably) and my point is that IF she is gaining weight okay and meeting milestones (which I don't think you addressed), then maybe just take a step back, realize you have a healthy 7 month old (not a newborn that you have to feed every 2 hours or else!!) and follow her lead. Offer frequently, try sippy cups without valves as others recommended, etc, but try not to stress if she refuses.

    The only caveat I would say is your own sleep. I found that my perspective and anxiety was greatly heightened when I wasn't getting enough sleep. THe ability to view things with the zen-like perspective that I am getting at in the above paragraph is very hard if you're not getting enough sleep. So, do what you can to get yourself some sleep - even if that means co-sleeping or whatever. That said, when I draw the line is if you've tried everythign and still can't get enough sleep. For me, personally, I don't do well on sleep deprivation and we had to do some mild sleep training so that I was only getting up 2 - 3 times/night w/ my LO (almost 10 months old). Once I found that I could get enough sleep with this, my ability to be more chill about other things fell into place. It is very hard to find the balance, but I would try a) allergy elimination and b) trying to step back and keep things in perspective before trying a cold-turkey weaning, which just sounds very traumatic to me.

    Good luck - you sound like a WONDERFUL mama!

     

  • Thank you guys for responding.
    We've tried formula, frozen breast milk, fresh breast milk and warm/cold of all of the varieties.
    JJ_13 said:

    When you say it is so stressful, what is causing the stress? I understand from your post what seems to be stressful, but I guess what I'm getting at is my underlying question which is: is her weight gain ok? Is she meeting her milestones?

    If that's the case, I would encourage you to try to just go with the flow of your baby. I know that can be very, very, very hard, but I take the approach that as long as they're peeing, gaining weight, and meeting milestones, then baby is ok.

    You don't mention allergy elimination - have you eliminated dairy, soy, gluten? Do them one by one and give each one two weeks to see if it makes a difference.

    Do what you can to facilitate nursing - darker room, etc (like you're doing), but at the end of the day:

    If she only wants to feed for 2 minutes, feed for 2 minutes.

    If she wants to eat in the middle of the night, feed her in the middle of the night. Don't worry about trying to comfort first with other means.

    If she doesn't want to eat one day, don't worry about it and pump for comfort.

    I know this is sooo hard, but I feel like from your posts that you're really stressed out about it (understandably) and my point is that IF she is gaining weight okay and meeting milestones (which I don't think you addressed), then maybe just take a step back, realize you have a healthy 7 month old (not a newborn that you have to feed every 2 hours or else!!) and follow her lead. Offer frequently, try sippy cups without valves as others recommended, etc, but try not to stress if she refuses.

    The only caveat I would say is your own sleep. I found that my perspective and anxiety was greatly heightened when I wasn't getting enough sleep. THe ability to view things with the zen-like perspective that I am getting at in the above paragraph is very hard if you're not getting enough sleep. So, do what you can to get yourself some sleep - even if that means co-sleeping or whatever. That said, when I draw the line is if you've tried everythign and still can't get enough sleep. For me, personally, I don't do well on sleep deprivation and we had to do some mild sleep training so that I was only getting up 2 - 3 times/night w/ my LO (almost 10 months old). Once I found that I could get enough sleep with this, my ability to be more chill about other things fell into place. It is very hard to find the balance, but I would try a) allergy elimination and b) trying to step back and keep things in perspective before trying a cold-turkey weaning, which just sounds very traumatic to me.

    Good luck - you sound like a WONDERFUL mama!

     

    Thank you so much for your response. I really do appreciate all the help/advice I am getting here.

    What is causing the stress I think is that I feel like trapped at home with a constantly grumpy baby who doesn't feed well thus she snacks all day and night long and our nursing sessions are stressful where she eats for 2 minutes then wants to kicks and grunts because she wants to go do something else. She's very easily distracted that is why we nurse in darkness and in a quiet room.  We ruled out reflux, she was on the medicine for a month a few months ago but it didn't change anything.

    To answer your questions, the amount I pump varies, from a few drops to 1 Oz. I did stop taking the fenugreek as I thought it was making her gassy. I've cut all dairy from my diet.  A month ago when she was very cranky on the breast because she wasn't getting enough (I had a clogged duct) the lactation nurse watched me nurse her and after a few minutes said she's just sucking and not gulping, she's not getting milk. Back then she was actually willing to take a bottle after the breast for a few days then she stopped taking the bottle. During that time she gained a giant amount of weight very quickly!  So this is her pattern, she gains a lot of weight in a matter of a few days then she stays the same weight for a month or more..

    When she doesn't nurse good for a few days it scares me that she'd get dehydrated. I have actually taken her in on multiple occasions when she wasn't eating well because I was worried and each time they say as long as she pees and has one diaper in 8 hours she is not dehydrated...and that kids don't starve themselves...

    I don't see any rash besides the redness on her neck that she has had on and off the whole time. We put vasline on it after shower each night. Some days it's better than others.

    She sometimes goes a couple of days without pooping but the doctor said that exclusively breastfed babies are rarely constipated.

     Recently she has had issues pooping though, she strains and turns red so I have been giving her very diluted prune juice via syringe (10 ml).

    I am sleep deprived and you're right it does not help with the stress. As soon as I try to dose off to sleep she wakes up and so we repeat. DH helps by bathing her and playing with her but given he can't feed her I can't be gone for more than an hour or two.

    I have been trying to go with her flow that is why I am working around her nursing schedule 24/7. And why I didn't end up going back to work.

    As far as milestones, she is not crawling yet, but she rolls and is able to sit unassisted. She makes oo oo voo voo sounds but I was going to actually asks the doctor if I should be concerned she's not babbling more. She started laughing more recently but I asked the doctor about her not laughing (she smiles alot but not many actual laughs) but the doctor said she is a serious and curious baby. She stares at every little thing, any noise, anything moving, anyone coming close to her..

    As far as getting help from my mom..I don't have one. My mom passed away when I was 13.  I have a MIL who lives far away and DD cries every time she sees her so I don't feel comfortable leaving DD over night.

    I made another appointment with a ped this Wednesday. I am also thinking of making an appointment for myself to get on something. I am generally a happy person and have had a positive outlook to everything I am just very worried about DD. I keep thinking that as she gets older she'll get better but honestly I am losing hope..I want to enjoy her, go places with her and do things with her. She's only little once but instead we spend our days playing at home and consoling her...

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