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Can i still breastfeed after no feeds for 3 weeks?


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#1 Tilly77

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:26 PM

DS is a little over 9 months at the moment and we have been mix feeding since he was 6 months. I still have quite a good supply even if i got more than 24 hours without breastfeeding him (he stays at my mums one night per week).

DH and i are going overseas for 3 weeks in june and will not be taking ds, i'm just wondering is it possible to still have milk in my breasts and be able to breastfeed when i return from overseas?? Ds will be 2 weeks off his first bday when we return.

Edited by Tilly77, 23 April 2012 - 03:27 PM.


#2 lucky 2

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

I cant remember the exact time frame but from memory, no bfeeds or milk removal for 3 weeks then the breasts would be well on the way to "involuting", which means they are stopping milk production and changing back to how they were before pregnancy.
If you had no milk removal and no or minimal milk production after 3 weeks you could try to bring it back up again on return, it would mean lots of stimulation, ie bfing and/or expressing.
If you suddenly stop bfing then you may get very full and uncomfortable eventually, you would be at risk of mastitis apart from giving your breasts the message to halt milk production (ie milk not being removed therefore not required).
If you want to bf on return then some expressing would probably be the thing to do, to have at least some milk removal and production.
How much and how often you need/want to do that is dependant on how your breasts feel and what you want to do.
All the best.

#3 AlexandraI

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:23 PM

Um no. Can you take your baby with you?

#4 AlexandraI

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:28 PM

Maybe take a breast pump and express a few times a day if you can't take your baby?

#5 niggles

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:28 PM

Are you planning to express while you are away?

I had a separation of 5 days when DD was about 18 months old and returned to feeding (just once a day by that age for us) with no problems. I hand expressed in the shower each day while I was away. I think 3 weeks would be more of a challenge, especially at 10/11 months when milk is still very much a feature of a baby's day.

#6 BentoBaby

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:32 PM

I highly doubt you'd be able to recommence nursing without great difficulty after 3 weeks. You could try regularly expressing but even then it could be a stretch.

You're a brave woman leaving your under 12 month old for 3 weeks! I couldn't even leave my 15 month old for a week. I'd be sick with how much I missed him. Good luck!!


#7 HeroOfCanton

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:32 PM

Have a look into re-lactation. The ABA may be able to give some advice, by there is plenty of info available via google original.gif

I've heard plenty about the non-birth mother of a same sex couple being able to lactate to feed their baby, as well as some fathers who've done it, so there's no reasoyou can't give it a go!

#8 BentoBaby

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

QUOTE (*Browncoat* @ 23/04/2012, 09:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have a look into re-lactation. The ABA may be able to give some advice, by there is plenty of info available via google original.gif

I've heard plenty about the non-birth mother of a same sex couple being able to lactate to feed their baby, as well as some fathers who've done it, so there's no reasoyou can't give it a go!



ummm... reakky?! huh.gif

#9 HeroOfCanton

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

QUOTE (mtilly @ 23/04/2012, 09:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ummm... reakky?! huh.gif

Yeah. Amazing, huh?
Most male mammals have some rudimentary mammary glands.
It's not something we would try in our household, but it is possible. Google male lactation, or 'milkmen' - it gets a bit new-agey, but it fascinates me wink.gif

#10 BentoBaby

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:53 PM

QUOTE (*Browncoat* @ 23/04/2012, 09:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah. Amazing, huh?
Most male mammals have some rudimentary mammary glands.
It's not something we would try in our household, but it is possible. Google male lactation, or 'milkmen' - it gets a bit new-agey, but it fascinates me wink.gif


That's incredible! I googled but mostly it came up with a condition starting with g & also something to do with a level of starvation. I wonder whether they would make enough to actually feed a child?

#11 mibi

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:57 PM


i would think if you expres once or twice a day you'd be able to resume ok. But I would probably talk to the ABA and read up about relactation just to be sure. I'm just jealous - I'd love to get a break from my kids!

#12 HeroOfCanton

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:57 PM

QUOTE (mtilly @ 23/04/2012, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's incredible! I googled but mostly it came up with a condition starting with g & also something to do with a level of starvation. I wonder whether they would make enough to actually feed a child?

I don't think anyone's really looked into it TBH, I saw it referred to as 'natures backup plan' lol. So I guess there's no w ay of knowing if the milk has any real qualities etc etc.
My point to the OP was though, that if non-birth mothers and even men can start, here's no reason she couldn't try to re-start if she 'lost' her milk while away.

I did see a lot to do with starvation as well, which is interesting given the extra calories they suggest you consume when breastfeeding.

#13 ReadySetRace

Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:00 PM

I offer a bf to my 15 month old after no feeds for 1 week and there wasn't milk.  I don't think you'll have left.

Must say i'm surprised you would leave a baby for 3 weeks, I haven left my 4 year old for more than 2 days. (not that the option is there.....)

#14 Guest_pessi_*

Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:01 PM

If you express, even a little bit, you would probably still be producing some milk by the time you return, and you might even be able to get it going again even if you didn't express during those 3 weeks (although you probably would need to, just stopping suddenly might make that trip pretty uncomfortable). As PP says, ABA and google will be your friends.

But I think an important consideration is, will your DS cooperate with that? By that age neither of my kids would've had the patience or interest to build my supply back up. They would've had a quick suck, and if very little was forthcoming, they would have soon grown bored and asked for a sandwich instead...

Good luck though!

#15 *Mumma-to-A*

Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:03 PM

I think you could do it if you expressed but wouldn't that be confusing for your DS though? He could actually refuse the boob after 3 weeks at that age.



#16 lucky 2

Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:25 PM

I think the confusing thing would be that mum has gone rather than the breasts as such ie mum=breasts so no mum=no breasts and also mum back=breasts back???

#17 Tilly77

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

I wasnt actually asking people's opinion about whether or not i should leave my child for 3 weeks, i was asking about breastfeeding. I find a few of these comments very judgemental, hurtful and off topic. I love my son more than anything in this world and am pretty confident that he will not be confused or scarred by my time away.

#18 noi'mnot

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

I don't think he'll be scarred by you going away, but I also don't think he'll be that interested in breastfeeding enough to build your supply back up when you get back to pre-leaving levels, if it has dropped dramatically. You can't make a baby of that age breastfeed if there isn't enough milk for what they want.

If I were you I would be expressing a couple of times a day, every day, whilst away just to keep at least a bit of supply going.

I agree with others, though, that you should give the ABA a call. They're the best ones to advise you on this.

Good luck.

#19 niggles

Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

QUOTE (lucky 2 @ 23/04/2012, 08:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the confusing thing would be that mum has gone rather than the breasts as such ie mum=breasts so no mum=no breasts and also mum back=breasts back???


It went something like this for us. When I wasn't there she knew the breasts weren't there and didn't ask for it. When I was back, she went straight back to it. Actually the minute she saw me in the morning she jumped up and said "Mummy!" and then "Boos!".

I wasn't gone long enough to effect my supply dramatically (plus the hand expressing each day helped I'm sure) but if you are willing to express it could well be just as straightforward. Especially as you are already mix feeding. My DD was used to having milk in a cup with her lunch, so milk in a cup in bed with Daddy before breakfast was a familiar enough replacement for breastfeeding for that week I was away. DH also thinks it went so well because there were lots of breaks to her familiar routine. They spent a few days away at his folks place, took a trip out to his Granddad's place and did lots of activities during the day, when he would normally have been at work.

I think it probably depends on your child and how much they enjoy breastfeeding as to whether they'll be interested again. And on your ability to maintain supply. Only one of those things is really in your control.

#20 Tilly77

Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:02 PM

Yes, you are right, there is the possibility that he may not be interested in taking the breast after such a long time and i had not considered that. I am going to express while i am away and hope for the best upon my return.




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