I know this was a huge wonder of mine while pregnant and after baby girl was born. I do not know what is “normal” but I can talk about the process for me!
I will start by saying: this process started a little sooner for me than I originally wanted. Here is why: the military decided we should go to Japan. No worries-this is a good thing! The dilemma was that I had SO much frozen milk. The fees to ship it would be outrageous considering once we get to Japan it will be one month from her first birthday when she can start cow milk. So my goal was to begin weaning and use the frozen!
The process took about 1.5 months. She already gets 3 bottles a day from daycare so taking a bottle was not going to be an issue for us. I know that those who have exclusively nursed say sometimes just taking bottle is the tricky part!
At 9 months she was getting a morning nursing when she first woke up and then a nighttime nursing right before bed. The nighttime nursing was the one I was terrified to take away so we took the morning nursing first. At this point it was still all breast milk-just in a bottle so there was not any issues. Other than I was giving her too much! She gets 7 oz bottles at daycare but she was only drinking about 5 oz in the mornings. We did this for about 3 weeks and I started pumping only once a day at this point to slow down my production. And it slowed fast! Much faster than I thought. I went from pumping 18-24 oz a day to around 12 oz a day within a week.
About a week ago I took away the night nursing. It has gone pretty well so far. The one thing it has changed is her bed time. She would fall asleep nursing about 90% of the time and with a bottle she never falls asleep. Luckily for us if we lay her down between 7-7:30 pm she will put herself to sleep within 5 minutes. Yes, I know…we have a freak child 🙂 We do not expect to be so lucky if/when we have another one!
Where are we currently? She is 10.5 months now. I have began trying to introduce formula. It is really hit or miss right for now. She will not drink just formula. I have about 250 oz of frozen left so her morning and night bottles I have been doing 2-3 oz of formula and 2-3 oz of breast milk mixed together. When she absolutely refuses the mixture I add a little bit of rice cereal and that seems to help. If she is not drinking it consistently by this weekend I will try Similac. I have been using Enfamil supplemental so far.
I am hoping for the best over the next 10 days before we fly out! I have not pumped in a little over a week so I am not producing very much (if any). Over the weekend she was pretty tired and fighting it and I actually nursed her and she passed out. I do not know if she was actually getting any milk or if it was just for comfort.
Below is also a picture of how I stored my milk. The best space saver I found was to freeze the bag laying down and then it was easier to prop up like in the bottom of the picture and then to place in bins like the top portion. The bins are how I stored it in the deep freezer!