Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bittersweet

So, I am starting to wind down on breastfeeding.

The Bean is 11 months + 1 week old. I committed myself to breastfeeding for at least a year, the length of time promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I am quickly approaching her 1 year birthday, a time at which she can transition from breastmilk to either cow's milk or soy milk (we haven't yet decided which... if anyone has any experience with soy, I'd love to hear about it). And we have a pretty significant stockpile of breastmilk in the freezer to plow through, enough to carry her through her actual birthday.

So this week I have gone from pumping three times a day (once at home, twice at work) to pumping just twice a day (once at home, once at work). Next week, I'll stop pumping at work altogether. Bittersweet is the only way I can describe it. I am elated at the impending freedom that not nursing during the day will bring... No more nursing bras, no more restrictions on my clothing, and I'll be able to move my daily run to daytime instead of running right after work (when I'd much rather be playing with the Bean). Even just transitioning from two pump sessions at work down to one has been very liberating.

But I am sad and anxious too. Nursing has been an incredible bonding experience for the Bean and I, and it's been wonderful for us. I am so glad that I could help nourish her strong little body and help her grow. I hope that I'll have enough milk to continue nursing first thing in the morning and last thing at night for months to come. So I'm nervous at how my body will react to the change in demand.

But overall, I'm pretty happy at being able to hit my "breastfeeding for one year" goal. Not all working moms have the luxury of a semi-supportive work environment, and even those who do often have trouble keeping up with their child's demand. It's been hard, but I'm proud to of what I was able to accomplish. And I'm looking forward to next week when I can shift my run schedule to the daytime...

And as a public service, I plan to write a "working girl's guide to breastfeeding" in the very near future...

10 comments:

hypoglycemiagirl said...

You may have said why in an earlier post that I have missed; in that case sorry for not paying attention...but I'm just curious; why do you pump at home?

I thought it was enough of a hezzle to pump at work, so I never bothered doing that at home. I guess the Goose was never far away over too long time

ScienceMama said...

I started pumping one breast each morning (5 a.m.) while the Bean was sleeping when I was still on maternity leave in order to amp up my milk supply and build up my freezer stockpile of breast milk.

Once I went back to work, I continued pumping at home each morning in order to meet Bean's milk quota.

I would typically get about 5oz from the morning pump session at home, and then 10 oz from the two pump sessions at work. Bean has been holding steady at needing about 15 oz per day at daycare since she was 6 months old.

And yeah, it's a hassle pumping at work and home, but it's almost over!...

mamabear said...

Don't feel like the end of nursing is the end of bonding during chow time. At 18 months I still enjoy holding my baby boy in my arms while he enjoys his delicious bottle. I don't know about soy milk, but we stick to the organic variety of cow milk and have been pretty happy with it.

Jane said...

I've been reading your breastfeeding stories with interest---I'm just a few weeks behind you, so our phases have been similar. And I totally understand the tug-of-war here: pumping and breastfeeding take a *lot* of time and energy, and it will be nice when it's over and I don't have to rearrange my entire life every single day for them. But the day that Baby Jane is totally weaned will be a very sad day for me, for all of the reasons you so clearly state here.

We are thinking of going the organic milk route, when the time comes.

It's hard to see them grow up and not need us as much, isn't it?

The bean-mom said...

It is indeed bittersweet.

Congratulations on nursing Bean for so long, and for soon having more of your body back for yourself. I say "more" because you're not going to have it all back, you know--she'll be demanding your arms, your hugs, your touch for many years to come!

And it's probably not the end of night-nursing. I nursed my Bean-girl to sleep at night for months after I'd weaned her from all other feedings. That last bedtime nursing is so special... We kept that one up until she was 15 months or so.

ScienceWoman said...

Do you really think that ending daytime feedings will be the end of nursing? Minnow is now 14 months (tomorrow!) and we nurse in the morning before I leave for work, at daycare when I pick her up, in the evening before bedtime, and at night. So the nursing bond is still holding strong. At daycare she happily drinks cow's milk, but at home she only wants the breast and we give her a cup of water or juice with dinner. (She spits out milk from either bottle or cup.)

I know you talked about how Bean is losing interest in nursing, so maybe that's why you think the 1 year mark will be the complete end. But I guess I just want to say that it *might* not be the end, and you might get lots of cuddly nursing time for months to come.

But it sure is liberating not to be pumping at work!

Queen Zucchini said...

Good luck with the transition!

I would only suggest discussing Soy with your pediatrician. I've heard various people mention that it might not be that good for babies and should only get it if cow's milk gives them issues. But I could be TOTALLY WRONG - it's happened before ;)

Astronomum said...

I'm having similar issues with my 12 1/2 month old and in fact just posted about it too! I have in the last 2 weeks successfuly stopped pumping at work, but I still breast feed in the morning, right after daycare, and at bedtime. It's working pretty well right now. We have a stash of frozen breast milk so right now she gets a bottle of that and a sippy cup of organic cows milk during the day. She's doing great.

I totally understand your concerns though, and 2 weeks in I am still worrying about it.

Academic said...

I'm going to second the pediatrician consult before going to soy milk. It's probably a good call to make before you switch diets anyway.

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