Little Bean is not so little anymore. She's 10.5 months old now, and she's getting to be more of a toddler everyday. This morning when I dropped her off at school, she and her favorite friend Kiely (who is 11.5 months old) were both standing up and clapping together. I mean, come on, that is too adorable!
Anyway, as my active little girl has gotten more and more active, she's been less and less interested in nursing. These days I can usually only convince her to nurse when she's tired (i.e. before naps, before bed, and during the night). She is pretty variable in her interest in bottles. Some days she drinks 3 full 5 oz bottles, other days, like yesterday, they only get 8 oz into her. And the other 7 oz go down the drain... which seriously makes me die a little inside.
As her interest in nursing has waned, my milk production has fallen in response. It's getting to the point where pumping is a stressful half hour debacle of diminishing returns. I'm pumping longer and longer each day to get less and less milk. This situation can not last indefinitely. In the not-too-distant future, I will have to abandon pumping.
So I talked to her teacher yesterday after school, and we decided to send two 4 oz bottles plus an extra 2 oz in a sippy cup for lunch. Taking the amount that we're sending to school from 15 oz down to 10 oz ought to ease the burden a bit. And I've got 210 oz in the freezer. That is exactly enough to cover bottles every day for the rest of March. And at the beginning of April, she'll be almost a year old, and so I can introduce her to cows milk, thus avoiding formula.
So I think it's endgame time. It has come a little sooner than I anticipated. I really thought that I'd be able to keep pumping for a year. But at this point, for my own sanity, I have to give up on obsessing with making some arbitrary milestone instead of relying on common sense: every baby is different, Bean is an independent little girl with a mind of her own, and she will probably be ready to stop breastfeeding altogether (*sniff*) sooner than some others. But I made it pretty darn far with the breastfeeding, and in terms of the benefits for Bean's health and development, making it 11 months is probably just as good as making it a year. (It was oddly comforting to hear from Bean's teacher that Kiely started on cows milk at 11 months.)
So pretty soon here I guess I'm going to start phasing out the pump sessions. I just can't keep up with the daily stress of long pump sessions and little to show for it. It's too frustrating and tiring.
I'm hoping to keep nursing Bean at bedtime for as long as she's interested, and I'm a little nervous that as I phase out the pumping that I will lose my milk altogether. But it's something I don't have any control over, so I'm trying not to worry about that.
So for now I'm gonna keep pumping three times a day, but it ain't going to last too much longer. And I have to find a way to be okay with that.