Nursing past a year
Before Zoe was born, my goal was to breastfeed for at least a year. I knew that a year is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, and I knew that breastfeeding isn’t always easy, so I figured I’d set that goal and see what happened. We were lucky, both in that Zoe was a good nurser, and that I didn’t have any supply issues. The first few months weren’t easy, and it was more painful than I’d expected, but we persevered. The next couple of months were great and then I headed back to work. Enter my new best friend, with whom I’ve spent countless lunches and other quality time over the last 8 months, my pump. Pumping at work was not fun, and it took a lot of time. While I read, and doing a little typing while pumping, it was not time that could be spent working with others, which happens to be a big part of my job. Plus, I was deathly afraid of forgetting to close the blinds on my office window, thereby exposing me and my new best friend to everyone in the reference room.
So while the nursing was going well, the pumping was getting quite old. Again, I was lucky, and was able to pump enough to supply Zoe at daycare, but I looked forward to being done with it. So when Zoe turned 1, we started weaning her from breastmilk at daycare. She took to it quite well, but it took a full month for me to be able to make it through the day without pumping or exploding. And a little part of me kind of misses having time set aside during the day to specifically daydream about my girl. But really I’m quite happy to have that time back, and to be able to leave my blinds open and look into the reference room again without fear.
We haven’t weaned Zoe from nursing, though, and currently don’t really have plans to do so. As much as I may have found nursing boring in the past, I’ve also found that I’m just not ready to give it up. Last month, things went great – on the weekends and days I was home, I would only nurse first thing in the morning, before naps, and at night. These last few weeks, though, Zoe’s been wanting to nurse all the time. All. the. time. I had been planning to follow the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” plan of only nursing when she asked for it. This worked all right at first since Zoe hadn’t really been asking to nurse that much. But then she learned, and has been celebrating her newfound communication skills as often as possible. And by “asking to nurse” I mean pulling the neck of my shirt, sticking her little hand down my shirt and then pointing to a breast. She’s not subtle, and it’s just not quite as endearing as her early ways of indicating hunger. The thing is, my supply is down now from not pumping, and her little teeth are sharp, and I’ve been enjoying the ability to go out and not have to nurse, so I sometimes want to refuse.
I went looking for information on weaning from the pump, but still nursing otherwise, and didn’t find a whole lot that was specific to our situation. There’s all sorts of good info for mothers starting to nurse, and those who are headed back to work, but not a whole lot on continuing after a year. Most stuff that’s written for Zoe’s age is all about weaning. It’s like they figure if you’ve gotten this far you either want to stop, or you don’t need help, but this is where I’m feeling the most at a loss. I did find a few places that mention that babies will want to nurse more often when sick, teething, or when there’s a disruption to their routine. All of which have happened in the past couple of weeks, so I’m hoping it’s just a phase and she’ll cut back on the number of nursing sessions soon.
- Posted in: nursing