Breastfeeding – Approaching a transition

Today’s guest post comes from my friend Michelle, who blogs at The Ahouse Adventures.

It was always my goal to breastfeed Sophia through her 1-year birthday. From what I’ve read, and with the routine we’ve got down, it’s the best option for us. I particularly enjoy our morning time together – it’s a nice way to ease into the day for both of us. With 10 months down already, I’ve started to think a lot about the transition.

Right now, I feed her directly 3 times a day and she gets a bottle of pumped milk before bed. We started the bottle before bed because my supply was at its lowest at the end of the day (as is most women’s) and we wanted to make sure she had a nice, full tummy for sleeping.  It’s also a great opportunity for Dave to participate in the putting to bed process. The other two feedings occur when she wakes up after first and second nap. She is eating lots of solids, so the stress from the beginning of her life of not being quite sure how much milk she was getting has eased up entirely.

What is funny is that the more active she is become (crawling, pulling up), the less interested she is in eating. Yesterday, we made it about 8 minutes before she was completely distracted and disinterested. (Note that we were sitting quietly in her room with nothing really to distract her – no music, people or anything. She manages to distract herself! with trying to move all around) I ended up pumping and giving her about 3ozs because I knew she was still hungry. We’re working on beefing up the solids even more, but much like breastfeeding, it’s hard to know exactly how much they’re eating (vs throwing on the floor!)

One thing I won’t miss is the pumping. I’ve been fairly dedicated to pumping 3 times a day. Once in the morning after her first feeding and twice at night – when she gets her bottle at bedtime and once before I go to bed. That has covered the nightly bottle with some extra to increase our freezer supply. My hope it to be able to stop pumping the end of this month, with enough “banked” in the fridge to cover her nightly bottles through the 1-year mark.

Come November, the plan is to move her onto cow’s milk for 2-3 feedings and to continue to nurse her for the morning feeding for awhile longer until she’s ready to give it up. We’ll see how it all plays out. We’ll probably start with a nice half mommy milk, half cow milk transition and go from there. I do love the fact that I can soothe her at a moment’s notice (especially in the middle of the night with teething) so I’m not willing to give up breastfeeding entirely. Breastfeeding truly has formed this bond that we’ll never lose; it will just evolve.

Michele is a full-time stay at home mom. She lives in Somerville, MA with her husband & daughter, Sophia, who was born in November of ‘09.  You can follow their adventures at: http://theahouseadventures.blogspot.com/

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6 Comments

Filed under Food, parenting

6 responses to “Breastfeeding – Approaching a transition

  1. Hello , I am a mom too for 3 kids and a baby. I am still breastfeeding my baby and he is 1 year old. I love your story about breastfeeding, it reminds me my current breastfeeding story. I invite you to write your story about breastfeeding in my site.
    Keep on the good job.
    Sarit

  2. I am curious.

    You mention that your breast milk is least at bed time – why does that mean supplementing your milk flow then, instead of putting her to bed with a less-full tummy? I don’t mean to criticize, I am just curious why your cycles shouldn’t correspond with hers.

    And a bit more afield, I read that in cultures that only breast feed, the norm is to fully wean about age four, and using only mothers milk as the toddler begins to transition to solid food. And I wonder how that got abbreviated in America to breastfeeding for a year as if that were nature’s cycle.

    I did raise a horse. My vet explained that most horse people wean their foals at about 3-6 months – as they haul the foal to the sale barn. That the mother would wean the foal at 15-18 months, in the wild or left to her own needs and the needs of the foal. My observation was that nursing after the first 6-8 months was less for the bulk of calories than to supplement the rest of the diet, and for emotional content as the foal matured.

    It just seems a bit arbitrary to set one year as a goal. We know that some children walk or talk at different ages – why does the calendar set the end of breastfeeding?

    • Brad, most moms that breastfeed will tell you that their supply is lowest in the evening. Some moms choose to nurse then, others choose to give a bottle of breast milk.

      Our foal Isabelle still nurses off and on, and she turned 1 back in June. We chose not to separate them to wean her because we weren’t going to breed Annabelle again. It is funny though to see an almost full grown Shire nurse :)

  3. Michelle,

    You’re doing an incredible job and it sounds like you and Sophia are setting the pace that’s right for you both. You have a wonderfully thought-out plan for your upcoming transition and I’m sure it will work out for what’s just right for you and your daughter.

    No one should question your “arbitrary” deadlines nor guess what’s best for the nursing couple. Only Mom/Baby know what’s best for them.

    I happen to be Abbie’s Mom and I’m so proud of you and Abbie and all the young nursing Moms today. I’m a fan of prolonged nursing, having nursed our three children for a combined total of about nine years, give or take. Funny how you lose track, and I had no intention of nursing our last for so long, it just happened. It was more a case of providing nurturing than nourishment at that point . . . I think people are more senstive today and don’t ask ignorant questions like, “Are you STILL nursing?” I didn’t nurse in public past toddler years, although I think people would be more comfortable with that today.

    Just as we didn’t separate our mother Shire Drafthorse from her baby (because we didn’t have to), I would encourage a nursing couple not to separate until they’re ready.

    In admiration of you,
    Ruth

  4. Gorgeous photo. I too loved the bond that breastfeeding nurtured with my daughter Annabelle. It is amazing how being your child’s food source can strengthen that mother-child bond early on.

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