When pumpkin didn’t latch we initially turned to formula. Well to be honest, the hospital forced me to put her on formula. Which led to further difficulties in getting her to latch. But I was determined to give her breastmilk, so I started to pump.
Early on I pumped 8-10 times a day. On the floor of my bedroom, holding my pumps while watching Netflix. After time you learn that a hands free bra is an absolute must. To pump where you are comfortable regardless of anyone around. And that a hospital rental pump can help you increase your supply, while regular pumps can only maintain supply.
Currently I’m at 5 pumps a day. Occasionally only 4. I have lost 5-10 oz, but still pump enough to feed pumpkin. My initial goal in this breastfeeding journey was to make it to 9 months. Then it was a year. Around December we discussed that 18 months would be a good time to start the weaning process. But what does weaning actually mean?
The official definition of wean is “to accustom (a child or young animal) to food other than its mother’s milk; cause to lose the need to suckle or turn to the mother for food.”
Some of the other moms have spoken about their weaning process. The baby seems to have a disinterest in nursing. The baby is more interested in doing other things. Nursing opportunities become less frequent and so supply drops and baby/toddler starts to get more milk (cow or other).
But how do you wean when you are an exclusive pumper? Pumpkin still drinks 20oz a day from the bottle and enjoys her feeding times. I’m noticing my supply is going down. When I pump, I seem to be getting less and less. Does weaning for me, mean when I want to be finished pumping? Isn’t that awfully selfish of me to define? How can I not do what I can to provide? Am I forced to wean because other people are uncomfortable with my pumping? Recently, I’ve received alot of pressure from various people to quit pumping.
I researched various milk options and we are starting with Horizon Organic Whole Milk. I like that it has DHA added to it and pumpkin seems to like the taste. She loves feeding herself the sippy cup. But she has yet to drink a full bottle. For me, I cannot even reduce my pumping until I see her actually drink a full bottle consistently. Until then, I will continue with my five pumps a day schedule while I can. It’s my hope I can get her to 18 months breastfed.
It amazes me how confusing weaning is. First everyone says it from the point of view of a baby that nurses. Then people say it from the perspective of eating more solids. But after months of carefully watching how many oz of breastmilk she drinks, suddenly there are no guidelines. No word on how much she should drink or what to watch for before there may be an issue. Even the pediatrician is so nonchalant about weaning. Without guidance this has become a very stressful and emotional experience.