Breastfeeding: The First Year
Here we are at 10 months old!
Birch is nursing four times a day:
- First thing in the morning (his favorite)
- After morning nap around 11/12
- After afternoon nap around 4 (his second favorite)
- At bedtime (his least favorite)
New Freedom To Leave
Lately being able to go from 6:30am to noon-ish without nursing has given me a new urge to get out of the house in the mornings without a worry about Birch taking (or not taking) a bottle or me needing to pump. We have a new babysitter who will be coming a few mornings a week, and being able to work in a coffee shop or go to a workout class is a joy I didn’t know I was missing until I did it one day! I really haven’t left the house much these past 10 months and there’s a big world out there
Nursing These Days
Birch honestly doesn’t seem all that interested in nursing, and at times I’ve wondered if he might self wean earlier than a year. He doesn’t pull on my shirt or face plant onto my chest. He’s a great solid-food eater so I’ve wondered if he’s just not all that hungry/thirsty (even though I always offer it to him after a nap). There have been times when I really want him to nurse and he simply won’t and pushes me away! (Sob!) But there are still days when he likes to run his little fingers through my hair and smile up at me while he gulps, so I don’t think we’re done quite yet.
I’m Only Nursing On One Side
I’ve always had a good side and a bad side. Because so much of breastfeeding is a feedback system based on supply and demand, I have knowingly perpetuated this imbalance by favoring the good side for the past few months. When Birch was younger, I made more of an effort to start him on both sides equally, but now that he’s older I’ve decided to simplify and just stick to the one good side. This has actually been nice because I no longer have to wear breast pads all the time to catch the let down on the good side while he nurses on the other. That’s a small change but a significant one : )
Trip To Cali
I have a trip planned to California with Beautycounter the week before Birch turns one. I’m so excited to be able to recharge after this wild first year. I do have some frozen milk in the freezer that we will be able to use up, but I also really don’t think he’ll miss it that much. (Hopefully he misses me though – I am going to miss him like crazy since we haven’t been apart for more than a few hours his whole life!)
I hope to continue morning + night nursing when I return from California so I’ll be pumping just a little while I’m there to try to keep the plumbing going. And if my boobs decide to turn off and there’s nothing left when I return, that’s OK since Birch will be one and able to wean.
My plan is to test out dropping one or both of the daytime feeds the week before I leave. I’m going to take my pump with me and pump just a little morning and night (and comfort in between if needed). In an effort to be minimal and not haul tons of storage bags, worry about a freezer in my room, coolers at the airport, etc. I’m not planning to bring any milk home with me. Since he’ll be old enough to switch to whole milk when I return, we don’t have much of a need for frozen milk. I thought about donating it on the West Coast, but I honestly don’t think it’s going to be that much (and I’m sure some of it will contain wine!)
I don’t have a true end goal in mind. If Birch wants to keep nursing first thing in the morning for the next six months I’d be fine with that. As long as it’s a want not a need it takes the pressure off. I started weaning Mazen at one year and we continued with just mornings until he was 14 months. I stopped offering it one day when I felt done, and he only asked for it once after that. What’s great about first thing in the morning is you can wear normal bras, normal clothes, leave, go on date nights, etc. but can still keep the sweetness and some immune benefit going from the morning session alone.
Breastfeeding is hard for so many little tiny reasons but I’m so thankful I was able to experience it twice. I think it’s been a little harder for me this second time around because there is more going on in general with two kids. It is truly the best and hardest thing about the first year for me – more than the sleep the first 6 months I think. Weaning is so bittersweet. I will be happy to be done, to get my boobs back to their normal size and to fit my chest back into my wardrobe. To know that my baby is able to be in the good care of his dad or grandparents or caregivers without needing me to plan ahead or rush back.
But that oxytocin is stroooooong and I have loved being able to nurse both of my boys.