I was very fortunate to have been able to breastfeed both my babies. I didn't have an easy time of it either time for different reasons but I am glad I persevered. When Levi was ten months old I got pregnant with Nora and the medication I had to start taking meant I had to stop nursing cold turkey. Levi was a dream about this sudden change of life, I began giving him four, 8oz bottles a day and he would drink the whole lot down every time without a second look. [Side note : He also started sleeping through the night at this point too, so I saw his night time wakings were hunger related] I think my supply must have dropped more than I realised and he was hungry and eager to eat those yummy calories :)
When Nora turned ten months, I made sure I was 100% NOT pregnant and again at eleven and twelve months (and for the foreseeable future) She is far more attached to nursing than Levi ever was. She isn't all business about it like he was but happy to take her time, latch on and off and generally just enjoys having it there when it takes her fancy.
I haven't put her on a feeding schedule, but still just feed on demand as she asks for it or as I need to use it to settle her or calm her down. You see what I said there, I use it for more than just "feeding" and there in lies the problem now she is a year old and I want my body back!
I am ready to be done nursing. I am ready to feel a sense of freedom and that I can be away from her without causing her distress. However, my sweet opinionated little lady doesn't always appreciate being offered a bottle and she certainly doesn't have the capacity to drink as much as Levi did in one go - at least, I don't think she does?!
I decided to try and start feeding at set times a day and then pick a feed to replace with a bottle of milk (thankfully she likes cow's milk). Maybe do that for a few days/ a week and then pick another feed to phase out. Ending hopefully with her drinking at least 16oz of milk a day (plus water). Slow and steady wins the race and all that. However, I have a girls weekend away booked for April and I will be going so we do have a deadline :)
I was so nervous but day one - which is today, has gone great. I gave her a bottle for her second feed, after she woke up from her morning nap and she took the 4 oz I prepared (it was an amount her doc recommended starting with) and I think if there had been 6 she might have finished that too so tomorrow I will increase it. Then she ate a snack bar, lunch a little later and then nursed before going down for her second nap. I feel peace that we might actually be able to do this.
Night time will actually be the toughest, because she is nursing for comfort and I am nursing to keep her quiet so she doesn't wake up Levi while we are all in the same room. I am praying we can find something that works. Maybe as I increase her bottles/milk and decrease nursing she will start sleeping better too? I can but hope and pray.
I just feel a pang of sadness that this nursing season is ending. Even though its my idea and my desire. I am not sure what the future holds for our family in terms of adding another baby at any time (not any time soon, but any time ever) This might be it. This might be some of the final times I am connecting with my daughter in this way. In the craziness of life with two little ones, I have enjoyed those times of one on one time with just my baby. I think we will have to start snuggling and reading books more often to replace that time.
So here we are, day one half under my belt. It wasn't terrible but my girl knows how to mix it up. I am sure tomorrow will be a whole different experience so I hope she is still happy to take the bottle.
I am also hoping that gradually reducing her feeds will help me not t get too uncomfortable :)
Any tips (for any aspects of this process) from mamas who have been there and done that much appreciated.