It’s here. The change I’ve known would eventually happen finally did. Now that baby John is 1 year old, I’ve decided it’s time to think about weaning him.
My breastfeeding journey has been a challenging one through all 4 children. With my oldest, I worked 2 jobs and pumped on my breaks. But no matter what they tried, the daycare ladies couldn’t get him to take a bottle. I weaned him at 9 months and he basically went straight from breastfeeding to using a sippy cup of formula. The twins were a whole different story. I struggled for 5 hard months to make enough milk to feed 2 babies before I finally gave up. Nursing baby John was not exactly a stroll down easy street but I stuck with it thanks to the help of an amazing lactation consultant and a breastfeeding support group.
Every milestone with this baby seems monumental because it is my last everything. Last pregnancy, last crawler, last teething child… I get emotional just writing this post because in my heart I feel like this is my last chance to mother a baby. I’m not in any rush for him to grow up.
Being a nursing, working mom is a lot of work. And my work environment makes it extremely difficult to take breaks to pump. My school shares our facility with another organization, so the nearest ‘private’ space is a bathroom on the other side of the building. There is no wifi service in there so I can’t get any computer work done while I pump. The refrigerator I store milk in is in the office at the front of the building but the microwave I use for heating my lunch is someplace else. These little hassles make it so that I need at least 25 minutes for a pump break. I arrive at work 30 minutes early to pump before work, then I pump on my lunch, and then again after work. That’s almost 90 minutes while I’m at work when I’m not actually able to get any work done. Teachers just don’t have 90 minutes to spare. I don’t think anyone does, for that matter!
My infant is quickly moving into toddlerhood. This past week Johnny started walking everywhere he goes. Our supplemental food nutrition vouchers can’t be used for pureed baby food any more. Now that he’s 1 he gets vouchers for vegetables, eggs, milk, beans, cheese, and cereal. He’s not a picky eater and has been stealing his sister’s milk sippy cups for months. It’s been a cinch to transition him to ‘solid’/mashed table foods and milk in a cup. He loves cuddling with Mommy or riding around in the baby carrier. It just seems like it’s time to wean him. He’s ready. So why aren’t I?
I think I need to change my mindset. When we weaned the twins I was ecstatic because there were so many drawbacks to bottle feeding 2 babies. Just like I did back then, I need to start focusing on all the perks that go along with no longer being a nursing mom. Perks like:
- I get my lunch break all to myself
- I don’t have to get up 30 minutes early to nurse before leaving for work (we’re talking 4 a.m., folks 😛 )
- I can wear strapless bras again-and all my clothing the require a strapless bra (it’s like shopping!) 🙂
- I’ll save $40 a month by not renting a pump anymore… Cha-ching!
- No more ouchie boobies when I’ve had a too-busy-to-pump kind of day
- NO MORE PUMPING!!!! 😀
- I can toss that threadbare nursing nightgown I’ve had for 3 years now
- I can drink alcohol (not that I’m a big drinker but hey at least I can now! 😉
- No more leakage during meetings or in the middle of sex (both happened this last year! Awwwwwkwarrrddd!)
- I’ll have more time to spend with my other 3 kids. At home Johnny has to be nursed in a quiet room because if he’s distracted by a noise, a light, anything– he won’t nurse. So I’ve spent a lot of time in my room away from my family
- We can be more spontaneous. Road trips, day hikes-these are an option again! Not having to stop and nurse means I can hand Johnny a cup and keep moving!
Maybe weaning my last baby isn’t such a sad transition after all. Sure, he’s growing up faster than I’m prepared for. But the same is true for all my children. Instead of moping over it, I can choose to embrace this new stage of our family life. In fact, I might even go so far as to celebrate it – with a bottle of champagne, a new bra, and a nice long day hike in the mountains! Maybe not all at the same time though. 😉