Here in blog land, we all share our knowledge on certain subjects, give feedback and support each other on a daily basis. I am always taken aback when I am able to do the same thing in real life and in this situation, I really just feel so good about it.
My friend (and employee) Kel was scheduled to come back from her maternity leave last week. I got a frantic phone call 2 days before because she was trying to wean her baby girl and just could not do it. She was hysterical over it, could not stop crying, and the baby, while taking a bottle ok from others, would not even think about taking it from her.
She was adamant about not pumping at work; she just didn’t want to go through it. She thought that weaning was the best option—just get it done with overall. We talked for a long time about it; she knew that I had nursed both kids even after coming back to work and wondered if there was any way she could still do it without using a breast pump. She thought that she was going to hate breast-feeding and that it would be no big deal to stop, but the bond just took here completely by surprise.
I felt like, so pro-lactation in that moment, it was amazing. In short, this is what I told her:
Breastfeeding is different for everybody. I was able to nurse Bud until he was 8-months old, but by the 6-month mark was having a hard time pumping enough to keep him going. I gradually began to stop pumping at work, but still nursed him at home before and after work, as well as all weekend long. Nursing all weekend always boosted my milk supply and I was able to maintain long enough. By the 8-month mark, we were both ready to be done with it, and the transition to all bottle (he was on a lot of solids by then anyway) went very well (I got pregnant the next month, and my boobs never completely emptied, but I left that part out.) Lucy was different from birth. First, because of the NICU, I was unable to nurse her right away, and due to her hypoglycemia, they had to give her formula right off the bat. She came home with strict instructions for supplemental feeding for the first week or 2. She took the breast easily, but definitely preferred the bottle. Once I had gone back to work, and she to daycare, it became harder and harder to nurse her. She weaned herself at 4-months. I was ok with it because I knew I had done my best.
Bottom line is that this proves how different it can be from child to child and for sure from mom to mom. If you don’t want to fully wean her, you don’t have to. If you nurse her before you leave in the morning, and when you get home at night, your body will adjust your milk supply. You can more than likely easily do both. The decision is yours though; try not to feel like you are depriving your baby. Most importantly, the bond you have shared while nursing doesn’t go away just because you stop. You are the baby’s momma for life.
In the end, Kel used her stimulus money to take 2 more weeks off of work to see if she could work out some sort of routine. I’m hoping that everything works out the way she wants it to. And I’m glad she felt better after talking with me, the same way that I feel better after hearing from all of you all the time.