Everyone knows that breastfeeding started off super tough for me. I had pain. I had bleeding. I had engorgement, mastitis, and yeast. Basically everything that could go wrong did! It took me about 8 weeks to finally get every issue solved and to finally feel like I had the hang of it.
As Kye is getting older I realize that I am closer and closer to the goal I had planned for myself: 6 months of breastfeeding. I have a lot of mixed feelings about stopping breastfeeding. Here is my “pro” list for stopping at 6 months:
- my breasts will go back to a normal size instead of being one size right after he eats and being super huge right before he eats again
- no more pumping for missed feedings!
- no more leaking milk through the night
- it’ll probably make it easier to lose the last little bit of weight that I’m clinging onto
- he’s already gotten all the benefits from it and doesn’t “need” it the way he did in the beginning
- no more scheduling everything around feeding him
- being able to put the glider back in the nursery and having the living room back to how to should be
- I’d be able to get rid of all these nasty nursing bras I’m always stuck wearing
- it’s going to be a pain when we do solid food b/c I’ll have to nurse some then get all dressed to feed him some (I think that’s how it works anyway?)
- if I nurse him longer than 6 months then won’t I have to nurse the other babies that long too? do I really want to spend 4 years of my life nursing?
Here is my list of pros for continuing to nurse past the 6 month marker:
- it took so long to get the hang of it why stop now?
- our time together after he gets done nursing is so so so precious. he laughs the most. he’s the cutest. i ADORE that special time.
- if he’s never had formula and we introduce it to him it will be a pain to figure out what kind, how much, etc and dealing with problems he may have with what we choose
- formula is expensive…breastmilk is free
- i know by a year old he’ll be down to hardly nursing at all so it’ll be easier to ween him and for my body to naturally dry up
- while he may not “need” the benefits of it as much I have heard the longer you do it the better their immune system will be
- formula puke stains and stinks (as does the poop)…breastmilk puke comes out easy, doesn’t smell as bad, and the poop is virtually ordorless
- making a bottle every time he has to eat? what a pain! with nursing pop it out and you’re good to go
- the longer I nurse the more benefits I get from it too like less chance of breast cancer and plus I get more “points” through Weight Watchers 😉
- if something is going well why change it?
I’ve given this all a lot of thought and even though Kye is only about to be four months old I thought I needed to go ahead and decide what I want for the future. He has his next dr. appt on July 15th and since he clears 8 oz every bottle and can even eat more I’m pretty sure they are going to recommend that he starts on baby food even though he’s a little young. When we talk about baby food I need to know what I do in regards to nursing and if I plan to stop at 6 months I will have a totally different set of questions regarding formulas etc.
In looking at my pro/con lists I feel like my reasons for stopping at the planned 6 month marker are pretty selfish. Not that I think it’d be wrong for me to stop at all…but I want to feel good about stopping, not guilty and I think some part of me would feel guilt for stopping for no other reason than just my own self. More than any other reason, the special time Kye and I have together right after he gets done eating is more than enough to decide to keep going with it!!! Since he finished eating in about 20 min now I will typically sit with him in the chair for a good extra 20-30 min just cuddling, talking and playing together. It’s OUR time and I’m not ready to give that up yet! Even if that means I’m stuck leaking every night, pumping everytime I’m away from him, and wearing some pretty gross bras it’s all worth it to me!
I talked to Zach about it and he supports whatever I decide to do and I really do want to continue past 6 months. I told him my worries about feeling like I have to do it that long for all four children and he said we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I just know that since Kye is a boy I don’t know how I’d feel nursing in front of him ya know? And when we have the last baby he’ll be 9 so that could get awkward! I do plan to nurse all my children for SURE but I don’t need to feel the pressure to nurse them ALL for a year just because I do that for Kye.
I’ve heard that as babies start to eat food that they don’t need as much of their nutrients from milk anymore so I think he’ll slowly stop nursing as much and will eventually only do it once or twice a day (am I close to being right?). I’ll know more when we go to the dr. later this month but I’ve decided to keep nursing until they give us the okay for Kye to drink milk that you can buy from the store in a jug. Why continue after that point? If he’s old enough to drink cow’s (or goats I heard?) milk then he’s old enough, in my opinion, to stop with the breast. I’ve heard that they can drink whole milk at 1 year old but who knows! More questions for the dr. for sure! I’m totally committed to nursing Kye until he’s a year old if that’s when he can drink whole milk. Once he can drink that milk there isn’t any guessing at which formula to buy, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s easier than nursing because you just pour it in the sippy cup! I did tell Zach though that we are investing in some better nursing bras if I’m going to keep this up for 8 more months!
Another thing I decided is that if I’m going to continue nursing for so long that I cannot keep up the pumping session I have every day. Since he was 2 weeks old I’ve incorporated an “extra feeding” into my day so I can pump and store milk up for him. I have over 600 oz saved (to use when I do stop nursing so he’ll get some extra breastmilk once my nursing days are done!) which is awesome but it’s SUCH a pain to pump every morning. I really dread it and it costs up a good bit of money for all the freezer storage bags. Why store up a bunch of milk if I’m going to nurse him until he’s done needing it at all? Seems like a big waste of time and money to me! And 600 oz will last him about 19 days if he drinks 8 oz at each of his 4 feedings…which is almost a month! Plus I will still be storing up some milk as whenever he drinks a bottle I will pump for that missed feeding and I always get more milk than he drinks for some reason.
I quit the morning pump session during our trip to St. Simon’s and it’s been so wonderful not having to mess with all that crap! I feel like it’s helped my breasts be more “normal” sized too and I think it’s even helped him somehow because he isn’t spitting up as much! I know when you pump it tells your body to make more milk so maybe I was still producing way too much since I was forcing my body to do that instead of just making what he ate? Who knows but I’m glad the pumping days are behind me and am looking forward to many, many, many more nursing days ahead!
I nursed Stevie until she was 11 months old, she absolutely despised formula so we decided to just go ahead and give her cow's milk (you really are not suppose to until they are a year old), but I figured if she could eat a hamburger off my plate then she would probably be just fine to drink some cow's milk. She is totally fine and super healthy baby. She has had 2 ear infections and both were when she was cutting teeth, so I am pretty happy with the results of breast feeding. I will probably nurse Neela longer since I will not be turning right around and getting pregnant again like I did with Stevie. My body was just not producing enough milk for Stevie and protecting the fetus like it should at the same time. Seth is trying to talk me into, however, introducing Neela to some formula early on, since pumping is so hard for me and I do work 2 days a week, I still feel uncomfortable doing it, but I know it will be a whole lot less stressful and that way other people in the house will have a chance to feed her some (and we get formula for free, we already have like 20 cans of it).