Breastfeeding and Weaning; When Do I Stop?
Martha has just turned 8 months old and still breastfeeds a lot. Like, a lot a lot. She took a good while to figure out the joys of food, initially spitting out whatever she was given or gagging and throwing up the moment anything other than breastmilk hit the back of her throat. I never really had a plan for breastfeeding so with weaning now starting to go a bit better I'm wondering what's next for our breastfeeding journey.
After a rough time with Toby as a baby, I didn't want to put any pressure on myself when it came to feeding Martha and I kind of assumed that she would have a mix of breastmilk direct from the source and expressed milk in her bottles. She hadn't read the memo though and resolutely refused any offers of bottles so after a while, we accepted that feeding was my responsibility and mine alone. As a baby on the top end of the weight charts and with a keen interest in our food by the time she was 4 months old, I again assumed (really need to stop assuming) that Martha would take really well to solids. She didn't. Now at 8 months old, she's absolutely loving her food but it's only really been like that for the last fortnight or so.
As a work at home mum, I'm finding it harder and harder to be productive whilst looking after Martha full-time. I also struggle to go out in the evenings because I feed her before bed at about 6:45 and again around 9pm. We've managed it a couple of times and Phil's great at settling her, but I certainly can't imagine being able to spend more than a couple of hours away from her at a time. Don't get me wrong, I love our little munchkin but I truly believe that parents thrive from being able to be themselves sometimes away from their mini humans.
I've started expressing again in the hope that we can introduce some feeds in a cup. Martha's brilliant at drinking water from a cup so hopefully this will prove successful. The Lansinoh double electric breast pump is really efficient for expressing and I want to try and build up a good stock of milk in the freezer so that Phil and I can have a date night or I can go to business events on my own.
As a baby eats more in the way of solids, they will naturally breastfeed less until they either stop or just have bedtime/comfort feeds. This is all unchartered territory for me because I didn't breastfeed Toby for this long and he was happy to take a bottle. As I have done for the past 8 months I will just take each day and each feed as it comes, I'll go with the milky flow!
Weaning will inevitably result in reduced breastfeeds but I love the saying 'food is fun until they're 1', which helps me to remember that my milk will give Martha everything she needs until she's having proper meals.