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Breastfeeding Goal Met!

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Well here we are, the big ONE. Baby2’s first birthday! This is the first of a couple posts I plan to write about the occasion because, quite frankly, ALL THIS AWESOMENESS just can’t be contained by one post alone.

For this first post, I’m actually going to talk about bit more about myself than Baby2 – but no worries, everything else I’ll write about tomorrow is all about her. Speaking of tomorrow, that’s a big day for ME. As of tomorrow, I will have met my goal of breastfeeding for Baby2’s entire first year! I’m going to take a moment to let that sink in. I feel really awesome about this goal. It just feels awesome to meet a goal at all, doesn’t it?!

I tried very hard to successfully breastfeed both of my babies. The biggest difference was that with Kiddo1 I didn’t set any goals for myself, therefore I didn’t really have anything to work toward (other than keeping my happy baby healthy, of course!). This time with Baby2 I set one large, overall goal (to make it to a year) and several smaller goals as well (to make it to six and nine months, to donate excess, etc).

There are more differences between the two breastfeeding jobs I’ve had, and while I try not to get into comparing my children, I think this an interesting contrast:

  • With my first nursling, I didn’t want to educate myself at all because I figured this “skill” would come naturally to me. Come the second time around, I realized that even nature needs some nurture.
  • With my first, I thought a cheap, manual breastpump would do the job (I was so uninformed/naive/young/stupid). With my second, I knew the extra cost of a double electric pump would be worth it (and after a couple months with my Avent, I realized one of those hospital-strength Medelas would be even better, but I stuck it out with Avent).
  • With my first, I didn’t take care of myself first – I didn’t eat well or hydrate enough. With my second, I carry water with me everywhere and I eat SO MUCH better than I did 9 years ago (although these last couple months I have slacked off a lot).
  • With my first, I focused very much on getting Kiddo1 on a schedule (which Kiddo1 took to very well and really was more of a “scheduled” baby than Baby2 is). With my second, I fed “on demand” and didn’t let those evening block feedings phase me at all. Baby2 is SO not a schedule baby, but she does like her routines.
  • With my first, I also focused very much on getting Kiddo1 to sleep through the night (which he did at 5 weeks and never really had much of a regression). With my second, I co-slept and let Baby2 eat at night whenever she needed (more on that later…).
  • With my first, I didn’t seek out any sort of support system (other than Mr. Handsome who has always been amazing). Withmy second, I have a lot more support, mostly in the form of online communities (just reading other women’s struggles and successes is supportive!), but I also sought help from a lactation consultant when I felt like I needed it.
  • With my first, I did a lot of supplementing, mostly so I could go out and be a “normal” 22-year-old, you know? But with my second, I don’t supplement at all unless it is both with milk I pumped and it is because I am literally not physically there with my baby. If I was there with her I insisted on feeding her (except for a couple special occasions that I wanted just one more beer!).

Such a change in 9 years, eh?

In this year with Baby2 we never used a drop of formula, but it was never about an “anti-formula” agenda or anything like that for me. Kiddo1 was formula-fed, so I’m not against it. My motivator started with money, to be honest. Actually I wrote down all my motivators awhile back; I think money was on the list twice. In fact, we’ve done a few things to save money this year (I used Babycenter’s cost calculator and their default settings to calculate the following):

  • Exclusively breastfeeding $1000
  • Cloth diapering $1100 (BabyCenter says my savings here is actually $800 and we should spend $19/month on cloth diapers – without a service – but I think that’s total crap for us because we literally only have laundry expenses for our diapers and those amount to a percentage of the laundry detergent we already use and water, which we pay the same for whether we use none or a shit-ton, no pun intended)
  • Stay-at-home parent $4600

But I hugely digress (money makes me do crazy things). Here are some fun facts to get me back on track:

  • I used my company’s lactation room for 10 months exactly (9/17/12 to 7/17/12).
  • I used exactly 21 milk storage bags and countless number of glass mason jars to store milk (the bags were just used on vacation and once at work when I forgot my bottles).
  • I filled my deep freezer to the top once and I sabotaged my whole freezer stash once. photo 5097A4E7-AAD8-466B-8A41-1E955181E951-1922-000001662E0BA961.jpg
  • I donated over 1000 ounces of breastmilk (which I started doing after I filled my freezer to the top that one time – there was no room for adult food!).
  • I donated my milk to four babies.
  • I could probably count on one hand the number of ounces of milk that I have spilled this year – I have been extremely careful! I only had one little spill at home, never at work.

The only non-breastmilk she’s drank this year is the goat’s milk she’s had this last week as we transition. We selected goat’s milk over cow’s milk because it has more fat, and fat is something this little lady needs. I’m still doing research about fortified and pasteurized versus raw goat’s milk (and kind of leaning toward raw) but for now she’s on milk from the grocery store so it is fortified and pasteurized. More to come on that.

Getting her on goat’s milk has been easy – our first step was to have her take her morning session in a bottle from Daddy now, even if I’m at home. Last week he started mixing one part goat’s milk to two parts breastmilk; this week he’s even flipped that ratio (2 parts goat’s, 1 part mine). Baby2 is taking to it really well. We’re sticking with the 2:1 ratio for another week or so, to make sure she doesn’t react in any way AND to talk with the pediatrician at the end of the week to make sure we’re doing everything right (of course we are! Hahah). She’s still taking her milk warm but after we switch to 100% goats then we’ll probably start trying to give her cooler milk too. So, yes, a very easy switch to new milk.

The hard part we have not yet faced – weaning. More specifically, nighttime weaning. Bleh, I don’t even want to think about it. On the one hand I would really like to have a baby-free bed and a full night’s sleep. On the other, Baby2 is SO EASY to get back to sleep when she wakes up – just feed her! A handful of times that wouldn’t work because she’s just been pissed in the middle of the night, but I blame teething because believe me we tried everything to soothe her those times!

Part of me wants to be really strict and just eliminate nighttime nursing cold-turkey. Just let her cry it out. She’ll totally adjust what she eats during the day so she doesn’t go hungry. No biggie, right?

Then the other part of me, the voice that I hear more loudly, says no, just chill out! (Tanget – have you seen CTFD-style parenting? I love this.) Just keep doing what I’m doing. Why change if things are working well?

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There are just so many variables.

  • Now we have the crib in our room but we’re moving next month (yes we’re actually moving finally!!) and when she has her own room it won’t be as easy to sleepily steal her from her crib so I should transition her away from co-sleeping now.
  • I work full time so I don’t get a lot of time with Baby2 during the week; sometimes nighttime snuggles are the only time I get with her. So I should continue co-sleeping now.
  • I haven’t had a full night sleep since the second trimester of my pregnancy so I should transition her to sleeping through the night now.
  • She’s little and she doesn’t eat much as it is so I should continue feeding her whenever she’ll take sustenance.

I don’t know what we’ll do. Some days I’m totally gung-ho one way and then I flip to the other way. There is no “middle way,” though: we either night wean AND discontinue co-sleeping or we don’t. I’m not walking to her room in the middle of the night and hanging out in there until she’s ready to go back to sleep. What the hell is the point of that? Oh so I can lose MORE sleep at night? No thanks. If I continue feeding her through the night I must do it while half asleep. There just is no other way. More to come on my progress on this end.

I DO know that I’m done pumping at work! Woot! I’ve removed all blocked-off pumping time from my Outlook calendar. I’ve taken my pump home for the last time. I’ve cleaned and boiled my pump parts and tucked everything away in its black bag. This weekend I will pack it in a moving box along with a bunch of other random moving crap (even though we’re not moving for another month). The pump bag will likely sit in my daughter’s closet at the new house, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

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Pumping at work has been fine. It seems very normal, really, which is fantastic. I am extremely grateful to have the lactation room at work. I’m glad to know that so many other ladies are using the facility as well – I had to take this picture of the most bags I had ever seen in the room at once. So many pumping mamas! When I returned from maternity leave there was only one other woman using the room, and she was on her last couple weeks before her son turned one. For a couple weeks I was the only woman using the room until a couple more co-workers returned from their maternity leaves. Then the room got pretty busy – this picture of all the pump bags happened a few times this year (we always have people coming in the office from off-site, so the number of lactation room users can vary a lot). I didn’t really make any lasting friendships or anything, but knowing other people were in the same place as me was a kind of support in and of itself.

As far as daytime weaning, I’m not there yet. When I’m at home I’m still nursing my nursling, but I don’t know how long my supply will keep up. I don’t really have a plan – we replaced the morning feeding with the “milk hybrid” bottle and we’ll probably replace another at-home feeding with a bottle over the weekend. Maybe. I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure what I want to give up yet. I think most people start dropping their nighttime feedings first, but not us. My weaning plan is a “play-it-by-ear” or a “do-what-feels-‘right’-whatever-the-hell-that-is” kind of plan. A CTFD-type of plan, if you will! We’ll see how it goes.

Finally, everyone’s favorite way to end a post, the fun paragraph in which I tell about my postpartum body (yes I’m still calling it postpartum). I still haven’t had a period!!! (I’m done trying to call that by other names as well.) No, I am not pregnant (I took a test on Friday, just in case). I hope that now that I’m not pumping things will get back to normal. I’m not complaining, but it’s weird. Part of me almost thinks I have some lack of control right now. Not that I can control when it shows up each month… maybe it is the predictability that I miss. Maybe I should just shut the hell up and enjoy it while it lasts. CTFD! Linea negra is still around too.

Next post: cute baby pictures and lots of videos in the 12 month update!

4 responses »

  1. Congrats on making it to a year!
    I know what you mean about how it is a little unnerving not to get your period for so long. With my first baby I got it at 13 mo (still nursing), and 15 mo with my second (still nursing). Kind of random!

    Reply
  2. First off congrats on reaching your goal. Secondly, huge kiddos to you for donating so much milk! That is amazing. And I am super impressed by how well you did with pumping. I know I would not have made it as far as you did if I had to pump so much.

    Reply

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