Hi Everyone! I've lurked here for years since my son was born in 2009 but this is my first post. I'll try to make this as brief as possibly. Basically, I am conflicted about ending the nursing relationship with my 7.5 month old daughter. I work 50 hours a week and was able to nurse my now 2.5 year old sonfor the whole first year by pumping during the work day and nursing in the evenings and weekends. I had been hoping for the same thing for my daughter and was able to build up a nice little stash of frozen milk. But-- over the last two months my daughter has not wanted to nurse. At first I thought it was because of her ear infection, then I thought it was because of her amoxicillin, then I thought it was because she was getting used to a faster flow from bottles (even though we use newborn nipples). In addition to using my Medela Freestyle, I rented a Medela Symphony to try to boost my supply. I tried Fenugreek and Mother's Milk Tea. She still wasn't interested. As a side note, she is very very mobile- crawls everywhere, pulls up cruises, etc. She is "too busy" to nurse or at least that is how it has seemed to me. I've tried nursing her in a dark room with no distractions but she still pulls away. It got to the point this past weekend where she didn't want to nurse at all (I had been able to get her to nurse when sleepy before). She also has another ear infection now. We ended up at the point where I decided (I thought) that for everyone's sanity I would just end it since she seemed not to want to nurse and it seemed selfish of me to force it. We started her on some formula on Sunday and have been supplementing with frozen breastmilk. I pumped twice on Monday, once on Tuesday, once on Wednesday and on Thursday I was able to get her to nurse a little before she went to bed to take the pressure off. Today I pumped once. I had been eager to get my extra weight off (never took all the weight off from the first pregnancy) and so I started the Medifast diet on Wed (800-1000 cal lower carb, higher protein, very processed with lots of artificial sweeteners). Well, now today she is very very sick with an ear infection, vomitting and poor breathing that the pediatrician thinks may be the beginning of RSV. I started to have second thoughts about ending nursing.
So I guess I'm just looking for advice:
1. Should I continue pumping and try to feed her that milk in a bottle-- will there still be immune benefits? I just want to see her get better!
2. I know that most people believe that child led weaning doesn't happen until the child is 2.5-5 but if I truly tried everything that I did and she still just didn't want to nurse, what's another explanation? Is there anything else I can/should try?
3. If I decide to get my milk back, I should be able to with some work right? I'm not completely dried up. I pumped 3 oz from each side earlier (though that is a drastic decrease from the 15-20 oz a day I was pumping just a week to a week and a half ago.).
4. Another thing I thought of is just stopping the pumping at work and instead only nursing when she is sleepy (which is when I have the most luck). Aside from a bonding benefit, would there be a physical benefit to this?
5. If I continue nursing in some way (partial or full (with pumping)) should I stop the restrictive diet? If I partially nurse it seems like I would be able to possibly keep up a supply even with low calories but I would then worry about toxins released into the milk by the breakdown of the fat and also toxins from acesulfame potassium, splenda, etc.
If anyone could give me some advice I would be very appreciative. I feel so ambivalent about what the right thing is to do. Part of me feels that I've already not been nursing or pumping for this long, I might as well just dry up and the other part of me feels incredibly guilty for "giving up" on this relationship before a year. Would love any comments. Thanks.