You all have helped me survive this one year of nursing as a full-time working academic mother. You have allowed me to push back on all the well-meaning bullies around, and given me a hand out of many inexorable pits. You have, I can say with confidence, saved my life, and facilitated my daughter's health and spunk. NO ONE ELSE HAS CONTRIBUTED MORE TO MY SANITY.
My daughter is turning a year old in 2 weeks. At the same time, summer ends, and full-time teaching begins again. She (1) still nurses to sleep with me, or on her babysitter or her father's shoulder [you can't put her down and expect her to fall asleep and I will never let her cry it out in order to do that], (2) takes two naps during the day, (3) does not sleep through the night (wakes up *many* times) and nurses back to sleep, (4) the longest she has slept in one stretch is possibly 3 hours, 4 hours if she has been sick. She eats all sorts of things, with her own hand, and is dairy intolerant (something we found out after giving her cheese at her doctor's suggestion after her 9 month appt).
Right now, 2 weeks before she turns 1, at the end of the summer during which I was at home with her all the time, except for 3 hours in the afternoon 3 days a week with a babysitter, this rough sleep/feed schedule has emerged:
7/7:30 wakes, without hope of sleeping again for the morning
8/8:30 breakfast (cereal, fruits, etc.), I'll make a couple of attempts to get it in at 1-hour intervals.
10/10:30 nurse to nap
(I nurse her if and whenever she wakes up, sometimes to go back to sleep) 12/12:30 wakes, nurses if I am around and NOT if I am not around, and no BM otherwise does not take any breastmilk if i am not around,
lunch--some meats, veggies, fruits, feeds herself. we just encourage her to do what she wants.
4/4:30 nurses to nap if I am around for her afternoon nap and NOT if I am not, no BM otherwise
5:30/6:00 nurses on waking
dinner with us, what we are eating, plus fruits
around 9/nurses to sleep, sometimes right away, sometimes takes an hour or more!
then she wakes many times depending on how badly she is teething. on some nights after 30 or 45 minutes, usually 1.5 hours, and sometimes she will take one long 2.5 or 3 hour stretch and then will wake up every 1.5 hours. nurses at almost every waking. she is becoming more and more able to go back to sleep if all other things are okay (stomach pains and tooth pains are pretty usual).
And, yes, we co-sleep.
And, also, I have not pumped all summer. We have done alright without it. I have ALWAYS been around.
She is happy, funny, engaged, extremely active, mobile (almost walking, takes steps and has good balance) and healthy, even though prone to constipation. Weighs 20 lbs, and is 29.5 or 30 inches tall. She had great weight gain until the dairy intolerance was triggered with the cheese! Now, in the past 2 months, she's probably only put on 6 ounces net.
OK, now here's the rub. I start back at the college where I teach next friday. We are transitioning to another caregiver since our lovely babysitter is also going back to college.
I will leave home at 9:30 and come back at 2:30 on Tue and Thu, and at 5:30 on Mon and Weds.
I will have ONE 15-minute between the classes that I am teaching on the shorter days, and possibly another break on the longer days.
I want my daughter to lead me when it comes to weaning. My poor husband and coolest guy in the world has not been able to help having a really rough time of it all, and I think our relationship has survived a lot of stress because of our strong foundations, but we aren't the best we have been. I haven't been able to offer a kind of presence that he is yearning for, have had many health problems, am always fatigued, relying on philosophy to save me from being self-destructive but it doesn't always work, working through lots of my own childhood issues, not much sleep at all if I nurse 6-7 times at night, alongwith being the main breadwinner and main housekeeper/cook.
I think I am often mad at him, just as I am with the rest of US society for not treating me like a queen through the one year I needed/deserved it the most! I wish I could have been with my child all year, and until she goes to montessori in the Spring. Do I ask for too much?
What are your recommendations/guidance about:
(1) how to foresee/plan for--if at all--this next stage of breastfeeding a one-year old?
(2) what exactly are signs of baby-led weaning? I offer her to nurse as I have come to expect things, and haven't really figured out her "demand." Is that my fault? How will things ever change?
(3) non-dairy replacements for breastmilk (in other words, do I have to pump, and does she still need breastmilk more than she needs nursing?)...I see them as separate acts but of course they are connected.
I never thought I could come this far. I need a hand to take the next step, and I cannot do it without you all.
with love and respect.