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Thread: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

  1. #1
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    Jan 2013
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    Default thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    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
    nurses
    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
    8:15/8:30 bath
    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.
    pandora
    Last edited by @llli*pandora; August 16th, 2013 at 10:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    1. Don't borrow trouble from the future. No need to plan. Just nurse when you're together, and make sure you bring your pump with you to work during the first few weeks back- even if you have no plans to pump, you should have it on hand in case you get really full/uncomfortable.

    2. Think of weaning as a very long process, one which starts when you first offer solids and may stretch on for years and years, as your baby gradually transitions from being exlcusively breastfed to being mostly breastfed with some solids, to being mostly solid-fed with some breastfeeding, to being exlcusively on solids. When that transition is complete varies from child to child, but most babies don't self-wean until 2-3 years, at least. You'll know your child is self-weaning when you offer to nurse and she refuses to nurse. That change is something that will happen spontaneously, with no need for you to figure anything out. The only reason to change anything about how you manage your child's demand is if you are ready to wean (either partially or completely) before she is. For example, if you decide you want to cut out a certain feeding or block of feedings (often the nighttime ones), you can. Just let us know and we'll walk you through the process.

    4. The fact that it's rather difficult to find a good non-dairy substitute for breastmilk is one of the best reasons to continue to nurse. As long as you nurse 3-5 times a day, you don't really need to worry about offering additional "dairy". Obviously the more you nurse the better, especially with a younger toddler. You might want to speak to your pediatrician about what to offer if you feel like your child needs something in addition to your milk. You want to make sure you're offering about the right percentages of fat and calcium, which is the primary reason to offer dairy in the first place. You might want to consider trying goat's milk or fermented cow's milk products like kefir or yogurt, since they are often tolerated by children who can't drink plain cow's milk. If those don't serve... Then I think you talk to the pediatrician.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pandora View Post
    (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.
    We offered cowmilk to my son (now 15 mos) at 1 year and he refused it. Still does. But he really likes water. And then he started refusing expressed breastmilk completely! So for the past three months, when he is at daycare, he just does solid foods plus water in his straw cup, and he nurses with me frequently when we are together (including frequently overnight, similar to yours). He's been doing great! My point is just that maybe you don't have to worry about finding a dairy milk substitute. Yes, they need to stay hydrated when they're away from you so water with solids is a good practice. But if she's still nursing a few times a day when she's with you, then I just look for balance in the 24-hour picture, if that's makes sense.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    Congrats on making it to a year! What an awesome gift of health for you and your baby.

    When at work, I would suggest, pump if you can, or hand express if needed. Adjust as needed as you go along. Many moms do eliminate pumping at work after baby is a year old and continue to nurse, so pumping is not imperative, but as mommal suggest you want to be careful about getting overfull or uncomfortable, plus not nursing during times you normally would will cause a reduction in milk production.

    Let/encourage baby nurse as much as you both like when you are together. I think you probably know your baby’s signals better than you think, and it never hurts to offer to nurse.

    I think species specific (human) milk is obviously going to be the most healthy option for any baby, toddler or young child. Whatever other type of milk or no milk at all you would like to offer is a huge subject and depends on many factors. Remember the "medical" recommendations of milk for children this young is based on the assumption children are not nursing at all and that store bought dairy milk has ADDED TO IT nutrients that can be found in other foods but that may not be getting offered or consumed by young children.

    Here is a suggestion I will throw out there as you may hear it no where else-You teach at a college. Unless this is in a chemistry lab or somewhere else it might be unsafe, any chance you could arrange a caregiver situation where your child was brought to YOU at times so you can nurse or simply visit? Carry your child in a sling or backpack while you taught? Talk about a teaching opportunity!

    I would suggest that changes in the marriage relationship are a VERY typical issue after having children. It's not about breastfeeding. It's about the fact you are both different people with different priorities than before you had a child. Parenthood does that to people.

    Right now, you have a desire for your child to lead you when weaning. So, do that. Make your career work and work on your relationship with your husband without weaning or worrying about weaning. Because there is certainly no guarantee at all that weaning would make either easier.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    I agree with lllmeg that whatever the challenges are in your relationship, they are probably more related to the transition to parenthood and less to breastfeeding itself. I think the one thing that sucks about breastfeeding (for mom) is that it means you pretty much are on your own with night wakings, so you are probably more tired that a formula-feeding mom. But that affects YOU, not your husband (who is getting off easy--unless that is, the lack of sleep is making you cranky or affecting your mood which then affects him). That said, the other rewards make breastfeeding so, so worth it. Your DH may THINK that the problems you two are having are related to breastfeeding--but weaning won't necessarily lead to more sleep, and will remove one very easy way to get your daughter back to sleep. You don't need to wean for him to build his own relationship with your daughter, either--as babies become toddlers, Daddy often becomes very beloved because they tend to be more 'exciting' in play than Mommy (generally speaking). If you want to say more about what specifically is going on between you and your DH we may be able to help you troubleshoot. I know my DH was excited for weaning when DS was about a year old, and was pushing me to wean abruptly when I went to a conference, but I put my foot down and said that wasn't going to happen and instead DH and DS both came to the conference with me. Now DS is 21 months and DH sees how much nursing still means to him, and he has become my biggest supporter when it comes to full-term breastfeeding and child-led weaning. He jokingly asked me to 'promise you won't go to his Kindergarten to nurse him for lunch' but other than that he doesn't care how long we continue. Is your DH pressuring you to wean?

    Re: the feeding issues, I would agree with bringing a pump to work so you can pump as needed for comfort. If your daughter is good with taking solids, though, she can probably get by without breastmilk during the day, so if you want to pump wean over the next month or two, feel free to do that. You will still have enough milk to nurse when you're together. I know I was quite worried about pump weaning and didn't see how it was going to work that I would still have milk when DS needed it, but somehow, I did. The ladies here got me through that transition and were very patient with my questions, so now it's my turn to pay it forward Feel free to ask away with any questions you have.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    Hi pandora, congrats on a year of nursing! That's wonderful.

    This sentence caught my attention:

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pandora View Post
    not much sleep at all if I nurse 6-7 times at night, along with being the main breadwinner and main housekeeper/cook.
    I think I am often mad at him
    In my personal experience, and there are also data to support this, having a dad who is a full partner in child-rearing and housework results in less maternal depression, better marriage quality, and is good for the kids. But in many households is not the norm. So yes, the breastfeeding is on you. But does all the cooking and cleaning have to be too?

    With regards to baby demanding the breast: I felt like my LO was pretty laid-back in late infancy and early toddlerhood. But for the past couple months (she's now 17 months) she's become much more assertive about demanding the breast! Don't be surprised if new dynamics develop between you and your toddler as the nursing relationship evolves.

    Enjoy your toddler nursing .

  7. #7
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    dear all,
    thank you so much for all your responses and observations. it has been a challenging month or so since I wrote to you, stuff with the extended family and our home. but we are all well in the end. our daughter turned one on sunday, and transitioned to a new caregiver last week, which has been hard on everyone. and often days i am nursing for hours when i return. all your support and advice is invaluable, and i know my husband and i will work out the wrinkles which often seem to come from him feeling left out and abandoned and with my fatigue at always having to defend my fatigue and exhaustion. (i hear you, bfwmomof3, loud and clear!! )

    I would love some more specific advice on pump-weaning. our pediatrician, though great in most other ways, most importantly in not making us feel "bad" about nursing through the night, etc. etc. is suggesting that the addition of another kind of milk needs to happen. and since our daughter is dairy intolerant, then perhaps trying almond milk. she really had nothing to say about whether i should pump or not, and what the nutritious equivalencies involved are (almond milk vs. breast milk, or do they serve different purposes...).

    so this is my situation in this new semester of work:
    (1) 2 days a week (T, Th), I am away from DD for 5 hours. In that time, she would have nursed twice (to nap and after the nap). the caregiver has not had any luck giving her breast milk when I told her to give a couple of ounces from the freezer. we don't use a bottle or pacifier, and our DD loves drinking from a cup.
    (2) 2 other days of the week (M, W), I am away from DD for 8 hours. In that time, she would have usually nursed 3 times.
    (3) on the remaining three days (F, S, S), I am with her all the time.

    My questions:
    (1) Should I be pumping at work on the shorter days? on the longer days? on all 4 days? I have no more than 10 minutes to do that on the shorter days, a bit more time in between classes on the other two days. I am tempted to skip pumping on the shorter days, and just pump once on the longer days.
    (2) should the nanny be giving DD breast milk or just almond milk?
    (3) If I pump, am I pumping just to maintain supply or produce milk for DD? I am tempted to say the former. What do you all think, since she isn't taking breastmilk but is an avid nurser otherwise (we typically nurse 4-7 times at night and 6 times during the day on a normal day; on a work day, 4-5 times during the day, same at night).
    (4) my husband expressed his anxiety that our daughter will never know how it feels to get a full night's sleep. how am i supposed to respond? i know it's an honest question for him. i think there are other things i would prioritise over that at this point in her life.
    (5) given the weekly proportion of time with DD and nursing to time without her, does pump-weaning make sense? am i endangering the supply.

    with so much affection and gratitude,
    pandora

  8. #8
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    and just to add, joshuasmommy, there is no overt pressure to wean. i think i just am prone to feeling defensive about that choice with so much that has happened since DD's birth, especially the fact that in-laws have NO CONCEPT of it, and have really been hurtful and negative toward me, as if my nursing and "attachment/responsive parenting" is a tool that keeps our daughter from everyone who'd like to spend time with her, just don't have a clue about how to calm a baby without CIO...and so on! DH is overall supportive, but the meaning of support has changed so much this year, that he usually feels ineffectual and inadequate where really NO ONE can help me, and where I don't even have a discrete idea of "help" in mind. I just want him to be present for the hard stuff, not "cure" me of it--nursing being one of the last things on my hitlist, but often the first one that most people go to. DH and I have always travelled together to conferences, and now DD is coming along too!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    Hi pandora,

    You do not need to pump while at work in order to keep up supply for the times you are not at work. The nursing you are doing when you are not at work keeps up the supply for when you are not at work, if that makes sense! Remember it's supply and demand. Whatever the demand, the supply will match. Just as a personal example, I pump weaned at a year (although I had to go back to it for a little while due to plugged ducts, but now I'm off again), and my LO is now 18 months old and has been happily nursing on and off all day today (Sunday)! The question is really what you want her to drink during the day. The rule of thumb is that if you are nursing 3-5 times per 24 hours (which you are more than meeting), no additional dairy is necessary. Here's more information from kelly mom: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...toddler-foods/. If you feel comfortable with that, then you can just give water (or almond milk) during the day and nurse when you're together. Of note, I think a lot of doctors are under the impression that you "have" to do cow's milk or an alternative, at a year. (I certainly was under this impression for my first two babies, before I started spending time on this forum!) I think this is because most babies are formula-fed and most people stop formula at a year due to cost, so they need something to replace it. For the mother breastfeeding a toddler, breastmilk IS the alternative. Now, there are moms on here who do choose to keep pumping in order to provide breastmilk during the day as well. So it's a personal choice. But given the amount you nurse your baby it does not sound like she is at risk of being dairy-deficient. If you do have milk in the freezer though, no reason not to offer it to her. Are you offering it in a cup?

    So does your husband think that your daughter is going to be waking several times at night when she is 17 years old, looking for the breast? Eventually she will sleep through the night. Browse around the sleep forum and you will see plenty of threads along these lines!

    ETA: When you first go back (if you haven't already), have a pump on hand or be ready to hand-express if you get too full in the beginning.
    Last edited by @llli*bfwmomof3; September 8th, 2013 at 02:04 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: thoughts/questions/guidance at 1-year mark

    my husband expressed his anxiety that our daughter will never know how it feels to get a full night's sleep. how am i supposed to respond?
    First I would (gently) clarify, what your husband means by this. What is his concern, exactly? Is it future oriented-That she will never sleep longer than she does now? That she will 'always' need to be nursed or otherwise comforted back to sleep? Or is his concern more immediate-that her sleep pattern right now is harmful to her? And how would he define a full nights sleep?

    I promise not a single healthy, normal one year old on earth knows (or cares) what it means to get what would typically be described as a 'full nights sleep.' They wake. Thier parents may not know they wake, but they wake.

    There is a great deal of confusion about sleep and what is normal.

    No one, of any age, sleeps 8, or 10, or 12, or 6, consecutive hours at night without waking. Adults and older children (say, over about age 3 or 4) wake several times during the night. These periods of wakefulness are usually brief and are not remembered. Sometimes, they involve getting up-to use the bathroom, get a drink, or get comfort from a parent. But mostly, and increasingly as child ages, the person goes back into sleep without even knowing they have awoken.

    Babies and toddlers naturally wake much more frequently and much more completely than do older kids or adults. Their sleep patterns are completely different, naturally. Because they wake more often and more completely, they need to be comforted back to sleep somehow. Nursing usually works great for this, but if you are too tired to nurse every time, you could suggest that your husband take over the nighttime comforting here and there. But even if you never nursed your daughter at night again, or weaned completely tomorrow, she would still wake up in an age appropriate manner. Weaning does not mean a child will suddenly sleep longer stretches than is biologically normal!

    our pediatrician, though great in most other ways, most importantly in not making us feel "bad" about nursing through the night, etc. etc. is suggesting that the addition of another kind of milk needs to happen.
    Why? Is he or she aware your child nurses frequently and is getting many servings of human milk? Is your child low in some particular nutrient? Not gaining weight? This would not be the general advice of all pediatricians.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 8th, 2013 at 02:52 PM.

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