Re: 9 month old still waking up several times at night
Breastfeeding is probably the most selfless thing a mom can do- and that is true no matter how often she nurses her baby, or how much or how little milk the baby gets from nursing. So please free yourself of the fear that whatever choice you make is "selfish".
Would it help to know that night-waking is normal throughout the first year and into the second, and even beyond? Babies and young children naturally have shorter sleep cycles than adults, and transition more easily into light, wakeful sleep. Most babies also need to eat at night- which I know might seem surprising if you're one of the many, many women who have been subjected to the myths about infant sleep.(e.g. "the baby will sleep through when he doubles his birth weight" or "all babies need to sleep through the night by x weeks/months of age" or "if you don't train your baby to sleep, he'll never get to sleep on his own," etc.).
For a lot of nursing moms, having just a couple night wake-ups would be heaven. Ask the moms whose babies are up 5-8 times a night, and they'll tell you! But the sort of interrupted sleep you're getting can be torture for an adult, particularly for a mom who needs to go to work and function. But interrupted sleep is- get this- healthy for the baby. Waking to eat at night maintains better milk supply in the mom, which is especially important when mom is working and relying on the pump a lot of the time, and it means that the baby is frequently getting checked on during the night. Mom's making sure he's not too hot, cold, wet, dirty, or tangled in bedding. This is probably one of the reasons why breastfed babies are less likely to die of SIDS.
If I were in your shoes, I would immediately start co-sleeping, at least after that first wake-up. Your baby is making it clear that he doesn't want to be alone in his crib, trying to keep him there is making you miserable, and because you're not co-sleeping, you have to get up and go sit in the rocker instead of simply latching the baby on and drifting back to sleep. Also, having baby in your bed now does NOT mean that he'll be in your bed when he's 10! My kids were both out of my bed by 12-18 months.
I also think that your reasons not to wean are excellent ones. I just want to add two more:
- If you wean your child to formula, there is no guarantee that he will wake less, or want to co-sleep less. Formula-fed babies wake up at night and need their mommies/daddies just like breastfed ones do, particularly during spates of teething and illness. Give up breastfeeding and you're throwing out your most valuable parenting tool for dealing with night waking.
- Breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. You're not pumping enough to cover your child's daycare bottles- so what? It is far better for the baby to be combination fed (i.e. breastmilk and formula) than to be exclusively formula-fed. And continuing to produce breastmilk is healthy for you- it reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, etc.
Someday someone is going to come to you and say "Gosh, you were so lucky to be able to breastfeed!" and you're going to look back at them and say "Nope, luck had nothing to do with it. Hard work, that's what made it possible."
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!"