My perfect little son is 16 months old and doing great. He is very mellow about nursing and pretty much "tries" to nurse whenever I offer him the breast. He night weaned very easily and we now nurse about 4 times per day.
I say "tries" because I have had this incredibly frustrating issue with my let-down from the very beginning. Basically, I have been living with anxiety and stress about whether I will get a let-down or not for the last 16 months and have structured my life around maximizing my chances of having one.
For example: I must nurse only at home in the glider, in the nursery,dim lights and white noise machine. This makes travelling, going anywhere basically impossible, or very stressful. Days before we go on a "vacation", my milk stops letting down (or takes about 30 minutes) and it won't do it for the pump either.
I have spent the last year and a half doing yoga, deep breathing, fennel, motherlove supplements, nipple stimulation, etc. I have done an amazing job of conquering whatever my problem is (whether it be mental or physiological or a little of both) and have managed to have (despite it all) a really good nursing relationship with my little guy.
I am fortunate, as he is a very patient, sweet little man. he will nurse for 30 minutes waiting for a let-down. And if he doesn't get it, he doesn't even care! It is me who is bereft!
I am going on a weekend vacation leaving tomorrow and I so want to enjoy it!!! I'm so tired of living in fear from feeding to feeding, though when I do get a let-down, the oxytocin rush is wonderful and I do so LOVE nursing my guy.
I just am so ambivalent, I don;t know how to proceed. Sometimes i think my son, at this point, would benefit from me being healthier and happier and ending this madness. But I feel COMPELLED to keep this up. My husband has been so supportive through all of this, though I am sure that he wishes I would get through this and move on. It's hard not to hate my body (or mind?) and wonder why I have this problem. I know so many women who still get let-downs when they are sad, or stressed or in a bad mood or nothing at all. I have to close my eyes (in above-mentioned nursery) and focus on happy, relaxing thoughts in order to get milk to flow.
Sorry I am venting. And I know most women don't really have this problem. or at least for as long as i have. I kind of think it must be somewhat physical, but maybe it is all my crazy brain-- though I don't think I am any more stressed than your average first time mom.
I don't think anything I do will make my milk let-down quicker or more reliably, but I can control my reactions to a "failed" nursing attempt or just allow things to go the way they will go.
I am still addicted to the pump and I should also mention that my supply, though good (maybe 12-15 ounces a day for little guy) is VERY sensitive. So, if my milk doesn't let-down in the am and I don't pump at work (I work 3 days per week), my supply will have already plummeted, making let-down even more difficult.
I don't know if i need advice or comfort or what, but i would appreciate any thoughts people have. I think what I need to do is stash my pump away, somehow let all this baggage go and just see what happens. But I think what will happen is that we will stop nursing very quickly, because my milk will dry up. But maybe that is best. Maybe I need to trust my body and let it tell me whether this is over or not.
Sorry for the long rant and thank for reading. So sad.