The last time I shared an update on how breastfeeding was going, Dashiell was six months old. That feels so long ago! I'm still breastfeeding Dashiell at (nearly) fourteen months but our nursing relationship looks very different. I'm so happy to have breastfed this long and to be where we are.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am so thankful that I have been able to breastfeed at all and especially for this long; I recognize that I am so fortunate that this has been physically possible for me. At the same time, breastfeeding and pumping at work has been much more effort than I anticipated! And I'm really proud of the time and energy that I put in to continuing to breastfeed for as long as I have while working full time.
From the time that Dashiell was six months to about ten months I continued to pump 2 - 3 times a day at work as well as two times outside of work (in the morning and after Dashiell went to bed). It was A LOT of time with my pump and it was hard to have my limited free time spent hooked up to my pump. I recognized that it was a choice I made and if it ever became too stressful my plan was to supplement with formula.
Around the time that Dashiell was 10 months old I started to notice a dip in my breastmilk supply; I was just not able to pump as much as I previously could. At first it was stressful since breastmilk was still a large part of Dahsiell's diet. I rented a hospital grade pump, which helped some, but I still wasn't pumping as much as I used to.
By this time, however, Dashiell was eating solid foods very well. Chris and I decided that I would pump as much as I could and that we would just be sure to send extra solid food to daycare to be sure he always had enough to eat. We knew that we could send Dashiell healthy and nutritious solid food so we didn't see the need to replace the lacking breastmilk with formula. This arrangement alleviated a lot of my stress and over the next month I stopped pumping in the evenings and mornings outside of work as I had been doing. I was so happy to see an end to the extra pumping sessions!
As Dashiell neared a year old I was only able to pump 3 - 5 oz of milk at work, which was really just a snack for him. So one week before Dashiell turned one I stopped lugging my pump to work. It was incredibly liberating! Both physically (that pump was heavy!) and mentally. I never hated pumping with a passion and I even felt the tiniest (tiny!) twang of sadness to see that part of my life end. Still, I was happy to reclaim my work days and to eliminate the chore of washing bottles and pump parts every day.
Over the next couple of weeks after I stopped pumping, we transitioned Dash to only nurse in the morning and in the evening. At first he would want to nurse throughout the day when I was home but as I made nursing less available he became busy with other things and didn't seem to miss it.
Recently, we've dropped the morning nursing session and Dash is only nursing as part of his bedtime routine. I was out of town two weekends ago and Dashiell went to bed really well without nursing. I considered stopping nursing all together but I didn't feel quite ready. It is wonderful to know, however, that he can go to bed without nursing.
Right now I'm thinking that by the time Dashiell is 18 months old that I will be ready to be done breastfeeding completely if it hasn't already happened. He has seemed more distracted during bedtime nursing so maybe the end is closer than I think. While nursing Dashiell is such a sweet time it's a very small part of our relationship now and I don't think I will be too sad to be done. Overall I'm just feeling so thankful that breastfeeding has gone well for this long and I'm so appreciative of what my body has been able to do.