Monday, April 18, 2011

From Mommy to Moo Juice

Instead of breastfeeding them at eleven o'clock this morning, I gave Sophie and Michael sippy cups of half breastmilk, half whole cow's milk.  I sat beside them, touched their faces, said what a good job they were doing, and we all did well.

I was under the impression that breastfeeding for the first year was the norm, but I had a remarkably tough time finding advice on how to ween at this age. There's a lot out there about one extreme or the other, either weening in the very early months and introducing bottles, or baby led weening which tends to start around 18 months or older (often much older).     

Advice that I did collect was to ween right to sippy cups rather than bottles, drop one feeding per week (starting with the "least favorite"), and replace that feeding with milk and possibly a snack like Cheerios or crackers for a diversion. Since common wisdom at the moment is to hold off on cow's milk until babies are a year old, one year seemed to be the time to put this into action.

Aside from just being culturally brainwashed, I've chosen to stop nursing at one year for a number of reasons.  For one, breastfeeing is just not as easy to manage as it was when Michael and Sophie were smaller.  Tandem feeding is trickier as they don't fit as well on their double nursing pillow, and neither child is terribly patient when I feed his or her sibling first.  I can rig up extra pillows around me and tandem feed in a pinch, but then there's the issue of ear and face grabbing.  Add in the fact that I've never loved pumping, especially at work, and the stress of getting to the child care center or home in time for the 3:30 p.m. feeding, and one can imagine that part of me is relieved to approach the end of this phase.  Michael and Sophie's first birthday and my week off for spirng break are nearly simultaneous this year, confirming once again that the one year mark is right for us.

Even with some routines in place, today's attempt didn't go perfectly.  When I'm at work, Michael and Sophie get warm breastmilk in bottles while resting in Boppys.  They've also become experts at drinking water from sippy cups with snacks, and they've had a little bit of breastmilk from them.  So today I put Michael and Sophie in the Boppys that they're used to feeding in, but the cold temperature of the drink, the sippy cups for this purpose, and the cow's milk were all changes for them.  Sophie did really well, but Michael only drank about one of the six ounces before handing the sippy to me and climbing in my lap.  After offering it to him a few more times unsuccessfully, I put the milk in a bottle instead, and he did great.  However, when Sophie saw the bottle, she wanted one too.  It looks like we'll have to take this in phases.  Maybe by Friday they'll  be drinking just whole cow's milk from sippy cups.  We'll see.

There are three more feedings to drop, and we'll play it by ear a bit as to how quickly we'll go through his process.I'm looking forward to the relief this transition will bring, but I'm also glad that this will not be an overnight event.

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