I'm not sure that I had very strong opinions about breastfeeding or bottle feeding before I had a baby. Sure I thought, "I'll give breastfeeding a go. If it doesn't work I'll bottle feed. It doesn't matter." And the reality is, when it comes to feeding your baby, it DOESN'T matter. But I was able to breastfeed, and I enjoyed it, so that's what we've done.
I'm not sure that I had very strong opinions about how long a woman should breastfeed before I had a baby that I was breastfeeding. But I do know that I sort of had the idea that once they were on food and more mobile, it was probably time to stop breastfeeding. Well, that thinking is pretty much out the window. MJ is almost 13 months and although I am very much limiting our breastfeeding time now, I am not giving it up.
Basically, I'm moving us to a position where I do not breastfeed during the day. Up until this week, when I arrived at nurser, the first thing I would do was to get MJ, sit in the chair in the corner specifically for this purpose and breastfeed her. But I'm a little bit tired of doing this, and I realize that she's not going to give it up voluntarily. She doesn't NEED that feed, she just enjoys it whereas I find it makes our going home journey just that much longer and move involved. I can leave nurser quicker if we are not feeding.
And so the past few days this week, when I've gone to nursery, I've grabbed her stuff, talked to her key worker about how her day was, and we've left. We get home, we do dinner, and then we do her bedtime which now involves a slightly longer feed then she's been getting- because I let her feed off both breasts (she only ever did one at a time) for up to 10 minutes each and then I put her in her crib.
At night, I'm trying to get her to give up wake ups and night feeds, so I'm reducing the 10 minute feed to 8 minutes (and when she gets used to that, it will drop to 7, then 6, etc.). But in the morning, provided she wakes up at a semi-reasonable time, I give her both breasts again for a nice feed. My goal would be for us to do morning and night, and for her to drop those of her own accord.
Although this is all thought through in a logical sort of way, I haven't been prepared for this twang I get about reducing the breastfeeding. We're not even giving it up!! But it makes me feel sad and wistful. It's interesting, because if you bottle feed your baby, you can keep doing that. You form a bond around a bottle which could become a cup, which makes that special relationship perhaps last longer. When we're done with breast, then we're going to be done and that's just over. If MJ sits on my lap for a cuddle in the future and drinks from a cup, it won't be the same or even close to the same.
It will be lovely of course, but different. Ah, growing babies. It goes so fast!!