Our little baby just celebrated turning a year old. It was a small, non-Pintrest-worthy event. There was cake, there were gifts, and a small gathering of the grandparents and nearby relatives. I am very excited to see my little boy growing into an active and expressive toddler. One year also marked another milestone: a year of pumping milk for baby and exclusively providing breastmilk.
I went back to work after a 12-week maternity leave and quickly settled into a pumping routine. I had pumped for my first child, so pumping for a second child seemed like no big deal. There were a few changes though. First, I noticed that my son ate a lot more than my daughter did in a normal work day. I needed to sneak in a morning pumping session before leaving for work in order to provide four bottles and 18-20 oz for the 11 hours baby would be away from me. There were times where I didn't feel like pumping, or I was very busy at work, but generally I was able to get my pumping session in and only had a few bumps along the way (such as a close-call with mastitis).
As baby approached 12-months-old, I began thinking about the next step and how long I wanted to continue pumping. I exclusively pumped for my older daughter until she was 12 months old and then I weaned her to cows milk during the day at daycare. She continued to nurse before bed and in the morning until she turned two-years-old. However, my second child is allergic to cows milk and all dairy products. He would need soy milk, coconut milk, or some type of alternative. I also knew that the longer I nursed, the better it would be for baby's allergies. In addition to dairy allergies, he has known allergies to peanuts and dogs.
I wasn't sure if I was completely ready to stop pumping milk just because my baby turned 12-months-old. I had a few ideas. I could continue pumping until he turned 18 months, at which point he would be due for another allergy blood test. I also considered decreasing the amount of pumping sessions and providing a combination of breastmilk and dairy substitutes at daycare. The latter seemed to be practical and a happy compromise. I also knew I wanted to wean from pumping slowly to protect myself from another close call with mastitis. However, as Heather from the Parenting Patch addressed, it's not easy to stop doing something you started. I decided to continue with my regular pumping sessions until baby transitions to the new daycare room (Toddlers) at 13.5-months-old.
Thankfully, my work schedule and my boss are very flexible and this allows me to do what I need to for my family. Breastfeeding is a very important part of my family and if there is anything I can do to help my baby's allergies, I'm going to do it. After my baby transitions to the new room, I plan to reduce to one pumping session over my lunch break and begin dipping into my stash of frozen breastmilk. We'll see where things go after that.
Are you pumping milk for your baby? Do you think dropping the pumping routine will be easy or difficult?