Sometimes a writer's inspiration comes from odd places. For example, hanging around with dairy cows got me thinking about breastfeeding this weekend.
Since the introduction of solid foods marks the beginning of the weaning process, I guess you could say we are actively weaning. However, Ada's still nursing between 5 and 6 times a day. And her fruits, veggies, and other twice-daily mealtime favorites make up less than 25% of her daily calories.
(Today she had some spaghetti squash for lunch!)
Here's when we nurse (approximately) on a typical day. I wish, for my sake, it was quite this predictable. It's usually within a half hour either way.
- 7:30 AM
- 10:45 AM
- 2:30 PM
- 5:30 PM
- 7:30 PM
- 11:00 PM
Actually, I've been thinking of extending more to like two years -- that is, if it's still something we're both into. Stephen and I don't have plans to try for another child until Ada is at least two years old, so I guess we'll see what happens. That's 14 months in the future. But, researcher that I am, I've been trying to learn more about how the whole process goes down.
I'm sure you know where I'm going with this. There isn't a clear-cut, this-is-what-you-do pamphlet. Or if there is one, I have yet to find it.
I try my best to go with the flow. As I've already written, though, that's not really characteristic of my personality. Breastfeeding has brought out more of my tendencies to be schedule-driven than perhaps anything else. Ever. When Ada ate just one meal of food a day, we were on a predictable pattern. Nurse every three hours. Almost without fail. She rarely ever asks to eat, but I'd offer. She'd nurse. We'd complete this cycle day in and day out.
Now? I'm confused, really. A lot has changed in the past couple months. She's eating another meal of table foods. And eating more table food at each meal. (Some) milk feedings have gotten shorter. Others have disappeared one day only to emerge again the next.
For example, depending on what time of day Ada gets up, which can range between 6:30 am and 8 am, she may not eat at 5 pm. Instead, she'll nurse around 3:00 pm and then again at 7:00 with a dinner in-between. Confusing.
It's hard for me to break out of the cycle we were in. I offer, she refuses. I go do something, she's hungry. I have so many questions.
- At 10 months, how often does a "typical" baby nurse? I've read anywhere from 2 to 12. Twelve! Wild range, indeed. Thanks, random BabyCenter forums.
- Do some feedings turn into quick snacks at this age? Sometimes she won't eat for longer than a few minutes and seem find for another couple hours!
- Do you continue to feed milk before meals or start to flip that? And how long should I wait between milk and food?
- Should I still be dream-feeding? She eats from both side usually, but I know few people still in this practice this late in the game. I've been too afraid to drop it because I've fallen in love with sleeping from 11 to 7.
- When do table foods take precedence? Is it at one year? We're doing two meals right now -- lunch and dinner. When should we switch to three?
- Are there any good pro-extended breastfeeding books that explain the weaning process? I feel like I would benefit from just reading about weaning. I have browsed KellyMom and LLL, but I'd love some more in-depth info.
- Would it be silly to buy a new pump now? Mine (manual) has sort of bit the dust. We don't do a lot of bottles, see below. However, is a pump useful during weaning for potential engorgement issues?
- If I'm not around, should we offer breastmilk in a bottle? We don't do a lot of bottles. OK. We haven't done any bottles since like May. Ada drinks water out of a sippy cup or practice cup now. If I need to leave her to take photos or something, how should we give her milk?
- What about the baby who doesn't EVER show hunger signs? Ada is so preoccupied most of the time, I really feel like I need to be her gauge for when it's time to eat. I have read that some babies are too busy to eat during the day, so they eat at night. Selfishly, I would rather not get into that habit.
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