I can hardly believe that Isaiah is 17 months old! Time flies, and it seems to keep going by faster and faster. He does still nurse, but not really that often or for very long. He will nurse before his short morning nap, before afternoon nap, and before bed. Occasionally, he'll want to nurse sometime in the early evening. But, my milk supply is pretty low and he's gotten to where he wants his sippy cup with him so he can drink from that until he's pretty much satisfied, then he'll nurse. Which is fine. I imagine by the end of summer, if not before, he'll have weaned himself. I have been blessed with 3 babies that all breastfed like champs. Not everyone has as easy of a time with breastfeeding. When I think about it, there are numerous things that where in my favor for successful breastfeeding.
1. All 3 of my kids nursed well right from the start. A lot of babies go into a sleepy stage after that first hour after birth, and might not always nurse well. All 3 of mine seemed to want to make sure they had their meals.
2. I have great breast anatomy for breastfeeding. I won't get to graphic here, but I'll just say that there was never any worry about needing a nipple shield or nipple shells.
3. I also seem to lactate like crazy. I always had enough milk, and with Clara I actually produced more milk than she needed. I would nurse her and still have to pump afterwards to get relief. Although that just added to further overproduction because I was stimulating my breasts to continue to make more.
4. I built up a good stocked supply of frozen breastmilk. While I was off on maternity leave, I would set up my electric breastpump in the corner and I would pump after 2 or 3 feedings everyday. That way I had bmilk for when I went back to work, plus it boosted my milk supply.
5. An electric breastpump is a must. With Jacob, I used a hand-pump, and I thought that worked well, until I got a double electric pump. I was able to pump 3 times more milk in half of the time with the electric. My pump became a staple of my wardrobe.
6. I am pretty darn stubborn. Husband has said that he managed to find the one woman in the world more stubborn than he is and married her. I was absolutely determined after Clara and Isaiah were born that they would be exclusively breastfed until 6 months. I don't look down my nose on people who don't breastfeed...that was just a decision that was right for us. So, after I decided to EBF, I was stubborn enough to make it happen. I also made the time to pump at work. My nurse manager gave me some of the greatest bits of advice. She said to make the time to pump at work. It takes 20 minutes, and yeah, you may be a few minutes late giving that scheduled med, or getting that assessment done, but that it was important to make the time. And I did. It also helped greatly that my letdown reflex is almost instant when I pump. A lot of people really struggle getting that letdown reflex when they pump.
7. Another thing that I did, which was probably crazy, is on the days when I would sleep after working all night, instead of just sleeping 6-7 hours straight, I would actually set my alarm to wake me up after 3 hours and I would get up, pump, and go back to sleep. At work, I would pump 2 times in an 8 hour shift, I would go home/to daycare, and nurse Clara/Isaiah before going to bed, and then wake up and pump, go back to sleep. I didn't do it as regularly with Isaiah as I did with Clara, but I did do it. And I was lucky to work with people who were supportive of my decision and helped me to take the 5 minutes to pump (yep, it only takes me 5 minutes).
Like I said, everything seemed to help with my breastfeeding success, my breast anatomy, huge milk supply, supportive family and co-workers, my easy letdown reflex, etc. When Isaiah is finally weaned, I'll be glad to have my body back as my own, but I'll also be very sad that those days are over. The comic strip "Baby Blues" had a strip awhile ago where the mom is talking to the youngest baby, saying that when she is finally weaned, her breastfeeding days will be over. The next box shows the mom jumping up and down saying "Yippie!", and the next box shows her crying. I can totally relate. You want to watch your child grow up, but at the same time you want to keep them babies for just a little bit longer.