I think it is safe to say that Nate is officially weaned. We had been stepping down gradually, at his pace and following his cues; and last week I stopped offering him to boob at bedtime and he never asked for it again. It has been about a week and nothing, my milk is gone, so I think the deed is done... we have weaned. I am also exceeding proud that Nate has NEVER touched formula. [I don't really want to start a debate, and I am glad that formula exists so that babies who, for whatever reason can't breastfeed don't die... but I really do believe it is second rate nutrition and that is screws up babies' systems (digestive, immune, etc.) in ways we don't even know about yet.]
I realize that all over the world and all over the Internet and the Blogspere women breastfeed their babies, some for years and years and years... look at Milkman in Toni Morrison's the Song of Soloman... but in my world and in my circle of friends, I can think of one... ONE other person who has done this. And I went back to work while doing it. I am not looking for recognition, lots of people do this, I know, but I am saying that it definietly isn't the easiest thing to do and here are a few tips that can make it easier:
1. You can never have too many breast pumps: I started off with one, a Medela Pump in Style which I lugged back and forth to work every day. Then I started to feel like a pack mule on top of a dairy cow hooked up to the milking machine, so I bought a second, less expensive pump to keep in my office. I bought the Lansinoh double select breat pump (which is EXACTLY the same as the Ameda pump only less expensive) and kept it at work. My life was that much easier not having to schlep a pump with me... well worth the money.
2. Buy Good Nursing Bras: Please note that I did not say expenisve nursing bras. Mine were not expensive, I bought them at Motherhood Maternity and Target. Dont be sucked in by the people who say you can cut the nipples out of a tank top (Sorry, Mrs. Fussy Pants, I know it worked for you but with the size of my chest this was NOT going to happen) buy nursing bras that are the same style of bra you wore before your were nursing. If you like the sprots bra style buy that style in a nursing bra. If you like no underwire, buy a no underwire nursing bra. if you like underwire... you get the point.
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage: Nate and I did not have an easy start. His latch was poor, my nipple flat, not to mention my boobs were bigger than his whole body! Enter the Nipple shield. This saved... literally saved us. It allowed him to latch and kept me from getting too sore too soon. There are rumours that the nipple shield is bad and many lacttion consultants and La leche League people will tell you not to use them, but the data they are working off of is old. New data (Chertok, I., Schneider, J., & Blackburn, S. (2006, March). A pilot study of maternal and term infant outcomes associated with ultrathin nipple shield use. JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 35(2), 265-272) says they are fine, not detremental, and may actually be beneficial! If it helps... use it! [Had I know about this little doohickey... I would have tried it too].
4. Do Your Research and Ask For Help: No woman is an island and as I have said long before I got pregnant... Just because you have the quipment (breasts) doesn't mean you know how to use it. if you don't want to hire a lactation consultant, ask a friend. If you don't want to go to a LLL meeting, check out their mom-to-mom messag boards. Check out Kellymom.com, the interent if Full of useful info and support.