I recently realized that of the ten children in his daycare, Carter is the only one who is breastfed. Granted, half of the kids are over 1, so perhaps some of them were breastfed as infants, but the others are exactly one year, ten months, eight months (a little girl one day younger than Carter), and two months, and all of them drink formula.
I'm proud that my little boy is still breastfed. Nursing did not come easily to us, and it was a battle in the beginning. Eight months in, I'm now a breastmilk donor, pumping more than my baby can drink and giving away 100 oz. at a time to milkless SoCal moms on Milkshare. Since February I've made four donations to various women, for a total of about 425 oz. or so, and my freezer is overflowing yet again. I look back on the excruciatingly painful first month of nursing, when the pain and my postpartum hormones left me in tears after almost every feed, and I realize that I fought for this milk. I fought to be able to feed my baby, to be able to provide him with the best nutrition. And now not only can I feed him, I can feed other women's babies, too. I feel triumphant.
Although I hope to breastfeed until Carter is at least a year, lately I've started thinking about how much easier our daily routine will be once he weans. No more schlepping the pump to and from work, no more five pumps a day (once in the morning, three times at work, and once before bed), no more cleaning endless attachments, storage bottles, regular bottles, and nipples - endless nipples. Although I love breastfeeding, it's nice to imagine a world free of pumping. On the same note, although I love making his purees, it's liberating to think of a time in the future when he can eat what WE eat, when I am not using every spare moment to steam-puree-store his fruits and veggies.
Until then, I will remind myself to relish every challenging, exhausting day of watching my baby grow.
And growing he is - and CRAWLING!