This will be long.
So I've been sorta kinda considering quitting breastfeeding before G is a year old. I was thinking April when G is about ten months old, and we'll have enough milk saved up to continue for another couple of weeks. I won't quit before then, so I have a lot of time to decide either way. I keep going over and over in my head my list of reasons for continuing or stopping.
Here are my pros and cons for continuing to breastfeed past April.
Reasons I Want to Quit
Cheese. Glorious cheese. I got my first taste of it (in the form of chicken parmesan) in months last Saturday, and I savored every minute. G, while much better in his allergy, is not savoring the aftereffects, though his reaction has been way less severe than before. Meal planning is just so difficult without milk or cheese type products. I can't even use a lot of soup. I do feel as though I eat the same things week after week. After over five months without dairy, I'm just ready. It's clear that it will still be a while before I can eat cheese regularly, maybe well beyond G's first year, if I continue to bf.
My boobs hurt. They just do. I have to be careful about smooshing them with my arms. I can't hug G tightly because they'll ache. Hell, I can barely hold him in the morning without crying out in pain when they're full of milk. Right now I'm stuck at work and it's been three hours since he ate off me, and I just hurt.
My boobs are huge. I'm hoping they'll shrink at least a little after I wean so I can fit into some regular clothes again. I'm going to need a swimsuit this summer, so I'd like to wean in time for them to go down before I buy them. Maybe I'm asking too much in that regard, but a girl can hope, right? As a girl who used to be a B, I really hate my size DD/E boobs.
Pumping. Sucks. I have to pump whenever I'm away from G, which is three days a week, sometimes more. I don't get out much, so usually I have to pump twice to make a bottle. It's rather painful, and my nips will be sore for a while afterward. I did quit pumping in the middle of the night, which is heavenly.
I seem to have plateaued in my weight loss. I still have 5ish pounds to go and a lot of toning. I'd like to work out again in some capacity, but I'm paranoid about lactic acid making my milk raunchy. I need to lose this baby pooch!
G kinda is starting to ask for it. I mean, it's heart-warming and awfully cute, but I also worry that it means it'll be more difficult to wean him the longer I wait. I think it'd break my heart to have to tell him no if he's standing there tugging on my shirt and crying. This is also filed under "reasons to continue" below.
I'm tired of wearing nursing bras and nursing tanks 24/7. I'm a girl who used to sleep in only underwear or maybe some pj pants if I haven't shaved or it's cold. Wearing a shirt was a huge adjustment for me. Having to wear a bra to sleep starting when I was pregnant was even worse so. But having big boobs flopping around when they're all achy is not a good thing at all. 7.5 months into breastfeeding and they still leak. I want to be able to come home, take off my bra, and just let it all hang out. Is that too much to ask?
Sigh. This all sounds rather whiny, doesn't it?
Reasons I Might Continue
G loves the boob. Seriously, he looooves it. I'm actually afraid of the emotional damage I'll cause when I refuse to give up the boob. I think he finally figured out where I keep the boobs because he tries to get at them at random times. Like when I'm holding him, he'll duck his head down. Or if he's standing in front of me, he'll bend over and grab at my shirt. He's gotten better at turning side to side, so he'll twist sideways in my lap, grab onto my tank top, and mouth my chest. It's a weird new thing, kinda heartbreaking because I usually say no - no, dude, you just ate! I think he'd nurse off and on all day if I let him. Kinda sweet, too. But then, do I want to continue into toddlerdom with all the grabbiness? My boobs, kiddo.
G takes his naps on my lap. He falls asleep while nursing and often naps for hours this way. My baby needs a lot of sleep, and nursing to sleep is by far the easiest way to ensure that he gets it. He nurses to sleep at the beginning of the night, too, and often in the early morning when he has trouble getting back to sleep. I really don't look forward to not having that crutch anymore. I love being able to pop a boob in his mouth and off to sleep he goes. Plus, he sleeps on me, which I lovelovelove. I will miss his snuffles, his warmth, the way his shoves his free hand down my cleavage and leaves it there.
He wouldn't have to drink formula. If I wean before a year, I guess we'd have to switch to formula for a while. I doubt he'll be over his milk allergy enough to drink milk at a year old, and I'm not sure what options we'll have in that regard. We'd have to find out what fake milks are best for a one year old, or maybe give him toddler formula. I'm sure his pedi could help out. Formula kinda grosses me out (sorry, but it does). I'd prefer that he never had to drink it.
It's easy. He's hungry, so I pull him onto my lap and unclasp my tank top. That's it. When he's done, he pulls off or takes a nap. La di da.
All the usual breast is best arguments can go here. It protects against colds (G's never actually had one beyond one day of a slightly runny nose), it's the perfect food for him, it's healthy for me, blah blah. None of that changes, so we'll just add it to this list. I'd love to continue to provide for G that way. And myself, as well. He's starting to eat solids like a champ (though he still gags on anything that contains even tiny chunks), so I'm not worried about him refusing solids for boob.
And of course, there's this.
Maybe I won't be ready to give that up just yet...