Thursday, April 26, 2007

Let the Weening Begin

It is a very exciting time in our house. LP is 11 months old and her doctor advised me to begin transitioning her to whole milk. This is quite a momentous occasion as it not only means that LP is nearing her first birthday (where did the time go? really?) but also that my days of expressing are coming to an end.

I have found that there is no standard way to ween a baby, just like there is no perfect way to raise a baby. There are about a million challenges:
  1. Switching the baby from breast to bottle. Check! Thanks to day care, LP is already used to drinking from a bottle.
  2. Getting the baby to take a bottle instead of the breast from Mommy. This might be harder. This weekend will be the real test.
  3. Ensuring the baby's digestive system is ready for whole milk. So far, so good. On this point, I have basically followed the pediatrician's advice that now is the right time. Some concerns about constipation, but all systems seem to be getting back on track.
  4. Preparing the baby's palette for the taste of milk. Check. LP hasn't met much in the way of food or drink that she doesn't like.
  5. Figuring out how to integrate milk into the baby's diet. I kicked off my plan earlier this week and have begun switching out one of the three bottles I send to school with LP with the whole milk. Next week I will try two bottles.
  6. Next step - moving LP from the bottle to the cup.
You will note that all of the challenges identified above are focused on LP. As always, her health and welfare are my primary concern. However, in this case, the issues related to my well-being are also relatively substantial. I have been nursing (and/or pumping) exclusively since LP was born.

I have been fortunate to have only had engorgement problems twice during this time span - first, when LP was 6 weeks old and I went from feeding her every 2-3 hours to feeding her every 3-4 hours; second, my horrific trip to Phoenix. At this point I am hopeful that simply gradually reducing the number of times I pump while at work will result in a successful and painless weening experience. Stay tuned.

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