It's been a busy week for breastfeeding help! This is another in an occasional series of answers to common breastfeeding questions
I field in my volunteer work as a breastfeeding counselor. Standard
disclaimers apply as explained in
==First, I am really surprised that your doctor thinks that breastmilk isn't adequate for your child's nutritional needs. It's quite shocking, actually! I am disappointed that your doctor is unaware of the reams of excellent research out there. The WHO (World Health Organization) breastfeeding information is top-notch and clearly discusses why breastfeeding past one year is a good idea. There is great information on La Leche League's website as well, but i wanted to point you to this resource on nursing past one year on the very well-regarded breastfeeding site, kellymom.com.Additionally, I have heard Dr. Jack Newman speak on this subject a few times. He has a great resource on his website called "What to feed the baby when mom is away at work." His primary quote that I recall from his talks is "breastmilk doesn't turn into just a "white fluid" on the 12 month 1 day mark. It still has all of those nutritional benefits we knew about before the 12 month mark."
If you were in the mood for a cheeky comeback, you could ask your doctor for the studies that show that cow's milk has superior qualities to breastmilk. After all, cow's milk is made for baby cows, a whole other species. It does have many nutritional benefits, I drink cow's milk and have no problems feeding it to my children, however, cow's milk is not tolerated by everyone. Furthermore, mother's bodies continue to adapt the kind of milk they make to the kind of child they have. The milk a mother of a one year old is dramatically different (in quantity and makeup) to the milk made by a mother of a one week old, and that is dramatically different from the milk a mother of a preemie is making. Our bodies know what they're doing, our babies teach us.
To get to the practical details of your situation, here are some thoughts from me based on my experiences working and pumping. I nursed my son until he was almost two. I worked for that whole time. At 12 months I began to taper pumping sessions, because I was finding that he could be well entertained by the babysitter with solids feeding (he had never taken a bottle very well so his milk was typically in a sippy by then.) I also was starting to get flak from co-workers "Really, you're still pumping? How old is that baby now anyway??" It was astonishing to me that the people who were supportive when my son was itty bitty suddenly got weird about it. It is endlessly frustrating that we're not farther in our acceptance of breastfeeding as the norm here in the U.S.
At any rate, in addition to tapering the pumping sessions, I was laid off when my son was 13 months old, which changed my life dramatically (I don't recommend it, it was devastating at the time, although I have to look back with a bit of 20/20 hindsight - had I not lost that job I don't think I would have been able to decide to stay home, which I did when my son was 2 and I was 30 wks pregnant with his sister!) I don't recall what happened to my pumping routine, other than things were a little up in the air during my job search. We kept the babysitter, but I think I nursed on demand during those times. When I did get a new job when he was 15 months old, I didn't pump at work, I found I didn't need to.
Rather than offering a lot of other milk during our separations, I let the sitter give him ALL of his solids for the day. That way, when I was home (and in the morning before I left for work) I just nursed whenever he wanted, and I didn't have to fuss with the bowls and spoons! :)
Truthfully, that baby has never been much of a milk drinker, having milk only occasionally even now at age 8. I let the sitter offer him cow's milk from time to time, but I didn't make it a primary source of nutrition, figuring that I was responsible for providing that. I did make his baby food, so I had good control over the kinds of food he was eating. I made a lot of a soup mixture of many mild chopped veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans) with a teensy pasta, vegetable broth (we have raised our children as vegetarians, but meat-eaters would want to chop up meat into very small pieces and add it here) and then I used infant barley cereal to thicken the soup into a stew that stuck well to the spoon. He loved this soup and would eat it a few times a day. Chopped tofu could be added as well. I felt better knowing that he was eating foods I had prepared even if I wasn't providing pumped milk. We also used up any frozen milk during that 12-18 month time period.
Because we had a sitter, I didn't have to negotiate these details with a daycare, but I wonder if they might be receptive to you just bringing in pre-made sippy cups? Do you have to tell them what's in the cup?
As with all feedback, please take what works for you and your family and leave the rest. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask to clarify.
Best wishes to you as you work to negotiate this next phase of motherhood. The fun never ends, I have to tell you! :) Making choices that are a little outside the norm puts us in constant...discussion...with others. But you know, it's what we do as parents. We do our best for our children, even if that is different from what others around us are doing/recommending.