I fully expected the weaning process to be hard. I was prepared for engorgement, plugged ducts, and a very fussy baby. I thought it would get worse before it got better. At three weeks into the process, I'm happy to report it has been shockingly okay. In fact, dare I say, it's been pretty easy.
I followed a pretty easy formula. Week one I eliminated the first of my three workday pumping sessions. Within 3 days, my supply adjusted and I was no longer feeling full or uncomfortable. Week two I eliminated the second pumping session. Within 3 days, my supply adjusted again. Last week, my pump sat in the car all day, at the ready in case I would need it to relieve the pressure. I didn't need it, and I didn't miss it. Again, within three days, smooth sailing. The human body is amazing.
We are now nursing twice a day: first thing in the morning, and once in the evenings before bed. I feel great. I feel I could do this forever. I can wear normal, supportive bras again, and don't need to consider whether my outfits are nursing- or pumping-friendly. I can go to meetings and get through my workdays without major interruption. I am starting a new workout routine this week, with running included in the plans. I am so thankful and relieved.
How's Johnnie doing? Well, she barely noticed a difference at first because she's used to getting bottles during the day while I work. Last weekend was a bit tough though, and I questioned myself for a minute. Though she's been getting a little formula every day for the past few weeks to get ready for this new normal, the concept of drinking formula from a bottle when I was nearby wasn't working well for her. She was clingy, and I felt awful. But then we realized that if we mixed a little of my frozen pumped milk into her bottle, she liked it much better and she's been happy ever since. My frozen stash won't last forever, but at this pace we've got a few weeks' worth to keep us going. She's also showing more and more interest in food, especially foods she can feed herself. Watching her go apey over little bits of cheese takes away much of the sadness I feel about weaning.
I leave in a week for my 7-day trip to Korea and plan to take my hand pump to continue pumping twice a day, in case she'll want to resume nursing when I get back. I will be happy if she does, but it will be okay if she doesn't. Weaning was a forceful enough parenting move; I will let her decide what comes next.
So yeah I may not living up to attachment parenting ideals ("parenting" is an aspirational enough word for me), but I am feeling good about this decision for our little family of three. Thank you, Jesus.
Next parenting challenge: Babyproofing!