Ok, this is a mental dump and I am so grateful to anyone who has the patience to read it and the kindness to respond.
I'm feeling like I'm on the brink of making a life choice, and I'm good at overthinking, stressing and obsessing over these kinds of things. Not to the point of unhappiness, though. It's just a side effect of being a planner :)
I am still happily bfing my 18 month old DD and DH and I are wanting to get pregnant with babe #2 in the next few months. This is a summary of our household (prob not much different that a lot of yours:) bfing on demand 2-4 times/day, cosleeping (also happily without any desire to stop by any parties involved) and bfing thru the night. DD is very much attached to bfing. In fact we have a very accurate saying around here pertaining to her love of my breasts -"Milky makes the world go 'round". You get the picture :)
DH and I both have a desire to have our children less than 3 years apart, and concieving in these next few months would put us at our goal. We may want to have more than 2 children and due to our own ages feel like we need to get the show on the road. Also, I'm starting a Master's program in midwifery in January.
So, I guess I'd like to know things I might need to think about for my daughter concerning bfing and cosleeping when I become pregnant. Is it likely my milk will dry up? Will I maybe want to nightwean? If so, will she still stay in our bed?
I hate the idea of rocking her world with all these changes and making it stressful for her. I also think perhaps I'm worrying for nothing. I also think even if it's though at first we are providing her with a life long gift of a sibling!
I'd just like to be proactive rather than reactive. For you that have been there done that, I'd love to hear from you and about your challenges or pleasant surprises when adding a second child.
I got pregnant with my second when my first was 14 months. I too was on the fence about my oldest weaning if I got pregnant. I was still on the fence, when I found out I was pregnant. lol. My oldest is now over 3 and still nursing. It was great to have them both be nursing when the baby was born, for multiple reasons. Having your toddler help with engorgement is great. But also, I think it helped curb any jealousy issues.
My oldest cut way back while I was pregnant (I had little to no milk), and I chose to night wean him, knowing for my sanity, I could not nurse two kids all night long. I wasn't co-sleeping with him though. I do co-sleep now with my youngest.
As far as your 18 m/o being upset, I *think* the loss of milk (if you even do lose your milk) is a gradual process, and if you continue to let her nurse (if you want) it shouldn't be too shocking to her.
I would suggest reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing by HIlary Flower. http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Tandem-Nursing-Breastfeeding-Pregnancy/dp/0912500972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315260055&sr=8-1
Check and see if your local La Leche League group has a copy in their library. That's where I got the copy I read from.
Even if your DD weans the second you get pregnant, you have still given her 18months + of nursing and that's a lot more than most! And as an only child, I say a sibling is a wonderful gift!
Kara, SAHM to two wonderful boys (7/08 & 5/10)
I got pregnant when DD1 was 17 months. My milk dried up before I got a BFP. It was GONE. I am part of the group that the milk dries up fast and all together. We continued to nurse and co-sleep through the pregnancy and I just weaned her at 38 months. We are still co-sleeping all together though.
Your milk may dry up and your DD may continue to nurse through the pregnancy. You need to be ok with the fact that she may wean herself. DD1 did fine through the process though.
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
I had a strong desire to get pregnant when DS was about that age, too. I think hormonal changes might have had something to do with it. DH and I actually stopped avoiding for a couple months when DS was about 20 months old. But my periods didn't come back until DS was 2 and I'm pretty sure I didn't start ovulating until he was about 2 1/2.
By that time, things were getting tougher with DS and we decided against trying for another. Later we found out he's on the autism spectrum. 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 were extremely difficult for us, and during this time, we were pretty sure we wouldn't even have another child. I often looked back and thought how much more difficult it would have been if we had gotten pregnant during that earlier window.
I was a surrogate and went through IVF when DS was just under 3. He lost interest completely as soon as I got on BCPs before the IVF and my supply dropped. After the baby was born DS became very interested in my pumping and I let him try to nurse again a couple times, but he just kind of put his mouth on, laughed, and ran away.
Things got a lot easier for us when DS hit about 5, and we decided to have another baby. DS's little sister will be born right around his 6th birthday.
I don't know if my story is useful to you at all, but I just wanted to share it because things don't always go as planned, but I do think they happen for a reason. We thought it was a great idea to get pregnant when DS was just under 2, but it would have been a disaster for us. And looking back, I would not risk that extra year of nursing. He needed it desperately, and we needed it to deal with his emotional turmoil and super picky eating habits. It was very, very lucky that I wasn't fertile when we wanted me to be.
Obviously, your situation is much different. But I think it is important to examine how you would feel if your milk dried up and your DD weaned during your pregnancy. Would that be okay with you? Some kids will nurse through a pregnancy, but a good number of them are not interested when the milk decreases significantly or disappears (which it often does). My DS lost interest immediately (although he was quite a bit older). Also, you might not find yourself able to nurse while pregnant. It can be quite uncomfortable.
As far as cosleeping goes, I don't think it's dependent on breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. DS still sleeps with us, and he hasn't nursed for almost 3 years. I think it was good for him to have that closeness after he stopped nursing. One slightly annoying thing that did happen after DS weaned was that he became fixated on a couple of moles I have. I think they kind of took the place of comfort nursing, and he still does this. As he's falling asleep he likes to touch either the mole on my upper arm or the one on my lower back. He also does it when he's upset or anxious during the day.
Best of luck, whatever you decide. But keep in mind that your long-term ideals as far as family goes may not perfectly fit the reality of your situation. I also thought that it would be best to have a 3-year gap between kids, but for us a 6-year gap is going to end up being a LOT better. It's never something I would have chosen, but here we are, and I feel it's for the best. Think things through according to the worst-case scenario (your DD weans completely) and decide if your DD having a closer sibling is more valuable to her than a longer nursing relationship. It might be! That's for you to decide.
this caught my eye because DH and I are also in our early 30's, but hoping for 3-4 children total and my DD is 18 months and still nursing. I actually am newly pregnant- about 12 weeks along now- for me it happened the 1st month we stopped preventing- some women conceive easily while nursing, others are not able to until they cut back on nursing- charting might help you know whether you are ovulating right now or not. Before I got pregnant DD was nursing 4-5 times a day (I nightweaned her at 14 months using a modified Jay Gordon method because I was exhausted). Over the last 8 weeks or so it seems like my supply has gradually declined. DD initially responded by wanting to nurse more, but then she began to lose interest and it dropped to 3 sessions, then 2, and now we are at 1 time a day. I feel like our nursing is special, but at this point in my pregnancy, it has become uncomfortable...Ultimately I feel pretty calm about our journey- I'm fine if she wants to keep nursing for a while, but I also feel peace about her weaning.
However, I think every family is different, so it'll probably be important for you and your DH to talk about what timing feels right for you, and how you feel about various possible outcomes. If you browse on the pregnancy boards, you'll see plenty of nursing mamas chatting about their journeys- some still have plenty of milk, but it seems that many experience a pretty big drop in supply. I know the Feb Due Date Club has a nursing mamas thread and maybe others do too. Best wishes to you and your family as you move forward.
Mom to DD born March 2010, and someone new March 2012
I also went through the same mental struggle when DS1 was about 18 months old. He was nursing 4-6 times a day but had been night weaned for several months. I just never got my period back and was afraid I was going to have to wean him completely before getting pregnant again. I really did not want to do that but at the same time we were ready for #2. As it turned out, I just started watching for fertile cervical mucous and we got pregnant with no changes to nursing at the first sign. It's interesting trying to explain to medical professionals with this pregnancy that my last period was in 2008! Anyway, I still have a little milk, but DS1 only nurses about once a day now. He also just potty trained himself over the past 2 weeks so several changes have been going on. Fortunately, nursing has not bothered me during this pregnancy and I just go with the flow. I'm not sure if he'll wean completely before his brother arrives in January/Feb or if he's just slowed down a lot because of lack milk. We'll see. Anyway, you aren't alone....I think a lot of us have gone through this same dilemma. I just let nature take it's course and it's all worked out! Good luck!
My milk dried up at 23 weeks, but my daughter nursed still. She stopped at night for a few months at the end, then started up again in the last month as my milk came in. I desperately wish I night weaned when she was drinking less at night, because with a 9 day old and a 20 month old it's a nightmare getting through the night cosleeping and breastfeeding. We are going to have to night wear drastically now.. I don't see any other option.
So my advice based on my study of 1 is night wean BEFORE the baby comes! I will share if I find another option.. but can't see any others right now. They wake each other up, then both cry for me. My daughter is so upset at waiting and gets more and more upset. I have had like 3 hours sleep a night since baby was born.