I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. To me, resolutions are always unrealistic and easy to quit. Instead, I set goals. I somehow feel more likely to work towards and achieve goals. I turn 30 this year, and while I understand that age is just a number, it somehow makes me feel very grown up. I've been happily married to Ed for the last six years and we've got our wonderful little boy Joshua. We're settled in a home that we built ourselves and have no plans to move. I have a career that makes me happy on most days and allows me to be an equal provider for my family. As you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for and all of my hard work throughout my life has paid off.
That's not to say I don't struggle. It's really hard to be a mother and wife and full-time employee. Joshua is nine months old and I'm amazed by him every day. He's a little boy, not quite a baby anymore. He still needs to nurse and he still needs his mommy's milk while I'm at work. My goal for 2011 is to continue expressing milk for Joshua until his first birthday in March. I'm very fortunate in that breastfeeding has been relatively easy for me and Joshua, but expressing milk is something different.
I often feel stressed out and overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to express milk for my son. I pump once or twice a day at work, alternating because my A-Day/B-Day schedule. I find myself rushing around at school because I lose planning time while I'm pumping. I frequently don't have enough milk at the end of the school day so I have to pump more when I get home. I spend so much time washing bottles, nipples, caps, pump parts and measuring, labeling and assembling bottles for Joshua's daycare. I hate that I have to spend time at the sink or hooked up to the pump while Joshua plays with his dad. I want to spend every moment I can with my family, not washing bottles.
I continue to sacrifice my time because I strongly believe that I'm giving Joshua the best start. I want to be able to give Joshua my milk while we're separated until he turns one year old and can have cow's milk. If I feel like Joshua's not eating enough solids at age one to reduce his breast milk consumption, I may continue to express milk for him, but I can't make that decision until we get there.
I guess a second goal would be to continue to nurse Joshua until he self-weans. I'd like to nurse him until at least his second birthday, and longer if that's what we both want when we get there. I'd also like to have other children, and I realize that sometimes breastfeeding can decrease fertility even when your child is older, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. If nursing through pregnancy and even tandem nursing works for us, then that's what we'll do. But that's years into the future and I'm not setting anything in stone yet.
For now, my goal is to keep on pumping until Joshua's first birthday.