Pumping, that is. I've decided to stop short of my goal of 3 years. To be clear, I'm only giving up pumping, not hand expressing. I might still have milk left by the time Kaiden's 3, I might not. We'll see. Either way, I have plenty of milk in the freezer to last him to 3 and beyond so I still meet my goal - just not quite the way I originally intended.
I've been exclusively pumping for 2 years and almost 3 months (with about a month of breastfeeding thrown in along with pumping). My last pumping sessions will be the last week of April. I'm down to only one session per day now, and hand expressing the rest of the time. I still make about 1.5 oz of milk per day. Most people probably would think that's not worth it, but it is to me. Every little bit of fresh milk that I can give Kaiden only benefits him. I'm okay with giving up pumping and letting my supply drop even further - Kaiden gets most of his liquid needs from his food; being grain-free, nothing is soaking up the liquid and holding onto it so he needs much less than the grain-eating individual. Seriously, he drinks about 3 - 4 oz of liquid per day at most. I give him all he asks for, and if he doesn't want it he sure lets me know. He no longer wants a drink of water before bedtime, either.
What drove this decision? It wasn't the time spent pumping, granted that's rather a PITA, but I committed to it. No, it's that Kaiden recently refused to drink straight breastmilk anymore. I have to hide it in juice. That, he loves. But it means that he drinks even less milk. In his 3 - 4 oz per day of liquids, only 1 - 2 oz of that is breastmilk - or less, sometimes none at all. I need to start using what's in the freezer soon, although since it's in the deep freeze, it's safe for at least 1 year, maybe longer. The oldest frozen milk I've ever given him was 13 months old, and smelled/tasted fine upon thawing. The oldest milk currently in my freezer is from last June, after we'd been nightshade-free for a little while.
I'm sad about it, but he is showing me he is self-weaning. And that's okay. He's two.
Another update regarding his lymphedema . . . as long as we stay away from red meats, his little fingers are fine. All of the other things to avoid on a lymphedema-specific diet are things we avoid on the paleo diet anyway, so that's really a non-issue. I'm hoping we can go back to red meats at some point, but if not, at least he likes poultry!
Looking back at it all, I still haven't come up with a definite answer of why this happened. Why is his lymph system clogged or not working properly? It had been working just fine . . . although I recently did up his overall meat intake just before this started. Not by a whole lot, I wouldn't have thought that small amount would make a difference . . . but maybe that's what it was. Some people are sensitive to red meats - some have digestive issues, some have joint pain from it . . . and some, have lymph issues?? Lymphedema is related to a high level of proteins, so I'm thinking it must have something to do with the difference in proteins from red vs. white meats. What, I don't know yet, but I'll keep looking.
I'll leave you with a thought for today: The Down Syndrome metabolic system is regarded as "less efficient" or "more primitive" than the non-Down Syndrom individual's metabolic system. Is this really a bad thing that needs the negative connotation it gets? Think about it. If you could have a system that lets you know right away when there's a problem, rather than many years down the road . . . and the earlier you catch the problem the easier it is to treat, rather than trying to figure it out years later with so much buildup in the system . . . yes, it may be "more primitive" but I think that makes it much more efficient and easier to work with.