Weaning an infant in executive fashion: My nursing BHAG

Ten to fifteen years ago, the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) was all the rage in executive circles. The way for people to buy into your vision was to have one giant phenomenally zany there’s-no-way-we-can goal and believe you could get there. And chances are, you would. I started to apply BHAGs to my professional and personal life.

My baby girl was breastfed exclusively for 3 months, received breast milk from me or a bottle until she was about 4.5 months old, had some formula supplements beginning around that time, and will continue to have a mix until she’s around 9 months (maybe longer!). Then she will be on formula exclusively until she can have cow’s milk at a year old.

This was not my original plan. In fact, as time passed, my plan kept changing into something bigger and more ambitious. At first, I thought, “It would be great if I could nurse her at all; very few of my family members nursed their babies, so I don’t really have a good support network in that way. But I will do my best.”

When breastfeeding her became well established, my goal changed. I then thought, “It would be awesome to get to 6 months!” Providing breast milk after I went to work was my new challenge.

When I worked out a way to pump reliably when I went back to work, my goal changed again. I thought, “Wow, I can build up a stash. I’ll try to nurse morning and night, but even after I dry up or my daughter decides she doesn’t want to nurse anymore, I’ll still be able to give her breast milk in a bottle from the freezer stash.”

These truly were BHAGs for me, an executive with no family experience in nursing their babies (it was the 1970s, what can you do?) who has a very demanding job with travel requirements and high stress, high profile, high impact, and high risk management duties.

For *ME* to nurse a baby longer than *SIX MONTHS* while working full time?! Seven months ago, I wouldn’t have said, “Wow that’s extremely ambitious, but I will try to make it happen!” Instead, I would have just said, “No. I don’t even know what that looks like. How can I possibly?”

Baby girl is 8 months old, and we’re right on track. In fact, if anything, she’s the one who is telling me she’s more interested in the world around her than nursing. A little independent thing, she is.

Next up: early toilet training. This one is made for a BHAG approach.


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