Tuesday, July 2, 2013

i quit breastfeeding last week

i did, and i am sad. i nursed stella for a year and missed it when we stopped till the second i could nurse robin. i set a goal of two years for the two of us and i was sure i could easily keep it based of how seamlessly we slipped into a nursing relationship. as months went on, robin got bigger and bigger and wanted to eat more and more i was very discouraged that i wasn't able to keep up with him. this can be a common misconception for a lot of mamas and a huge reason formula is introduced. i wasn't worried because i didn't feel "full" though, it was because robin would cry and cry when i knew he had been sucking for a bit with nothing coming out. somehow we managed over this hurdle and i started to become bored with nursing.

life moved much faster now with three other kiddos under foot - with preschool schedules and swim class and lunches to make and toes to wash and beds to make, nursing started to make me anxious but we kept at it, two years was our goal. i even struggled with the fact that this time around my body did the opposite of what it was suppose to, you know, shed all that baby weight with the burnt off calories. no, my belly hung onto it all, all of it and that was hard for me. dear jeans, i miss you.

then rowan got sick. i drug robin all the way to the tri-cities when i went to rowan, because you know, nursing. but with the commotion and stress and the way time was slipping by i was barely having time to hide in a room and pump and robin was flying through the frozen supply we had shlepped with us. when the decision was made for rowan to life-flight back to seattle, my sister put a call out to friends and strangers for donner milk. i love the idea that we share our milk to help other babies and even have donated some of my own, but never considered how i felt about my children having someone else's. it was weird the way that didn't matter anymore, i wasn't ready for my son to have formula. that supply didn't last long and eventually i had to face facts, and i purchased my first can of formula in years and painfully handed over a new outfits worth of money for similac organic. i guess i did the best i could.

i set another goal, half and half. i got really good at hiding in the bathroom to pump often but as rowan started to come back to us more and her days got busier five pumpings turned into three, that turned into two, that stayed at about once a day for awhile. robin would go days with just formula due to the issue of getting the pumped milk back and forth and eventually he started to prefer formula over my milk. we got home from the hospital and we started to notice how much he spit up after he drank a bottle of breast milk and i started to say goodbye to that part of our relationship. he wouldn't latch anymore - he would just play and yank and bite me with his two shiny new teeth.

my only saving grace was that he would still nurse back to sleep at night, so i kept up my one pumping a day of just a few ounces to satisfy that time together. then eventually, he wouldn't even do that...

i tried pumping every hour for days, drinking tea, taking supplements all without much result and really i don't have time for that. i talked with friends who gracefully validated my reasons for stopping, that helped a lot. then i got my period back and i was just pissed.

so, last week i stopped nursing and it literally torments my heart. a good friend pointed out, "formula, isn't poison" and she is right, but that isn't at all why i am sad, it is more the loss of that special bond. it didn't even phase either of us physically to stop, my bank account maybe, but not him and not my boobs. it has been hard, by i expected it to be even harder, but it helped to look at the positives - now i could change my diet more drastically, exercise without worry, and steal some extra moments in the day while a sister or two fed him his bottle.

so, here we are at the end of an era. robin was the last baby i'll ever nurse...

9 comments:

melissa rohr said...

Big hugs, mama. I know that was a hard decision to make but I agree with your friends that it was the best for you and your family at this time. Breastfeeding is such a tricky thing. We've had so many issues and just last month I was wondering if we would continue past 6 months. I've always set out to nurse until 12-18 mo. Last month he just seemed HUNGRY all the time and I was so worried that I wasn't producing enough. He's a chunker like Robin. :) Then we had issues with "nurseastics" , hitting, and biting (working on his 7th tooth now!). What surprised me the most and I was happy to hear you say too was that " i started to become bored with nursing." I've been feeling terrible for thinking that very same thing. I didn't think any other nursing mother felt that way so thanks for sharing that! Last month I was ready to throw in the towel but for now I've decided to continue. He's eating more solids now and actually swallowing so I think that's filling him up. We're still nursing first and he's still interested. I stopped pumping while we were in Cali and he's depleted what little stash I had but as long as he's still interested in the boob, I'll still breastfeed. I'm proud of you for doing what's best for everyone overall! :) You're a good mom!!

melissa rohr said...

this has to be so hard...this was a super honest and vulnerable post...You have to do what is right for you family...and this sounds right. *hugs*

melissa rohr said...

thanks girl! nursing is such a tough relationship for everyone - we all do what is best, the hard part is accepting that part in our heart and not feeling like a failure. nursing emotions be crazy!

melissa rohr said...

thanks lady friend!

melissa rohr said...

That is SO true! It's tied way too closely to self-worth at times and that can be a scary thing!!

melissa rohr said...

My milk dried up when Nora was around 9 months and it was hard to make the decision to really just stop or try to figure out how to get more milk. I was in the same boat as you- trying to pump frequently.. supplements etc. but for me it was great to feel like it's ok to give my baby formula and look forward to taking better care of me and my baby. :) You made the right decision and you are a wonderful mommy because you care.

melissa rohr said...

thanks for sharing! yea that is the hurdle and i think we could make decisions easier if mamas weren't so judgmental towards each other - like i literally wondered how many followers i would lose when i wrote this.

melissa rohr said...

You spoke your truth! I think I didn't expect when having a baby how competitive and judgey some moms can be.

melissa rohr said...

That's so sad for you! I'm sure Robin's doing just fine, but it sucks to have to end it that way. Nursing emotions are so weird. I had to wean my first when pregnant with the second (supply just gone one week) and within a day, he was done. Never fussed about it or signed for milk or anything. He was 14 months. And now my little is 13 months and going strong. I can't imagine her having a similar reaction if I tried to wean, but, boy, at night, am I a feedbag or what? There are serious ups and downs, and some days I resent it in the worst way... and then feel guilty later.

I hope you're going easy on yourself. These are some tough times, but, I think, harder for the Mama. Sniff.