Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let’s Talk About Something Else

Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not…but I seem to talk a lot about my boobs these days. What’s that? You haven’t noticed?!?! Well, maybe you haven’t been reading long…that could be it. Otherwise, you’ve probably noticed that “the girls” get a lot of “attention” here on this blog.

I’m assuming that this is normal if you’re a breastfeeding mom…if you’re anything like me, then you’re whole schedule revolves around two things – feeding times or pumping times. Heaven forbid that I should try to do anything remotely spontaneous without checking my schedule first…it could be disastrous! LOL! And it’s completely fine for this to be my life right now, it’s what happens when you have a baby that you’re breastfeeding (I hope!). But what happens when that stage is over?

I thought all along that my journey with breastfeeding would be short-lived to say the least. I thought that I would do it until I went back to work. Then that day came and went, and I decided that it wasn’t going to be difficult to pump at work. Then my milk decided to take a mini-vacation and I worked really hard to get it back. I’m at a level now that I’m not 100% comfortable with, but works for us and seems to be the most that my body can do. So I was okay with sustaining that level for a while. Because after I saw that it wasn’t that difficult to pump at work, my cutoff time for stopping to breastfeed was when he started teething.

I hear you, I really do. Some of you might want to tell me again that it’s not that big of a deal once they have teeth…to me, it’s a big deal. He doesn’t have any teeth right now and every once in a blue moon he decides to “clamp down” on me and HOLY HECK!!! Yeah…so there’s no more once those little chompers decide to put in their appearance.

But with all of these scenarios that I’ve envisioned how my breastfeeding days would come to an end, never once did it cross my mind that it wouldn’t be my choice. (If it were up to Brent, I would have quit a month ago!) So how do you come to terms with it when it’s not your choice?

What do you do when your baby starts showing signs of weaning himself?

I’m sure that I could google it and find 101 ways to encourage your child to stay with the boob for a little while longer. There’s probably a million and one home remedies and stories out there about how to eek out a few more months. But you know what? I don’t know that I want to do that. I just can’t quite get my finger to click on the “Search” button…I just don’t know that I have the heart, energy or desire to do it.

I didn’t write another update to my breastfeeding series that I had started last week because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. Or maybe I knew what I wanted to say and was afraid how it would be taken over this blog-o-sphere that I call home. You see, the weekend before last weekend, Jax started refusing me. He actually started doing this two weekends prior to that, but it got really bad two weeks ago. It actually took both myself and Brent to get him to feed from me that weekend. And by the time that Monday rolled around, and I would have taken some time one night to write up an update…I just didn’t quite have the words. After two long weeks, I think that I’ve found them.

I was crushed.

It’s as simple as that. All along, I’ve planned on stopping breastfeeding at some point…but it was always my call. Now it’s not my call. He’s the one that is refusing to nurse, and as much as I don’t want it to, it feels like I’m failing at something. I feel like he’s pushing away from me because I’m not providing what he needs.

And that breaks my heart. Literally breaks my heart and makes me cry.

Logically in my head I know that it’s not like that at all. What it really boils down to is that my son is lazy. He takes bottle feedings all week long at day care, and when the weekend rolls around, he wants to continue the ease and laziness that makes up his weekly feedings. He doesn’t want to work for it like he has to when he nurses. “What’s that? Wait a minute while the let down occurs before I get my milk???? Never! Just give me a bottle…” Those are maybe the little thoughts running through his head. (Except that they come out of his mouth at a decibel level that explodes human ear drums…)

I’m still trying. I still attempt to breastfeed him all weekend long so that I can keep my milk production up. But this weekend, I gave up the fight. I’m not going to “force feed” my boob to my child anymore. It’s too much for me emotionally, and I just can’t do it anymore. He will still eat at night from me, probably because he’s sleepy and doesn’t think about it as much, but this past weekend there were only two other times that I could convince him to breastfeed that weren’t during the middle of the night. I continued to pump and do everything else that I’ve been doing to increase my milk supply all weekend long, but I quit fighting with him over it.

And a wave of relief washed over me. Today at lunch, Brent and I talked about all of this again and I honestly think that he’s as relieved as I am. Although he would continue to help me hold Jax down to breastfeed, it’s really not fun for any of the three of us. So I’m committed to continuing to pump and feed at night as long as I can…I just don’t know how long my supply will last without those marathon nursing sessions helping my body produce the milk. Mondays always show a boost on my production numbers…and today I didn’t see that after two weekends of him flat-out refusing to nurse.

Hopefully, writing this post and hitting the “Publish” button will help me forgive myself the rest of the way. I’m at peace with my decision, I know that. I’m relieved that there’s no more struggle - that much is definitely true. Now I just hope that I can continue to listen to the logical side of my head and not my heart. I hope that writing this all out is good for my soul and really allows my eyes to see that I’ve done my part. And if it’s time to stop, then it’s time to stop. And that it’s not a reflection on me.

You know, for someone who wasn’t even sure that she wanted to breastfeed in the first place; I’ve become awfully attached, haven’t I? I suppose that’s normal too. I just thought that when it came time to stop nursing, that it would be because I was choosing to stop for whatever reason…not because my son won’t nurse anymore. Some might say that this is easier because there would be less guilt if it was his decision and not mine - that I could say “Well, I would have continued to nurse if he’d only cooperated.” I guess that I could say something like that. And at some point in time, I might.

But right now, I just feel incredibly sad to see this time coming to an end. Sadder than I thought that I would be. In another week, I’ll be able to focus on the positives, and I’ll do a post on all of the things that I can do now that I’m no longer Bessie the Cow…but for now, I’ll wallow a bit longer…and do all that I can to maintain the milking status for just one more day. Taking it one day at a time seems to be all that I can do.


Stacey said...

It IS such an emotional thing! And it's so hard when they decide to be done. My little one did the same thing and I wasn't ready. I hope you can come to peace with it!

Andrea@multiplemama said...

One of my twins quit at 9mos, and I did not have the energy to fight him so I pumped for another 6 mos. Sounds crazy I know but his sister nursed til she was two and being twins I felt guilty giving it to one and not the other... Mom guilt!

Nikkolish said...

My daughter never latched that well so I pumped for 6 months. Thankfully I produced enough for her during that time, but as she grew I just couldn't produce enough. My body finally decided not to make milk anymore. I was heartbroken at the time because I felt like I was something was wrong with me that I couldn't give my baby what she needed.

Now with two and a half years between me and that time, I'm ok with it. I feel for you right now though. No matter the reason, the end of breastfeeding is often overwhelming and emotional. I hope you can find some peace {and something fun to fill up the times you used to nurse!}.

Jesica said...

Keep doing what you can & don't beat yourself up about it. Keep nursing him at night (let him sleep with you, too!) and maybe take a "nursing vacation" where all you do is lay in bed with him and nurse - like an open bar! :) I'll be thinking about you - I know how you feel! I especially undertand how you feel about your life being centered around your feeding/pumping schedule! Take care of yourself!

Jesica said...

After I posted that comment - I realized that it sounds kinda bad. My thoughts behind a nursing vacation were to 1)just be in bed with him - no pressure to nurse except if/when he wants to, 2)a chance to rest together, and 3) less stress on you both since the purpose of the vacation is for him/you and no one else. TAKE CARE!!