Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PYHO: The Emotional & Physical Pain of Weaning

I bet many of you are wondering what ever happened with my milk struggles a few weeks back (okay, maybe not...), and if we are still going.  I am happy to report...we are...but we're hanging on by a string (maybe that's just me)!  B turned one on Saturday, and I lugged my pump to work up until the moment she turned one, hopeful we'd make it.  I now how zero frozen milk bags.  Saying that makes vomit rise to my throat.  I can't believe that huge frozen stock of 15+ gallon bags is now gone.  However, I am so incredibly thankful I had the forethought this time to stock up.  Without it, we would have never made it.

The day of her birthday party was my last "normal" day of BF.  Ever since, B has showed decreased interest and patience in BF sessions.  For me, that's been a difficult pill to swallow.  I'm trying to be strong.  I'm trying to convince myself it's okay.  I'm still sad. 
Now, in the essence of full disclosure, in the past few weeks B has been drinking a mixture of BM, formula and whole milk, however, in the first 365 days of her life, she NEVER went 1 day of her life without breast milk.  This fact makes me very proud. 

Breastfeeding is not a perfect feeding solution.  There have been many ups and downs through our journey.  I struggled with the latch, pain, engorgement, leakage, cracked nipples, letdown issues, low milk supply, NIP issues, biting (yup!) the works.  But, I wouldn't have it any other way.  B and I have an incredible bond, and I attribute some of that to our closeness while breastfeeding (the rest is probably the whole she lived inside of me thing...).  It's a quiet time for just the two of us.  I do take pride in the fact that the majority of B's growth and development came directly from my own body.  I may not be a cloth diapering fool...but I have always been a BIG proponent of breastfeeding.  It happens to be one part of mothering that is very important to me.

Will we continue?  I don't know...  I guess that burning question is what prompted me to write this post.  I'm struggling a bit with this, okay, I'm struggling a lot.  I've been keeping my concerns pretty quiet to those around me.  My internal struggle has been difficult.  The painful breast pain due to lack of pumping and less BF sessions is equally difficult.  Ouch!  I can just feel my hormonal changes occurring as a result of weaning.  I'm an emotional wreck. 

Am I tired of lugging the pump and being anti-social at work?  YES.  Am I tired of being the only one who can feed her?  YES.  Am I a bit freaked out about stopping?  YES.  Will I miss the closeness and the comfort it give her?  YES.  Do I think transitioning will be hard on both of us, both physically and emotionally?  YES.  Do I think it's time?  YES.  Am I deathly afraid?  YES. 

Right now, I don't have a clear answer.  Ideally, I'd like to continue to feed in the morning and at night.  However, due to our early morning schedule (all four of us are out of the house before 6:30am), it's difficult for me to get her interested in eating before work anymore.  I lose the battle between sitting quietly with me and her love for cheerios.  ::sigh::  So...if I want to prolong BF a bit (preferably until I'm home with her in June) I'll have to continue to encourage her to feed from me at least once a day.  This is the reason for the dilemma.  I truly don't think my body will let me only feed her at night.  If anyone knows any different, please leave a comment!  I would love to hear if 1 time per day feeding worked for someone.   For me, that would be ideal.  A girl can dream.

I was also very inspired by Mama Foosa over at Growing a Foosa to take an artistic photo of me feeding my munchkin.  Aside:  If you don't read her blog, you should!  Unfortunately, I have two strikes against me 1. I'm completely and horribly unphotogenic (and Mama Foosa is gorgeous in every and 2. my camera sucks!'s my attempt...thanks hubs for the help!

Thanks for letting me Pour My Heart Out.  Now go pour out yours, and link up.

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  1. I feel your pain physically! Stopping is hard. Remember that you have done a great thing and whatever you decide will be best for you both! {hugs}

  2. Love the second picture.

    Like you I was a working mom with all three of mine and breastfed until they were ready to stop.

    With all three they weaned off all daytime feedings when they were about 12 months. Your are right breast milk is no competition for cheerios. We did keep the right before bed feeding (only 1 per day) until they were all about 15 months and then they started refusing that one too.

    And then of course I cried myself to sleep.

    I was grateful that my babies were so strong and confident and that weaning was so easy (was told lots of horror stories when I first started breastfeeding), but so sad that sweet time in their lives was over.

    Breastfeeding my oldest for the first 12 months of her life while working a full time job and having no idea what I was doing was probably the hardest thing I have done. You think about it all the time, do I have to pump now?, do I have enought of a milk supply?.

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    1. Awe, you cried yourself to sleep? So sad. I'm not there quite yet, but I think about it and pine over it often.

  3. You have done a phenomenal job and I am so glad that you made it to your year goal - and it was 366 days this year ;)

    I am down to one nursing session per day now. Andrew will nurse in the morning, but he is refusing at all other times. It broke my heart this past weekend when he wouldn't nurse in the afternoon and I had to go get him a bottle instead.

    I stopped pumping at work last week. I used to pump one side in the morning and nurse him from the other, but now he just nurses on both sides. I only pump at night before bed and am down to only getting 2-3 oz.

    Luckily I'm not feeling too many effects physically, but emotionally is a whole other story. It makes me sad that this part of our journey is about over, but I will always cherish all of the quiet time my munchkin and I had together. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

    Congratulations again on doing such a great job! And I love the pictures (you are so not unphotogenic!)

    1. it's very difficult, emotionally, more so for mommy! Many moms don't even make it close to a year. We should try to remind ourselves of that.

  4. Beautiful photos! :) Best of luck with this transition and great job for making it this far!!

    1. Thanks! Also, thanks for the inspiration to write this post.

  5. Yay for making it to a year!!!

    Sweet pics. :)

  6. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful, hard thing...I was never able to breast feed due to Avery being sick when she was born. But I pumped breast milk and froze it, feeding Avery through a bottle. It was so depressing and sad because I had wanted to breastfeed so badly. But I knew she was getting breast milk, so that's all that mattered.

  7. I still remember the last day I bf'ed. The last time. I knew it was the last day and the last time. ... and it made me sad. xo

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