Everyone experiences rejection — it’s a fact of life. But I don’t handle rejection well.

When, in sixth grade, I found out that my crush liked me a lot … but only as a friend … it stung.

When, in eighth grade, I didn’t make the competitive cheerleading team … it stung. (I should note, I went on to be one of only four freshmen to make the JV team the following year; go figure).

When, in college, my heart was broken by a guy I thought was “the one” … it stung. (Clearly, he wasn’t the one; three years later I met Luis! :))

And, when in the work force I saw others get promotions when I only got raises … it stung.

But now, I’ve experienced the biggest rejection to date.

Maya now rejects nursing.

The past few weeks, every time I’ve tried to nurse (mostly just weekends), she blatantly pulls away … won’t latch, won’t suckle, won’t even do anything except turn away and twist her torso away from me  — eagerly searching the room for her bottle.


Now, I’ve said before that I don’t nurse often these days but it’s not like she doesn’t know how. Literally in the recovery room this chick knew exactly what to do; it’s instinctual for them to root. I mean, they know where the land of milk and honey is!

With us, it’s always been an issue of my supply — not her latch. She’s never been the problem.

So I spend hours a day making two 5 or 6 oz bottles for her, deal with constantly sore boobs (sorry if that’s TMI–pumping hurts WAY more than nursing does for me)  … and she goes on and rejects me.

Making matters worse, this weekend she had her fourth ear infection (poor bambino!) …  When the pediatrician and I talked about her eating habits, I admitted how I was considering stopping pumping  — especially since she isn’t nursing anymore — and she basically told me that without any breast milk, her 4 ear infections could have easily been 8-10 already (it’s common knowledge that [among other benefits] breast milk reduces the risk of ear infections).

So today, knowing she was sick — and that nursing used to soothe and calm her, regardless of my minimal production — I decided to give it a go at her 10 AM feeding. She rejected me once again. And this time, my husband was there and saw it happen. He reached his hand out and tried to console me but I just couldn’t stop crying.

I can’t even explain why it hurts so much; it’s not like I loved nursing so much or anything … but , in time, I came to really enjoy that bonding experience with Maya. And now, those days are [likely] officially over, I’m sad to say. And I think the hardest part is that I can’t even tell you the last time I nursed her — it must have been a month ago, and it kills me that we had that “last time” and don’t remember it.

Plus, like a girl wanting a boy whose just “not that into her,” now I want Maya to want to nurse … and she doesn’t. I can’t make her want to do it; I can keep trying (and I will for another few weeks) but I think my lack of consistency the past couple of months threw her for a loop and, frankly, a bottle is easier. No work!

Rejection sucks, and I know someday she will be 12 and won’t want to be seen with her lame mom …  but this kind just felt so visceral and hurt more than any of the other rejection experiences I’ve felt.

And, 12 hours later, I’m still feeling the sting.

How about you? If you breastfed, how did weaning make you feel? Did you initiate it or did your child? In general (breastfeeding aside) how do you deal with rejection?


11 thoughts on “Rejected

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry. 😦 I know this would absolutely break my heart, too. I don’t have any first-hand experience with this, of course, but I’ve read a lot of women talk about having a hard time with this, even if they hated nursing and had been doing it for two years and felt completely ready to stop.

    I have two positive things to share, though. I know a couple of women firsthand who had issues bf’ing their first and then went on to very successfully bf their second child. So there’s that idea (which, I know, doesn’t help re: Maya right now, but you could have more to look forward to).

    The other thing is simply anecdotal – Nate is 14 mths old, bf for only 4 days, and has never had a single ear infection. So the non-bf’ing may not make any difference for Maya. We’ve all been told as much, of course, but you can never know for sure. If it’s going to hurt you more to continue to pump, that’s your call and I imagine Luis would support you (and your friends will, too, myself included, of course).

    And I know what you mean about not recognizing the “last time” of things. I hate when I realize some phase has ended without me realizing it in the moment.

    Sending you hugs.

    1. Thank you so much, Candice!! I really wasn’t prepared for the rejection. I mean, I called the shots and stopped nursing a while ago because she didn’t seem to care … Luis thinks maybe she “forgot” but I know better; he means well but she knows … she just doesn’t want to work for it anymore.

      I do appreciate that insight though–there is hope! And good to know about Nate, though remember, too, without being in daycare his first year, he was likely saved from that treasure trove of fun 😉 (Daycare is usually where they contract the colds that lead to ear infections. Most of my friends who are SAHMs, their kids never get sick. There’s pros and cons, for sure — the immunities develop earlier with daycare kids — but they also get sick far more often.

      He definitely would support whatever I do, it’s more me who is determined.

      Yes, that’s exactly what’s killing me … not realizing this phase is over til it’s over.

      Gratefully accepting any and all hugs.

  2. Oh Melissa, I have so much to say on this matter – both on ending breast feeding, and your doctor’s reaction (which makes me very angry!) We need a phone date soon!

    1. Thanks honey, we sure do! She wasn’t being judgmental or at least I didn’t feel that way but in reading my post I can see how it might have come across that way…mamahood is hard!

  3. Way confused about this response regarding ear infections and breastmilk. This must be the daycare factor. The boys are nearly five months, preemies, and have never had an ear infection. They are formula fed…

    1. I know that breastFEEDING reduces the risk of ear infections because of the mechanics of it (something about the breast sucking position vs. bottle), and that breastmilk has been shown to increase immunity, but 8-10 ear infections at 7 months? That’s ridiculous. My son had two ear infections his first year, he was formula-fed, and in daycare starting at 10 weeks.

      1. Yes, Alison is right–it’s BM that has immunities and since I pump it probably wouldn’t prevent ear infections but daycare doesn’t always = ear infections/illness (as in your son’s case) just as nursing doesn’t always = not experiencing any illnesses.

        The pediatrician was just saying that for a kid prone to ear infections (as Maya seems to be — this being her 4th in 4 mths at daycare) it could have been more. I didn’t feel she was pressuring me to keep pumping, but more just acknowledging that what I’ve been doing has been (possibly) preventing a greater number of ear infections and other illnesses. I misspoke–pumping is not adequate compared to nursing, but it’s what I have to do.

    2. I think it’s just the immunities that help and if your boys aren’t in daycare they aren’t exposed to the stuff daycare kids are. That said, not ALL daycare kids are always sick … I just feel like Maya’s prone to them.

  4. I can only imagine how you feel but know that you did your best with nursing and she still loves you as her mommy even though she’s no longer nursing. Pumping is a pain but stick with it if you can. My daughter is 17 wks and I was pumping at work and reading your post. Be encouraged from one mommy to another.

  5. Hey Liss,
    I’m also kind of confused about the ear infection thing. I was sort of under the impression that ear infections were more common in babies that bottle feed, not necessarily from drinking formula. Noa has never had formula but has barely ever nursed and hasn’t had an ear infection but I figured that was purely just luck. I truly thought bottle feeding was what led to more ear infections. And as a day care baby, Noa has had like 3-4 colds, and it never became an ear infection. Isn’t it possible some kids are more prone to them?
    And I agree with Allison–8-10 ear infections by now? THat is crazy, even for a day care baby!
    BTW, I’m not passing judgment or anything or discounting how amazing the pumped milk is for Maya (obvs, cause I pump too) but I mean, breast milk is not a magic potion, u know?

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