Unless we’re blessed with a surprise baby someday, sometime this week, I’ll nurse my last baby for the last time.
It’s a bittersweet milestone, one heavily laden in emotions.
Memories of the sheer frustration of early nursing sessions where I cried my eyes out because he wouldn’t latch and stay awake, his little body fragile and unfamiliar to me … to a morning like this morning, where I can tell when my milk has let down by how his suckling changes — from frantic suckles to even, nutritive draws while he tucks his legs up to his belly and buries his face deep into the curve of my chest.
We’ve fallen into a nice rhythm … and it pains me to know it’s me whose making the decision to stop.
On average, I’ve nursed or pumped the equivalent of 15 ounces a day (more earlier; less since being back at work). I’ve done this for 7.5 months. Nursed in the morning, pumped four times a day at work, then nursed/pumped before Ben went to bed and then again pumped before I went to bed.
While it was no walk in the park with Maya — and honestly breastfeeding Ben has been much easier, for a bunch of reasons — it’s a lot tougher with a preschooler around. She demands a lot of my attention (as well she should!) and I hate hate hate being hooked up to a pump — which has been my reality the past few months, since Ben has decided nursing is only OK in the morning and sometimes in the evening. When he feels like it. (Opinionated already … oy!)
Last week I noticed my supply dwindling and it was the result of a clogged duct. It hurt like crazy and — knowing this coming week I’d be out of town for two full days for work — I decided to put the kibosh on nursing/pumping.
With Maya, I just did it cold turkey … and it wasn’t too hard. My supply had decreased and I had fought it for a couple weeks before finally giving in. Maya was nine months old, and she wasn’t regularly nursing anyway.
This time, Ben is not even eight months old — and while I will miss the profound intimacy that comes from nursing him, I know we can still connect and share closeness at bed-time; it will just be different. Whereas Maya never really rooted a whole ton (and even rejected me quite a bit!), Ben does root … and so that will be hard, when he opens his little mouth and there’s nothing to nourish him/soothe him/appease him.
But for my own mental wellness, I need to be done. I’m barely making anything … and I’ve said all along … if it got to be too stressful, I would stop. Guilt-free.
So although I felt extreme guilt when I weaned Maya, I honestly don’t feel guilt this time. I’ve given him my all — and really, truly can say I have. And it’s been great and he’s thriving — growing, eating solids … he will be drinking cow’s milk soon.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: everything good comes to an end and I just don’t want to be hooked up to that damn black bag anymore. Selfish as it might sound, I’m over it. We have my brother’s wedding in California next month and I don’t want to travel with a pump. And this week I’ll be gone for two days — with no stimulation from being around him, so I’m hoping my milk will dry up pretty easily.
It’s funny. I had written this post in prep of weaning Maya … and I feel these same sentiments hold true this go around (and appreciated reading my mom’s words again). Tears will surely be shed this week, but I know it’s the right call.
Weaning is a highly-charged, emotional thing — especially when it’s the mom’s decision to call it quits.
But when I think of how much more time I’ll have to spend with my family and how much stress will be alleviated from weaning, it definitely seems like the best decision for me.