Weaning

I have talked before about my experiences with breastfeeding. Things started getting better around 10 months, which made me happy. I looked forward to nursing Morgan for many more months. But alas, it was not to be. I'm now in a period of mourning.

Around 14 months or so, Morgan started losing interest during some of our remaining 2-3 daily nursing sessions. It was not the same as the nursing strikes that he had had at 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months in which Morgan fussed and refused to nurse consistently for a period of a few days before returning with gusto to nursing regularly, as is what normally happens with a nursing strike. It was different. He just didn't seem as interested. I realized that my milk was decreasing as I had stopped pumping and I had stopped talking my lactation supplements. I think he was getting frustrated with how little milk I had left, which just decreased my supply even more. I tried to continue nursing as I realized that I wasn't ready to quit nursing. I loved nursing for a few times a day. It was quick and easy, but I still had that bonding time with my baby. I started cutting back on nursing sessions gradually, not because I wanted to, but because I didn't want to force Morgan to nurse. I didn't want his (or my) memories to be tainted. Eventually the nursing stopped altogether. And Morgan seemed perfectly happy. There were no tears (on his part). (Many tears were shed by me.) By 15 or 15 1/2 months nursing was over.

I'm still really sad about it. Despite the obstacles, nursing filled me with a great sense of power. Feeding my baby (even if it wasn't exclusively) from my own body, my own breasts was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. But now my breasts are dry. They have gone soft. The nourishing milk they once contained is gone. Nursing was without a doubt one of the most challenging things I've done. I know I complained about it a lot. And there were times when I didn't want to do it. But now that it's gone, I know I wouldn't have done (many) things differently. Sure, I would have gotten more help and support and things like that. But I would not trade a single moment of it now. It was what it was. I'm looking forward to nursing my next child. I have hope that I won't have the same experience next time because I know what the heck I'm doing and I know what the problems are and most importantly, how, where, and when to get solutions. But even if the same thing happens again, I know I will nurse again. Because, for me, the trials and hardships were worth the effort. Every blocked milk duct, every bout of mastistis, every tear I shed at the frustration, the pain, the work....it was worth it for the memory of seeing my son "milk drunk," it was worth Morgan tenderly falling asleep in my arms, it was worth watching a frantic baby become a peaceful baby, it was worth the looks and the smiles Morgan would give me, it was worth the giggles that Morgan would produce when I would lift my shirt. In every way, it was worth it. I will remember with fondness my time with Morgan. Those are moments that no one can take away from me. I am so blessed to have had that time with my baby. And somehow he seems less of a baby to me now than a little boy. And I'm not ready for my baby to be a little boy. But that's another discussion.

So yes, I will mourn the end of the special relationship that Morgan and I shared together. It was a long, emotional, difficult, rewarding journey. But at the same time I will rejoice and count myself lucky that I got to experience that. I will remember only the good, and forget the bad. I will be proud of my accomplishments despite adversity. I will look forward to the time that I can, hopefully, have that experience again. And I will forever cherish the memories in my heart.

Comments

I still remember those days too. I think that is why my kids who have nurse just glom onto me during TV time and such when I realized it was just part of the bonding experience that came from nursing Matthew and Cade.

I stopped nursing Cade at 9 months, mostly becuase it was a pain in the butt to get privacy. Breastfeeding was less accepted and promoted than it is now. I would get annoyed mostly because Cade loved to nurse all the time. It wasn't just a meal time thing and be done with it But I still kept the night nusing sessions in bed for about 3 months. Then just shy of Cade's first birthday it was over. A lot of it had to do with how big Cade was, wearing 2T clothes when he was barely one years old, and it was harder to snuggle him down in my arms to nurse him.

With Matthew there wasn't a choice. My baby Matthew was literally wasting away and put on a special diet for months, and I was forced to go cold turkey on breastfeeding Matthew when he was 7 months. I clearly felt the loss, especially as I knew this was my last baby.
Austin said…
I remember how hard it was for you but how determined you were to do what you felt was best for our little boy.

You amaze me at what you have already done for our Moby, and I love you!
Wendy McMillan said…
I am excited to wean even though I know I will be a little sad too. You were a good example for me and I can't wait to see how it is with your next baby!

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