Saturday, March 10, 2012

Breastfeeding & Weaning

Let's talk about breastfeeding for just a bit. If you can't or choose not to breastfeed, more power to you. I do not judge. If you are or were breastfeeding, more power to you. I do not judge.

There, now that I got that out of the way, I can talk about my breast-feeding journey.

I knew as soon as I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. I figured, why the heck would I have been carrying around 38DD's for the last 12 years of my life if they weren't met to feed my baby. I thought it'd be easy. Pop a boobie in the mouth and boom, milk. If you have started breastfeeding, you know that it isn't always that easy.

Right after I had CJ, I was sent to the ICU for a few days. CJ was able to come visit but I was for the most part, upstairs with Craig in the maternity ward. No one mentioned to me that I should try to pump and CJ was upstairs being fed from a bottle at all times. So when I finally got back to the maternity ward and back to my baby, he was already taking all of his milk from a bottle. And lots of them. He was a formula fiend.

The first time I tried to nurse, the nurse who was there "helping" was the exact opposite. She was sighing and telling me I was doing it wrong and then she said "He's gone with formula too long, it is going to be impossible to get him to nurse." I started crying, so obviously CJ started crying too. I felt like such a failure. First I almost die giving birth, then I am separated from him for days, and now I can't even nurse him?! What kind of mother was I?!

I continued to try to nurse him along with giving him formula from the bottle for the next day or two that I was in the hospital. He would nurse for a bit then scream for more because I only had the colostrum which wasn't as filling as the bottle with 3 ounces of formula. Then, on the day we left, it happened. Craig was bringing the car to the front door and he had taken everything from the hospital room. It was just CJ and I waiting to be picked up. CJ started crying hysterically. I had no idea what to do. So I just lifted up my shirt and put him near my breast. He latched on like a champ and that was it. From then on, he was a strictly nursing baby. We nursed for a long time he and I. I thought it was going to last forever.

I didn't have a time limit in mind for how long I would nurse. I figured I would keep nursing until he decided that he was done. I thought I'd be nursing until he was at least 2 years old, maybe 3. But CJ had other plans.

When he was a newborn, he nursed whenever he felt like it. Eventually, that settled into a routine of nursing when he woke up, nursing at naptime, and nursing to sleep. He did that until about 14-15 months. Then he decided he only needed to nurse at night. He kept that up for about 4-5 months.

Then one night just a few weeks ago, we settled down to nurse to sleep like usual. I had him on his boppy, blankies all snuggled around him, lovey in his arms. He latched in like usual, and then stopped. He took his head off and just let it rest on my breast like it was a pillow. I said "Do you want milk?" and he signed back "milk". I put my breast in front of his face and he looked at it and then turned away. I was baffled. I signed milk, he signed it back. He wouldn't even look at it! So I got up and got him a cup with some of his soy milk and gave it to him. He put it in the crook of his arm, lay his head on my shoulder, and fell asleep. I was so confused. I figured it was just a fluke and the next day he'd be back to nursing.

Nope. Since that day, he has refused to nurse. It has been over a month now. No more nursing my baby to sleep. No more nursing snuggles when he is having a bad day. I'm not going to lie, I cried. I told my husband "Waaaah, CJ doesn't love me anymore."

I realize that this is a natural thing, and that I was right to listen to CJ's cues and not force the issue. But did anyone else feel sad when their baby weaned on their own? Tell me about your breastfeeding journey. How long did you nurse for?

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  1. It is completely awesome that you were able to nurse for so long! My daughter only nursed until she was seven months old and started crawling. I was already having trouble with milk production, so once she stopped, I dried up completely. (I never could seem to pump, either.) She was an active baby, and couldn't stand to be still as long as it took to nurse. She was ready for the instant gratification of the sippy cup, I suppose. She went to vitamins and whole milk because she hated formula.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. This is why I never judge anyone for nursing or not nursing, you just never know what that baby wants or needs. CJ is on soy milk now because it turns out he is allergic to regular milk. I could never pump either.

  2. Hi, thanks 4 sharing your story. Im sorry that the nurse "helping" you to breast feed was horrid, but good for you on turning it around! I breast fed my first until a year old, he decided that he was finished and it was so weird. I felt deflated 4 awhile and missed the ritual terribly, but I was proud of our success when at the beginning I never thought I could do it. Im now breast feeding my 2nd and Im just taking it as it comes and following his cues. Women shouldnt feel pressure to breast feed- its a choice. We all just do the best we can for our children. Thanks again for the thought provoking post! Ps. When I stopped feeding my first, I found other excuses to snuggle and bond with him, story time before bed is one of our favourite times.

    1. CJ and I still take naps together and I rock him to sleep for half an hour to an hour every night. So we get plenty of time. You are right, breastfeeding is a choice. I think that most mothers have the best interests of their children in mind.And that's really all that matters. Thanks for stopping by!


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