Breastfeeding

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I’ve completed my goal of breastfeeding for a year and, despite huffing and puffing at times, it’s been an enjoyable experience. Endings are always that way, aren’t they? Endings make you forget the struggles and remember the good times all for the sake of the positive memory. I gather that’s why many of us go on to have second and third children; because we forget what being pregnant in those last few months feels like and we forget how it feels to have every organ in your body feel like it’s going to fall out of your vagina after giving birth, choosing only to remember the joy of seeing the plus sign on that stick you just pissed on and the complete and utter elation in holding a freshly born baby, your freshly born baby, for the first time.
The memories of my hair being constantly pulled on and living my life in two hour increments is beginning to fall to the wayside as I start to enter the mourning phase of the fact my baby is no longer, well, a baby and that the days of him crazily crying when I get home after a day a work, eager to connect with me again, are also going to fall to the wayside.
Having Van was never a debate for us. We knew we wanted a minimum of two kids, maybe three. Now that we have two healthy boys, having a third has become a debate. I want a third. I didn’t hang on each moment of pregnancy and babyhood like it was my last. And now, it saddens me to know that I may never breastfeed another child.
My relationship with breastfeeding is nearing an end not only because I’ve reached my goal but because I physically cannot go much further. Van loves solids and ever since he started embracing the idea, my milk supply has decreased. There was a time when I pumped 14 ounces in the morning, then it plateaued to 8 ounces, and now I’m lucky to get 5. I have decided to trust that what I make is what he needs and now that I’ve reached my goal of a full year, I’m less neurotic about my supply.
I started to wean last week and got emotional about it, so my plan at this point is this: I will leave the weaning up entirely to Van. I will not stress about being away from him and I will allow the stress of maintaining my milk supply show it’s way to the door. And I will hold on to these last few weeks, or months, knowing that it could be the last time I have this privilege.
Currently I’m breastfeeding four times a day and supplementing with 1-2 bottles of breast milk from my ridiculous frozen stash supply.
When did you decide to end your breastfeeding relationship? Was it difficult? Do you miss it?
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14 Responses

  • We stopped at 8.5 months (I got pregnant, and my supply majorly dropped), and I still miss it. Barrett doesn’t snuggle with me now like he did then. He seems very happy and healthy without it, though, so that makes me feel better. Plus, I have another one coming and I get to go through it again! Good luck weaning, and congrats on making it to a year!!

  • I stopped with my son a little before the 1 year point, since I was pregnant with my daughter, and my milk supply dropped off. I just hit 7 months with her, and it saddens me often to realize that this may be it. (I also want a third, although it would take my husband some major convincing to agree to that. 😉

  • I stopped when Gehrig turned 15 months. I was not really sad because I made it over my goal and he was truly just using me as a pacifier in the mornings. With Keane I stopped at 10 months because he was mostly on formula at that time anyway (NICU baby, issues with supply etc etc) and we also wanted to start trying for another baby, which we promptly did. :)
    So I guess I was not that emotional as both times I was ready and I knew it was time. We are also planning a 3rd, so maybe that’s another reason I was okay. There are other things I get emotional about though. Like when they start saying things more clearly and less baby talk-ish, or insist they can dress themselves “because I’m a big boy” and they happen to prove themselves and can dress themselves pretty successfully. I’ll love watching them grow up, but saying goodbye to the littleness is also so sad.

  • I started supplementing this month (at 7.5 months that is) about 1-2 bottles a day because I can’t take the thought of rigging myself up to the breast pump like a dairy cow anymore. I’m slowly trying to make the transition to formula. My little guy will drink it no problem, but nursing is so much easier….If he’s hungry I just plop him in my lap and lift up my shirt….done and done! It’s just getting taxing to do that every 2-3 hours. When he drinks a bottle of formula, his feedings are every 4 or so. Plus….I really want a giant frozen margarita.

  • I just wrote about our breastfeeding situation too!

    At 11 months, Lane is still going strong and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down which is somewhat disappointing to me since I’ve been ready to call it quits since 6 months (not seriously – but pretty seriously). I too have decided to not stress about it, to let him lead the way, even though right now that looks like a pretty long road, but I’d rather let Lane choose when he’s ready than force something on both of us resulting in unnecessary stress.

  • I have thought about this often. I wrote a longish draft post about weaning when my daughter was 6 months. I wasn’t intending to actually wean her but I was thinking about leaving that part of our relationship behind. Now she is 13 months and there isn’t a sign of weaning at all. I have no pumped milk (she never took a bottle or pacifier) and she is exclusively breastfed. She takes about 7 feeds a day. Like you I’m letting my daughter decide when she wants to wean. I just have no idea when that will actually be.

    I’m excited to hear about your decision about 2 or 3 kids. We having been discussing baby #2 pretty fervently but we might hold off for another year.

  • I can totally see how you’d miss it. It is a pretty special bonding experience. But I think you’ll enjoy the liberation eventually too. Van seems to know what he wants, so it’s good to let him lead the way. He’ll always crave you, just not your boobs–and that will be a good thing when he’s, like, 10.

  • I know what you mean about breastfeeding and procreating…we’ve been having the same discussion ourselves! We’ve got two little girls, they’re gorgeous, they’re perfect, and our family is perfect…so…do we stop? Or have the three children we originally planned? And now that we’re in limbo (we won’t be making any decisions until our now-six-month-year-old turns two…), it’s definitely got me welling up about breastfeeding. With a six-month old who’s loving the solid food we’ve started giving her, I’m dreading giving up breastfeeding already. And imagining NOT breastfeeding, like, ever again, once she gives up (I fed my first until she gave up at around one, and plan on going as long as this little pickle wants, too) is heartbreaking. Enough to make me want a billion kids, just so I never have to give up. But I do know that realistically, three will be our limit. And TWO may just be our limit. Thankfully, every time I think these things while I’m feeding Winnie, I hold onto her little hand and stroke her hair and love all on her, appreciating the way she falls asleep on me and how our warm skin sticks together. Because one day, with my littlest baby, it will all end. Ugh, but I do hope that’s not soon. Not soon at all.

  • Today we were out spending time with family, running errands and around 2pm I realized I hadn’t nursed her since 10am(she had a cup with milk while we were out and about). Realizing I wouldn’t be home until 3:30 I started to panic, I only felt myself leak once so far, my breasts weren’t hard and ready to burst… But that’s just it, although she’s showing no signs of stopping or being done, she’s so big(10 months) and preoccupied with the world now. The part about not being ready to have breastfed your last child really got me, as we are contemplating just having the one. For her, nursing is for naps and bedtime these days. I plan on nursing as long as she wil let me, but something tells me she will be ready to quit before I am.

  • I stopped regular feeds at 14 months (I wanted to keep feeds up until then as I knew we were going away and wanted to be able to feed on planes and overseas). So for the last five months it was just his sleep feeds. I thought I would leave it up to Jarvis to wean himself. I did this with my eldest and she stopped around 22 months. Just lost interest, so it was easy.
    I am currently on day two of not feeding Jarvis. I have had no choice the doctor needs to change my medications and I cannot breastfeed. There have been tears. Tantrums, Screaming, Ripping at my chest. But worse of all he will not let go of me, has become so clingy, yesterday I had to pee holding his hand. My breasts are hot and engorged and I cannot lift my arms.
    So both of us are unhappy

  • 13mths…. My daughter had been progressively weaning herself for a while-she loved the solids! The clinch came when, down to only two feeds a day (morning/night), we were away for a night at a wedding, with nowhere to express & picked her up at lunch the next day. In one day she realised I didn’t have enough & went on to a bottle of formula-but also dropped the morning feed. She was & is way ahead of her age bracket in weight, growth, development that I tried not to panic but mourned the fact she was no longer my “baby”. This had come along way from the lady who had to feed every two hours, had boobs the size of melons & never felt the “emotional” bond that comes with breast feeding. I was proud of what I was accomplishing but felt like I had a parasite attached to me.
    She now 18mths & no bottle at night, toilet trained & walking to her bed at night when she is ready for sleep-talk about loosing the baby stage!
    Ready for no.2 but hubby isn’t……

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