Breaking up with breastfeeding, that is.
As a general rule, I didn't really talk about my breastfeeding relationship with Jake to a lot of people, aside from my mom, mother in law and a very few close friends (and during a few breastfeeding catastrophes, my "internet friends") :) it's not that I was at all embarrassed by it...it's just that to me, it was a private thing between myself and my son.
But now that it's come to an end, I felt like I should write something about it, just to reflect on how far we came. It was a rocky beginning for us....since I was on the magnesium drip for pre-eclampsia, Jake felt the side effects of that in his first few days of life and he was (what the lactation consultant referred to him as), a lazy sucker. He would latch on perfectly and it would appear that he was eating, but he was actually just hanging out, kind of moving his mouth (and normally falling asleep) In order to fix this problem, we spent 3 days doing (as Brian called it) "suck training": I would pump while Brian fed Jake previously pumped milk with a syringe; after he got a few gulps that way, Brian would hand him to me and I would feed him from there. Thankfully, this only went on for 3 days until he got the hang of it....if it had gone on much longer than that, I'm not sure if I could have stuck with it. I was exhausted, physically and emotionally...and the routine that I just described took almost an hour and Jake was eating every 2 hours. It wasn't very pleasant.
But---we got through that and his weight started picking back up and everything was back on track. There were still times that I was tempted to quit...mostly those times were at 3am when I had been up for the 4th time that night feeding him and felt like I hadn't slept in days, or during his growth spurts when he would literally nurse every hour, on the hour for days at a time. I'm not sure what kept me going, to be honest....I had set little goals for myself (3 months, 6 months, a year, etc...) and every time I met one of those goals, it just seemed easier & easier, so I stuck with it. Plus, anytime I saw a can of formula in the store and saw how much money we were saving, that gave me more incentive to stick with it :)
After those first few weeks, it was pretty much smooth sailing with just a few bumps in the road....I had a clogged duct that was pretty painful when he was 2 months old, thrush from antibiotics he was on when he was around 6 months old and mastitis just recently when I started the weaning process.
Fast-forward to January....I knew that I was going to wean after he turned a year and when the time finally came, I was ready. I was ready to be done with my pump at work and just ready to let my little baby move on to the next step in his life. I had braced myself for the worst (he was quite the milk machine, I thought he would have a hard time) but he seemed to get over it pretty quickly. I started by dropping bottles at daycare, figuring it was easier since I wasn't with him at that time and he's so busy there, he'd be less likely to notice. They said he did ok overall...the 2nd day of no bottles one of the babies was getting a bottle in a rocking chair & Jake stopped what he was playing with, went over and sat down in front of the chair & just watched, looking sad :( But, one of the other teachers came over & snuggled him for a few minutes in another chair & that seemed to be all he needed...he was back to playing within a few minutes.
I'm pretty sure I miss it more than he does at this point....even though I was ready to be done, I still had a hard time letting go of what seemed like the last "baby" thing that I had to hold on to. He's such a little boy now in so many ways, but holding him in my arms while nursing him made it feel like he was still an infant, like a whole year hadn't passed yet. I know there's a whole lot more to look forward to and I love all the new things I see in him everyday....but I still like to think back to those times when it was just Jake and I, snuggling on the couch together for a late-night feeding (but let's be honest-I'm grateful that I'm now sleeping at 3am!), or enjoying those last few minutes before bedtime at the end of the day. I'm grateful to have been able to make it to a full year and I appreciate anyone who offered advice and support, especially Brian, who was my biggest cheerleader....he's an amazing husband in many ways and there was no way I could have stuck with nursing if he hadn't been so supportive.
I know there are quite a few moms and moms-to-be who read my blog, so if you have any questions about breastfeeding or weaning or anything, you know where to find me via email :) I'm happy to help out in any way that I can.