After 9 sometimes-blissful, sometimes-torturous months, I'm throwing in the towel on nursing Jr. It's not that I don't love breastfeeding. I do...except for when I hate it. Ok maybe I don't hate breastfeeding, but I do hate pumping at work, and pumping after work, and pumping on the weekends, and anything having to do with pumping. I hate the act of it, and the constant stress of "not making enough." For whatever reason, first with J and now with Jr., I just don't make alot of milk. It's kind of strange, really, considering my, um, ample assets. I've gotten to the point where I have to pump 3-4 times a day on my work weeks just to make about 50% of what Jr. needs at daycare. I've been supplementing with formula for about 6 weeks, and it's still a huge struggle to eke out enough breastmilk to half-fill two 8oz bottles. And now that Jr. is eating solid foods really well and mobile, not only am I not able to keep up with the milk demand, but now it's a baby rodeo every time we go to nurse with him rolling and turning and upside down and trying to climb over my shoulder. I don't have the stamina or patience this time around to go through all the rigamorole I did with J at this stage to keep him nursing: nursing beads, hiding out in a dark room, laying down, etc.
I do feel a little bit guilty about it. Not because Jr. is all that attached to it, he's never been as much a boobie baby as J was and I think he could take it or leave it. I feel guilty because so far formula has been ALOT harder on Jr.'s body than it was on J the few weeks I supplemented with him. After almost 3 months we finally have the eczema somewhat under control, but if we so much as think about switching formula to a cheaper brand or something different he flares up immediately. On top of that, even with 50% breastmilk bottles he has horrendous constipation on formula. We're talking screaming and crying while he's passing rock-hard, sometimes bloody stool. Thank goodness he likes prunes.
There are some good things about not breastfeeding anymore. It's going to be alot easier and less time-consuming to just send a canister of formula to daycare with empty bottles for her to fill up, with far less washing/sterilizing/freezing on my end. I look forward to my boobs getting to a more normal size and not wearing nursing bras anymore, and being able to work out a little harder. I'm also pretty sure that once I'm done lactating it will be easier for me to lose weight; with J it seemed like my body held onto some extra fat while I was nursing that came off pretty quickly when he was weaned. And it will be nice to actually be able to take a break at work that isn't completely consumed by pumping.
There is some sadness about it, but not as much as I expected. We don't plan to have any more biological children, so I know that this is it for my breastfeeding experience. I will miss some of the little moments, the cuddling in the middle night, the sleepy milky smiles, Jr. bobbing his head on my chest like a little bird and reaching up to rub my cheek in the dark...Whatever the case, we're not all the way done yet - we're still nursing at bedtime and if he wakes up at night, and first thing in the morning -- but the end is near. After last week I'm not taking the pump to work anymore, and I know from experience with J that once I stop pumping it may only be a matter of days before my milk dries up for good. Oh, well. On to the next thing.