Monday, July 5, 2010

So that's the end of that.

Breastfeeding. We're done with it.

Kind of.

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.


Lindsay said...

That's such a rough decision. For me, it was such a relief to make, though... for all of the reasons you just said.

Joanna said...

Bitter sweet, I know. Bitter for the missed closeness. Sweet because pumping is such a huge pain. I still curse my pump, and I stopped pumping over 3 years ago. I'd really like to take a sledge hammer to it.

Heidi O said...

I am down to twice a day and need to move to one so I understand your feelings on it. I am saddened too because he is my last as well.

PS I hated the pump and I didn't need to use it nearly as much.

Julie said...

Dude, that is a LOT of pumping and as we all know, pumping is not fun. Since I pumped exclusively with Lana, I have a hatred of that damn thing and I will do just about anything to avoid pumping this time around.

Between the pumping, supply issues and the acrobatics, its no wonder you are done! As for the eczema and constipation, have you found the ideal formula for Jr? Is he doing milk-based? Poor little bugger, we struggle with constipation even with Lacey on breast milk, but the Alimentum formula does not make it worse thankfully. Pump that kid full of fruit!