Friday, July 28, 2006

Changes

I am somewhat proud to say that Son, who will be eleven months next Saturday, is still breastfeeding. When I decided that I would try to do this, I set mini-goals for myself. First, I just wanted to survive the first couple of weeks. Then, make it three months, then to six, and now, a year. So, I have pumped twice a day at work since November, lugged my pump to continuing legal education classes (that is another story in and of itself), made up bottles and now sippy cups every night, and on and on. The benefits have been obvious. Other than a couple of lousy colds, Son really hasn't been all that sick. He's had one minor/suspected ear infection, caused by congestion from a cold. Other than that, it's been pretty clear sailing.

I've been lucky enough to not really have to deal with some of the pain that breastfeeding can incur, like clogged ducts, mastitis, or nipple issues. For once in my life, my body has been doing what it is supposed to do. After dealing with four years of infertility, what a breath of fresh air!

However, as we near our one year mark, I'm beginning to think that it is time to let this go. When I think about it, my body really hasn't been my own for almost three years. First, there was the year of trying to make the baby (accompanied by shots, progesterone, and ultrasound probes almost feeling like a natural appendage), then almost a year to grow the baby (again, more needles, this time for GD, and having to give up my one craving for GD), and now another year to feed the baby (no needles involved!). It's time. Time to wear bras that I actually like, where the cups don't open by means of a convenient plastic clip. Time to quite embarrassing the checkout boy at Target that is all of seventeen and gets goofy when I buy breast pads. Time to stop worrying about leaking. Time to have a visit with two of my long lost friends: Captain Morgan and his friend, Coke.

And while I'm ready on all of those fronts, and have enough milk frozen to feed Son for quite a while, I'm feeling, well, a bit down about the entire thing. I have a feeling that this whole weaning process is going to be much tougher on me than on Son. I really do enjoy nursing. Son is such a little busybody, always moving. It is my one time that he totally snuggles, and is just still. I love that. I love to feel him tuck himself in. I love how he looks up at me, and occasionally plays with my hair or my face. I know that some of the contentment comes from the hormones associated with the physical act, but it helps to calm me down too. I guess that it is the one guaranteed time that I get him all to myself and that I can forget how fast he is growing.

I'm also a little concerned about the physical side of it, and a little confused as to how to go about it. I know that I want the bedtime feed to be the last to go. OK. However, what do I do in the interim? After worrying about keeping my supply up for so long, it's hard to adjust to the thought of trying to ramp the supply down. It would help if Son could smooth out the whole nighttime sleep schedule. He is still (!!!!) getting up at night. While it isn't every night, it is still frequent enough. I have to admit, I've been lazy about getting rid of that feeding. It's a surefire way to get him back down with minimal pain. However, if he nurses then, he doesn't get to in the morning. He gets a sippy cup of milk at breakfast at daycare. I've also been pumping right before I go to bed so if he doesn't get up, I don't wake up with two overinflated basketballs on my chest in the morning.

Maybe that is my first step, to drop the night pump. Then cut down to just once during the day. My whole goal is to be done by the third week in October, when I have to travel for work for four days. I really don't want the fun of trying to not only lug a pump through airport security, but then try to finagle time to pump during my all-day meetings with my primarily all-male department. Oh, and last time that we all got together, I was 36 weeks pregnant, and couldn't participate in the team-building that took place after the meetings (read, time at the hotel bar). It's not that I'm a lush or anything, but I would really, really, like a chance to play a little. I suppose that since I wouldn't be carting any milk home its not an issue, but I just want to be done.

All of this is just another sign that Son is rapidly moving away from being a baby to a little boy. While I don't miss the every four hour feedings, I do miss my baby sometimes. I know that I'll miss the snuggle time with him, and watching him while he sleeps on my lap. But then again, when my near-toddler smiles up at me, and I can't wait to see what he'll do next. This is just one step towards him growing up and into the person that he is going to be.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

I stopped breastfeeding my second child (Darin) after 6 months and that was hard enough. I was ready to have my body back and my supply started to dwindle as my running picked up. It's an entirely personal journey, and even though I was making the conscious choice to discontinue breastfeeding, it was still full of emotion.

LC said...

I too just moved over to blogland- hoping it will be a more positive experience. Love the pics of your little guy- very cute:) Kudos to you for making it so long breastfeeding- that's fantastic. We quit around 5 months after I had repeated mastitis and some other issues and I was bummed about it. We did it cold turkey, so I don't have any advice to offer on slowly weaning, but I've heard the dropping 1 feeding at a time works well. Take care, Leslie (LC, Parenting Toddlers)

Kristina said...

I think you've done an amazing job to have nursed your son for this long. I think slow and steady is the best way to wean, but emotionally... it's not easy. I had to stop cold turkey after a disasterous bout of mastitis and I was so upset, these lovely hormones... Besides, it's just a little sad to watch our babies grow and grow and see how big their getting when they used to be so small. I love the little boy Lochlan is becoming, but I miss the cuddly little baby he was- you know what I mean. Good Luck! TTYL