Monday, June 28, 2010

Bittersweet Goodbye

After 18 months, 1 week and 4 days, K and I said goodbye to breastfeeding.

Its a very bittersweet ending for me. It feels like the last link to my sweet baby is gone and we are truly entering life with a kid now. I knew it was time; secretly I think she knew it was time too; my husband felt it was time about 6 months ago. It was simply not fun anymore. Crazy contortioning from an active toddler who has no interest in sitting still for 30 seconds, let alone 10 minutes. Diminishing supply which caused tears and frustration on her end, and a bit of pain on mine. The inability to spend the night anywhere, let alone stay in the city after work to have a drink with a long lost friend. My job also requires a lot of schmoozing, and it was starting to be painfully obvious I was the weakest link when it came time to attend the networking events.

So 3 days ago I decided to pull the plug full stop. I needed a game plan to avoid the source of all things comforting - the rocker in her room. As soon as I place my butt in it, K immediately turns to me and says "milk. mommys milk" and then proceeds to stick her hand down my shirt. Mornings were easy. I greeted her with her sippy cup as soon as she awoke, and whisked her downstairs. She thought it was a fun game. Evenings were harder. Our entire bedtime routine is situated around that chair. I moved stories downstairs with a sippy cup before teethbrushing and handwashing. I let her keep the sippy cup right up until she was placed in the crib and if she asked for "milk?" I would play dumb and point to her sippy cup. I let her sit in the chair, but I copped a squat on the floor instead of having her in my lap. The first night she threw a fit, but I held my ground and managed to distract her with extra lullabies. 3 days in and she doesn't ask for it anymore, though I am still doing stories and milk downstairs for the foreseeable future to be safe.

On the one hand I am happy it has gone so smoothly, but on the other, I am sad she didn't put up more of a fuss. I know, I am crazy. But honestly, doesn't she miss the bond as much as I do? Doesn't she miss gently rocking while I hum silly songs and look into her eyes? Doesn't she miss that quiet time at 3am when its just her, and me and the mechanical squeak of the chair hinges?

Despite the crazy colicky sessions early on, when she would scream, latch, scream, latch and rinse/repeat for an hour, despite the overactive letdown that required towels stuffed down both sides of my nursing bra  for 4 months straight, despite being chained to my house and her for 18 months,  I will miss knowing everything she needed to grow, I could provide. Everything she needed to calm and face the world, I could give her.

And I am sad to realize I don't have any photos of us breastfeeding (other then a few NSFW ones my husband may have snapped when we were out and K pulled away, forcing me to flash the restaurant).

Breastfeeding is the hardest "natural" thing I have ever encountered, and believe it or not, that includes birthing. But it was all so so worth it. I am glad we tried for as long as we could. I am glad I was able to give her that start in life. And despite the melancholy tone of this post, I am glad we are done.

She doesn't look like she is taking it too badly, does she?


  1. Congrats! 18 months is quite an accomplishment!!

  2. I felt the exact same way when B weaned at 18 months. All it took was a simple distraction and he completely forgot about nursing. I still miss it occasionally, but over all I know this is better for both of us.

  3. E weaned at 14 months, and while I'm sometimes nostalgic for it, I'm never not glad that it's over.

  4. 18 months is fabulous!!! I'm struggling to make it to one year. Sadly I think my struggling supply will dictate when my daughter stops nursing, not me.

  5. Oh, sweet girl! I'm pumping. Ruari never breastfed. I am giving it up in October. :) I think I'll be happy though.... :D

  6. Chelsey - you exclusive pumpers are my heros! I cannot imagine having to do that. What a sacrifice and a gift you give by committing to it. Huge kudos to you.

  7. 18 months IS awesome. I totally get it, though. Piper weaned herself at 16 months. I thought I had 2 months left (I planned to work on weaning her at 18 months) and it became a fight to get her to nurse, and I realized I needed to let it go. So I get's so sad when they go "eh". No matter what anyone else says "hey, aren't you glad to have your body back?" Sure, you are! But it's still tough...I was depressed about it for a couple months. So hang in there, love. Or do you spell it "louve" up there? =P

  8. Nice job making it that far! Aidan happily weaned at 9 months and I know what you mean - I was surprised and a little sad he let it go so easily! I had thought I'd go up to a year, but with lots of teeth at that point 9 months felt right.

    Watch out though - baby #2! :-) I was pregnant at 11 months...