Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Wasn't Expecting This

I have been nursing Declan for almost 10 months. At least seven of those 10 months, it has been exclusively breastfeeding. For a few months we had to supplement with formula while I dealt with some issues. Oh issues, remember those? 3, that's THREE, breast infections. (If your constitution is weak, I apologize....but then again, you should know by now.) Going back to work a mere 5 weeks after he was born, granted I only worked 3 days a week, but I was sometimes gone for up to 12 hours at a time, having to pump while at work, feeling like I was an inconvenience to my boss as I commandeered her office. This entire time I have felt like my boobs ruled my life. All for a good cause, I love my son and I am thrilled that I have been able to provide for him in this way. Honestly, I am shocked that I have made it this far. That it has become so routine and normal, it will be weird when it finally ends. Absolutely fantastic and freeing, but weird. Or at least that's what I thought.

Today, Declan did not want to breastfeed. Well, 2 out of the three times we tried, he did not want to. He would just lay there, nibble a bit-with his TEETH, I would say "No, NO! No Declan!" and he would look up at me, scrunch his face up and whine. Then he would start crying. Tears. Not just the "I don't like 'No'" cry. The "why is she yelling at me, does she hate me?" cry. Add that to the fact that we lost an hour of sleep and I start crying a little. I thought, maybe this morning was just a fluke, he actually did nurse a tiny bit, just ended with the biting/NO/tears trifecta. And then, when I nursed him at church this afternoon, all was mostly well, just a little nip here and there. But tonight, at good. At that point, I really started to feel it....this may be the beginning of the end.

Like I said, I'm surprised I got this far. In the beginning, I couldn't see how I could make it, how it would be anything other than frustrating, painful, time-consuming, and exhausting. But it did get better. It did feel normal. I was getting bold, and I would nurse in front of people other than my family and close friends (always covered......I'm not that au naturel). I felt comfortable using nursing rooms at the mall, not needing all of my at-home paraphernalia. I even nursed at a park once! Seriously, things I never thought I would ever do. Still though, I always thought, "I can't wait for this to be over, to wear normal bras again, to stop pumping!!" I loved doing it, but it was still a little inconvenient, and I thought I would gladly say goodbye when the time came.

My goal was to make it to a year, but I would be ok if I didn't. I've now made it to practically 10 months, it may be time to wean.....and I'm not ok. I don't want to be done yet. It's not an issue of formula, I know it won't hurt my child, and 2 months of buying it won't drain our savings (too much, it's still RIDICULOUSLY expensive.) It's not an issue of my maternity failing to provide for my child. It's the one thing I honestly didn't expect to feel. I will miss the bond.

With all that struggling, it was hard to see the bond that Declan and I were forming. And then it became so routine, the bond was still a little lost. But today as I was faced with the reality that it could be over, all I could/can think of is that bond going away. As I type this, I have tears streaming down my face. I know that Declan and I have many other aspects of our lives to bond over, but this one is so precious. Whenever I was having trouble, Trevor would remind me "Becky, do you realize that you, and only you, have kept Declan alive for *insert length of time*?!" (Well, about 98% me, formula and solids have paid their dues.) This made me feel so special, kinda heroic. But I won't get to do that anymore.

This is so dramatic! :) I knew it would come to an end someday.....unless I went La Leche League on you guys and breastfed until he was 8! Ewww! (I'm not judging.....ok, yes I am, 8 years old?!? Come on!) But really, I didn't intend to go past a year, I knew I would be weaning, and that it would be soon. I just didn't expect this to be my reaction to it. To be sad and to cry. Well, maybe a little sadness, but not this hole-in-my-heart sadness. Shoot there go the dramatics again!

And really, there were just 2 months left!! I was so close!! Dang! :) But I guess the silver lining is this: He now has top teeth and those teeth are *#&!*#@ sharp! (Sorry mom.....but really, they are.)

Anyway, this could all be for naught. It could have been a bad day, the time change could have messed him up, his mouth could have been hurting from the new teeth. We have tomorrow to see what really lies ahead. And perhaps the day after that, if I can withstand it. I will still pump as much as I can, the less formula we spend money on, the better. The boobs have yet to relinquish their rule.

Declan, thank you for making me a stronger mommy, sticking with me as we fought through the hard times, making me laugh with your silly grins in between gulps, and for the sweet cuddle time after every meal. I promise we can still cuddle, I will always laugh at your silly grins, and that there will be more hard times to fight through. I can't wait for the millions and millions of special bonds we will continue to make. I love you my sweet boy!

The one shot you'll get of me breastfeeding. It is beautiful though, right? He was just 8 days old.

ok people, put your tissues away and get back to work......or keep reading my blog. It's fun. It's what I would do. :)


An Update: It is now Monday morning. He pretty much cried just looking at the boob. I think that's a bad sign. :)


The Looney Kids said...

Oh Becky, you are completely normal for feeling that way! And I might add, when weaning, or whenever you adjust the amount you nurse, your horomone levels are all over the place, so phisiologically justified as well! If he is ready, he is ready, you could work with him to make it until a year, but then when it was time to wean he may decide he's not ready, and it would be stressful on him, and you. I cried like a baby the last times I nursed my kids, and it was planned! But they were ready, and I was too. And hey, I get over it by getting pregnant and having more :) Anyway, it is an emotional time, but you're right, there will be SO many more special times and bonds that you can share in the future!

And on the food...Lucas was/is the pickiest eater ever. I swear he survived on eggo waffles, yogurt and nutri grain bars for several weeks! But my doc said just keep offering other things, even if he doesn't eat it, it's ok, and don't cater to him...eventually he may try it and like it! Not he eats almost everything I give him, or at least he tries it! Good luck though, it's extremely frustrating when they decide they're done with trying the foods...they are stubborn little things! Wow that was a long comment...

Dawn Lindley said...

It's probably being made harder because it's not happening by your choice, but rather his. Doesn't he know you're still the boss of him????

The Kreitzer's said...

I totally feel your pain. I nursed Caleb until he was 13 months and that was only because he was so darn hard to wean. When it did end I was sad that we didn't have that time. Then I went and got myself knocked up a month later so I got over it quick.

You have provided him with so much so far and that in it's self is so great!


Anonymous said...

Becky you are a great mom and you have done such a good job with all the pumping, etc... He is a lucky baby! 10 months of breastfeeding is soooo good! There are some articles about babies going on "nursing strikes" on if you wanted to read up a little on it and see if there are any suggestions that help, but no matter what you have done an amazing job!

Jake said...

Nice piece Becky. Very bittersweet.

I had a slew of funny comments about statements like the "boobs have yet to relinquish their rule," but opted to spare you the male humor on what was obviously a very touching "mother piece." :)

On a different note: if you're going to start writing longer blogs, you may want to consider switching your background and font colors; it gets tough on the eyes to read that much light on dark. I'm still seeing your text as a negative after-image as I'm writing this. :)