Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Beginning of the End

I think my time as a nursing mom is coming to an end.  After three months of on and off strikes, supplementing with bottles, and worrying if my supply is down, if Otis is getting enough, etc, we are now down to one nursing a day, er night.  Just the night feeding is me, the other two are bottles. 

I have mixed feelings.  Brendan asked me if I was sad when I told him I hadn't nursed the whole day and I thought it was maybe going to be the end of breastfeeding.  I'm not sad really.  I don't really know what I feel.  I kind of feel like a failure for not making it a year.  I kind of feel like I should be trying harder, which means I'm giving up, and no one wants to be a quitter.

But then I feel like it just doesn't matter that much.  Otis is growing and healthy and has had nine months of mama milk.  I know it's kind of a cop out, but that's better than nothing right?  It's just getting so stressful, worrying if he's getting anything, watching him suck at what seems to be an empty breast.  Pumping and getting nothing, and then getting confused because should that tell me I'm right that I might not have much milk coming in, or should I not pay attention to pumping because it's not like the real thing?

Blah.  I don't know.  It's easier to breastfeed, for sure, but then it's kind of nice looking at that bottle, seeing it go from 8oz to 6 to 4 to empty, knowing he's got a full belly.  It's strange not actually feeling him eating, though.  I just see his mouth working but I don't feel it!  It's very strange. 

How long did your kids nurse?  Did you ever slow down like this and then pick back up, or when it went down to one nursing, did it stay that way? 


Fiona said...

I really feel for you Amber - it is such a confusing time. You want to do the right thing, but it isn't always clear what that is!

Sofie nursed regularly for 18 months, and then stopped almost overnight. It took me a couple of weeks to work out that I was pg again, and that was probably the reason.

After that she still took the occasional feed until just after Emily was born, but then it sort of stopped all together (and I was nursing a new born, so didn't think too much about it).

Emily stopped at 11 months, and I was initially a bit upset, for the same reasons you mentioned. I wanted to make a year, and I knew she would be my last baby. But by that point I had also been breastfeeding for nearly 3 years, so I wasn't that upset!

After slowing down to just 1 nighttime feed, I didn't push the issue. I always offered the breast first, and I guess it probably took just over a month for her to stop completely.

I know others will disagree, but I think if they are offered the breast, and chose not to take it, then that s ok. There is no right or wrong time to stop, - you just need to look at what is right for you and your child.

Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

Totally confusing. That sucks.
Lorenzo nursed until Francesca was born, until 20 months. Francesca nursed until Sofia was born, 23 months. Sofia is still nursing 5-6 times a day with no stop in sight. The bigger kids just kinda stopped when they saw the newborn ones eating. Like, "now Moms boobs are for the (smaller) baby".

Honestly, if he is over it, and you're over it, thats it. I'd offer for a bit, I think I remember you talking about him having one of these strikes before, maybe he is just teething or something??

arwen_tiw said...

Jenna was down to one feed a day at nine months, with no supplements at all, and kept on like that for just over a year - just once a day!

I can't express a drop past six months, yet I know there must be milk there because when I'm tandeming I have had a great big toddler there telling me every time my supply changes. The first time nursing past six months I didn't even question it, and after that, well, I knew Jenna had grown just fine.

Are you in touch with La Leche League? They helped us through Morgan's strikes yet they are so positive about gentle mother led weaning and I'm sure someone would be more than happy to just chat, and maybe help you work through some of the conflicted feelings. xxx

MaryAnne said...

Emma hardly nursed until she was 11 months. I held off weaning because I wanted to make it to a year, and then right before her first birthday she became a nursing machine! I finally weaned her at 15 months, and it was a tough weaning! I remember thinking I should have just weaned her at 11 months, without the drama we dealt with at 15 months. Good luck deciding either way!