When Breastfeeding Ends // a story of grief and pride

August 4, 2017 in #MomLife,babies,breastfeeding,children,family,life,mommyhood,Oh baby!,parenthood,postpartum,wellness

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating for only breastfeeding babies. Ultimately, it’s a very personal decision. I believe fed is best. Period. I’m just sharing my personal adventure with breastfeeding.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. And, if I’m being honest, my heart is hurting a little. See, I’m doing extended breastfeeding with Miss Bea. And, while I realize that’s not up everyone’s alley, it is mine. But I fear our time is coming to an end.

I didn’t expect to find myself here, deep in this previously unknown grief. Remy Bea was such an awful baby — screaming and furious most of her days (and nights), riddled with UTIs gone undetected for months. At the time it was all I could do to wish she would take a bottle. I had been pumping so that someone — anyone other than me — could spend a few moments with her, day or night.

 

But she just refused. She needed me. Literally, she needed me for comfort and for nourishment. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a postpartum mom. And I was collapsing from the weight of all of that pressure. In my darkest moments of her screaming and my body aching from constant feedings, I would lose it. My mind, that is. And I mean that in the realest sense. (See more on my PPD+A struggles here).

 

Just as I knew it would, our breastfeeding journey got easier. It got exponentially easier once she started really eating solid foods. I felt a relief that I was no longer her sole source of nourishment. I knew that we had made it through the toughest parts.

And now we’re here — 18 months into our breastfeeding journey together — and I can tell she’s far less interested in nursing. In fact, the only time she nurses is first thing in the morning (for approximately 90 seconds), and in the evening before bed (which is likely more of a comfort-feed than a nourishment-feed). And while she’s generally less interested, I’m becoming more and more aware that our days are numbered.

 

But I’m lucky — SO LUCKY! — to have been able to achieve the milestone of 18 months. And I’m so proud of myself — and Miss Bea — for sticking it out for this long. So during this World Breastfeeding Week (August 1st – August 7th) and National Breastfeeding Month (August), I’m going to soak up every last breastfeeding snuggle; I’m going to embrace any opportunities to bond; and I’m going to let her call the shots from hereon out. We’re on this journey together; we’ve both fought the good fight; and she’s going to finish on her terms. ♥ ♥

Tell me, friends — what was your experience with weaning? And how did you cope with the post-breastfeeding blues?

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay Fischer August 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for this. I don’t think we talk about the struggles of breastfeeding enough, particularly the pain weaning can be for mommas, and so I appreciate your honesty. I haven’t even started my breastfeeding journey yet, but I want to soak in all aspects of the journey while my babes (expecting twins in November) are still growing in my belly. Some might think something like this would not be useful to me, but I truly appreciate knowing what that step might be life (also – it might come sooner than 18 months so I need to be aware).

Heart hugs to you, momma. Thank you for your bravery in sharing.

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Virjinia Harp August 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I don’t have any children so I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re journey has been like. Even if I did have kids, I don’t think it’s fair to compare any mom’s journeys. I’m glad that you were able to get to a good place with breastfeeding your little one. It does sound like it’s almost at an end but I would soak up each moment you can!

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Madi August 4, 2017 at 11:23 pm

I don’t know you but I feel like congratulating you on getting through those hard times with your little baby! That is not easy at all. When I stopped breastfeeding with my first it was hard, but it was also very freeing. For the first time in months I had my body back.

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Anna August 5, 2017 at 7:51 am

Way to go Momma! Way to stick it out through those tough times and make it 18 months. Your story encourages me so try and stick it out a little longer if we are lucky to have another baby. Maybe there will be light at the end of the tunnel next time. I know the sadness of breastfeeding coming to an end. I remember the last feeding I had with my daughter like it was yesterday.

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Annie Thompson August 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm

I weaned both my babies at 14 months. While I battled mastitis and plugged ducts with both of them (seriously, I’ve had mastitis 6 times) it was worth it in the end. I loved being able to literally nourish my babies until they no longer needed me. Congrats on your journey!

xo

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Patricia August 5, 2017 at 11:04 pm

I went 22 months with my second. I never imagined we’d last that long, and the end was very bittersweet. You’ve done amazing!!

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Amber Battishil August 6, 2017 at 6:10 pm

I too struggled when we weaned. I remember the last time I nursed her when she was just shy of 18 months (I was traveling away for a few days) and feeling so many bittersweet emotions of sadness and relief because I knew I finally could reclaim my body as solely my own again. I absolutely love your honesty in this post…it’s refreshing to see someone speak candidly about all these feelings and struggles.

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Hanna August 7, 2017 at 7:06 am

Breastfeeding is such a journey! And such a.essk g! I’ve been breastfeeding one child or another for the last 4 years!! There have been days when it hurt, days when I cried and some days there was even blood! But totally worth it!

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Ayana August 7, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Sounds like it hasn’t been an easy journey but I know you’re both better for it! We are pushing 23 months now and I understand completely!

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Denisse August 7, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I don’t have kids, but I know my mom was an advocate for breastfeeding my sister and I until we were ready.

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Courtney August 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm

This was a very eye opening post. I am not a mom yet, but seeing these stories help me to relate to my friends who are going through it.

Thank you for posting such a raw and real story!

Xo – Courtney B.

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Tia August 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm

I love how honest you were throughout this post. so many mothers feel the need to glamourize motherhood as if they love every aspect of it and have no challenges.

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Via August 8, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Breastfeeding is so sacred that when it ends it is indeed a sad time.
~ http://viabella-thebeautifullife.blogspot.com/

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Marissa Baum August 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm

Very interesting and informative!

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Holly September 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Original goal was 12 months. At that point she was still nursing 6-8 times per day. Gradually reduced feeds until 18 months and stopped on 18 month birthday. At that point it had become a little forced (by me). Like she never asked for it or pulled at my shirt or anything and seemed more frustrated or tired or wanting other things. Anyway, mom made the decision to stop and I bawled my eyes out for 3 days. I had no “goals” beyond 18 months I was just sad it was over.

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