Notes from a New Breastfeeding Mom: Part 10

Making the decision to breastfeed is amazing. But, every journey is different, and none are perfect. Joy shares her experiences in her own words.

 

Making the decision to feed your baby breast milk, in whatever way and for whatever length of time you choose, is amazing. But, every breastfeeding journey is different, and none are perfect. In this ‘Notes From A New Breastfeeding Mom,’ first-time mother Joy shares her experiences in her own words. Her journey, like other moms’, has its flaws and challenges, but it is a real glimpse into the perfectly imperfect experience of breastfeeding. Read Joy’s post Um, Honey the Freezer Won’t Close. Now what?!?
 

Keep Your Seatbelt Fastened…This Ride Isn’t Over Yet.

In my 10 months of breastfeeding, I’ve had so many ups and down I might as well charge admission and call myself a rollercoaster.

  • Tongue-tied baby.
  • Mastitis, multiple times.
  • Oversupply.
  • Traveling woes.
  • Pumping with a spider.
  • Pumping while riding shotgun.
  • An over oversupply.
  • A teething baby.
  • A biting baby.
  • And so on and so on.

Like many women, I’ve definitely had my challenges.

(If you haven’t read about them and want a good laugh at my expense go here.)

Now, I’m facing a challenge I wasn’t really expecting. In fact, I’m actually finding this one to be one of my hardest obstacles yet. I’m having trouble quitting breastfeeding.

In general, this is pretty ironic because I’m usually good at quitting things. Diets. Exercising. Jobs. Book clubs. I can quit a good habit before I’ve even started one.

However, for some reason quitting nursing and pumping is a tough one for me—even though I have enough breast milk to get my son Grant to at least 15 months. I keep telling myself I have to quit slowly because I’m an over supplier. And while technically this is true, there’s a difference between slowly and sloth. Considering the fact I’ve only dropped three pumping sessions total and my last one was over a month and a half ago, I fear I’m in the sloth category.

Don’t get me wrong, every fiber of my body (especially the girls) will celebrate the moment I don’t have disrobe in the chest region in order to pump. But I’m struggling to get to that point.

I honestly thought I would have quit breastfeeding after about the four-month mark, six months tops. I had visions of me burning my nursing bras, but instead I’ve taken a sewing needle to patch them up more than once.

I’m telling you this one isn’t just a physical challenge—it’s a mental, emotional one for me. If I’m psychoanalyzing myself, I would say I have a handful of things going on.

First, I don’t want to admit my teeny tiny baby is almost one. Seriously how did that happen?!?

Secondly, I’d say I have a strong sense of pride that my body has nourished my teeny tiny baby into a 24-pound babbling, crawling, not-so-baby baby. And if everything is FINALLY going good and I’m not having so many twists and turns—then why rock the boat? Shouldn’t I just keep the liquid gold flowing and stockpile it?

The third thing is I have a few unrealistic fears going on… What if we get trapped somewhere without food and the only thing I have is my boobs? What if Grant realizes he doesn’t need me now that he’s got two freezers full of breast milk? What if something happens to my stockpile and all of the stores are sold out of formula? Like I said, unrealistic fears, but nevertheless, they’re my fears.

And I keep making excuses for myself, to justify to myself why I haven’t made more aggressive steps to stop breastfeeding and nursing.

Just the other week Grant had Hand Foot Mouth Disease. He was such a sick, fussy little blister-covered baby—and he was refusing to take his bottle. Without giving it a second thought, I whipped out lefty and fed my son.

Immediately, I started freaking out: “What if I would have stopped breastfeeding before this horrible sounding virus attacked my son?” Grant would have starved, dehydrated…my mind went everywhere.

Luckily, my husband was there to talk me off the cliff. But Grant’s illness did delay my plans of dropping another pumping session.

So here I am—pumping four times a day, still…like clockwork. I’m just afraid. Terrified to make the decision to drop another pumping session.

My doctor told me to get down to three sessions a day. Then when I was ready to quit completely, he said to stop pumping and nursing and throw some cabbage leaves in my bra for a couple days. Supposedly, cabbage will dry me up in no time.

However, I just can’t convince myself to do it yet.

I’m kinda hoping I just dry up slowly. Let nature make the decision for me. That would be nice… but at the end of all rollercoasters there’s that one last hump you have to go over before the ride is complete. For me, that hump is making the decision to quit breastfeeding. It’s me buying the cabbage.

It will happen—one day, one day soon. But for now, this ride will go on a bit longer.