Every journey begins with a tiny, cautious step and certain ideas or expectations; breastfeeding is no different. The concept of nursing itself was painfully abstract when my husband and I first discussed and decided to try it, just like the mystery creature slowly growing inside of me, occasionally knocking around to make its’ presence known. We knew it was a baby, but we had no idea how he would so dramatically change everything in our lives, forever. Even after meeting with the lactation consultants, taking the classes and buying the breast pump itself (my brave, sometimes uncomfortable husband with me every step of the way) we still didn’t really know what to expect.
BB was a natural eater (thank goodness) and despite many bumps and unexpected setbacks our journey with nursing has been overall very positive. I truly enjoy the quiet time with him early in the morning, gently pressed against me (unless he’s flailing and trying to rip out my nose ring, which has happened twice) and the closeness we shared when I came home from work. But fifty five weeks later, my body (and big, healthy toddler) seem to be telling me that nursing may have ran its course.
Six months ago I felt anxious about my body’s dwindling milk production, discouraged and sad when the shakes and growls of my frustrated baby resulted in me giving him a bottle of formula after trying to nurse him. I monitored my water and protein I and increased whenever possible. I pumped myself full of I don’t even know how many different types of herbs and supplements and products that may (or may not) have extended our time together, growing even more frustrated when they did not work (and only one product offered a money back guarantee, that I quickly spent on something else that didn’t help).
Now, after not nursing for eight, ten or even twelve hours my breasts are soft. We only nurse in the morning (we ended our after work sessions so I could try to pump enough to meet my often unobtainable goal of six ounces a day) and my little love has stopped short the last several days, impatiently twisting his chubby limbs around me, pushing away and letting himself drop to the floor off of my lap, the pat pat pat of his bare feet echoing off his bedroom’s hardwood floor as he cautiously wanders off to play with toys or find his Da.
I know it’s probably time, but I can’t bear the thought of stopping, even though it is staring me in the face. This is just the first of a million times he wont need me anymore, and my heart is breaking just thinking about it.