So we stopped breastfeeding and pumping two weeks ago, and I have learned a number of things…the first is that now that I am no longer pumping at work, I don’t have time to write blog posts. Here are a few other lessons:
1. Avoid cold turkey if you can. My husband and I like to torture ourselves, so I quit breastfeeding the same week as I tapered off Effexor and started two new meds. It was not super fun.
2. My 10-month-old didn’t even notice the difference. I got some weird looks one morning giving him his bottle, but other than that, he’s been happy as a clam. Yay for laid back babies!
3. Even if your sister says, “It will hurt for a day, then you’ll be fine,” you might be in excruciating pain most of the time for days 2 through 6, and after that it might only be excruciating if your breasts are touched or if you hug someone or snuggle the baby. Especially in the early days, lifting my arms, getting dressed, and carrying things was difficult and occasionally impossible. I was determined to avoid expressing milk, hoping that my breasts would get the memo faster. Since they didn’t, in hindsight I wish I would have hand expressed a little everyday to keep the pain down, at least for a few minutes each day.
4. You may cry a lot. It will mess with your hormones and make normal things extra difficult. You will need lots of hugs from your husband and kisses from the baby (who is hopefully not kicking you in the breasts).
5. I should have taken time off work for days 2 and 3. One of those days I did manage to leave early, but concentration was difficult and any physical work was almost out of the question.
6. The baby still loves me. I had so many thoughts about the nature of our relationship and worries that he would no longer love me, but he does. Since I was pregnant, he was almost a part of me. During breastfeeding, it was mostly “we”. The end of breastfeeding truly means that he is an independent individual, and no longer a part of me. It’s a hard adjustment, but we are all getting through.