Two weeks

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.

53 hours

It’s been 53 hours since I last nursed the baby. He’s doing great, although looked at me like I was crazy the whole time I fed him his bottle this morning.

I’m hanging in there. I’m questioning this decision, I’m in pain, and I no longer have pumping breaks during which to record my thoughts here.

Pain-wise, the worst so far were hours 24-48…I left work an hour early yesterday to lay on the couch with bags of frozen peas on my breasts. I spent the rest of the evening icing my boobs. It helped with the pain and gave me something else to think about. Normal activities are difficult (my husband had to help me take my shirt off yesterday) but not impossible. Holding/dressing/playing with a wiggly 10-month-old has been treacherous, but I have not sustained any major injuries.

My breasts don’t feel much softer, but they are slightly less painful this morning, so I’m hoping we are on the downhill side.

Cold turkey and cabbage leaves

cabbage-load-1197083-639x426So it’s been 28 hours since our last nursing session, and the munchkin is doing just fine.  He took a bottle from me this morning and didn’t seem to mind that it wasn’t the usual milk.

My breasts are doing…okay…last night I pumped for about two minutes then applied cabbage leaves directly from the fridge.  I don’t know if it’s the cold or something about the cabbage, but that has been surprisingly soothing.  Also good for lots of jokes between my husband and I…pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are pretty weird, and it seems there are always other new weird things popping up, like having a bra full of cabbage.

This morning, I haven’t pumped for 12 hours, and I’m going to hold off as long as I can stand it. Small doses of ibuprofen are also helping.

Emotionally, I’m hanging in there.  My husband is constantly checking in, giving me gentle hugs (ow!), and reminding me that everything will be fine.

So cold turkey was never my first weaning choice, but I’m at peace with it.  I’m sad and sore, and a little worried about the future, but I know I have great support, this will allow me to change medications that will make me more healthy, and the munchkin is going to keep growing and being cute.  All will be well!

Photo Credit Felipe Muniz

Happy thoughts

I have been absent lately, but I’m still here and all is well. 

But due to some health concerns and a new medication for me, we have decided to discontinue breastfeeding this week! 

He takes a bottle, has been preferring formula to breastmilk, and is a big fan of solid foods, so I’m not worried about the baby at all.

I’m mostly worried about myself. My sister talked me through a plan for getting through with minimal pain, and my husband keeps reminding me that the baby will still love me.

I have a strange assortment of weird fears about it. The first is a general feeling that if I’m not breastfeeding him, the baby will no longer exist. The whole time he’s existed, he has depended on me for nourishment. We do lots of other things together, but I’m sort of afraid he won’t recognize me or know how to relate to me without milk.

I know these are silly fears, and I’m not actually worried, but these are the thoughts running through my head. I nursed him this morning when he woke early, and I think that will be the last time. My husband is prepared to hug me a lot and remind me of how much they both love me. We’re going to get through this, but it’s the end of something that I’m proud of, and I’m grieving the loss.

The milk is back!

Last week, about midway through my cycle, my milk supply dropped suddenly. The nine-month-old voraciously ate his vegetables. I sent formula to daycare because I couldn’t pump enough milk to get him through the day. I made lactation cookies (yum). I started looking into weaning, thinking my body was just done making milk.

Then, ovulation happened. My temperature rose yesterday, and this morning, I woke up with full, painful breasts. I woke my husband with a gleeful, “The milk is back!” He smiled sleepily, and I went to feed the baby.

I don’t know what this will mean for breastfeeding. If my supply drops this dramatically each month during ovulation and menstruation, it may be tough to get through the next few months. Luckily, formula was invented, he loves vegetables, and we’re getting close to where we can start giving him some cow’s milk. The baby will not starve.

My new favorite game

Our nine-month-old loves to play, and he has started to laugh and like to play chase and peek-a-boo, and it’s just too adorable for words.

But the other night, we discovered a “game” that I’m not sure he likea, but it did keep him occupied for almost five minutes.

We were playing on the floor, and he reached for my glasses, so I took them off, and held them in my hand far away from him. So he crawled over my stomach and face-planted in the carpet to get to them. So I switched them to my other hand. He crawled back over, and just before he got to the glasses, I switched them back. This time he decided it would be easier to crawl around me than over me (problem solving!). I switched the glasses back and forth probably ten times before he got bored and crawled away to find something more interesting to play with.

I hope this doesn’t sound cruel. He was not harmed, and very often he does get to attain that which he is working towards, but I can’t have him ruining my glasses! Usually I would put them somewhere out of reach instantly, but it was so much fun to watch him decide what to do next, figure out the shortest path to the “toy” he was after, etc. Watching a baby learn is one of the most fun things ever. Especially when it involves laughing, playing, and crawling all over mom and dad. We love it!