August 11, 2018

Sometimes I Miss Breastfeeding

Allie shares her experience of weaning M and what breastfeeding entailed for them!

Hey mamas! Do any of you feel like weaning was a major turning point in your journey as a mom? I didn’t think much of it at first (I mean, it’s a normal part of life and it has to be done eventually, right?), but now that M is completely weaned, the finality of it all really started to get to me!

A little background on my nursing experience: Before I gave birth, I always had the “fed is best” mentality, because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself as a first-time mom to be successful at breastfeeding. But my hubs and I were completely broke toward the end of my third trimester, so when I saw the price tag on just one can of formula, breastfeeding became my #1 goal!

Fortunately, M was a champ at nursing, and my supply was more than adequate. Everything came very naturally for the both of us, and I continued to breastfeed M until she was 7.5 months old.

If you saw my Instagram story a couple months back and are wondering which route I took to wean M, I picked gradually over cold-turkey, and I’m so glad I did! I was afraid of feeling painfully engorged and getting mastitis again (first time was when M was 5 weeks old and OMG, I swear it’s worse than childbirth!), so I cut out one feeding a day for a week until I realized we had gone 4 days without nursing, so I took that as a sign we were done!

Once she was fully weaned, my body went through a few changes. The post-weaning hormones (or lack thereof?) sent a wave of teenage-style acne all over my face (post on my skincare routine coming soon!). Oh, and that 8lb gut pooch I was told was for fat storage to make milk? Yeah, that did NOT go away after I weaned, so looks like I’ll be hitting the gym soon.

Other than those few things, weaning did not bring on any major physical transformations. My body just stopped making milk, and that was that. Pretty easy and not at all scary like I imagined.

During this time, we started introducing formula (M liked the Target Up & Up brand, and the price was very reasonable), because the frozen milk stash I thought I had in excess was really only a few bags left!

That definitely sent a wave of panic through me, because the freezer was legit FULL of milk bags at one point, but ever since I went back to work and we put M in daycare, the pumping became more infrequent and the breastmilk bags dwindled away.

So by the time we started weaning, ALL of my milk fell in short supply. I started to feel sad, like I had gotten lazy and failed my daughter – but here’s where I think a lot of us moms are too hard on ourselves: we judge how good of a mother we are based on how well/long we can breastfeed our babies. While that is a huge accomplishment, and we should definitely feel pride in that ability, what about the moms who can’t nurse their babies or choose not to? Are they any worse than the moms who breastfeed?

Here’s where we need to remind ourselves that every baby, mother, and journey they share is completely unique, and us moms have our reasons for choosing how to feed our babies. We all want what’s best for our families, after all!

When it comes to my journey with M, I am so happy my body was able to nourish her for the time that it did – however, I will say that the “bonding” time between mother and baby that breastfeeding is supposed to facilitate was kind of lost on us.

M is NOT a cuddler. You know those babies who ALWAYS have to face outward when being held? That’s Molly. Even when she was itty bitty, she felt restless in my arms and always tried to wiggle away from me. Unless she was sick and needed the comfort, nursing was completely functional for her.

So when it came time to wean, I think we were both ready to move on, and it came very natural. I will admit, weaning at 7.5 months felt like a strange time in relation to my other mom friends. Most of them either switched to formula early on, or planned to nurse for a year or more, so I fell into an odd middle-ground that didn’t have much support.

At the time of weaning, I felt a little sad, like I was less important to M, but now I see I’m still needed (i.e., keeping her alive since she became mobile LOL!), and that gives me some peace. Now that a couple months have passed, I feel right with my decision, and that’s really the best we can hope for!

I’d love to hear your weaning tales, mamas! Comment to us by using the Contact page or message us on Instagram! Until next time, Xoxo -A

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