Monday, March 22, 2010

The End of an Era...

So, a little late on this one but we're done with breastfeeding, as of the beginning of February. I'm sad to be done and honestly, I would have continued it my supply wasn't such an issue at the end. No amount of oatmeal or Mother's Milk Tea would make Lucy any less frustrated when the let-down wasn't as fast as she wanted. It was just unpleasant for us both at the end. All in all though, I loved that time with her. I loved the bonding. I loved our quiet times together, before the screaming and frustration hit. 

We went down to one feeding before bed, and then one night we just didn't do it and she was fine. Went to sleep like a dream. Me not so much, I laid awake thinking of the fact that she is growing up before my eyes. We nursed on and off for a couple weeks and them one last time, about a week into it, and then we were done. Forever. So permanent, right? It makes me tear up just thinking about it. That one last time, in the quiet, dark of her room. She was half asleep and didn't fuss or cry, I knew it was the last time and a part of me was relieved that I wouldn't have to fight to keep up the supply anymore, but most of me was so sad to see this time in Lucy's life move on.

I have a feeling I'm going to be that mother that cries at every stage. I see all the wonderful, exciting and new things that she does and I love them all, but a little bit of me cries every time because I know we're that much closer to heading off to preschool, wanting to hang out with friends instead of momma, asking to be dropped off at the mall, driving away from her at college. I just want to hang on to every moment. So I hung on. That last moment when we we were part of one another. She's always a part of me, but breastfeeding was connection that I am so grateful for. 

I'm glad I powered through the discomfort and blocked ducts, the low supply and the awkward pumping at work. I'm glad I insisted on pumping in the parking garages and the on-street parking of work seminars, covered not-so-inconspicuously by my nursing cover. What? I'm just sitting here...in my car...no biggie! Stop staring! I'm thankful for the good-natured jokes I endured I got from the girls at work when I kept my milk in glass jars in our office fridge because I didn't want to waste all those tiny plastic bags (canning jars with plastic tops work wonders!). I'm grateful for every second of it.

Its the end of an era in my life, but still just the beginning of hers. Where does the time go?

"The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child. "
-Joe Houldsworth


20 comments:

runningtwig said...

I just went through the same thing last week...I cried too...and reading your post made me tear up again!

goodheartedmommy said...

The last nursing session is definitely one of those awful moments of motherhood. I never wanted it to end, because it was like they were officially growing up. I still get tears at times, and Maile has been weaned for 6 months.

Danielle said...

Awww, I cried when I read this! I remember the few weeks I got to do this with JC and how special that time. The fact that you can literally nourish your child from your very own body is just amazing to me! You did it for so long, and so it must be hard to quit! I hear ya on feeling like you're going to be the mom that cries at every stage, I feel as though I will be the same!

Great job! So jealous of you being able to go for as long as you did. But I'm glad you got to enjoy the bonding experience, and your last time.

Open Roads Mama said...

This post totally hits home, we're still breastfeeding but the end is near and I really try to not think about it too much, because it makes me tear up :( It is a beautiful gift to be able to share this experience with your baby, I totally agree! But they grow so fast!

Tena said...

When my son weaned it was gradual. He was 19 months old, and just stopped asking to nurse. I don't even remember the last time he nursed, as opposed to the other times toward the end. I still miss it, though. and he's 26 months old now. Congratulations on nursing your beautiful daughter for over a year! The bittersweetness of having weaned never really goes away, but it fades and you just cherish the memories.

Kate said...

You might be the mother that cries at every stage, but that's okay.

I do.

Someone commented on my blog last week that motherhood was like celebrating a birth and loss all at one time. It really is true, each day is something new and exciting - but I can't help but think back to that tiny, wrinkly newborn and feel deep loss.

Good for you for sticking with it.

Skerry said...

I've been following your blog since before Lucy was born. Never commented before tonight. Tonight because March 22 was my son's 17th birthday. He is 6'2" and 170lbs and to this day he amazes me. He's a junior in high school with his senior year not far off. As I thought about his birth all I could think of was "where did the time go?"
I can remember clearly the last time I nursed him, he was 16months old. He was ready to be done, but the milestone was bitter sweet to me. It felt like he didn't need me as much, that now that he was weaned anyone could care for him.
On March 22 of this year, yesterday, I caught myself tearing up, thinking about him going to college and all I could hear in my head was "I'm not done, there is still so much for me to do" I am blessed, he hugs and kisses me in front of his friends, he still tries to sit in my lap (until it goes numb because he is so big), he still asks me to scratch his back for a few minutes before he goes to bed, and yes he still has to kiss me goodnight and the last thing I do before I go to bed is check to make sure he is covered and kiss his head and ask God to keep him safe for me.

I've rambled, and yes, I am one of those Mom's that cries at every milestone. Don't get me started about the milestones that my 12yr old daughter wreaks on my heart. :) Enjoy your Lucy time, I pray that 16yrs from now that she will proudly walk through the mall with you...haha.

Kerry

LJB said...

That was beautifully written and I can totally relate to your sadness. I was more devastated when it was over with my firstborn, with the second one it didn't hit me as hard... And, although they seem to grow up fast, my 5-year old son CONSTANTLY wants to sit on my lap, and to cuddle and tells me he loves me out of the blue all the time - when he was 1 I was sure by 5 this would be over... So maybe they don't grow up that fast afterall :)

http://crankymonkeys.com/blog/

Rachel said...

Congrats for making it so far! Thankfully I didn't know my last time with my daughter was my last. I think it was easier for me that way.

Michelle said...

I feel your pain! I was really sad when I stopped nursing my son when he was 13 months!! I wasn't so much when I stopped with my daughter at 13 months! You'll be glad to have your body back!!! :-) Lucy is beautiful - by the way!

Lauren said...

I went through this same thing, although I had to stop much sooner. My supply just wasn't enough to keep up with my always hungry son so we had to stop around 3 months. I've never been so upset! I was really looking forward to exclusively nursing him until a year, since with my daughter I had to stop at 6 weeks because I was going back to work.

e.k. said...

Thanks for this post! I tear up every time I even think about weaning my baby. He's 9 months now so we've got some time yet, I hope, but I so enjoy the connection. I agree that it feels like he's still part of me while I continue to nourish him. I'm so thrilled to see the boy he'll become, then the man, but like you, a part of me will be indescribably sad to see breastfeeding end. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Casey said...

Could have written this myself...well maybe with a little less crying. I was kind of relieved to be done, but it was sad nonetheless. I always had "just enough" for my girl, couldn't even pump. Glad we got to 11 months. It was a rough and confusing road, very similar to yours, but she and I did it together--our first outer utero adventure together! When it was all done it hit me how important and meaningful it all was, and then I felt so sad for women and children who don't experience it (whether by choice or unfortunate circumstance).

Good Egg Hunting said...

I am bawling! My little guy is just seven weeks old and already I can see how it's going to be SO sad to stop nursing. How each stage will be so hard to leave behind.

annie said...

Bev,
My daughter and I are just started to venture down that road right now. I feel the exact same way. Some nights I just tear up thinking about not have our special time together. This week I stopped pumping at work and by the time I go home, I can't wait until it's time to put her down for bed to nurse. I know in just a matter of weeks that time will also be gone, and my heart aches. I love watching the little girl she is becoming but it's hard not to hang on to the baby she was.

You're doing a great job!

Megan Elise said...

I just wanted to say props to you for going through all the struggles and challenges you must have faced to continue to bf even while working full time. It is such a sacrifice, but as you know, one that was totally worth it. Please write how it gets easier though because we are almost there. You're an awesome mom!

Megan Elise said...

I just wanted to say props to you for going through all the struggles and challenges you must have faced to continue to bf even while working full time. It is such a sacrifice, but as you know, one that was totally worth it. Please write how it gets easier though because we are almost there. You're an awesome mom!

JenJen said...

You will find moments that are similar and possibly more "bond-creating" than breast feeding soon. I suffered the same sense of loss...but was overjoyed to find I could have close moments with my lil' one with or without my breast milk. Because I was looking for them, I found more moments to really snuggle up with her and create Mommy-only moments. You'll do the same :)

Brandy said...

Sorry to hear about your loss(breastfeeding loss) I dread the day I stop.

FSD said...

You sound like me about crying as each stage ends. I've had a really hard time accepting how quickly my Zoe is growing up. We're still nursing (she'll be 14 months in a couple of weeks), but I dread the day it comes to an end. I'm already noticing that my breasts don't feel as full at work. Many days I don't pump at all, which I know is a mistake because I'm sending my body the wrong signal.

Kudos to you for giving Lucy something so special and powerful. What a blessing to have bonded with your daughter in such a special way. Although the "era" is over, I'm convinced that the bond is a lasting one.

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