Ending Breastfeeding, Weaning Mommy

I read a lot about breastfeeding before having both my babies but I don’t remember seeing much about the weaning period beyond: “Stop when you’re ready to stop,” “Gradually decrease the number of nursing sessions,” or the less helpful, “Just breastfeed as long as possible.” Well, Bugaboo is over a year old and certainly showing no signs of stopping, but mama is ready. So what now?

We’ve been nursing before naps and at bedtime, often (unfortunately) in the middle of the night too. Skipping nursing sessions usually only works if my husband is home. If I’m holding him, Bug literally pulls the neck of my shirt to try to cram his head in, face first. In less desperate moments, he just sticks his (usually cold) hands down the neck of my shirt. I get the message loud and clear: nurse now or your shirts will never be acceptable to wear out in public again! (Yeah, he knows my kryptonite).

Sure, you say, I just need to buck up and let him cry a little. It won’t really last very long and he’ll get over it. But here’s the kicker – when I do give in and nurse my baby, my toddler actually, I always get the same reaction: his eyelids flutter, his eyes roll back a little, and he breathes out a tiny moan of total pleasure along with a deep sigh as though I’d been starving him for days and broke his fast with a 5 star dessert. He is so completely content and it’s the simplest thing I could possibly do – really I just sit there and enjoy a few minutes of uninterrupted reading time. I don’t usually feel the typical “mommy guilt,” but that does it. Why on earth would I take nursing away from him?

Because I want my boobs back, for one. Because I have a bunch of very cute non-nursing bras waiting for me. Because my son very slowly increases the pressure with his teeth so that by the end of many nursing sessions, I have four well-defined marks around my nipple. Because I’m scared he’ll still be nursing years from now (I have no problem with moms who nurse older kids, I just don’t want to do it myself). And because I want to sleep through the night for once!

It turns out none of those reasons are good enough to break the spell my son has on me, though. I still haven’t done much proactively to wean my son. I guess I’m really hoping my son will just decide on his own that he’s done with nursing and it’ll be a nice, peaceful transition. That happens sometimes, right?

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One of the 5 Best Pumping Stories at Moms Meet

I just found out my random submission was selected to be one of the 5 best pumping stories in a contest held by the Moms Meet. I won a grab bag of natural and organic goodies. Woo hoo and thanks! Do you have a funny pumping story to share? I’d love to hear it.

Here’s a link to all 5 winning entries but I copied mine below:

I actually pumped for one year (almost to the day because, man, was it annoying!!). My baby never wanted to latch on, I couldn’t get help, we were both frustrated after trying for 2 weeks, and I was working full
time anyway so I figured, why stress about it? My baby was going to get all the nutrients and benefits of breast milk with pumping exactly as if I was breastfeeding from the boob and this way, daddy could handle some of the nighttime feedings – bonus! But I was SOOO glad to be finished (and yet, I still decided to have a second baby, where’s the logic there? haha).

Here’s my brief pumping story – My husband and I went out for our first date night away from the baby and we decided to do dinner and a movie. At the time, baby was feeding every 2 hours so I was pumping every 2 hours in order to keep my supply. We were going to see a movie first but we missed it because we were too slow leaving the house. So we had a leisurely dinner and then walked around the mall waiting for the next movie showing. That plus the drive was about 3 hours. Then we went to the 2.5 hour movie.

Less than half way through, I was feeling uncomfortably full, but by the end of the movie I was ready to cry. I had no idea how much pain engorgement could cause, and of course, I hadn’t thought to bring anything with me because the original plan was to be gone maybe 3 hours tops. I thought I remembered reading something about being able to the relieve the pressure manually. So I sat, in the movie theater bathroom, playing and squeezing my nipples to try to get milk to come out to ease the pain. Some milk did come, but it
turned out it was not enough to do anything for the pain – I usually got quite a few ounces out of each machine pumping session.

But while I was figuring that this wasn’t going to work, I made a huge mess all over the bathroom stall because I didn’t think about needing something to CATCH the milk before starting this. So I’m sitting there
with wads of toilet paper just disintegrating in my hands, on the verge of tears, and god knows what the other people in the stalls around me were thinking. When I realized I was wasting my time, I cleaned myself
up, told my husband to floor it, and moaned in pain until we got home. Good times, haha.

Lesson? After this, I bought 2 manual Medela hand pumps and permanently stored one in each of the bags I used (work bag and diaper bag). Those pumps break down really small so they barely take up any room, are super lightweight, only cost about $30, and not as big a deal to use as you’d think – even though I was used to my nice big pumping machine at home. They were lifesavers (or rather boob-savers) on numerous occasions.

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