Friday, July 10, 2009

On Weaning.

We've gone straight from breast milk to coffee with cookies. I kid, I kid.

This may be TMI, but seeing as how we’re all friends now, I’m writing to announce that I’ve weaned Penny. Sigh. That just sounded really final. We’ve been gradually heading this way, and it was a decision I made based on Penny’s interest level (which is very low) and some lopsidedness issues I’ve been experiencing. One breast has never been as productive as the other, and lately, it has been absolutely NON-productive, while the other side is flying solo, which has had some unfortunate side effects in the bra department. Do they even make bras with two different cup sizes?

What I’m currently feeling is a mixture of sadness and relief; it’s something that’s hard to give up, and yet so easy. It’s something I’ve been tempted to do for a long time, but resisted, until now.

I stopped pumping at work in May, went down to two feedings a day for most of June, then one feeding, and now none. I haven’t had any engorgement, and Penny hasn’t made any requests. Currently she is far too interested in her belly button (and other people’s belly buttons for that matter), to notice.

I think that 14 months is pretty good, in fact, I’m patting myself on the back. No one hands out gold medals for victories on the birth or breastfeeding fronts, but I have this crazy compulsion to get an A in every aspect of my life, so I compare myself to other moms and worry about whether or not I’m doing the very best thing for my baby. My mental dialogue: "You're still breastfeeding? Really? Oh. Well, can I quit?"

I’ve been playing through the little montage in my head about how hard and awful it was trying to nurse in the beginning, with my low production and incessant pumping, which then improved, until the problems with blisters, which led to swearing under my breath and counting to 10 whenever Penny latched on, and then that evolved to awkward but determined attempts to nurse whenever and wherever, regardless of our location (including such memorable locations as the horse races and the state fair), which finally became the enjoyable nursing experience I ultimately had. So when I think about how far we’ve come, it seems a shame to stop.

But I’m feeling secure with my decision. Penny is growing like crazy and loves to eat lots of different foods. I am mourning the loss of the event of nursing her, but I feel like that closeness can continue by reading extra books with her, rocking her a little more before bedtime, and getting lots of hugs in during the day.

So – to you moms who are still going strong, more power to you. To you moms who threw in the towel, I totally get it. I think we all deserve gold stars.


April said...

You are a wonderful mama!!!

sharnee said...

I think 14 months is totally awesome!!!!! Well done! (I hope I can do it for that long too!) xx

Momcat said...

14 months is totally awesome!!!
You definitely get a gold star, and if I could figure out how to attach one,(there must be a way) I would. You're the greatest!

If she decides to be insecure now, it's all her own doing- you had no part in that one at all.

A devout Catholic friend of J's mom, who used nursing to space children, used to say she nursed them until they came in and asked for a sandwich.

Sheree, J, + j said...

Gold stars all around!

Elizabeth said...

I agree. you get a gold star mostly for recognizing that there isn't a "right answer" here, just the one that's right for you and for Penny. Nice work in being able to listen to what the situation was telling you!