Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Unexpected Emotions On Ending Our Breastfeeding Journey.

When I started breast feeding Carson, 13 months ago, my goal was always to make it through his first year. If possible, I wanted to avoid formula & exclusively breastfeed to provide his nourisment & antibodies. I was blessed & did not have issues with milk supply like so many momma's do. My heart aches for all of you who are unable to make it to your goal - whatever that goal may be.

I never really thought about the end of this amazing relationship until we started to approach his Carson's birthday. As we approached his birthday in April, I began speaking with Adam about extending our breastfeeding journey to 18 months & potentially, even, 2 years. The benefits of the added antibodies is what made me most interested in extending breastfeeding. I want a healthy kid, as do all parents, but knowing that this boosts those immunities really made me want to continue. Plus, honestly, I didn't feel that either of us were ready to give it up.

However, things change. The week of his first birthday my supply dropped & I began to notice that he wasn't really nursing for long during our nursing sessions & was spending more time pacifying than taking in milk. On Easter, the day after his first birthday, many cousins, aunts & uncles, even my mom, started asking me when I would stop breastfeeding. Everyone had their opinion. They all indicated that he was now a year old & we should stop. I'm ashamed to say that this did encourage my decision to start the process of weaning. There are other circumstances that come into play as well but not anything that I am ready to share on the blog. We started weaning & within a week he was only nursing at night. His night feeds continued to get shorter each feed & fewer per night. As of this last week we were down to one nursing session per night. Meaning in a 24 hour period he would only nurse once.

Emotionally, I was fine with this. We still had some time to snuggle, I cuddle with him while he drinks his 3 cups of milk a day, and we're nursing once in the night as well. I felt we were both getting what we needed. Until, last night, when he didn't wake up to nurse. He slept all night. I started to think about how much time had passed since his last nursing session - currently 43 hours & 11 minutes. Suddenly, I'm overwhelmed with sadness. I didn't expect the end of this journey to be so soon after we started. Nor did I expect it to be so emotional.

I'm proud of the fact that we made it through his first year. I'm so proud of Carson for working so hard & for transitioning so well from breast milk to whole milk. I never saw that transition being so smooth or so easy. In three short weeks we went from exclusively breastfeeding to weaning 100% to solids & whole milk.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to bond with my baby through breastfeeding & that I was able to stay home with him through his first year as well. I know that made a huge difference in our breastfeeding journey.

Now, I'll go take a bath, cry over the fact that we're officially "done" breast feeding & take a moment to reflect on the gratitude that I feel over the last 396 days with our beautiful baby boy.