Giving The Girls a Break: A Weaning Story

High_chairs_are_for_losers.This isn’t a post I was planning on writing for a bit.  That may come off as sad but it’s really just a statement. To warn you of the feelings, or lack thereof, and word vomit that are coming your way. So here goes:

Ollie and I are coming to an end of a journey with breastfeeding.

Big statement, right?! I say “an end” because it isn’t THE end yet. We will still have some bonding left…but the majority of nutrition is going to be via formula…and that’s ok. At this point, some of your are probably wondering “what went wrong?” because I am miss so pro breastfeeding. This is a little of a shock to me but granted I have been living in this world for 8 months. Over the last 2 months, a lot has become apparent.

Boy loves groceries – He loves solid food. He will eat and eat until we just say “enough”. I can count on my hand the number of times he has turned away food (usually overtired). I try to keep it in mind that he needs milk more than anything but he doesn’t get the memo. Since I try and vary his diet with tons of different nutrients, I know I am doing better than most. He isn’t surviving on Cheerios and peas alone. But milk is what makes him grow the best at this point. It’s a battle I wax and wain on constantly. My body clearly can’t keep up when he is kinda “meh” about it. Which leads me to…

My supply blows – I have never been overflowing. I have worked for every drop. The more I have had to rely on the pump, the further my supply goes. We have been supplementing with formula since a little before 6 months. Slowly, my supply has given in to the solids and formula. I was lucky to make 7oz total for his main bottle of the day. In the last few weeks, it has plummeted. I think it was a series of things from stress, hormones, surgery and drugs to leave me with very little at pumps (<2 oz).

Night time feeds are my key – Looking back with Landon too, my supply started dropping off after 9 months…when he started sleeping through the night. You supply produces the most milk between the hours of 1-4am. This is also when usually the last night feeding falls. Landon kept that 1 night feeding from about 6-9 months. Oliver lasted a few weeks. During that transition where he was sleeping through maybe every other night (and my milk wasn’t letting down), I was getting up to pump and banking all that milk. It was glorious. Once he started consistently sleeping through (6ish months), I stopped pumping (me likey sleep). Therefore my highest production time wasn’t being put to use. Womp. {Sidebar: yes I realized I just said he is STTN outloud. He still has rough nights from teeth, stuffy nose, etc. but once we stopped feedings in the night, it was a lot more easy to troubleshoot and train. We rarely ever go in there and he rarely cries more than a few minutes before falling asleep again.}

This week I started realizing how little I felt in the mornings. He would eat for a few minutes and then be bored. Over the weekends his nights weren’t that great and I started to wonder if it was he wasn’t getting enough milk during the day. My pumps on Monday made it clear, the well is running dry.

So here we are. He isn’t getting enough milk and I can’t produce more without causing stresses to my life that I don’t need. I’m not getting up in the middle of the night, pumping every 2 hours, etc. I have to make a choice for our family. My choice is to keep doing what I can from a milk standpoint but not let it be the majority of his nutrition anymore. We will finish out the freezer milk, nurse for comfort and snackage when we are together. I still want that bond and he still likes nursing so he can do what he wants. I want to maintain SOMETHING so we have that as well as the ability to give him a snack when out somewhere in a pinch. My game plan is to nurse him a few minutes first this in the morning, pump in my office, nurse him a little at lunch and give a little milk for his open cups with meals, pump once in the afternoon, nurse when we get home or after dinner and then pump before bed. Some of those may drop off pretty quickly. I really despise that bedtime pump…so it might go. I am leaving for 4 days this coming week and will have to pump full time. I think that will just drive the supply even further down…so we shall see. Basically I want to give him all the milk I can without making myself crazy. Any breastmilk is good.

If I’m being totally honest, I am not super heartbroken. I realized we weren’t going to have the same experience as I did with Landon. Landon was a cuddly nurser and pretty much why we made it to 15 months. He would snuggle when he got up and nurse and doze. It was nice for all of us. Oliver has never been a cuddly nurser. He squirms, kicks, pulls hair, looks around, holds his feet, pinches my skin. He never just lays there and NEVER nurses to sleep. Plus i don’t have tall the time in the world to let him nurse. I have another kid to care for. It’s just different. Now my heart swells when I put Ollie on the floor and he reaches for his brother and squeals. When Landon sees him and lights up with “MY CUTE BABY!!! It’s me! You’re big brother!”. When Landon gets toys for Ollie so they can play side by side. My mom heart sees that as an explosion of love just as much as breastfeeding. Nursing is just more of a task on the list this time around…and while that sounds crappy, it is what it is. I have accepted it and moved on.

Now we are on to a new adventure of watching 2 boys grow up together…one grocery bill at a time.

 Woke_up_to_both_boys_ready_and_one_reading_to_the_other._Daddy_rocks.

21 Comments

  1. First of all- that picture? Dead. He’s so damn adorable.

    Second, while I know not of this journey of breastfeeding, I do know of the struggles of listening to your body & trying to play catch up with that sometimes. What a job you’ve done. And what a job you’re doing to take the confusing information you’re getting and turning it into a game plan. Such an engineer.
    High fives, bia.

    #8days

  2. you are such a great mom. i’m really glad that you’re able to stay zen about all this and be like, “you know? it’s just not worth the stress for all of us for me to try and get my supply back up.” good for you.

    plus, think of all the unfettered alcohol you can have w/o worrying about ollie getting any. bam. case made. 🙂

  3. I love your attitude on this whole thing! How badly I could have used a voice of reason like you with my first and now that I’m going through the BF’ing journey a second time I definitely find comfort in posts like this one.

    • Good. That is my hope. It is what it is. I find myself saying that over and over. I can’t practically “fix” the situation, so no need in making myself crazy! You are going to do great!

  4. I could almost have written this post myself. Things are just different the second time around and much as I would love to make it as long as with the first, I don’t think it is going to happen so I’m just enjoying what I do get and going as long as I can and even looking forward a little bit to the time when I don’t have to pump anymore!

  5. I think you have done a completely awesome job so far with the breastfeeding. You have gone above and beyond what many mothers would do to let him get as much breast milk as possible. Slowly weaning him now is a very logical choice to make and I think you will both be happy with it.

    On a side note, isn’t it so wonderful to see the interaction between the two kids. Mine are the same spacing apart and they get along like peas and carrots. They are each others favorite people.

  6. Sounds just like my kid. We’re also at a crossroads. He doesn’t like to nurse as much and I’m tired of fighting the low supply issues. 8 months is awesome! We need to give ourselves a pat on the back for making it this far.

  7. I hear ya. Pumping is awful. My daughter was a terrible nurser for many reasons. I ended up giving up & EPing from 6-10.5 months before my body, & my mind started to give. I’m just about weaned off the pump & it’s such a relief.

  8. Pingback: Ollie Beans Turns 1!

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