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Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I can't believe it's over.

The Breastfeeding logo.
I never thought I'd be writing this post.  Mostly because I never thought I'd be sad about not breastfeeding anymore.  I have heard of mom's who slip into a depression after their nursling weans (for whatever reason, at any age, whether it be 5 months or 5 years).  I never understood it.  I don't want you to think I'm being insensitive, I just haven't experience that before.  While I am not depressed, I do feel sad that E is no longer nursing.

I know the biggest reason I feel this way is because it was not our choice, mine or E's.  He was 17 months.  Five months longer than I nursed Riley, and much longer than I ever expected or planned.  I am very proud we made it so long.

I can't remember a single detail about the last time I nursed him (and now the tears are forming...).  If I had known it would be the last time, I would have cuddled with him while he found both comfort and nourishment.  I would have savored every moment of it.  I would have memorized his face, the sounds he made, the way he looked at me and grinned, while still latched on.  I would have asked my hubby to take a photo to capture that moment of peace.  I would have remembered exactly where we sat (most likely the couch, where I usually nursed him, but it could have been my bed, I really can't remember).  I would have captured every second of it in my mind, to cherish forever.

It became something I took for granted, that special time for me and Eli, that happened whenever, and wherever, he wanted it.  There were times I wished he were ready to stop, so I could have my body back all to myself.  But I knew he was not ready, so we continued.  When he turned 1 year, I thought we would see how he was doing at 15 months.  Then 15 months hit, and he still wasn't ready, so we carried on.

I couldn't resist taking this photo last winter!
I absolutely love the look on his face, and will always cherish moments like this one!

Then Ryan and I were in the accident, and I was pumped full of drugs.  I also had emergency surgery on my foot 8 hours after the accident.  More drugs in my system.  I remember laying in the ER, in the worst pain of my life, and telling the nurses that I would no longer be able to nurse my baby (and here are more tears).  They said they were sorry, and asked how old my baby was.  I told them 17 months, and they were impressed (not repulsed) that we made it that long! 

Once I was in my room, a couple of my nurses offered me a pump so I could keep up my supply.  But at that point, I knew it was over.  Pumping is not my friend.  I have not been able to pump since E was about 5-6 months old.  Only a few tiny drops would come out any time I tried.  I knew I had a long hospital stay ahead of me, more medications (most of which are not safe for BFing), and more surgeries.  I also didn't know how E would take to nursing again after my long stay away from him.

I realized our breastfeeding days were over.  It took about 8 days for my milk to dry up.  I used cabbage leaves to help ease the discomfort.  By the time I went to rehab, it was gone.

When the kids were brought up to visit me, E wanted nothing to do with me for the first 5-6 days.  The last day he saw me in the hospital, he finally warmed up enough to sit by me for a few minutes.  At rehab, he was much better and ran right up to me.  Once I returned home, he still didn't want much to do with me, and clung to my mom for the first few days. 
A few days after returning home from rehab, E woke up early, still very sleepy.  He cuddled with my mom on the couch, but after a few minutes, decided he would cuddle with me. 

He laid in my lap, and immediately got into the "position".  He always preferred my left side, so that's how he laid in my lap.  He sweetly looked up at me and pointed at my breast, and said "ehh, ehh" (his way of telling me he wanted milk).  I gently told him "No more milk, it's all gone."  He put his head down, as if to say "okay".  Then a few minutes later, he asked again.  3-4 times he did this, but stayed calm every time I told him "no more".  I was surprised at how calm he was.  Then the 4-5th time, he had a meltdown.  He screamed, and threw himself down.  He didn't want me to put him down, yet he didn't want me to hold him.  My heart was aching.  I wanted so badly to just pop out my boob and let him try, but I knew the milk was long gone.  He got over it a few minutes later, and was content cuddling.  But inside I felt horrible I could no longer give him what he wanted/needed.

What breastfeeding a
toddler is really like!

Only one other time has he asked for it.  He had fallen and hurt himself (mostly his ego), and came to me for comfort.  I was unable to give him the comfort he wanted, though.  Again, my heart ached.

A few days ago I was getting dressed.  When I took off my night shirt, he got all excited and pointed at my chest, as if to say "Look!  My old friends!"  Then he sat by me, still happy.  I continued to get dressed, half expecting him to ask for milk.  But he didn't. 

It's really over.  And I'm sad.  I now understand why people say they were saddened when their child weaned themselves.  When I weaned Riley at 12 months (yes, I weaned him), he was more than fine!  He honestly couldn't care less where his milk came from (bottle, cup, or boob; me or a cow).  He was fine, and so was I.  This time, it was not my decision, nor was it Eli's.  He has done much better than I expected.  I think partly because I was gone for 2 weeks, so he had time to adjust to not nursing before I came home.

I have been putting off sitting down to write this post.  I knew it would be hard.  I knew that once I put it in writing it would solidify that it's really over, that I will never nurse Eli again.  And it would also confirm that I really am sad about it.  Out of everything that has happened in the last 9 weeks, this is one thing that I wish I could take back and fix.  My physical injuries are healing and I know I will walk again.  But I cannot take back the end of our breastfeeding relationship.  I will never nurse him again.  I hate that I don't remember the last time I nursed him.  It's all gone, it's all over.  And there's nothing I can do to change it.


  1. I cried while reading this tonight. I know how it feels to be sad about breastfeeding being over. It was a (mostly) mutual decision when I stopped nursing at 1 year. I had struggled with low supply and was so proud we made it 12 whole months (even if it wasn't exclusive nursing). It's been 3 months since we stopped, and I still miss the closeness that only we shared. I'm so sorry that the decision was taken away from you. Hang in there!

  2. This is such a sad, sweet, honest post. I get sad that my 2 and a half year old is weaning, and I'm more than ready!

    I hope you are fully recovered from the accident!!

  3. I'm so sorry :*( I'm seriously tearing up right now. Wit everything that's happened to you and then to lose this, too. I'm sending some giant virtual hugs your way.

  4. Thanks everyone!! It was very difficult to write this, but I do feel better.

    Camilleta, I am still recovering from the accident. Will hopfeully start physical therapy to start walking again in a couple of weeks (have not been able to put any weight on my left foot since the accident). Thank you!

  5. Wow this made me tear up. Thanks for sharing. See, right now I am at the spot where I feel like I am going to throw a party when I am done nursing. I am totally committed to it and I believe in the benefits but honestly.. I only tolerate it and at times I hate it.I feel like I am going to be so happy when it's over (even though that's still a long time away) I also am a horrible pumper as well. But I do say that perhaps when it IS over I will be singing a different tune. I can also see that it's so much harder when it wasn't your/your baby's decision for it to be over.


  6. Brandi, I am all for breastfeeding, **as long as you and baby are happy with it!** If you resent it, and do not enjoy it, baby will pick up on that. You need a healthy breastfeeding relationship. I didn't not enjoy nursing my ODS, but when I weaned him at a year, I was fine with it and ready to stop. I don't like to tell people not to BF, but if you really don't enjoy, maybe you need to re-evaluate. I've always said you will only have a successful breastfeeding relationship if you have the will to do so. If you really hate it that much, you might have a happier relationship with your baby.

  7. Hi - I found your link on a leakyboob post you just wrote. I cried while reading this as well - I know how you feel, I am nursing baby #2 and do not look forward to the day it's over - I fear something like you went through could cause us an early termination of our breastfeeding relationship and i know I would not be able to handle it. Hugs to you mama, you did wonderful nursing as long as you did.