Saying Good-bye to Breastfeeding After 4.2 years

It’s day two of a training seminar at work. I can’t seem to focus on what the instructor is saying. All I can think about is my growing breasts. Small talk is nearly impossible. I feel sick. During introductions that morning I want to say “Hi. I’m Suzy. I am weaning my kid. He’s two and half. I’ve been doing this for over fours years straight, with no break in between and my boobs really, really hurt. I’m a little emotional. Can we pick this up a few days? ” But I don’t.  I smile and nod. I give the VP a hug and ask about his latest trip. Today is a perfectly normal day in the office.

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I never planned to breastfeed this long. Of course, if I added up the math – I want to go for 2 years, I had 2 kids in less than 2 years, let’s see 2+2 is 4 then yes I could have to that conclusion. But nobody really thinks about these things when they have a baby. No, you survive day to day. Some of us go back to work. We pump, hope for the best, and keep plodding. Plodding on in breastfeeding was sometimes easier than quitting.  I worked a lot from home, which means I didn’t have to pump. We made our schedules, with feeding frequencies that were  less and less as time went on, and it worked. We magically believed it would keep the numbers of colds down. It was my secret weapon when they wouldn’t sleep at night. “Okay, you can have some milk right now in the middle of the night but only because we are camping! okay?? OKAY? Not when we get back home!”  was said more than once.  For the most part it worked.

But stopping, ooh, stopping.  It’s harder for the mom than it may seem. There seems to be a lot out there about the child adjusting. They seem to be fine. A few more cuddles than normal. Only from daddy. Mad at mommy. Okay, I can deal with that. Yes, I’m a little heartbroken but I got these full breasts to deal with… It’s really uncomfortable. It’s emotional (thank you hormones, one more time). I feel like I am pregnant all over again. The world is dizzy and I can’t focus.  I think I’m at 14,000 feet. I’m sure this will go eventually go away…This too shall pass.

Once I started reading a bit about it I found out that fevers were not unheard of. Ladies put cabbage in their bras to help with swelling. There is some talk about “binding” your breasts. (No thank  you.) Ibuprofen . Sage tea. Ultimately,  I reach out for a dear old friend from work travel trips. The Pump. THANK YOU. Thank youuu. Phew. This helped a lot. Every couple of days, less and less each time. It drained the milk out of my brain and provided, at least for a short time, a respite in clarity.

I survive the seminar (we always somehow do – don’t we?) We went on ski trip to the mountains that weekend. Gavin (my second child who is now two and a half) is still emotional. But I stick with it. After all, it was his call in the end. I kept talking about how he is a big boy and no longer needs milk for a few days. On Sunday night he comes back with the comment “we give it to the babies that need it.” Ummm, yyyyyyes. Something like that. (We previously gave his pacifiers to the geese to be delivered to the babies that need them, so if this train of thought works for a two and a half year old, I’m taking it.) On Monday morning, for the first time ever, he does not ask for mommy and wants a banana instead. Tuesday same thing. Wednesday he has  a complete meltdown at the realization of how this is going to go f-o-r-e-v-e-r but we console and don’t give in.  Onto the next stage in life.

I’m on day 8 of this new stage in life. I’m still a little uncomfortable and am trying to hold out on pumping a little longer.I go for a walk. I know I have to reduce my number of calories. I know I gave my children what I could. I’m a little sad but hey, onto the next stage in life. Onto the next phase. Onto the next adventure.

How did it go for you?

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One thought on “Saying Good-bye to Breastfeeding After 4.2 years

  1. Gracemarie says:

    Great post, thanks! My baby just self-weened at 7 months, so I’m so proud of you for continuing to nurse while working AND traveling! Kudo’s to you!

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