Monday, June 4

my nursing journey: the third time around.

it seems as though things are going pretty well with nursing. the dreaded cracked nipple has healed. the pain that once made my toes curl has gone away. and i am no longer an engorged postpartum crazy woman. although some may argue with that last part.

the early days of orange-y skin and crossed eyes seem so long ago now.

but, here i am…. wanting to stop nursing. for what seems like, in my mind, all the wrong reasons. i think i've made it pretty clear that i don't like it in general, no? i don't like being tied down. i don't like being gone longer than an hour and a half and feeling like i need to rush home. i don't like not being able to intervene when my other crazy children are beating each other with tennis rackets. i don't like nursing bras and nursing pads and lansinoh and leaking milk. i don't like wearing two sports bras when working out and the fact that none of my clothes fit yet cause my chest is so big. i'm trying to lose to weight but am ravenous still, due to nursing so much. and every time i cut calories, it cuts my milk supply which equals a hungry baby girl. and, it also isn't my most favorite thing in the world that i'm quite positive my neighbors have seen me chasing after the boys, with story attached to my boobs, at least hundred times.

i also really thrills me that after i nurse her a full feeding first thing in the morning, she won't nap, but is instead, hungry again two hours later. which is when i feed her a bottle of formula. and it satisfies. both of us. and then the rest of the day is a crapshoot for naps and feedings and any kind of schedule seems to be lost. 

i tell women all the time to stop nursing if they feel in their hearts they need to. if they feel that they will be a better mom for doing so. if they feel like it's too much. if they like they need to do it, for whatever reason it may be, to just do it. just stop. baby will be a-okay and you will be even better, most likely. 

so why is it so hard to tell myself the same thing?


it's the selfishness i feel, i think. if you go back and read that paragraph up there you will notice a lot of i. i want and i need and i do are things that don't happen too much when you're a stay at home mom of three kids 4 and under, with a husband working long hours every day to support your family. most days i'm lucky if my desire to take a shower is fulfilled. so when i want to rob my child of their primary food source (dramatic, i know) it stings a bit. and that's why i feel guilty pursuing the road to weaning. 

maybe it's because things were so awful with brody… latching issues, pain, postpartum blues… for so long and i still stuck with it for seven months that i feel like it would be a cop out to stop when things are going pretty well at three and a half months? it's that me versus myself mom guilt again folks. there it is. 


and as i type this i am laughing to myself… cause i have no conclusion to this little predicament i am in. i am just living it. every morning i say to caleb, i am totally going to stop nursing today! and strike a wonder woman-esque pose. and then he walks in the door from work at night, and there i am, on the couch with lemon water in hand and baby attached to my breast. hi, honey! welcome home.

36 comments:

  1. nursing my last baby was definitely the hardest... and he hung on the longest! i felt all those same feelings daily, for all 16 months. and then i was finally free. hang in there! if she likes that bottle, whoo-hoo!

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  2. I lasted 4 months with both my kiddos. Then it had to stop. Poor job nursing, poor milk supply & a crazy mama do not make for a happy home.
    I hope you feel freedom & grace to decide whatever is best for your fam! I'm behind you ;)

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    1. thank you so much friend! you are always an encouragement to me!

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  3. The Lord gave us mothers intuition for a reason right? You will make the best decision for you and your family. praying peace for whatever decision you make!

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    1. amen to mother's intuition! i just need to follow it.

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  4. i LOVE this post! My youngest is now four but I can still summon up those feelings of hating nursing and feeling guilty about stopping. I had thrush w/ all three of my kids so it HURT like heck! I hung in there but then on number three, I had low milk supply and had to go to a bottle at three months old. I have to say I felt the same - the freedom I felt was pretty incredible. But the guilt was pretty incredible too. Its such a crazy thing we go through as moms. So, no matter what you choose - "knowing you" as I do (hee hee) be/c of reading your blog, you'll make the right decision for yourself and that lovely little Story Kate.

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    1. thank you so much for this, stephanie :) thankful to not be alone on this journey!

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  5. I beat myself up for two weeks because I knew I needed to stop nursing, for my sanity and for Gianna's health. I couldn't supply enough milk, she was starving all the time, I hate being tied down nursing all the time. She was hungry every hour and a half, I wouldn't nurse in front of people so I was constantly hiding out alone nursing. It was pure misery. But I felt so guilty about stopping - like I was admitting failure and that everyone would see me as a failure and a bad mother if I stopped. I remember crying on the phone telling my mom all these things. And she told me "stop beating yourself up and do what you know you need to." And I knew I needed to stop. So I did. And suddenly I was happy, I could enjoy my baby (I felt like I was starting to resent her because I hated nursing so much.) and she was happier! Don't beat yourself up, you will drive yourself nuts and then you won't be able to be a good momma to Story or the boys....do what you know you need to!

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    1. thank you friend! you are a champ in tweeting me and encouraging me when it comes to this!!

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  6. mommy guilt is the worst, but it's not founded you know. you are a great mother. and your little darling is going to love you no matter what you decide. sending up prayers for you!

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  7. every bit of nursing you've done for those sweet babies is better for both you and them in the long run! you shouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to nurse anymore.

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  8. you are an amazing mother regardless of whether you continue to nurse or not! follow your "mom gut"...I'm about to ;) as I type this, B is inhaling 5oz of formula. I should also mention, he nursed 2 hrs ago!! something's gotta give!!

    I feel like I could've written this post myself :) you're not alone, my friend. you're not alone.

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    1. so thankful to be going through this at the same time, friend! love you!

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    2. me, too, girl! me, too! love you! you're a blessing in my life :)

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  9. My boy is 3 now and I stiiilll feel the mommy guilt when I decided to stop nursing him. We had issues from the very beginning because I had to supplement him since I wasn't making enough milk. Then he just started nodding off every time I tried to breast feed. I did it for 7 weeks and then decided to stop. I didn't know how I would go on like that and work full-time. It's still, after a couple of years even, the thing I wish I could go back and change. And for what? He's completely healthy!

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    1. isn't crazy how our mama minds work? you did what was best for you and him! you're a great mama!

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  10. haha. I can totally relate to the misery of nursing! I stopped at around 4 months because I felt so miserable. It really didn't work out very well for me and baby... but at least she got those first few months of breastmilk amazingness. You'll stop when the time is right, and there won't be a need to beat yourself up over it. The fact that you're even doing it in the first plave is AWESOME... especially since you have all of your other babes to care for! It'll work out. =) In the meantime, hang in there!

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  11. Danielle, I can totally feel you. I nursed Julian until he was 16 months and I had serious guilt issues when i ffinally decided to wean him. I really think that the whole family needs to be considered, momma, daddy, baby, siblings. If nursing story is too much at this point, than its too much, you shouldn't be hard on yourself about it. At the same time, after Julian did wean, I really missed it. When things got difficult, is that it is only a season, an a fleeting one at that. Hope your decision gives you peace.

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  12. I LOVE THIS! FINALLY someone is real about nursing! Nursing both of my children was incredibly hard and I HATED every moment of it. I wanted to love it SO badly but it just wasn't happening for me. I do feel fleeting moments of guilt for stopping but I am SO much happier. I nursed my now 3 month old for the first month and never felt better after I finally made the choice to dry up. I'm a better mommy and both my babies were/are very happy and content on formula. Praying you find peace on whatever decision you make!

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    1. i know when i stop i will be sad/guilty for about 24 hours and then i will throw a PAR-TAY. it's just a matter of getting there!! thank you :)

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  13. Everyone already said what I was going to say, so I'll just tell you what my sister told me when my first-born was tiny: your baby is not going to be stupider if you choose to formula-feed her. You totally already know that. But there it is. Hugs!

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  14. I've been lurking on your blog for a while, but I had to comment today. I read your original post on breastfeeding Brody when I was pregnant, and the line about the better milk didn't meant that you were a better mom (or something like that, working off of memory!) embedded itself in my brain when I thought about the impending birth of our first born.. I think you were right then, and I've passed on your thoughts to other women including the link to that post. I don't know you, so my words hold little weight here, but it sounds like you love your babies, and you're a great mom. Breastfeeding has nothing to do with that.. I'm not sure that we could line up breastfed babies and formula fed ones and be able to tell which ones are which just be looking/observing them. Babies/children who thrive and do well are that way because they are loved not because they are breastfed.

    I do love breastfeeding our son, but that's not what makes me a competent, compassionate, good or selfless mom (if I am any of those things).. And I do think there are so many women out there who nurse their babies and refuse to wean for totally SELFISH reasons.. Not breastfeeding does not equal selfishness and breastfeeding does not equal selflessness.

    So I just wanted to tell you what you told me via your blog post from many years ago - do whatever you need to do to be the best mom :). And thanks for your blog.. it's been a blessing in my life.

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    1. i am SO thankful you commented!! this means so much to me. thank you for your words… i just went back and read that post again to myself. i needed it. thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  15. I stopped breast feeding 3.5 months in because I was physically and emotionally drained. Working a full time job 50+ hours a week and then still getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to pump while she slept...uh no thank you. I knew in order for me to be the best mom that I could be for my precious baby girl was to get some sleep, not be a completely and utterly EXHAUSTED emotional train wreck of a mom. I knew that I was at least able to provide her the best food ever for those 3.5 months, but that she would still live and thrive off of formula. Sometimes you do have to be selfish for the best interest of others. Yet I still cried when I stopped breast feeding, but saw such a huuuge difference in myself afterwards, and for the better!

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  16. sometimes i can't believe i nursed wilder 8 months and story 13.
    i have no idea how i did it. the thought of doing it again doesn't sound merry or wonderful.
    i just want to say i appreciate your honesty and humor.
    i feel like shawn and i are kindof on this threshhold of trying to decide if we want another. i hate that it's becoming such a hard decision for me, you know??
    wow, that may be a blog post!
    love u.

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  17. I just wanted to tell you that you are seriously my FAVORITE!! I have so many blogs that I follow on my reader, and I really don't get caught up on any of them regularly...but when I do sit down for 5 seconds to read, I can always count on a big smile and hard laugh over something you've written! It brightens my day and makes me feel...I don't know...NORMAL?! You are real. I love that. I love that you are not living in bloggy land. You are genuine and hilarious...so thank you for being you Danielle!!

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    1. Maureen! This is seriously the sweetest comment. Thank you so much. I try to stick to my weird wonky self and just be ME when blogging… that is what blogging's all about ;) I clicked on your name to see if you had a blog or email linked but didn't see either. So, I hope you see this here. It meant a lot to me xoxo.

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  19. Nothing balances that mama guilt like the kick-ass bod you'll have when you no longer have to worry about milk supply!

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  20. I love this bra! The size is just right. I am a 36C and it fits perfectly. There is enough support and no wires means it is so comfortable! I would recommended just my size underwear

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