Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Weaning

Well, with all of the holidays, I didn't have a chance to talk about a rather monumental milestone in the lives of Ruby and me. My original goal for breastfeeding Ruby was one year and we fell short of that by about a month and a half. At about 7 months, we started supplementing with formula because I wasn't able to produce enough with the pump to feed her and our frozen stockpile was depleted. I reset my goal to keep pumping up until Thanksgiving at which time I would give it up. I was only pumping about 1-2 ounces a day so it just wasn't worth all of the time and energy I was putting into it. Unfortunately, about 3 weeks after we returned from our Thanksgiving trip, without the pumping I stopped producing enough and Ruby was weaned. It was really easy and there was little fanfare and she honestly doesn't seem to miss it. Then there's emotional part and, as usual, it's totally conflicting. Here's what bums me out:
  • I am disappointed that I wasn't able to make it to the first year.
  • I really miss the actual nursing and the closeness and cozieness of it that I haven't been able to duplicate with bottle feeding.
  • The lazy side of me hates it because now I have to actually get up and be conscious enough to make a bottle rather than just rolling over in bed every morning (props to husband for helping out with this one).
  • The needy (martyr) me misses knowing that I can do something for my little monkey that no one else can.
  • I had a hard time the first few days, mourning the absence of breastfeeding....just really missing it and wishing it weren't over just yet.
  • Like with much of this journey -- some things have ended too soon for me and breastfeeding is one of them.
  • It's hard to predict how much she will want and I never know if I am making too much or too little.
  • Formula is expensive! Thank god it's almost to the point where we can just do whole milk.
But there are other layers to this weaning onion. Here's what's awesome:
  • I did it for 10 1/2 months (7 exclusively)-- yay me!
  • I have a real sense of relief that I am not the only person who can feed her. The weight of her survival does not feel like it is solely up to me (granted this subsided after the introduction of solid foods).
  • No more pumping!!!!
  • I can go out for a whole day and do stuff without trying to figure out when I need to be back or if there's a place to pump.
  • Did I mention, no pumping?
  • Dad, grandmas, aunties -- they can all snuggle her and feed her too!

So, yeah...there's good and bad. It pretty much boils down to feeling a sense of loss and freedom all at the same time.

Oh and there's another thing that just ticks me off. After being off that week at Thanksgiving, where I was with Ruby the whole time, we got to the point that we didn't need to supplement with formula at all. This just proves my theory that if I didn't have to pump, she never would have needed to go off the boob at all. Lame. What's the solution? Good question.

At any rate, feel very fortunate that I was able to do it as long as I did -- especially considering the how difficult it was at first. I guess this is just preparing me for more of the simultaneous highs and lows that occur in parenthood. Great.

More pics and vids will be posted soon.


Misha said...

Lupine, you rock! I also totally empathize with everything you wrote--the supplementing, the pumping, ack! But we muscled it through the hard stuff at the beginning which is a miracle of pain endurance. You have those memories and now you can have your bubbies back!

Baby Mama said...

Congrats for making it so long. You did an amazing job and from someone who only made it 10 weeks (and a mostly unsuccessful 10 weeks despite all the support in the world), I applaud you!
Call me and I'll help you out with formula cost cutting info--believe me, after 5 months of buying it, I have some advice!