August 10, 2011:
Today I decided was Sadie's last day to nurse. After another sleepless night of Sadie demanding to nurse every hour I finally acknowledged my growing resentment. I didn't want to nurse Sadie anymore. She was 17 months old. Thank God I was able to nurse her since the day she was born. Nursing did not come easily to me. I am grateful for the opportunity and for my stubborn nature that would not let me give up.
I look down at my engorged breasts - they sit high and heavy. My breasts are transitioning from being a source of food and comfort for my daughter, to existing as a source of pleasure for my husband and making my clothes look good. The feelings within me are mixed and confused. I am excited at the prospect of Sadie sleeping through the night once she cannot nurse. However, I am also very sad. I am sad because I don't know if I'll ever nurse again. There are no guarantees that God will give me more children or that I will be able to nurse the next time around.
By weaning Sadie I am saying goodbye to an aspect of myself that has become my identity. I was "nursing mother," now will I just be mother? I don't know what motherhood will mean without my ability to nurse. For the past 17 months I have provided my child with nutrients and vitamins and nourishment. Without nursing, Sadie doesn't need me the same way. As I've said, I don't enjoy nursing Sadie anymore. I've been bitten numerous times, I've been woken up throughout the night, I've had my privacy destroyed. Nursing has robbed me of my ability to do anything consistently. Sadie prefers nursing instead of eating food or drinking water. The constant interruptions of my day drives me crazy.
September 12, 2011:
Weaning in one day is not something I'd recommend to most women. There is a reason we are encouraged to wean gently. On the 10th of August I decided to cut Sadie off. I tried the gentle weaning approach for a few months beforehand. It worked and then she started waking up repeatedly through the night demanding to nurse. I finally gave up and decided a more strict approach was necessary. No more nursing, period. During the day when she was hungry I was able to offer her food and drink that satisfied her. However, the first 5-7 nights were brutal. Sadie would wake up at night and then punch me in the face in frustration when I refused to nurse her. I was getting beaten up all night. I was kicked, bitten, and abused by my toddler. Logan and I didn't sleep for a week. She would yell for hours. She would throw herself off the bed and wail. It was pure agony for the three of us.
While this was happening my breasts were threatening to explode. By the evening of the 10th my breasts were rock hard. I ended up expelling some milk simply to relieve the pressure. The next day I sat on the couch and iced my breasts and massaged them to prevent a plugged duct, or worse mastitis. I was terrified of getting terribly ill and having to rush to the hospital - but I also knew Sadie could not be moderated with the nursing. She is an all or nothing kind of girl.
I went on Facebook and wrote about my breasts threatening to explode. A friend of mine recommended taking Sudafed to help with the engorgement. I initially responded to her there was no way I was going to take the drug because Sadie was nursing and it would be bad for Sadie to have in her milk. Then I realized something monumental. My body was mine again. I wasn't pregnant, I wasn't nursing - I could take all and any drugs I wanted to without any consequences to my child. I was free. I popped the first Sudafed pill knowing I was saying goodbye to nursing. The one time before I tried weaning Sadie I gave in by night time. This moment, this pill, was my way of saying my intention was clear and I was going to stop nursing Sadie. The pill helped immediately. I took Sudafed for several days and sang my friend's praises to my husband repeatedly. It took anywhere from four to five days for the pain to go away. It's been almost a month later and my breasts have shrunk to pre-baby size. I am having fun wearing all my cute bras that have bows and colors missing from my nursing bras.
In hindsight I'm glad I weaned when I did. I had come to a point where I resented having to nurse Sadie. There is only so many times I wanted to see my breasts in a day. I didn't enjoy the feeling of her teeth grazing my nipples or Sadie forcing me to nurse her at night when I was sleeping. She still wakes up repeatedly throughout the night. Now it's a much easier fix. I grab her, put her into a comfortable cuddling position and we're both usually asleep again in minutes.
I am grateful I was able to nurse my child for as long as I did. My body gave health and life to my child. It is a gift and a blessing. However, 17 months was my end point. Sometimes when Sadie falls down and hurts herself I want to put her on my breast. I remind myself I can't and I hold her instead. I'm pleased how a simple hug can convey all the love and comfort I have to offer and it's usually all she needs.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
Sites I Value