Friday, November 6, 2009

The End Of Breastfeeding

Charlie barely ate while he was sick with the H1N1 Virus, it made me crazy. I could get in maybe two breastfeedings a day, and solids were absolutely not an option, he just wasn't having it. He refused everything. Towards the end of the his flu, and the beginning of his pneumonia, his thirst returned x2, but in a much different way. Mid gulp, he'd turn his head away, letting milk spray him all over his face and body, soaking the couch and floor, whatever was within a few feet of me, and he'd just be done. I have whats called an overactive letdown (moms I'm sure some of you have experienced that, and maybe just laughed a little because you know exactly what I'm talking about). Basically what that means, for anybody that is new to breastfeeding terms (and I hope none of your are uncomfortable while reading this, I assume if you are, you'll just exit the page and come back another day?) is that my milk shoots out in the same strength of water blasting out of a pressure washer. No, really. Its insane.

I wanted to breastfeed Eleanore. I tried to, but my breast was easily four times larger than her tiny little head, and there were no nurses skilled in helping a mother with that large of a bust. I gave up with Eleanore all too easily, and made the decision to pump for her. I hooked myself up to my medela for 3 hours a day, for 6 months. After 6 months, when my chest was equal the size of an entire person, I threw in the towel and switched her to formula. I had done all that I could do, and with my next baby, I would try harder...

So anyways, he would turn his head mid feeding, start talking and laughing (goo goo gah gah type stuff), get down, and go play. "Seriously?" I'd say out loud, still holding my boob in one hand, sitting in a puddle of my own milk. "Just like that, you're done?". This happened a few times, the breast milk showers and ADD baby, so I chalked it up to "hes still not feeling well". It went from sometimes, to always. By the time he was completely recovered from his pneumonia, he was biting me. The first time he bit me (and man he bites hard), I firmly told him no, gave him a little pat on the cheek to enforce it (similar to that of a Mama cat correcting her kitten), and then watched my baby explode into a fit of tears and screams. "Did Mommy just yell at me?!", I could see his glossy eyes ask.

I sure as hell did. That hurt!

Feedings from then on got shorter, and farther apart. He used to wake up to eat twice a night (something that all the doctors scold us about), and as often as he could during the day. One night, he woke up at his usual time, but this time it wasn't to eat, it was to curse his top tooth that was causing the roof of his mouth to throb. "Poor baby. Come here, let Mommy sooth you with the breast".

He didn't want it.

"What? No, come here. Lets eat. Its eating time. You always eat right now, so lets eat. I'm awake, you're awake, you're crying, you're thirsty, I'm full of milk... it all works out. Lets eat".

He didn't want it.

"WHAT?! Mommy loves you! Please take my milk! I made it specially for you. Its right here. Lots of it. All for you. Eat baby, eat"!


It took hours to soothe him back to sleep. The same thing happened the next night, only, instead of taking my milk, he went downstairs and ate two bowls of rice cereal. Can you imagine the sinking ship that went down inside of my heart? I was devastated. He had never, ever ever, taken solid food over my breast. Ever. The next night, same deal.

Meanwhile, I started pumping milk (dusted off the ol' Medela from Eleanore's baby days). Charlie had never had a bottle (maybe three or four times total), and had never touched a sippy. I could tell he was getting dehydrated, having gone from drinking nearly a gallon a day to absolutely zilch. We worked on getting him used to a Nuby cup, increased his intake of solids (his stomach must have quadrupled in size), and after 6 days of my son refusing my breast, I've accepted the fact that he is done breastfeeding.

The funny thing is, because I'm really trying to see the bright side of things right now, is that a week or so ago, I took my very first breastfeeding picture. I had always wanted a special photo of the bond that Charlie and I shared (and until you breastfeed your child, you could never possibly understand how strong this bond truly is, I learned that in the first few days after he was born). I had brought the camera into the bedroom, and one night while he dozed off in my lap, drinking peacefully, I snapped a picture. A perfect picture. A picture that would capture every emotion that I had felt during the past 10 months of our 3am feedings.

So thats that. The End of Breastfeeding.

(If you want to see that picture, than I welcome you to click over to my personal blog, where I originally posted this.)

Did you breastfeed? If so, how long? Did your baby wean himself? Did you have a hard time making the transition? I'd love it if you'd share your story...

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