Thursday, August 5, 2010

Calling All Mothers!

I need your help. What (would/did) you do (if/when) you were in my situation?

The Kid is weaning himself. In a perfect world (wait...I thought this WAS a perfect world?? Whoa...what's going on?!) this wouldn't have started happening for at LEAST another few months. His adjusted age is only 6 months. However, it's happening. He only nurses first thing in the morning.

I realize that 9 months is still pretty good for supplying my baby with breast milk, so if it turns out that I have no control of the situation, I will try my best to not feel guilty.

But the thing is: I have worked SO STINKIN' HARD to not only keep my milk supply by pumping my life away, but also to teach The Kid HOW to nurse. That was a lot of work. It's been a huge commitment, and I just feel like after all of that work, I can't give up now!

And besides that, I have really come to love holding him close and snuggling him and providing for him in a way that no one else can. And believe me, that was important when perfect strangers took care of him on a daily basis for so, so long and I was only allowed to hold him once or twice a day.

Here are my options: I can let this happen. I can stop pumping, let him nurse as often as he will, and let it end. A little bit of freedom and a little bit of sadness. OR: I can rent a hospital pump, increase my milk supply as much as possible, and get The OT's help in attempting to get The Kid to nurse more. This may not work, but it could. Is it worth it to try?

Here is how I need your help: What would YOU do? How did YOU cope with weaning your child(ren)?

Thanks, Friends.


brenkachicka said...

I don't know what I would do if I were you, but I can tell you what I did.
Candace weaned herself at 10 months. I was preggo with Isabella and had gallstones. I was very sick and not making enough milk. (I only gained 11 lbs that pregnancy, I was so sick.) I just put her on a bottle and that was that. Ten months is pretty good.
Isabella weaned herself at 14 months. It was very easy. I felt good about that.
Ferb, he quit nursing the day he turned one. I was sad. He had tried to quit nursing a couple months before that. I spoke with Kathleen Huggins on an internet message board. She encouraged me to take a fenugreek suplement and to keep trying. I made it work a couple extra months, but he did get a couple bottles through the day. The last 2 or 3 weeks he was only nursing for his first thing in the morning session. I was beginning to get sick with sarcoidosis at that time, and it was the best I could do.
I've had many foster babies who THRIVED on formula in a bottle. They were healthy and happy and very well bonded to me. I took the extra care to make sure that I did things with them that would promote bonding. Like eye contact during feedings and never ever propping a bottle. I also wore the last one in a wrap like yours, and he was perfect.
So that's what I did. I don't know what I'd do if I were you. Know that you have gone above and beyond for this child already. He has done well. You are a good mom no matter what choice you make.
Love you.

Janae' said...

You have to do what feels right for you but for me, it was different with every child.
I nursed Chantelle until she was 4 months old. At that time she chose on her own to just stop. She decided that she was done and wanted to be bottle fed only as I had supplemented about once a day with formula due to her being tongue tied when she was born.
I nursed Emily until she was 10 months old and she actually had a hard time weaning but I had no choice as I was in the hospital sick and pregnant and then home on IV therapy and needed everything I had for the new baby. So I would try to just hold her while she had her bottles.
With Alex, he nursed up until he was 12 months old exclusively and then it took him about 2-3 months I think to slowly wean himself off of his morning and night time feedings, but I let him decide as well when he was ready.
With Jordan, the kid would have nursed forever! But at 18 months old I said enough was enough as I had just found out I was again pregnant.
With Zachary I only nursed for 6 months faithfully and then weaned him for about 2 months for just morning and night feedings. This was just due to personal family life I would say and I wished I would have nursed longer with him as I don't think he was ready to stop, that was my choice not his.
With Brianna of course she has always been bottle fed as she is adopted but loved just the same and I don't think has suffered at all for it.
I am one for let them nurse until they are ready to be done, within limits. But I also remember storing tons and tons and tons of milk in my freezer for Emily, Alex & Zachary that I pumped since they were all NICU babies and I wanted them to use it all up too :).. But I did end up throwing it away, some of it eventually and we all lived. Amazingly :) Good luck..

Patrick, Adrienne, & Bella said...

i nursed bella for almost 7 months. by 6 months she was basically having formula and nursing for my sake. i really really loved it and i loved that time together. but i came to the realization that formula was fine, she probably wasn't getting anything from me anyway, and it was taking more time to "nurse" her and then give her a bottle too. anyway, for me it came down to what was best for her. yes, breast milk is wonderful, but babies live on formula too, and you have nursed him for a good while already. :) but it's totally up to you! if i was in my shoes again, with the knowledge i have now, i would still stop and i wouldn't try to make more milk - i wasn't making enough earlier and i tried the fenugreek and reglan, but it didn't work. if it were me i probably wouldn't rent a pump unless you want to save milk even if he stops. but really, it is up to you and what you feel most comfortable with! i was sad to stop nursing so it took me a while to stop and be okay with it, but once i did, everything felt right and i was glad i did. :) good luck!!

Megan said...

I can't give you my experience but I will share my thoughts:) Ultimately it is your decision and only you can decide. You have worked really hard and long to get him to breastfeed and to have the milk he needs. You have also spent the money on two really nice pumps and such. What I say is hats off to you for all you have done. You are incredibly dedicated and have worked so hard to help him grow. I have been so impressed because as badly as I wanted that, there is no way I would still be pumping. I hate it and hate that beast too much to use it several times a day. You are inspirational in that respect.

If there is one thing I have learned as a new mother that is to listen to my child. Is nursing Caleb adding additional stress in your lives? Is he happy? There is obviously a bond that comes with nursing and I think most moms have a hard time with the weaning process but it does always have to happen at some point. If he is ready for it, it could be best for him, but if you are not and it is going to cause too much stress for you and too much "mommy guilt" (which we all experience too much of) then it will not be the best option for him. That is why it has to come down to your choice. YOU have to accept whatever way it goes.
One last thought I had was that you spend a lot of time pumping and nursing then bottle feeding, etc. If you choose to stop doing this, it may take away the bond of nursing but add other bonds that there simply wasn't time for before.
I really am not trying to persuade you one way or the other and I hope I am not being too soap boxy but I don't think allowing it to end would be bad. You have done so much for Caleb and if there is nothing more to be done then that is that. You really have been a hero so don't let mommy guilt get to you if you do decide it is time to wean. What time you have spent and all that hard work has been incredible for him so if you choose to keep going hats off to you. But if you choose to stop, hats off to you all the same. You are a great mommy!

Katie B said...

I don't know a thing about weaning but here are my thoughts anyway: I think you should much it is worth it to you to keep nursing. Because I'm guessing you'll have a lot of frustration as you have to spend more time nursing and Caleb resists taking your milk. I know you've worked so hard all this time to help him get good nutrients and you should feel good about that. Maybe his body is just ready for more substantial food. Maybe you could figure out some other time to have good snuggle time. I just don't want you to get frustrated and sad.

Natalie said...

You know, from reading my blog, that I never did get Brynn to nurse successfully. But since you're wondering about pumping, increasing supply, and all that . . . I feel a little qualified to add my two cents.

You mentioned that the biggest thing worrying you isn't necessarily "mommy guilt" but the feeling that ALL THAT WORK WAS A WASTE! And, yes, you'll miss the bonding, too.

Let me say, I can relate 100%. While there was still hope that Brynn *might* learn to nurse, I felt like all my work had better come to some sort of reward or I would die. I kept going . . . and going . . . and going with the HOPE that all my work would somehow be rewarded with a chubby, breastfeeding baby. For me, it was 100% pumping for 7.5 months. No cuddly baby. But HOPE.

In the end, I made myself super sore and super stressed trying to increase my supply enough to fill her daily needs and just couldn't do it. I took all the supplements, did everything the lactation consultants recommended. But still my supply was diminishing almost daily (due to getting mastitis on top of it all).

That's when I decided to let it go.

And you know what? I still had to throw half of a deep freeze worth of milk away because Brynn stopped tolerating my breastmilk. I felt like I might as well throw away my leg or my arm.

But you know what? It wasn't a waste.

No sacrifice you make for your child is a waste.

BUT . . . cutting the sacrifice when you can--especially if it increases your joy and decreases your stress--is a GOOD thing to do.

You have my guilt-free permission to STOP PUMPING.

Love ya! N