I’m Not Ready But I Know It’s Coming
November 2, 2019
In an effort to continue blogging about motherhood and remain authentic, I want to talk about something that has been difficult for me to wrap my head around for quite some time.
Mothers read so much before giving birth about the challenges of breastfeeding, but no one (and I mean no one) mentions the challenges of weaning. It did not even occur to me that it would be an issue until recently.
Now, if you’ve read my blog, know me in-person, and or from social media, you’ll know I breastfed my first born (now three years old) son. So let’s go back to when he was fifteen months old.
My goal with my son then was to breastfeed until six months, which then became a year and then eighteen months total. I became pregnant with my daughter while I was still breastfeeding Little Drew, and the hormones I experienced made it very difficult for me to continue. This is something I have never spoken publicly about because everyone who knows me knows how much I advocate for extended breastfeeding (even tandem nursing). The issue became that every time Drew would nurse, I would get this uncomfortable tingling feeling in my nipples. It drove me insane. It would enrage me, and I did not understand why. I knew it was due to the hormones because I never experienced those pins and needles sensation prior to my pregnancy.
I was ready to stop breastfeeding him. There wasn’t any guilt associated to this decision either. He was already consuming regular milk and only using me as a human pacifier. By fifteen months, we transitioned to one session during the day and only one feeding a night. I distracted him to my best ability and re-focused his attention elsewhere. It took three months, but eventually, he was completely over ‘teta time’ (boobie time).
I wasn’t upset over our breastfeeding journey ending. I didn’t think it was a mistake and I do not regret my decision. I wasn’t hurt either when I asked him one day if he wanted to nurse. He simply shook his head and kept playing with his toys. He was ready to be done too.
Well, fast forward to now. I’m breastfeeding my littlest at almost sixteen months and have zero intentions to wean her. In fact, the idea of weaning her off breastfeeding causes me so much sadness. I want to tell you all that it is because it is a strong reminder that children grow up (which is true), but that is not the main reason for me personally.
I’ve been breastfeeding since the year 2016, and we are now approaching the year 2020. For me, breastfeeding has become apart of my every day life. There was always a special bond formed between me and my child. I know there are so many other things we can do together to keep that close bond going strong, but I can’t shake the thought of thinking there will be a feeling of emptiness (for me, less so for my daughter).
There is also the obvious fact that yes, my child is growing older and becoming more independent. Some days I get home from work and I’m frustrated that every day I have to walk through the door and hear my daughter screaming for me so she can nurse. Yet, the second I sit on the couch and begin nursing her, I’m relaxed because I know I’m fulfilling her nutritional needs. I’m the only one that can comfort her. I can provide for her in a way no one else can (Big Drew reminds me of this every time I’m frustrated). The feeling of being needed by her in that way brings so much warmth to my soul.
You are probably wondering why I didn’t feel that way when I was trying to wean Little Drew, and the answer is simple; I was expecting another child. I knew without a doubt that I would breastfeed my next child, and I could continue breastfeeding. I could continue giving my next child sustenance in a way no other being in her life could except for me. If I could have breastfed both of my children at the same time, you better believe I would have! I even researched tandem nursing, but like I said, those pins and needles were unbearable so that was not going to be an option. I remember some nights fidgeting through an entire nursing session because I needed to focus my attention elsewhere than on what was actually going on at the moment (that’s how uncomfortable it felt for me).
It is much easier to wean a baby when you’re planning to have another one. For me, I don’t know if Jade will be my last baby so weaning has brought a lot of emotions. It is hard to accept that this chapter (very long chapter if I might add) of my life is coming to an end.
People ask me at work all the time when I’ll stop pumping. People ask me all the time when will I wean Jade off. People ask all the time if and when I’ll have another child. The answer to all of these questions is and has always been, “I don’t know.” I don’t know. I don’t know if I want a third child. If you had asked me when Jade was four months if I wanted another child, I would have said, “Of course I want a third baby!” If you asked when I had planned to wean her off, I would have said, “Oh, around a year and hopefully begin trying for our third.” I don’t feel too thrilled about wanting a third child, but I have loved breastfeeding more than anything else of the entire motherhood journey.
Recently, I’ve been having some health issues so I’ve been seeing doctors a lot these past couple weeks. So my primary doctor said, “Okay well she is not one anymore. You need to stop breastfeeding your daughter. It is not necessary anymore.” Jess from a year ago would have been insulted and given the doctor some medical research about extended breastfeeding to consider. Then I would have left the appointment and looked for another doctor. Yes, I’ve had to school a couple of professionals in my finer days (currently laughing at myself as I type all this up). In that moment though, I stayed quiet– and NOT because she was right– but because I knew it is bound to happen.
I’m not ready you all. I’m not. Some moms reading this can whole-heartedly relate. Some moms just can’t wait to be done, and some of you have no children and cannot relate to this feeling what-so-ever. These last few weeks, I’ve sat up in the middle of the night nursing Jade thinking, I really, truly do not want to give this all up.
I empathize with mothers who breastfed and struggled, but for me personally, it has been a wonderful experience for me and each of my children. Now mind you– my daughter used to bite my nipples AND PULL THEM WITH ALL HER MIGHT– I dealt with it because I knew it was just a phase (a long, painful phase). My nipples bled and I still powered through.
I cried the other night in the shower because Jade is so much more advanced than her older brother ever was, and I worry one day I will ask her if she wants to nurse, and she will just say no to me and keep on moving. I won’t know what to do with myself. I know I’ll have to suck it up and say, “Okay, well I knew the break up was coming but wasn’t expecting it to be from you.”
There is research (very little I might add) about anxiety and depression in regards to post-weaning. Yes, people it is a real thing. When a mother weans her child from the breast(s), the hormones in her body go through changes. The prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone hormones return back to the levels that they were at before the mother was ever pregnant and started to breastfeed. If I can’t bear the thought of it now, I can’t imagine how I will actually be when I have to wean her. I don’t plan to begin weaning her yet because we are both not ready, but when it starts, I will definitely give an update.
If you’ve read this far, I say thank you for reading. If you are experiencing the same, reach out to me and let’s talk about it. You are not alone, and I know I’m not the only one on the planet going through this. I did want to address it because it has been heavy on my heart, and if I can write something that another mother can read and say, “Wow, I’m feeling the same way,” then I’ve helped another mother not feel alone.