So for those of you who missed the first few installments of “A Tale of Two Boobs”, this is a series of posts about my struggle with breastfeeding. I felt this primal urge to breastfeed my BG, and I put my body through hell to make it happen.
Well now, 2.5 years later, I have finally weaned BG.
I haven’t nursed her at all in 3 days. It was time–I had only been nursing on my “business boob” for months, as my “casual boob” was never a good producer anyways. And the milk in “business boob” had been reduced to a trickle within the last few weeks. I don’t know why exactly, maybe my hormones shifting as I’m weaning off the Prednisone. Maybe the Stelara. But both BG and I were ready and in a good place to stop, so it doesn’t really matter what the catalyst was.
As I lay here with cabbage leaves tucked into my tank top (a trick to help dry up your milk), I can reflect fondly on my breastfeeding relationship with BG, without any tears. I’m ok that we’re done breastfeeding. I feel like “my work here is done”. Often it’s emotional for moms to quit breastfeeding, and after how emotional I was and how desperately I wanted to do it, you’d think I’d be heartbroken. But I’m not.
I feel relieved that weaning happened organically, and did not end in dramatics (as you know I am prone to dramatics). I’m grateful that my chronic illness didn’t dictate my breastfeeding relationship with BG–I breastfed her through all the turmoil during the past 8+ months of my flare. It would have been traumatic if my milk had dried up while I was hospitalized. This flare shook up my relationship with BG, and breastfeeding was one thing that I was able to continue to do for her even when I was otherwise incapacitated. It was our foundation.
I shared countless tender moments with BG while breastfeeding. I will always treaaure the memories… sitting in the rocking chair in her nursery, light streaming in, rocking for hours and just staring at her in my arms (propped up on the boppy pillow–we got more than our moneys worth outta that thing). I remember breastfeeding her under the trees on the beach in Costa Rica, while a mommy monkey and baby monkey played right above us, and the sound of the ocean lulled us to sleep. There were also lots of backseat breastfeeding sessions in the car–sitting in the target parking lot. And all the times BG needed comfort–when she was scared of a thunderstorm or in pain because she was teething–that I was able to comfort her by breastfeeding her. It was such a relief to me to be able to pop a boob in her mouth and instantly make her feel better.
It’s been such a journey. I didn’t really even want to breastfeed before BG was born–it just seemed so foreign to me. But from the moment they placed her on my chest it’s all I wanted to do, as a way to love and protect and provide for her.
Through excruciating nipple injuries and mastitis. Through a struggle with low supply and taking ALL the herbs and finally, Domeperidone. I have no doubt that all the antibiotics I took and the Domperidone contributed to my current flare. But I don’t regret any of it.
My BG is healthy as can be–only had a handful of colds and I nursed her through those. I know that my milk helped to build and support her immune system. I believe that she will be spared the autoimmune issues that I am plagued with. That’s priceless to me.
I really don’t think that everyone should struggle to breastfeed the way I did. Obviously, there are plenty of healthy, happy kids out there that were given formula. We as mothers have to follow our own paths and no two will be exactly alike. I never, ever want to make another mother feel bad for how she feeds her baby!
But for me, I am so grateful that I was able to breastfeed BG. I never imagined how difficult it would be–the amount of tears that I would shed as I struggled through pain, frustration, guilt and worry. I couldn’t fathom the amount of joy I would feel as I cradled her in my arms and breastfed her for countless hours…I wouldn’t trade a single second of it.
But it’s ok that we’re done. I still cradle her, carry her, hold her and rock her. She still falls asleep nestled in the crook of my arm with her head on my chest. We say “I love you” to each other 1,000x per day and we smother each other in hugs and kisses. We have evolved, but no love is lost.