When I imagined ending my breastfeeding journey I had a very specific idea of what that transition would encompass. Surely it would be my son’s decision to stop. We’d reach a mutual agreement, I’d nurse him one last time and savor the moment for as long as I could. Then after he was gently weaned, I’d come onto my blog and share how beautifully that chapter ended. I wanted so badly to just gaze into his sleepy eyes, or better yet a breast-filled giggle and kiss his chubby hands and cheeks as we fell asleep together.
Yeah… that s*** didn’t happen. It most definitely was not a mutual decision. For some reason my son’s latch became very shallow. My nipples grew extremely chapped and it was beyond painful to breastfeed. I developed an aversion to breastfeeding and instead of a beautiful bonding experience, I became agitated and frustrated with the process. After pushing through the pain and trying to heal, I couldn’t take anymore. I stopped cold turkey. The first couple days were sleepless and frustrating for our entire family, but nonetheless we persisted. 😉
The last time I breastfed my son was for an afternoon nap. Because of how intense the pain was, I had a feeling it was the last time. I tried to love it. I tried to take in how beautiful and innocent he was as he slept. But my fairytale ending just wasn’t in the cards for us. I set myself up to feel guilty for not fulfilling my ridiculous fantasy. Now that I’m able to look back on the last few days I can see how this imperfect chapter is so beautifully “us.” Breastfeeding wasn’t always easy or beautiful for me. From MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance), pregnancy, tandem nursing, poor latches, nipple shields, frustrations and many, many beautiful cuddles and kisses, it was a roller coaster ride.
I wish I would have heard about more “imperfect” weaning stories. Yes, some people are fortunate to have those beautiful endings to this chapter, but not everyone does. I wish I could tell my fantastical self that my baby is just fine without breastmilk and his “boobies”. We have some of the best snuggles we’ve ever had. He gets to fall asleep with his daddy and have new bonding moments with him. I don’t have to gently unlatch myself ninja style and tiptoe away just to go to the bathroom. I still get to gently squeeze his chubby thighs and hands and hold him in the crook of my arm. He’s still my baby for a little bit longer.
Just like having a baby and the crazy things that people neglect to tell you…. There are some things that happen to you while weaning that you may want to know:
- Cabbage leaves bras are sexy AF (not really, but for some reason cabbage leaves help receive the engorgement)
- Seudafed will dry you up pretty quickly. I’m on day 4 and I’m not terribly uncomfortable.
- While pretty uncomfortable, engorged boobs are still fun. I’ll miss my “porn star” boobs for sure.
- Hot water in the shower feels SO. DAMN. GOOD. on engorged boobs. I try not to express any milk because I don’t want to produce more, but sometimes to get a little relief I’ll massage them.
Thank you all for following my breastfeeding journey from the beginning (either on this blog or via my Youtube channel). The resources and support I’ve had over the last 4 1/2 years have proven to be invaluable. To read or watch more about my breastfeeding experience you can check out the links below.