31 days of Oliver & Nina – The day I stopped nursing
October 2, 2014 § 1 Comment
I had to stop nursing Nina way earlier than I anticipated. She had never been a great eater anyway. Constantly latching on and off. It was exhausting. I talked to her pediatrician often about it, we considered every possibility. From tongue tie to milk supply. Nina was still gaining enough weight, so the doctor didn’t seem to be concerned about it for the first couple of months.
But then after her fourth month appointment, the doctor started to notice that even though Nina was gaining weight, she wasn’t gaining enough weight. And although this isn’t my first go at nursing or caring for an infant, this was the first time I had ever heard tha my baby wasn’t gaining enough weight. My firstborn, Oliver, was a big baby, was a fast eater and has never been below the 50th percentile on any charts. So to hear my baby girl had dropped to the lower end of the scale, made me worry and worry and the stress a little more.
Well, as you know, worrying and stress can be the worst thing for your milk supply… Stressing over my baby’s weight gain+ girl’s fussy nursing habits + baby sleeping through the night by 8 weeks = very low milk supply. My baby was so hungry I had to start supplementing. I tried to get my milk supply up but with another child to care for I just didn’t have the time/energy to pump.
I cried many tears. For many days. I talked to a lot of other moms, I did research online and talked to my doctor. In the end, all I could do was accept the fact that my milk supply was gone. But my baby wasn’t.
I had to make a choice to focus on the truly wonderful thing that was happening. Yes, my milk was gone and my baby would no longer enjoy the benefits of being exclusively breastfed. However she was still healthy. Very healthy, actually. She started to put on weight and caught on rather quickly. 🙂 The nurses at the doctor’s office could hardly believe it was the same baby when we came in a month or so later. To top it all, it never seemed to bother my Nina girl. In fact she seemed happier, more content with her new lot in life.
Her mama had a harder time being content with this though. Mommy guilt took over. Insensitive people and their unnecessary comments didn’t help either. I made the choice to focus on my baby’s health, to be glad we got to bond over four and half months of nursing. Even though bonding over nursing was over, I still feel deeply connected to my baby girl.
Maybe I’m writing all of this to tell myself that I did the very best I could. I offered the best nutrition to her while I could. Maybe I’m writing all of this because I still struggle with people’s ( mostly other moms) reactions when they hear I’m no longer breastfeeding. Maybe it is time to come to terms with this. I love my baby, she loves me. She is healthy and happy. End of story.
(sigh) Those last words are easy to type. May I remember them next time someone gives me a hard time over giving my girl a bottle.