Whether I like it or not (and for the record, I do), breastfeeding is coming to an end for me and Lewis. It’s happening.
He almost quit cold turkey on me over the weekend, which was alarming (and painful). But he got back on the nursing-train at bedtime. I can sometimes convince him at nap time, and if I catch him when he is still groggy in the morning, I can sneak a little boob-snack when he wakes up.
Basically, if he is too tired to be interested in anything else, he’ll go for the boobs.
Since his nursing strike started, my breasts have really reacted. I pumped both breasts briefly twice today at work, and got only 6 oz total. At the height of breastfeeding, I could get that (or more!!!) out of one breast in one sitting. It seems that even if Lewis showed interest in restarting, I’m already pretty far down the weaning path, and there may be no turning back.
I’m still having mixed feelings. I’m very excited to be done breastfeeding for a whole host of reasons (wearing a bra again! not having to rush home because my child and I are physically bound! not wrestling a toddler into position!), but those pesky weight-gain concerns just won’t go away – both for him and for me.
I have already gained back a couple pounds through reduced breastfeeding (but no reduced appetite!), and I’m nervous I’ll have trouble regulating my eating back to pre-pregnancy levels. I have sustained Lewis’ life with my body for nearly two years through pregnancy and nursing, and that has required a lot of extra calories! I hardly remember what it is like to have to skip dessert!
But that problem is trivial compared to my concerns for Lewis’ weight. Kyle is also concerned, but is managing to be the voice of reason as well. He said something that I thought was wise the other day: Lewis may lose some more weight after weaning completely before he figures out life without the breast. But that’s okay because we’re doing the best we can offering him everything he needs. If he chooses to stop breastfeeding, there is nothing we can do to force him to keep going. But eventually his molars will come in and he’ll have the equipment to help him enjoy more foods, he’ll figure out how drink enough milk, and he’ll grow.
So every time I get scared, I think about what Kyle said. He might lose some weight during the transition. He just might. But the transition won’t be long, and we just have to continue to do our best to encourage him to eat and drink. He’ll get it. He’s a smart boy.
All this means that I am going to actively try to reduce my milk supply. I’d like to be completely dry within a couple weeks, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m not the only person involved in this decision, so I’ll be paying attention to Lewis’ cues as well, and between the two of us, a schedule will make itself clear.