** This particular entry may contain too much information for some people- namely men in general. Unless, of course, you’re one of those rare, fantastic men who honestly care about what might going on with your lovely wife/girlfriend during this transition.**
I stopped breastfeeding Maya two nights ago and I’m having mixed feelings about it. It wasn’t a planned ending (now that I think about it, most things in life end unexpectedly), but I have slowly been working toward it. I stopped pumping around six weeks ago, which was a welcome change. I started to feel like a woman rather than a cow.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped her morning feedings and gave her a bottle instead. I don’t think she even noticed. I noticed, though. I started producing much less breast milk and I noticed she was starting to wake up at night again. I finally realized it was because she wasn’t getting enough at night, so I started supplementing with a bottle before bedtime, too. Well, a couple of nights ago she took her bottle then promptly fell asleep. I put her to bed without a second thought about breastfeeding.
That was that. I’ve heard so many stories about the extreme pain women go through when they stop breastfeeding. They talk about “binding” their breasts and they were practically in tears during the process. I had nothing of the sort, and I’m certain it’s because I slowly transitioned into it. Easing into bottle-only feedings helped Maya transition, too. She hasn’t fussed at all- in fact, it think she’s sleeping better now and she’s definitely getting more fluids at night, as evident by her soaked diapers and clothes in the mornings.
For me, the hardest thing was letting go of that connection with her. I’m not exactly upset over it, but it’s one more thing that highlights her growing independence. She’s walking, eating table food, and “talking” more every day, showcasing her burgeoning personality. It’s amazing. However, breastfeeding was much easier. No mixing formula, no washing bottles. I’m sure Josh appreciates the whole bottle thing. Although he never complained, I imagine it was slightly uncomfortable for him to be around it.
This is yet another thing that makes me move forward, too. I didn’t get out much due to my breastfeeding schedule, and now I’m free. My body is my own again and I’m free to do as I please. If for some crazy reason I want to drink a pot of coffee, I can. If I want that second glass of wine, I can do it without one ounce of guilt. Spicy foods are mine for the taking. I don’t have to rush home if I don’t want to. (Although I usually want to.) I am free.
It’s yet another stage in life. A new chapter.
The point of this story is: ease into it if you can. The transition was so smooth, for me and Maya. It was worth all the effort for those 11 months, and I only have to buy formula for one month! Awesome.