I think Roo is done nursing.
He’s had a cold. He’s been so stuffed up he can’t nurse, and he’s been barely nibbling at the bottle all week in between episodes of wrestling over bottles of saline and nose-suction bulbs. And now he seems to be moving smoothly from having a cold to teething, which has contributed nicely to what Susan so eloquently referred to as disequilibrium.
Yesterday was my work-at-home day and, though it’s hard to admit, we had a no-good, very bad, terrible, horrible day together. Fussing and needing and hungry-but-can’t-eat and crabby. And the not-breastfeeding is now on day 11. Eleven days of latch/let go/scream/latch/scream/cry/take a bottle.
After four days of phone tag and a 45-minute screaming session (mostly him but a little me) that put me completely over the top in a walk-away-before-I-shake-him kind of way, I finally spoke with the lactation consultant on the phone yesterday. She responded to my hysteria in her great earthy-crunchy-but-Brooklyn-influenced voice and said: It might be time.
She thought I should take a few days and not try to breastfeed him. Take baths with him, she said, snuggle with him without your shirt on, wear him in the carrier as much as you can, find other ways to bond with him. Try again this weekend if you want, but think about what it would mean to let go. Take a picture, she said, with the breast pump and the 8 million pills I take every day, so I can remember what I did and someday show him how much I did to be able to breastfeed him.
I’m mourning this pretty hard. He’s only three months old. I had thought we would do this for 6 months, 9 months, maybe longer. I had thought that we would wean him together and gradually, not that one day he would breastfeed and the next day he would scream and it would be over.
He stopped fussing when I was on the phone with the LC, and watched my face while I cried. Those big eyes – he takes in so much. He looked like an old soul to me then, like he had done this before and he knew exactly what tears meant. We took a bath together last night and I poured water on his round belly over and over to make him laugh and kick his legs. This morning before work I lay him down on my thighs and told him it was okay if he was done breastfeeding, that we would still get to have a lot of special time together. He looked at me very seriously with that wrinkle in his forehead and I felt again like he knew exactly what I was saying.
I’m trying to let it go. Forcing it won’t do him (or me) any favors. I’m trying to think about the good parts of it – not having to take the pump on the plane for Thanksgiving, getting to wear a sexy bra again instead of the same old nursing bra.
But I’m really sad.