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.


13 Responses to Done?/Mourning

  1. Sue says:

    Sounds like a nucking fightmare. Your lactation consultant sounds really grounded. It is really wise advice not to let your boobs become a battleground, which cannot bode well for future eating. Trust me, I know this even though I never breast fed. Fighting over eating is a space you don’t want to go to with a kid (I go there regularly). And yet, maybe the letting go you are doing will renew it all? Regardless of outcome, you are listening to Roo, to your support person, and to yourself and that is very very good. But I am sorry about how sad you feel.

  2. Carry says:

    All I can say is let yourself feel sad. It’s ok. I nursed both of my boys for about six months and then they were done. I thought it would be for so much longer too. I missed it so much and cried. People thought I was silly to be sad.

    But, even this many years later I understand why I was sad. Nursing is an experience you only get to do once. There is nothing quite like it.

    Grieve, mourn, it’s ok. And then remember to feel happy that you had this opportunity.

  3. DS-L says:

    It is sad — but follow your consultant’s advice. Let him snuggle with you shirtless, in and out of the tub. Skin to skin is the best. I nursed my boys for 18 and 19 months respectively and am still sad (as is the 5 year old who occasionally talks bout how great it was to get mama’s milk). I did not try to nurse my adopted daughter, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to feel me up every day (and yell “nipple” very loudly in her brother’s violin lessons, with a young, very serious orthodoc jewish violin teacher!! Yikes!) But you did great!! Roo got a lot of nutrition a lot of selfless love.

  4. Susan says:

    Oh, hugs. So much to mourn!

    Your lactation consultant is really smart: you can, in the end, find many different ways to meet the same needs, and it’s good not to get the specific practice confused with the need. But even as you find all kinds of ways to spend special time together–all kinds of snuggles and games and togetherness–it must be hard to let go of the breastfeeding.


  5. Erin says:

    It is sad to stop nursing. I was so lucky to get to nurse P for so long, yet it still broke my heart to stop. Don’t try to let people tell you not to be sad. Take the time to grieve about it. Your lactation consultant sounds like she’s giving you some sound advice. I hope he goes back to nursing. Colds can take it out of a baby in so many ways. I hope that’s all it is, but if this was it, I hope that you’ll always take great pride in giving him such a wonderful gift for these 3 months.

  6. Jenn says:

    Of course I have no experience with this but it must be tough. My mom nursed all of us for a long time. Like years maybe. So I can imagine the suddenness of only 3 months is shocking.

    But like everyone says it’s OK to feel sad and you did the best you could for him. If he’s done he’s done I suppose. He still loves his mamas!

  7. dawnfriedman says:

    Hugs to you — weaning is hard. I love the idea of taking the picture and I know he’ll appreciate that concrete keepsake someday, too.

  8. Liza says:

    I think the picture thing is a great idea. And Roo is lucky to have had a mama who was able to do what it took to nurse him, in spite of the odds.

    You might also want to check out Lizzy at House of H. She went through a very hard unplanned weaning earlier this year: . Her Henry is thriving, and they obviously have a wonderful relationship now.

  9. FosterMommy says:

    Definitely don’t stress about it. But remember, babies change their needs/whims every few days! Maybe once he’s over this illness, he’ll be receptive to latching on again.
    Don’t count on it, if that would break your heart even more, but don’t rule it out. So many people *start* b’feeding their adopted babies at 3, 6, 12 months…just because he’s been doing it since the start and he doesn’t want to now, doesn’t mean he won’t enjoy it later.

    Not that you want to keep pumping and dom’ing or whatever just for that possibility…but offer it to him as a pacifier and possible snack in the future, if you feel comfortable doing that.

    Whatever happens, you’ve done a wonderful thing for him by breastfeeding him this long.

  10. Hope says:

    I have the pump and take all the pills, too. I know how hard it is. I’m sorry for your sadness and understand where you are coming from. Hopefully you can both make peace with the weaning.

  11. AussieJenn says:

    That is really sad.
    I remember that day in my life too….I cried (I felt rejected), but it didn’t change the closeness I felt to my son, and his health didn’t decline either! Good luck, although I’m a bit late in my reply so you’ve probably already moved on…

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