Let me just start out by saying that no matter how you’re feeding you’re baby, you are a FREAKING WARRIOR woman who’s loving your baby fiercely by doing what you have to do. I hate that I even have to say that, but with all the mom-shaming plaguing our world, I felt it a necessary introduction to this post.
I nursed Rowan for 12 months, exactly. Literally, the last time he nursed was on his 1st birthday. I didn’t plan it that way, and it wasn’t some kind of reverse birthday gift. It just happened that I got the stomach flu the night of his birthday and he simultaneously got a bit of a stuffy nose (from teething, I think) so he wasn’t interested in nursing. I considered it to be mutual, because my skin was crawling from the flu and there was no way a teething baby was getting near the goods…and when I offered it after I got over being sick, it seemed he had forgotten he had ever nursed and basically looked at me like, “What in God’s creation are you doing with that near my face?”
So we were done. And I was okay with it.
I of course had a few weepy moments during the first couple of post-weaning weeks where it was hard for me to accept that he would never again nurse, in his entire life. It was difficult to close that chapter and admit that he was no longer my dependent newborn baby, but a full-on toddler, ready to drink from his big-boy sippy cup.
After I got through that initial period though, OOOOOO-WHEEE! Hot dang, it was amazing.
My boobs finally shrunk back to their normal, albeit saggier, size and my old bras fit again. And since I’d been nursing for a year, I had lost weight rather quickly and easily…so I was feeling pretttttttty fine.
Although feeling at home in my own body was a definite perk, it was the hormonal changes that took place that made me realize how taxing nursing had been on me.
Let me first recap that during Rowan’s first year, his sleep was absolutely awful. He not only never slept through the night, but would often sleep only 2-3 hours at a time. I had a very difficult time coping with this and was dealing with a lot of anxiety and anger (feeling I wasn’t ordinarily use to experiencing on a day-to-day basis) during that first year. I had suspected that I may have had postpartum anxiety (postpartum depression’s lesser-know cousin), but never pursued therapy or counseling for it. I liked my feeling to normal new mom feelings…which I think was true, in part.
But once I stopped breastfeeding, it was like a switch flipped in my brain. I wasn’t so angry anymore. I became a lot more laid back about his eating, sleeping, etc. I felt like I walked out of a dense fog. I felt like I had finally exited the postpartum stage. I realized then, that my hormones had been totally hijacked when I was nursing. I wasn’t my own person…I was this alter-ego: milkmaid mama. Existing only to feed, nourish, and take care of my baby. When I stopped nursing, I stepped back into the light of who I was and was able to integrate that person with who I’d become as a mom.
Stopping nursing allowed me to once again take care of myself, both mentally and physically. Things I had completely forgotten about in the hours of feeding my baby from my body.
What was your experience with weaning?