Breastfeeding did not begin as a wonderful experience for me. I completely understand why so many women quit early on. It can be painful and frustrating. No one tells you that part before. So while your hormones are going crazy, you're dealing with no sleep, painful lady parts AND you have to stick a baby on your boob a dozen times a day for, in my case, mind numbingly painful breastfeeding sessions. But I got help from a lactation consultant and with time, we found our groove.
I have given my body to my daughter for the last 20 months, not counting pregnancy. I have not drank, I have minimized my caffeine, I have not worn bras with underwire. But those days are numbered. In the single digits. Because I am now officially and absolutely weaning her.
I had painful engorgement for the entire first six months of Sophie's life. Every penny I saved in tampons and pads from not having my period until she was eight months old were more than spent in the mountain of nursing pads I had to use. Not to mention a very unpleasant case of mastitis somewhere in the middle there. So I am doing it right. Over the course of several weeks, I have cut from four to three to two and now one session a day. Only at night before I put her to bed.
Each of the last three nights, I have said to myself that this could be the last time. Psychologically preparing myself for the end. I am a stereotypical first child, resistant to change. However, as many times as I have said that I am ready to have my body back, the truth is that I am equally as sad to be losing my baby.
I have nursed longer than anyone I know in real life. Every single one of my friends say how wonderful they think it is that I've gone so long but I can't help but wonder if deep down they think it is weird. I must confess that a tiny part of me does. I always said that I didn't want to still be doing it when she was big enough to walk up and ask for it, but I am pretty much there. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't even be stopping now if it weren't for one thing: Blogher. In a little over a month I am leaving my child at home with her father while I go to Chicago for a long weekend and I refuse to be tied to a pump for my first solo vacation in two years.
Providing my daughter with sustenance from my own body has given me such a sense of purpose. For the only time in my life, other than when I was pregnant, my body is doing what it was meant to do. Once I wean her, I'll just go back to being plain ole me. I won't have that something special that only I can give. My husband and I will be interchangeable. And while on some levels this makes me happy, on others it makes me deeply sad. I want to be special.
Is this when you get the baby urge? Because I am SO not ready for another baby, but I can totally see how once they stop needing you so entirely, you crave it.
So here's my question to all my mom peeps: How do you navigate this transition without sinking into a funk or getting yourself knocked up? Is wine the answer? And if so, what do you recommend because I'm a little out of practice?