Done Breastfeeding

I am finally done breastfeeding.  EH is 8 months old now, and we had a good run, but it was time to be done.

Ever since I started back to work back in November, I had to (chose to) cut down to feeding EH in the morning and at bedtime, and I pumped once at lunch.  In those early days I was able to pump enough that it filled two of the three bottles that he got at daycare, back when they were 4 ounce bottles.  And that lasted for a couple of months.  But then he started needing 5 ounces per bottle sometime around the end of February, and around that time my supply started to thin out, and suddenly I was only getting enough for one bottle each day.

Then, about two weeks before EH was heading to my parents for the week, I chose to cut out the lunchtime pumping. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't have any problems with clogs or anything like that, with plenty of time before EH was leaving, thus the reason that I started this transition two weeks early.  It was great no longer having to pump at lunch, and necessary, since things got crazy at work and I didn't always have a lot of time to close my door.

At that point I was still breastfeeding every morning and at night, but with 12 hours between each feeding, my body was getting the message that demand was dwindling.  Within a week, suddenly I was no longer producing enough at the bedtime feeding - when EH usually consumed about 2 ounces more than his other feedings to help him get through the night - and I had to start supplementing with a bottle.  First two ounces of formula, then three.

Then the "week away" happened - I dropped him off at my parents house and my super crazy week at work started.  I was working 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with no time to myself, and so for four of the days in that week I only pumped once per day.  My body wasn't happy about it, but I got through it and by the time I was back to being able to pump twice a day, there was no longer much to pump anyway.

When EH came back, I tried to get back to feeding him twice day - morning and night - but the damage was done.  I wasn't producing enough for a full meal so we had to use a bottle at every single feeding.  One of the main reasons I wanted to breastfeed so that there wouldn't be as many bottles to wash.  If we had to use bottles anyway, and since we could no longer feel confident that EH was getting enough to eat, we (I) decided that it was time to be done.  I fed him once a day, and then once every other day and then once every 4 days. Now I'm pretty sure that I'm at the point where I could stop altogether and still be fine, and in fact that may be the route I take.

I thought that perhaps I'd be sad about being done breastfeeding, and in a small way, I am.  I had some really horrible, awful few weeks at the start there, but once things calmed down and regulated, breastfeeding became incredibly easy for me - for both of us.  Twice a day I had some incredibly relaxing moments with EH, and I came to enjoy them thoroughly.

But I also feel a sense of freedom now that I'm done.  No more pumping at lunchtime - if I want to take a nap, I can. If I want to take a walk, I can.  I can do whatever I want at lunch now! Amazing!  I also still have two really relaxing bonding moments with EH every morning and night - it's just that I give him a bottle now instead of breastfeeding.  I thought that I would hate giving him a bottle, or resent being the one who still had to do his feelings, but neither have been the case.  I haven't minded the bottle at all, and at least now I know exactly how much he is getting.

And although it's still "my job" to feed EH every morning and evening, if I really really didn't want to do it, DH could do it for me, and he would.  I have that option now, and somehow, know that I'm not obligated to do something makes me feel more ok with doing it.  Having a choice compels me to chose what used to be compulsory.  It's a weird irony that hasn't been lost on me.

So I am done breastfeeding.  After 8 months.  My goal was to do it for 3 months, and then 6 months, and I exceeded both of those.  I'm going to pat myself on the back and be thankful that things worked out so well - that I was able to breastfeed him, that he was a good little eater, and that we saved hundreds of dollars by not having to buy formula, which we realize now is incredibly expensive when you're using it full-time.  But that's another post.

I'm done.  Crazy.


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