Thursday, August 05, 2010


Today is the first day that Isaac hasn't nursed at all--he's gradually been transitioning to a sippy cup over the last month.  As always, I'm torn between sadness and relief (and guilt that I feel relief).

I calculated that out of the last 6 years, I have spent 4 years and 11 months either pregnant or nursing.   That's a lot.

I know some people really love nursing, and I have to admit, I always feel guilty and sub-par when I read about how wonderful their experience has been.  My first experience with Abigail was not positive--it was almost unbearably painful every time and she finally quit nursing at 6 months.  I cried for weeks whenever I gave her formula, because I felt like I'd failed her.  When Juliet was born, I was determined that we'd make it to a year, and we did, despite 9 ear infections that had drastic consequences for nursing (she finally had tubes put in on her first birthday).  Isaac has been better, but still extremely uncomfortable. 

It seems like lately there's been this huge pro-breastfeeding movement, which I completely support, but I also  end up tormenting myself about what a lackluster mother I am because I don't love nursing the way everyone seems to think I should.  And because I have absolutely no desire to nurse my babies past a year (I start weaning over the month following their first birthday).  I think it's great that other women choose to keep nursing, but for me it's such a battle to make it to a year that the idea of extending it--voluntarily, and when my baby will happily drink from a cup--is absolutely agonizing. 

So this is for all of you who see your baby spitting up your own blood, who struggle to produce enough milk, who grit your teeth in pain when your baby latches on, who moan with despair when the baby screams in the middle of the night, who pump milk and syringe it down your child's throat when they have an ear infection and refuse to nurse, and who heave a silent sigh of relief when your child prefers the cup.  I'm right there with you--and we are not lackluster.  :-)


Jolena said...

Amen, Rachael! I haven't gotten there quite yet to see what it will be like for me but I think mothers have enough things to make them feel guilty. Struggling with nursing shouldn't be one of them! Way to stick with it despite all the trials and don't beat yourself up too much for being happy to be done.

Malinda Crow said...

hey, did you see that Bloom talked about me? Yes, it was me who introduced them to Knock Off Wood. I just thought that was really cool. Anyway...I bet Neil would like that site.

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful mom. Congrats on moving on to the sippy cup with sweet Isaac. Love the other post too with pictures of your adorable family and your lovely dinner plates. You set a beautiful table. Love, Aunt Pam

Katrina said...

So I'm one of those moms who love breastfeeding. I know you know this. I admit it has come really easily for me with both my babies and we haven't had any major issues thus far. Rach, I want you to know that I really think you are amazing for sticking with it when you've had such an unpleasant experience with nursing. I think that says a lot about what a great mom you are.

I am a little curious though whether you have ever sought help or advice from a lactation consultant. Because while I don't expect everyone to love breastfeeding, it really should not be unbearably painful all the time. Usually whatever issue is causing pain can be resolved with the help of someone who knows what they are doing. I've heard quite a lot of stories of moms/babies who have had rough times but were able to resolve the cause of the pain, low supply, etc and go on to have a pleasant nursing relationship.

Again, just want to stress that I think you are an amazing mom! :-)

aLi said...

It is always a relief when I finish breastfeeding. I haven't had it nearly as bad as you, though, so I don't know what's wrong with me!!! Just one of those things that is wonderfully challenging AND wonderfully rewarding. I just wanted to let you know I still think you're awesome!!!

Kathryn said...

I'm with you, but I feel more guilty because I don't feel pain when breastfeeding. I feel a constant emotional pull when breastfeeding and feel annoyed that no one can fill in for me when I need a break. My first child made it 5 months then I had an ovarian cyst the size of a baseball that had to be taken care of. With my second I made it 5 months before he didn't gain any weight and I dried up. I was happy and guilty both times going to the bottle. The guilt we feel is unnecessary; 2 of my cousins were adopted and bottled fed and are perfectly fine. =)

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