Watching your baby grow into a toddler is an awesome part of parenthood. Everyone warned me that they grow up so quick, but they forget to mention how awesome it is to witness. Being a part of a human being’s development is both humbling and stressful. You worry all the time about screwing something up. Should I let him cry? Is he learning to play by himself? How do I show him that he can be independent but at the same time I’ll always be here for him?
There’s a big part of me that’s going to miss being able to give my son something that no one else can provide. Breastfeeding has kept me connected to him while I’m away at work. As I pump and pour, I take the time to scroll through photos of him or read stories about other moms who are feeling the same things as me.
Like most pumping moms, I’ve struggled with finding motivation to pump. Since starting my new job, I pump in a private room in the HR office. It’s not nearly as convenient as it was when I would just close my office door and pump at my desk while working. I’m slightly embarrassed by the loud noises coming from my pumping machine (why can’t they make these things quieter?). I wonder what people think happens in here. At least there’s a door hanger telling people not to come in while I’m pumping now. Two times being walked in on is way more than enough.
When I’m home, it seems like pumping is a source of contention between my husband and I. He thinks of it as 15 minutes when I get to sit on my phone, cruise Facebook, and relax while he’s busy chasing our wandering child. And I see it as 15 minutes of being connected to a milking machine as I sit at a strange angle on the cold floor near an electrical outlet. Neither of us is happy with the situation and I’m relieved now that the pressure to pump and make my family happy at the same time has passed.
The weaning process has been tough to deal with. I expected to have a difficult time physically, not emotionally. But my body adapted really well to weaning over the last two weeks. My mind went through a grieving process. When I first started to think about weaning, I was in denial that I could ever stop the rhythm I was in, wondering where does all this milk go? Would it just absorb back into my body? I became angry when I had to go pump, thinking it was such a waste of time when my production started slowing from 20 ounces to 16, 8, and eventually 3-4. I became really depressed thinking about this chapter of my life coming to an end. Since we’re not really sure if we want to have a second baby, I may never get the chance to nurse again. I really enjoyed breastfeeding and I would have continued if my baby wanted to, but he clearly wasn’t interested. And finally, I accepted the verdict and became happy at the thought of controlling my own body again. And more importantly: wearing a real bra!
My breastfeeding goal was to make it to one year. I achieved that and I’m ready to collect my finishing ribbon and hang up my “Milk Maid” hat. Yes, I picture myself wearing one of these.
For all those mommas still on their journey, keep going! It’s one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve ever done (you, know, besides for keeping a baby alive).