As my baby nears his first birthday, I wanted to reflect on our breastfeeding journey since I know it is coming to a close.
My baby is about to turn one. ONE! My goal was to breastfeed for one year, and so I can say I have met this goal. However, I can’t say I met it successfully. I’ve struggled with low supply and nursing refusal since the beginning, and it looks like this is how the journey will also end.
I’m only pumping at work once a day now, and I’m only getting one ounce of breast milk. It is time to stop pumping, because it really has taken its toll on me and I’m not seeing much of a return on my investment here. A few months ago I dropped my afternoon pumping session since I was only getting an ounce, but at that time I was still getting three ounces in the morning and in my mid-day session. (Not that 3 ounces is a good output anyway, but I’ve never been able to increase my supply.) Now I’m only getting an ounce in my mid-day session, and I know that stopping that pumping session will diminish my morning output as well. But it is for the best, because it is time.
For the past few weeks or so it has been hit or miss whether Baby H will nurse in the evening after work. Since I pump in the morning while he’s still sleeping, and then have been pumping at work, the evening time is the only chance I get to nurse him. With his refusals and my dropping pumping at work, I know my milk supply will dry up quickly.
But this is bittersweet. I’m disappointed at my own body for failing me in this. I never expected breastfeeding to be so hard and my supply to be so low, but I am proud of myself that I kept going for the full year despite the issues we’ve had.
I will miss holding my baby close with him latched on and the way his body melts into mine. I will miss the way his eyes roll up in the back of his head when he starts to nurse. I will miss him passing out in milk coma cuteness on top of me. I also am sad for the missed opportunities for more time. For more nursing sessions ending in happy milk coma baby instead of still hungry angry baby.
But I’m also feeling a bit relieved, too. I’m not going to miss the nursing strikes and having baby push me away. I’m not going to miss the pump – not even a little. I’m looking forward to having control over my body again, and maybe really being able to lose some more of this stubborn baby weight.
So for better or for worse, the beginning of the end of my breastfeeding journey is here.