Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We've Come Along Way Baby

Just over seventeen months ago when I was dealing with a brand new jaundiced baby, breast pumps and Mastitis I would have never been able to relate to the feelings I'm having today.

Today and for the past couple of weeks Miss A has been increasingly uninterested in breastfeeding. This seems to occur mostly during the before and after naps feedings. We go about our usual routine and when I try to lay her back for a drink she cries and wants to stay sitting up. She will usually cuddle, suck her thumb and even lay her head down on my shoulder but when I try to lay her down again she protests.

I have been comfortable with the way she's been self weaning until now. It's been gradual, painless and even convenient. But I'm wondering if she's nearly ready to stop altogether and to be honest I'm feeling a bit distressed about it. I had fully intended on continuing until she was two, now it's looking like we won't make it that far.

It's funny because like I said, at the beginning we had so many struggles and I often considered quitting but I pushed through. I honestly didn't think I'd be upset when she one day decided to quit. In fact I thought I'd be happy. But the thing is I'm not. I'm not exactly sad either, just confused. I'm not sure if I'm reading her right or not.

At this age there are a lot of situations where it's like “Listen, I know you want to climb up on the dresser but it's not safe and I want the best for you so get down please...” I'm wondering if this breastfeeding thing is the same, that I need to be persistent because I know what is best. Perhaps she thinks she's too busy for it. My concern is if she stops nursing in the afternoon my milk supply will definitely drop. I know, I keep forgetting how amazing our bodies can be and that they adapt in whatever way it needs to.

I also don't want to try to force her to continue if she is truly done. Since this is my first time I have no idea how to go about this. Also, I imagine it's different with every child. Sigh. I would appreciate any ideas, opinions or suggestions that any fellow breastfeeders may have. And for those of you who might be all “You're STILL breastfeeding and your kid is 1 and 1/2!? Gross!” Well, yes I am. And no, it's not.


plantain said...

It's a hard one isn't it? The Wee Snap dropped his afternoon feeds (i.e. the ones not associated with falling asleep) early (around 8ish months if I recall)... it was just becoming an exercise in futility and frustration (on both sides) to try and 'force' him... I'm kind of 'going with the flow' a bit in my sitch. He only feeds before nap and before bed... and I put him down asleep... so it's a blessing and a curse... it'll be alot harder to eventually wean as opposed to feeding that's not associated with sleeping. The only thing I could say (which I'm sure most people will be repeating) is to just watch Baby A and take her cues.. maybe she just wants a break and will go back to nursing at this time in a couple of days or weeks ... or maybe she is ready to start cutting down. As far as your milk... I never had any problems with my supply (in fact an overabundance of leche!!) so I was a bit worried about mastitis and or pain when he was cutting out feedings... but after a week or so... it all kind of levelled out...It's a pretty awe inspiring process our body goes through, hey?

Lynanne said...

Both my sons weaned at young ages (around 10 months) so I'm not sure I'll be much help. Though, I wasn't ready to quit with my second son and tried everything I could think of to encorage him to continue. The more I offered, the harder he resisted.

I would echo Plantain's suggestion to take your cues from Miss A. It may be a temporary thing. But, if you force the issue and she starts feeling negative about the experience, she might pull away more. Your supply will adapt to her if she decides to nurse more again. Even when you completely stop breastfeeding, it takes longer than you would think to dry up. (not to supply TMI - your breasts don't get hard and leaky like if you stop during the first year but you just might still be able to express a few drops months later.)

Miss A may not even care so much about your supply right now. Ella is still breastfeeding (at 17 months, AND I'm 8 months pregnant so take THAT you silly naysayers...) but I don't think I have much supply anymore. There are days when we skip breastfeeding completely. She doesn't really "ask" very much, but when I offer, she seems content to nurse for longer than I would think that she's getting anything.

One final thing - might Miss A be teething again? I noticed when Ella was getting her molars she wasn't too keen on breastfeeding. Once they broke through (or if she was doped up with tylenol) she was more eager to breastfeed again.

monique said...

ah, you said the magic words to stop my lurking... Hi MamaD, I've been stopping by since I visited Jenn last summer...
Anyhoo, I have no advice to offer. I have a 22 month old boob adict, and I am boobed out! Last week we started a limiting plan, and today I got whacked with mastitis. Uck. I feel awful.
Your end note amused me though, since, at the doctor's office today I sat with the B-man on my lap and talked about why I was there, namely excruciating boob pain and a body that aches like it was hit by a truck, and told him I'm a nursing mom. He looked around in total confusion before asking, "so who are you breastfeeding?" I wish I had answered, "my husband" or something clever, but I was too shocked to be smart about it. When the global average for weaning is 4 years old, why is it shocking that I should nurse my child under 2?

That said, good luck. Miss A will tell you what she needs. I'm sure you're doing great.

bon said...

Not. A. Clue!

The longest that I've made it with any of my kids was 10 months. But I'll tell ya... I am pushing harder the next (last) time, because my Pearl only started with the #$@! ear infections when I stopped nursing!

Again... &%*$@#$!