Mourning The End Of Breastfeeding To Embrace Toddlerhood
When I first found out I was pregnant with Sebastian, breastfeeding was the one thing I knew I wanted to do. It wasn't really an option, more of a given. I was given the ability to birth children and to feed them from my body, so why would I do it any other way? As all good plans go, that did not work out for me. I don’t know if it was the C-Section, jaundice, a possible undiagnosed lip-tie, but for whatever reason, I just could not keep up production for him. It wasn’t for lack of trying because I was constantly attached to a machine or a child, and I still just did not have enough. Finally, after months of around the clock trying I said enough and I threw in the towel.
In comes baby #2, Madison, and I wanted, no, I needed to give it another shot. I had a VBAC with her and immediate skin to skin. I planned everything around trying to make sure I was successful with her, and thankfully we were. I did have moments of panic at the beginning where I didn’t know if I was doing it right or if she was getting enough. I went to see a lactation specialist and joined a breastfeeding group. My fear was that she was not growing fast enough. She has always been small and that was completely different from my son who was always very big, so I was afraid that her 22 percentile weight was because I wasn’t producing enough to sustain her instead of it just being her basic genetic makeup.
Turning a Corner
Once I saw my pediatrician and the lactation consultant and we were all in sync that she was just a small girl, my confidence grew and I realized I was doing everything right. The key was to just let her feed when she wants and for as long as she wants. She set the pace and I just made myself available to her. This meant that I had to learn how to use a cover, and at a certain point, it meant I had to deal with being uncovered because she would just rip the cover off. I don’t blame her. We live in South Florida and she’s a summer baby. I would rip the blanket off my head too if I was trying to eat under one and it was 90 degrees out, which add humidity to that and it really feels like it’s 110, or as I like to call it, the 7th layer of hell hot.
With all new things, there was an adjustment period and a learning curve, but we got through it. My goal was to make it to two and I can happily say we made it. I do love our time together, on most occasions. Currently, she uses feeding as a way of comforting herself when she gets hurt or as a means of drifting off to sleep. She also uses it as a way of getting close to me, and this is where I’m running into problems. She seems to want to latch on every time I sit down and that just doesn’t work for me. I need to be able to sit without a toddler latching on to me. I need to be able to fold clothes, eat, or go to the bathroom without a toddler following me around lifting up/down my shirt. I need to find a way to limit that but I’m not even sure how to start. I’ve tried wearing clothes that were hard to get into, but she would cry and look so miserable that I would just give in.
The beginning of the end
This is my last baby. My husband and I are not having anymore so the pressure to get the full motherhood experience for as long as possible is serious. I don’t want to let go of certain things, like breastfeeding, even though my daughter is so attached to it and by extension me that it is hindering my ability to care for myself. It is also getting in the way of other aspects of my life and my relationship with my husband because she is all about her and that is my fault because of my desire to draw out infanthood for as long as possible.
So I will have to wean her and move on from trying to stop time; I will have to grieve that I will no longer have an infant in the house and fully embrace my silly little girl's toddlerhood. I need to go back to taking care of me and my relationship with my husband and accept that my children are growing up. They were only on loan to me and will slowly grow into their own beings. I am just their guide through childhood, put here to ensure that they grow up into amazing adults.