THOUGHTS ON WEANING.

06.05.2014

 

Let me start by saying my little gal is going to be ONE in just under a month. One. Holy moly, where did this year go? I can distinctly remember last year at this time. I felt huge (let’s be honest, I was huge), the Midwest summer humidity was starting to pick up and I wasn’t even remotely ready for the swelling my petite size 6 feet were about to endure in just another week or so.

 

At that time my views on breastfeeding were strong, but not in the conventional sense. Not for the reasons they are now. I was only considering it for the weight loss promise that accompanied the act, and that naïve outlook was mostly due to my lack of knowledge of the many other benefits.

 

As these last few weeks of year one commence, I’m realizing that I’ve made it to my ultimate goal of making sure Adelyn had breast milk for the entire first year of her life. I consider myself lucky to have enough stored in our chest freezer that I was able to stop pumping this week (praise Jesus, HALLELUJAH!) and know I can get her through to at least 13 months old so we can transition her to whole milk gradually.

 

Eleven months ago, nine months ago, even two months ago I was sure I would be jumping for joy to end this very long, very trying journey. But right now, right in this moment, I’m still just a little uneasy.

 

Pumping has been so time consuming. I’ve dedicated at minimum an hour a day (combined) to it since returning to work at 10 weeks post partum and that doesn’t even include the time to thoroughly wash all the parts to the pump. I’ve made it through awkward moments in the office where I needed to excuse myself from meetings early, I’ve sat on conference calls on mute so I could pump through them and I’ve pumped in my car on day trips to and from Chicago for meetings. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to be done with that aspect of it all, but with all of the struggles and hardships, scheduling challenges and awkward office conversations, comes a sense of pride that I DID IT.

 

I made it. Pumping on a schedule to avoid hindering my milk supply for 11 months between business trips and office work took more dedication than anything I have ever devoted myself to in my life. To anyone who hasn’t done it I know it doesn’t sounds like anything special. But to those who have, you know what I’m talking about. There were so many times along the way that I thought about quitting, but now that the time has come to give a final sanitization to and pack away that medela pump, accessories and the black bag that accompanies it, I feel proud. And for the first time in my life I feel justified in shouting it from the rooftops (or at least posting about it on my blog), that I’ve earned this pride. I did it.

 

Pumping aside, I’m still nursing Adelyn in the morning and right before bed until her first birthday at which time I’ll move down to just one nursing session a day to wean both her and me (I have to avoid that nasty mastitis that’s all too easy to acquire with cutting it off cold turkey).

 

This milestone is so bittersweet, and the last few days that I lay her in her crib for bed I can feel a little part of my heart aching as the reality sets in that this relationship between her and me is ending. I know I don’t technically have to wean yet, and I know a lot of people go much longer than a year, but I think I need to. For so many reasons. Mainly because I think it’s time that I {somewhat selfishly} am just ready to have my body back to myself for awhile. Neither Husby nor I are even remotely ready for a second baby at this point, so I’d really just like some time for my body to be mine…not pregnant, not a source for food, just…mine. Normal again.

 

That brings me to these last few weeks. My last few weeks of heading into her bedroom at 6:30 p.m. for mommy time and putting her to bed. These are my last few weeks where I can selfishly say that I’m the one who has to put her to bed. Once she switches to a bottle, when Husby wants to relish in those final nighttime moments with her, who am I to say they’re mine? He’s waited—so patiently—for a year to experience those moments with her.

 

So for the next few weeks I’m going to savor those sleepy eyes as they look up at me. I’m going to rock her a little longer before laying her down. I’m going to kiss her forehead twice as many times. Because as happy as I am to have my body back to myself, I’m going to miss these tiny moments I have with her that I’ll never be able to get back.

 

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© 2013 by Heather Anders : Meet Me on the Intersection of Richmond & Style.