A Goodbye to Breastfeeding

the bond created from breastfeeding your babyA few days ago was the last time I breastfed Charlie. The process of weening from nursing wasn’t intentional but after Charlie was diagnosed with acid reflux last month we realized that he had a worse reaction to my milk and did better on formula so we decided it was in his best interest that I stopped. I was heartbroken.

Let me start this post by saying that I completely understand why breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. I mentioned before that when I left the hospital after giving birth I told the nurse I understood women decided not to nurse their child. It was HARD in the hospital and didn’t work at all until Charlie was 6 days old (which is why he lost 12% of his body weight in those first few days). There is so much pressure put on the mother to nurse, have your child latch immediately and everything go perfectly – I just can’t imagine this is the case.

However, once Charlie and I were home (and I was more comfortable) we got a good rhythm going and nursing ended up being really easy for us.  Again, I know it is not for everyone but if you’re a new mom and feeling discouraged, please allow yourself two more days to see if it works because I can’t tell you how special it is. My friend Chassity and I were having a conversation a few years ago and I asked her what she is most proud of in life and she said breastfeeding her children. At the time I didn’t really get it but I can confidently say that it is without a doubt the greatest thing I have ever done. It is a HUGE sacrifice. You give your body completely to another being and honestly you are a slave to your child. I lost myself those first couple months – most days I wouldn’t shower, I wouldn’t wear a shirt or bra, I wouldn’t leave my house – it felt like I just nursed Charlie around the clock. It was exhausting but also something I would never trade for the world. The fact that we are designed to feed our children is absolutely insane. You gain a whole new respect for your body once you have a child and nursing elevates that even more.

When I decided that it was time to stop I was a HOT MESS. They say your hormones level off after giving birth to what they were before you got pregnant but weaning off of nursing was a whole new cluster of emotions. I cried more in these last 2 weeks than I have in my life (which apparently is common). I couldn’t let it go – those big smiles when he would pull off of my breast with his little milk beard – ugh I’ll cherish those days forever. I had a 45 minute therapy session with our pediatrician, she told me that it wasn’t an allergy and that I should keep nursing if I could – sadly my milk supply was already diminishing and as hard as I tried to get it back, it didn’t work. In the end, Charlie is a new child after discovering and addressing his acid reflux. I had to give into my selfish desire to keep nursing and realize that having a happy, healthy baby is obviously so much more important.

My goal was to nurse Charlie for 6 months (hopefully longer) and in 10 days Charlie will be 6 months old. I stare at videos I took of Charlie nursing (pathetic, I know) and will forever cherish those moments I spent with my baby boy.

If you have any questions about nursing, pumping, storage – anything to do with breastfeeding, email me at [email protected]! xx

 

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35 thoughts on “A Goodbye to Breastfeeding

  1. Stopping breast-feeding is bitter sweet under the best circumstances I’m so sorry to hear that you were forced to stop so suddenly. I can totally relate to the struggles of nursing in the early days. It took my son three weeks to take to it but it was so important to me I just refused to give up! I remember to this day what it felt like to stop. Wishing you the very best as you enter this new chapter. And thank you for sharing your story!

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  2. I breastfeed for a year with baby #1 & currently breastfeeding baby #2. I am surprised they gave advice to stop. I had followed ‘Timeline of a breast feed baby’ and I found this excellent to ‘keep me going’
    In Ireland, we have among the lowest rates of breastfeeding which is so sad- coincidently , today before 1pm while out shopping, I had 4 conversations / questions about feeding from complete strangers ! Random I know.
    Well done for feeding, us woman need to give ourselves a pat on the back sometimes xx

  3. Thank you for sharing such an honest and intimate choice!! I’m 6 months pregnant and am totally stressed out (and hormonal) about how this will go for me. Reading your words make me relax a bit more 🙂 Charlie has the best mom!

  4. Oh hun, I am so sorry for your loss, and I don’t think it’s pathetic at all. My girl was born just after yours and i so enjoyed seeing your pictures and posts of your pregnancy and baby. Anyway I am hurting for you as I also am BF and i cannot imagine how hard that was for you. Love and prayers for you both

    LINDA

  5. Again, what a wonderful post on motherhood! You are so thoughtful in the way you addressed mothers who choose to nurse and those that do not. It was a struggle in the beginning (hello, breasts that feel like metal plates!!) but I too am glad I stuck with it. As a new mom coming close to that 6 month mark, I fear that I will be an emotional mess once I stop breastfeeding. I will miss the way my baby girl looks up at me and smiles when she’s done feeding. I will miss they way she is so eager to latch on and place her tiny little hand on my breast while she’s feeding. Such precious moments, right?!! Thank you for sharing your experience – it’s been so helpful to know that I’m not the only one going through the extreme ups and downs of motherhood.

  6. I really appreciated this post! I’ve been a long time reader and being 7.5 months pregnant myself, I’m just so appreciative of blogs like yours that offer things like fashion posts with a little bit of the mom stuff sprinkled in.

    Xo,
    Karen
    http://www.brooklynfragments.com

  7. I’m in my last few weeks before meeting our first baby. Currently taking in every word of wisdom I can possibly gather for being a new momma, so reading things like this just touch me! I love your openness in this post and definitely applaud you for being so darn close to your 6 month goal! Would love to read about your best nursing, pumping, and storage tips if you ever decide to write a post on it!

  8. Such a great post. I had a somewhat similar experience and can completely relate. My daughter is highly allergic to milk – had blood in her stool at 8 weeks. I had stopped breastfeeding prior to that after getting mastitis. I had REALLY beat myself up about stopping after only one month, but realized soon after that this was the best decision for both of us. We tried re-introducing milk based formula at 8 months and she had a horrific reaction – anaphylaxis. She is okay, thank goodness and I have stopped beating myself up, but it’s one of the most emotional decisions a woman can make. I have no doubt in my mind that we all do what we feel is best for our babies. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    http://classroomcouture.blogspot.com

  9. Great job mom! Some people, and some dad’s even, don’t realize what a struggle it is to breastfeed. Sounds like you did what’s best for your babe and that makes you the best type of mom. As a new mom of a 10 mo boy, I’m loving these motherhood posts!

  10. 6 months is awesome! I couldn’t do it, as my milk never came in after my c-section. So bravo to you!!!

  11. I know what you mean! Stopping breastfeeding made me soooooo emotional! Finally a month after I felt like myself and was at peace with my decision. Good job for breastfeeding as long as you could!

  12. Hey Liz,

    I love your honesty in your posts, especially when it comes to being a new mom to Charlie. Its super refreshing. I currently do not have children, but am worried about how my life will change after I decide I’m ready to have kids. One aspect I am worried about is my love for travel. Will I have to give all that up once I become a mom? I see that you have travelled with Charlie a few times and was wondering if you could do a post about travelling with a baby. What were your struggles? How did he handle it? How did you prep? Is it really as hard as everyone says?
    A lot of people I know says that your travels get put on hold for a couple of years once you give birth. Did you run into any naysayers and how did you overcome that?
    Its totally up to you if you decide to write a post so personal (and potentially controversial) or not, but I know that if you do….you will have an avid reader in me. Thanks!

  13. Little milk beard!!!! OMG…. That is the sweetest and best, I know! Nursed my first for 11 mos and second for 6 mos and totally understand what you are saying. But you gave Charlie the best of you when he needed it most! Give yourself a big hug/pat on the back because you did it mama. IT doesn’t matter if you nurse for 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years (…) – you did it and you should be proud of yourself and only have happy thoughts of those times. It is the hardest and most selfless thing any mama can do. I applaud you!

  14. Thank you for such a refreshingly candid post about your breastfeeding experience! My son is four months and has been exclusively formula fed for the last few weeks. It was a gradual transition (from supplementing with formula while breastfeeding to exclusively pumping and supplementing to 100% formula) and I definitely struggled with the decision along the way. Now that he’s on 100% formula and thriving I still miss those breastfeeding moments but also wouldn’t have it any other way. My son is healthy and happy, I know he’s well fed and gaining weight at a healthy rate, and I finally have my body to myself again. I’m so glad that I got a chance to breastfeed while I did but am at peace with my decision to quit. We still bond during feedings, it’s just different than it was before. Ultimately a fed, happy baby is best!

  15. I have loved all of your honest posts about motherhood! My daughter is 8 months old, and it is so refreshing to read your posts about things that aren’t so glamorous. I recently stopped breastfeeding as well. I was sad about it initially, but I am also loving the new found freedom that comes with it (especially not having to wear nursing bras anymore). It seems like Charlie has a great mama!
    I know you’ve posted a few times about being unsure of what to write for the blog, but I love all the posts you have been doing lately. Keep up the good work!

  16. I loved your post!!! I breastfed my son for 6 months and then had stored breastmilk so he continued until 9 months, but it was so hard and challenging and rewarding and amazing all at the same time.

    He is adorable and you are doing great. Thanks for posting content like this, I am a new mom too although my son is 18 months Sunday and I always felt I was the only one going through the above things you mentioned. Thanks so much for sharing!

    http://www.fashionworthknowing.com

  17. What a beautiful post. I was also very sad when I stopped nursing both my children, now 4 and 21 months. With my first I was able to go 13 months, only 8 with my second. I was devastated that I had failed my second-born because I couldn’t make it to that oh-so-holy year mark. Then I decided to set that guilt aside and boy, was life so much better and relaxed. We put so many pressures on ourselves to be the perfect mothers – no thanks to all these outside sources telling us we need to “do more,” “have it all,” etc. I think the best thing we can do for each other is to lift each other up and realize that we’re ALL doing the best we can. Our kids will thanks us for that and will respond to our happiness much better than if we were anxious all the time for trying to be perfect. Trust me, I grew up with a perfectionist mother. 🙂 You’re a good momma, well done for making it as far as you did!

  18. Oh Liz, I SO know what you’re going through. I tried nursing both of my boys and it didn’t work out for either one and I, too, felt so discouraged and frustrated and heartbroken. With my oldest, we struggled with latching and as many times as I went back to the hospital to work with the lactation nurse, it just didn’t work. I remember vividly the night my husband and I decided it’d be in the best interest of my son’s health (he had to eat!) for us to just make the jump and, at that time, switch to pumping and bottle-feeding. I, too, cried and literally felt like the cord had been severed (again) for good. I would just hold him and cry. However, once we did make that decision, I felt a weight lifted off of me and I knew he was still getting my milk, just from the bottle and not my breast. I pumped for 9 months and I’m still proud of that accomplishment.

    With my second son, however, it was a whole different story. We actually started off well those first 10 days; he was latching on beautifully and it was working – hard, but it was working. Then I started to get a rash on my entire chest and neck area and it was excruciatingly uncomfortable. I went to my OB and she thought it was thrash, but there were no signs on my son. So I started reading up online and read it could be hives, so I went to my dermotologist and they diagnosed me with hives, saying it was almost like an allergic reaction to breastfeeding. I was floored – my body was actually rejecting breastfeeding! So once again, I was frustrated and disappointed because I thought I had “failed” once again. However, I could NOT go on with even pumping, my breasts were so raw and completely ravaged, that we switched to formula. Both my boys are happy, healthy and although I am jealous of those moms that successfully breastfeed their babies into toddler-hood, I also know that we did what we had to do for us. I appreciate your honesty on being a mother – the #realtalk is completely refreshing. You’re doing a great job, momma! xx

  19. Thanks for this post! I had to wean my son around 9 months because I got pregnant when he was 7 months old (a surprise) and my supply couldn’t keep up, especially as it coincided with when I was returning to work and would have to pump for what he needed while I was away. It was SO hard, and I felt like I was taking something away from him, like letting him down. But, as I knew deep down, he was totally fine and couldn’t have been healthier. Any time things don’t go as planned, it can be so hard to deal with, especially when hormones are involved! I so appreciate your honesty.

  20. Thank you for sharing the intimate details of motherhood. You’re a great mom and no matter what you do, Charlie will love you. My cousins both had issues with breast milk and had to move to formula as well. They are now 7 and 5 and in perfect health.

    Elisa
    http://www.reeserose.com

  21. Love this post. My little one and I had a tough time getting the hang of breastfeeding and just as I felt we were getting into a groove, we realized that his belly was not agreeing with just about anything I ate. I had such mixed feelings about weaning because I had come to so appreciate what my body was doing and the time it gave me with my Luke. But, fed is best and a happier baby was the result! (In other news, I immediately gained like 7lbs womp womp haha) 🙂

  22. I have said a million times– if you thought pregnancy hormones were bad, just wait until breastfeeding hormones! I can totally relate. I breastfed my son for nine months, and when we stopped, it felt like we were both ready. With my daughter, though, I had to go back to work sooner, and she had pumped bottles all day from 3 months old. It didn’t take long for her to refuse to breastfeed (she didn’t want to wait for the letdown). After weeks of trying everything I could think of, I decided it was best for me to stop. It all happened so quickly and wasn’t a part of my “plan” — it was super difficult for me. So I definitely understand the bittersweet aspect! Glad you got the experience though…you’re right, you will cherish those memories forever!

  23. I never thought I would be a breastfeeding mom until Ava was born and it changed my outlook. But by the time I went back to work, my supply started to diminish because I was already pressed for time and put so much pressure on myself to pump when I could that eventually it was just a done deal. I felt horrible. Not to mention all the mommy blogs that I felt were shaming me as a mother for not breastfeeding longer than 5 months. It took a few weeks of emotional crying, sobbing, confiding in my husband about how horrible I felt to finally get over it. The minute Ava took to formula and didn’t have any problems, I knew I had made the right decision for us. It’s never easy but everyone is different and there is no set pattern for how we as mom’s should operate when it comes to our babies.

  24. Thank you so much for this post! My son Logan is 2 weeks younger than Charlie and we are currently weaning from breastfeeding. I returned to work outside the home when he was about 3 months and my supply has slowly diminished since then. I anticipate ending completely within the next week or two and have felt so sad knowing the end is near. It is refreshing to know I am not alone in my experience. I am really proud of our breastfeeding journey and am in awe of what my body was capable of. There is such comradeship between breastfeeding mothers and it’s a club I am happy to have belonged to. Thank you again for sharing your story. Best wishes to you and Charlie!

    http://baublesandbites.com/

  25. I’m currently sitting up in my bed nursing my 8 week old son for what feels like the millionth time this morning. It took almost 1 week for my milk to come in and then I developed a rash all over my body which stopped me from nursing. In all, we struggled for 2 weeks to finally get to exclusively breast feeding. It was and still is one of the hardest things I’ve ever accomplished. If we continue to nurse until 6 months I’ll be happy. If he decides up to a year then even better. But I hope I won’t be hard on myself if we stop before then. Now I’m getting sentimental at the thought of my little guy not being attached to
    me 24/7 !!!

  26. Hi Liz,

    Thank you for this great post. Might be a little late but I was wondering if you could share your experience on how you weaned. We’re hitting the 6 month mark soon and looks like we’re headed in the same direction. Would be great to get your perspective.

    Thanks,
    Veronica

  27. I came to this article from your year end review. I’m literally sitting in bed after nursing my 8 month old to sleep and reading blogs before getting up to put him in his bassinet for the night… the combination of what I’m doing and reading your words about breastfeeding brought tears to my eyes!! I agree that nursing is probably what I’m most proud of, possiblynneck in neck with growing and birthing this little boy too 😉