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Jan 16 2014

Weaning Has Been the Hardest Thing Yet

By at 11:55 am

weanin

We’re done. We nursed for two years, three months, and five days, and now we are finished. Check that life milestone off the list. My first baby is a big girl now.

It’s been three weeks and my boobs still hurt. And so does my heart. I’m angry, sad, and a touch melodramatic. While I know it was a good time to do it, and I knew it would be hard, I didn’t think it would be this hard.

Charlotte is doing fine, and I am a basket case.

The timing was right. I went away for five days to sunny Southern California for a work conference, and Charlotte stayed home in Seattle with her dad. I’ve tried weaning by going away, unsuccessfully, two other times in the past year. This time around, I figured with no other upcoming solo travel opportunities on the horizon, I better just do it. We’ve been talking since she turned 2 that the milk in mommy’s booboos was running out because Charlotte was getting to be such a big girl and didn’t need it anymore. So, the morning before I headed off to the airport, we had our final morning nursing snuggle. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 13 2014

I’m Glad to Be Done with Breastfeeding

By at 10:07 am

beautiful baby with bottle

We’re not supposed to say that we’re glad to be done with breastfeeding. But I’ll admit it: My name is Jordana and I’m kind of, sort of, glad to be done.

Without question, breastfeeding is terrific when it works. But “when it works” is often interpreted as the simple: when you can get the kid to latch, for example, or have no problems with supply.

But what if it makes you crazy?

Not literally crazy, of course. I’m talking colloquially crazy. As in, “God, this is driving me crazy.” As in being perpetually stressed out, tired, and miserable. As in finding yourself screaming at your other kids because you are so hung up on making sure the breastfeeding is going OK. What about that? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 15 2013

I Can’t Bring Myself to Throw Away the Breast Milk

By at 10:07 am

shutterstock_82906351

About four months ago, I stopped pumping.

I know. It’s a big deal. I’m a part-time, work-from-home mom, so pumping was something I had to do in order to go out and get in a few hours at the office. Every night, around 9 p.m. I’d get my water, wash my hands, set up the pump, and watch TV. After an hour of being attached to flanges that made an arooga sound as they pulled on my nipples, I’d have a few ounces and I’d know that I could leave the house the next time the babysitter came by.

Oh man, that pump. I know I’m not the first to complain about the noises it made (the TV volume was always up so high so I could hear over the damn thing) or about the way it could hurt or about how my relationship with cow’s milk has changed now that I myself have been like the cow. And yes, I would multitask, working my way through my DVR, sometimes attempting to respond to emails, but still–it was a huge commitment of time and energy, every night. Every night for almost a year. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 10 2013

My 5-Year-Old Daughter is in Love with My Breasts

By at 11:57 am

bra

Really.

I don’t mean she loves the idea of one day being a grown woman with big boobs who gets to wear pretty bras like her mama. I mean she’s completely and utterly head over heels in love with my breasts.

When she was 2 ½ she finally–after what felt like thousands of failed attempts and pink lollipop bribes and hours of pleading–quit nursing. If she had it her way, though, she’d still be breastfeeding every night until she goes off to college. (Law school, specifically. That girl can convince you a thousand different ways that dogs meow and cats bark–and you’ll believe her.)

But for the second half of her little life, she seems to be making up for her lack of nursing by grabbing my breasts whenever and wherever she gets the chance. We could be at the doctor or at a wedding–she really doesn’t care. She wants my boobs and she wants them now. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 26 2013

No More Screaming at the Breast Pump for Me

By at 10:10 am

breast pumpOne of the things I’m most proud of as a mother is nursing my older son for a year. And now one of the other things I am most proud of is weaning my younger son at 6 months.

Nursing my older son Ari wasn’t easy. Like many moms, it took weeks to find our groove. Just as I was getting the hang of things, I had to head back to work when Ari turned 3 months old. From there my love-hate relationship with my breast pump began.

Due to my son’s (amazing) sleep schedule and my work schedule, I would often go days at a time with only one nursing, if even that. It was just me and the pump. At some point, my pumping became only about the milk and not the feeding of my son. I was constantly worried if I was making enough milk. Was there a deep supply in the freezer? Would I have to give him what I thought was a dreaded bottle of formula? I was pretty miserable breastfeeding. I distinctly remember hating nearly every minute of it, but I persisted. I didn’t think I had any other choice.

I swore with my next child that I wouldn’t be all consumed by the milk. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2013

The Pains of Parenting with Arthritis

By at 9:35 am

arthritis handsTwo weeks after my second son was born, I woke up one morning with swollen wrists that were too stiff and painful to hold my baby. Using my forearms, I handed our son to my husband and whispered, “It’s back.”

It, in this case, was arthritis that had plagued me since before I hit puberty. Brought on by a virus? Possibly tied to that horrific case of the chicken pox I had in sixth grade? Or maybe passed down from an elderly aunt? All the doctors had different opinions. I just wanted to get through my ballet classes in one piece, and maybe work on my tennis game.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 17 2012

Once I Wean My Daughter, How Will I Relax?

By at 10:41 am
dior shoes

Before breatfeeding, I used to look at pictures of designer shoes to unwind. Now what will I do?

I’m going to miss nursing. People keep asking me when I plan to wean, and I tell them what I’ve said since Lila was born. My plan was to nurse for a year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one year of breastfeeding, so that seemed like a good guideline, and I adopted it as my personal goal.

But the thing is, we’re racing toward the year mark. I had no idea how quickly it would pass.

We have certainly had some hiccups along the way, with my milk supply initially being low, along with bouts of mastitis and thrush. But Lila and I mastered nursing, and I’ve come to really enjoy it. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 19 2012

A Weaning Story

By at 3:44 pm

tamara reese weaningWe talk a lot–a lot!–about breastfeeding on Kveller, but something we don’t talk about so often is what comes next–the weaning process. We’ve heard from Tamara Reese about her shaky start with breastfeeding and her eventual success with extended breastfeeding, and now, with teary eyes and proud hearts, we bring to you her story of weaning her first child. From the piece:

When I was seven weeks pregnant we went on vacation and my son nursed around the clock. I was incredibly nauseous and his cries for milk made me equal parts enraged and exhausted. I don’t think I have ever been that tired in my entire life. Upon returning home from our trip, I considered weaning him. I felt that every ounce of energy I had left was being drained by nursing and with his second birthday approaching, I knew he would adjust.

And then I actually pictured a day where he and I weren’t nursing anymore and it brought me to tears.

Read the whole piece on Kveller here.

Jan 24 2012

Mama’s Baby Milk

By at 11:50 am
fist pump

Pumping takes on new meaning.

Before I had my son, I fully intended on breastfeeding. My mother breastfed three children at a time where breastfeeding wasn’t the norm and in a family where feeding  from your breasts was (and is) seen as disgusting. I went into nursing with the goal of one year because that seemed to be what was socially acceptable and by many people’s standards, “once he’s old enough to ask for it, he’s old enough to stop.” Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 8 2011

Empty Breast Syndrome

By at 12:36 pm

When I flew to Los Angeles for eight days, I took the following with me: Ten pairs of underwear, eight tanktops, six pairs of pants, four bras, and two lactating breasts.

Yes, Little Homie was still on the boob, and as I struggled with the decision to go to LA or not, the breastfeeding issue was the big pink nursing elephant (spraying milk all over the room.)

The thing is, Little Homie is 20 months – and while, like Mayim Bialik, I love the idea of child-led weaning, after 21 cases of mastitis and sleepless nights spent lying like a sow in bed next to my (not so little) nursling, I have reached the point of no return where every time he latches on, I want to bite back. Dude has molars, people. And an extensive vocabulary which includes the words “boob,” “nipple,” and “areola.”

Fortunately, we had already nixed the day nursing a long time ago when Little Homie started gan (kindergarten)¸ but that still left us with the night sessions, which most parents will agree are even harder to end because, after all, during the day, you’ve got about 10,000 distractions you can draw on if need be. But at night? Well, it’s just you, your “booboos,” and your (screaming) baby. (And a palpable awareness of your neighbors. Several blocks away.) And when your kid’s “transitional objects” are your breasts, weaning…well, sucks.

And in the week before we left, we had some rough nights: Little Homie was like a belligerent frat boy, pissed off that this beleaguered bar-wench had announced last call. But (somehow) we made it, and by the time I boarded the plane, I had effectively closed Mama’s Milk Bar.

But while Little Homie was dealing with this sobering new reality like a champ, on the other side of the world, my breasts were very confused. Because, after all, ever since that day in May of 2008 when M. corkscrewed into this world with a mighty yell, my boobs have hung (precariously and pendulously) in the balance between supply and demand. Every few hours, they would swell with milk, and one of my babies would empty them. And so it would go. From sunrise until, well, sunrise, through each passing season for three years and three months.

Lactating (and leaking) through the baby years was par for the course. Until I went to LA without taking the baby with me. The first 24 hours passed without much incident, and I figured my milk would just go quietly into the night, but on the second day of my trip, I woke up from a nightmare about fire ants crawling all over my chest. Half asleep, I tried to brush them away, but the sensation of hand-on-boob felt like getting knifed in the aerola. In my dream-daze, I looked down, and where my rolling hillocks had been the night before were mighty mountains I barely recognized as my own.

Can I get a “WTF,” people?

It was like Beyonce’s ass had landed on my chest. All firm and round and whatnot.

And it freaking HURT. Read the rest of this entry →

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