breastfeeding

Weaning Has Been the Hardest Thing Yet

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.

The first two days away I had to pump a bit because I was uncomfortable with my rock-hard milk-filled breasts. By the time I got back home, they still hurt, but the milk was pretty much gone. Charlotte has asked a few times to nurse, but is mostly satisfied with the response that there is no more milk in there. Instead she has a “milkie bottle” and likes to hold one of my boobs or put her cheek against my breast while she slurps away. We’ve moved on from nursing to just fondling. I guess I sort of got my boobs back. I’m not terribly concerned about her still having a bottle for milk. She isn’t into pacifiers and it’s been super helpful to embrace the bottle as an alternative to breastfeeding during this transition.

But what is my alternative? What do I get to make me feel better?

Thank goodness for the internet. After Googling side effects of weaning, I feel better that my pain and angst is fairly common. It ought to subside after my next menstrual cycle when my hormones will allegedly balance out again. They better, because right now I am all tears, bloat, and fatigue.

We watched
It’s a Wonderful Life
last week on TV and I cried at the end of every scene. At the commercial break, my husband would suggest we switch the channel, and I would just cry harder.

I thought I might lose a few pounds when I finished breastfeeding, but I guess that only happens when you stop when the baby is still a baby. Instead, I have gained three pounds and despite returning to counting food points, those pounds don’t seem to be coming off. (I know–worse things have happened to the Jewish people. Three pounds is certainly not the end of the world, but I don’t want to have to go back to my post-pregnancy pants when I’ve been back in my pre-pregnancy pants the past year.)

I also thought I might get back that loving feeling that’s been pretty much gone, gone, gone the past two years. No such luck. Sorry, babe. I’m tired. More tired than usual, even considering the fact that I haven’t had more than half a dozen uninterrupted night’s sleep in two plus years.

One of my personal self-anointed big gold stars of parenting was the fact that I was still nursing my daughter past 2 years old. Even though I have gone back to work full-time and we sometimes rely a little too much on screen time and a few too many gummy bears to placate her terrible two-ness, I felt like I was offsetting some of my less than stellar parenting acts with breastfeeding. Now, I got bupkis.

So what’s up with weaning? I know plenty of moms who stopped nursing their babies or toddlers at various ages. Many who claim their little one simply lost interest at 6 to 12 months or those who got pregnant with number two and say their nursing toddler said the milk tasted bad and stopped. I haven’t heard so much from my friends who nursed into toddlerhood that is was really hard, for them. Maybe I’m getting my just dessert since I had an easy time with pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.

For me, this has been the toughest stage yet. Weaning has left me deflated, in every sense of the word.


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Alexis Kort

Alexis returned home to Seattle last year after spending 18 years traveling and living all over the world, but mostly in Brooklyn. After co-habitating for a year in a multi-generational condo with her parents, husband, and toddler, Charlotte, and 6 months of unemployment - Alexis now works as the Program Director for a large Reform synagogue in Seattle and is slowing unpacking boxes in her new home. She is happy to be back at work full-time as a Jewish professional, juggling quality family time with getting the laundry done, and continuing to blog.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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