Monday, September 19, 2011

Forced Weaning

As soon as I began attempting breastfeeding, I realized that it's pointless to make many "plans" or "goals" about how it's going to happen.  Nursing a baby seems like it should be the simplest and and most natural thing in the world.  But it can often be challenging, painful, and frustrating.  That's why they have so many lactation consultants these days whose job is to help women and babies to figure out this complicated thing of nursing.  That's also one reason why a lot of women give up on the whole thing after a few tries.

Realizing that it was more dependent on Sly than it was on me, I still hoped to reach that magical "twelve months" of nursing with him.  You read things from time to time claiming that baby is best prepared health-wise if he receives breastmilk that first year, so I really wanted to try.  And we did make it to one year, though just barely. 

For the past month and a half, my milk supply has definitely been decreasing.  Largely, it was because Sly was simply nursing less.  He eats solids for all his meals and snacks.  Breastmilk had become more of a rare treat, one he only got in the early morning when he first woke up, and possibly one other time during the day.  Also, I'm pretty sure the pregnancy is a contributing factor.  I know of women who can continue to breastfeed all through a pregnancy, and even afterwards, nursing two children at the same time!  But I know of many more women whose bodies just didn't seem to be able to keep up with all the energy demands.

About a week ago, the milk ran out completely.  And let me tell you, mornings have been terrible for Sly.  He's used to being brought into our bed as soon as he stirs in the morning, where he can snuggle up with me and have a little pre-breakfast while he slowly wakes up all the way.  Such a pleasant way for all of us to start the day. 

For the past week, though, it's been a different picture.  Sly wakes up, and we bring him into our room where we listen to him screaming for twenty solid minutes, completely inconsolable.  The only thing he wants to do is lie on me, with his face buried in my chest.  It's not like he's "rooting" for the milk, though.  It's more like he has this vague memory that when he put his head in that place, there was something nice that used to happen...but he can't remember what it is.  He just lies there whimpering.  I try to sit him up or change his position, and he screams, and goes right back to where he was.  Yesterday, after a while of this, I decided I needed to get up to take a shower.  I left Sly crying in the bed with Tom.  As soon as I got up, Sly threw his body next to the spot where I sleep in the bed...the place he used to lie to nurse.  It was so sad!

I think it will pass soon.  This morning, actually, he was a lot better.  I probably just need to rearrange my morning routine, so that breakfast - downstairs, in the high chair - comes as one of the first things we do.

:-( Poor baby.  Not quite ready to grow up.

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