emotions after I stopped breastfeeding

Being able to breastfeed your baby is an amazing experience.  It is a bond that you can never have with another human being.  You immediately become this caregiver for this new thing in your life.  It’s a magical experience.

BUT…

While you are nursing how many times do you dread pumping?  When your baby was a newborn you felt depressed because you were stuck in a room ALL day trying to figure out how to feed this baby and if you were producing enough milk.  How many times did you think to yourself, I can’t wait to finish nursing so I can enjoy a few drinks?   Well I nursed both my kids for a year.  I am almost at 11 months for my second one and it hit me that I would be done nursing and this potentially could be my last kid.  I feel like an emotional roller coaster where at one point I do feel happy and free but at the other sad that I am losing my bond with my baby.  These emotions are typically the ones women don’t really like to talk about or share in public but I wanted to put mine out there to let all my breast feeding moms know that you are allowed to feel whatever you want because it’s totally normal.

Mom and Baby

  • “Losing the mommy HAS to be there feeling”:  While breastfeeding, you have to be around your baby all the time.  It’s tough to take 3 day trips away without your milk production going down.  When it’s time for bed, you (most of the time) are the only one who can put your baby to bed.  I feel like I am losing control of my baby as I have been the sole milk provider for a year.  It’s that no matter what, mommy will be there because the  she “has” to nurse you feeling that really kept me feeling close to my baby.
  • “See ya later Medela”:  I am not gonna lie, pumping sucked!  I was one of those that constantly pumped between feeds and have a insane amount of milk now left in my freezer even though my baby is 1.  I got up and pumped at 2:00 AM every night for about 8 months.  It was bitter sweet when I put my pump away because you really become one with it.  You probably spend more time with that pump the first year than your own husband!  If you do have leftover breast milk, there are a ton of things you can use it for.
  • “Relieving the stress of low milk production:  This anxiety took over my life at times.  There were times that my production went down and I could not think about anything else.  It took a toll on my mood, my time with my older kid and even my husband because I just stressed about it.  I definitely will be happy when I can just pour some milk out of a jug and hand it to him.
  • “Losing my one-on-one time”:  Breastfeeding is the only time you can get one-on-one time with your baby in a calm setting and that I will miss.  Especially if you had a crappy day at work, coming home and just sitting, nursing and staring at your amazing baby just makes things all better.
  • “Giving myself a pat on the back”:  I feel accomplished.  I set a goal to breastfeed for a year and I did it for both my kids.  That alone is such a gratifying feeling.  I provided my baby the best type of immunity, nutrition and good health they could possibly get for the first year of their life.
  • “I can’t control my emotions”:  It’s natural that once you stop feeding, your hormones attempt to stabilize.   At times I feel extremely sad and at times I feel like I lost something special in my life.  I know it’s totally  normal and it’s hard for women to admit it, but to all my breast feeding moms, it’s OK, you are allowed to be sad even if it is out of your control.
  • “Missing the mommy I am hungry look”: Randomly throughout the day when my baby sees me, he just wants milk and he gives me a look like that’s MY mom and she can give me milk.  I am gonna miss that because he can now go to anyone else and just ask for milk.  It’s a very sad feeling and it hurts a little knowing I am no longer the sole provider.
  • “I get myself back”:  I have been sharing my body with my baby for the last 21 months.  I know it sounds selfish but 21 months is a long time for me.  From having him in my tummy to nursing for a year and part of me is ready to have my body back.  Focus on improving myself both physically and mentally.  I feel happy to have some freedom.

No matter if you tried to breastfeed, breastfed for 2 weeks or 2 years, moms be proud of yourself for what you have done.  Don’t feel guilty for stopping because as a mom you know you will always do the best for your child.

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