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a breastfeeding journey
Dear my love,
Today marks one week since I’ve fully weaned you and two weeks since I last fed you from my chest. It feels like ages ago yet only days ago all at the same time. Two weeks of sore tenderness later, I can say I am fine with it. But the first few days, oh those were tough.
I decided to wean for multiple reasons. You were eating full meals by now, you were growing teeth and bit my nipple pretty bad, I was always full of milk and could not leave you for hours without the risk of getting engorged and needing to pump. At a year old, I knew you were not ready. But then around 15 months, it felt right to start weaning you.
I tried to just eliminate small feedings at first. On the days I worked and you weren’t with me, you were okay, but then the days we were together it was like you regressed and all you wanted to do was breastfeed. All day. If I redirected you, you would point to my chest and saying, “This?” and I would lose it. I would cave and feed you.
My baby boy. I just wanted to always nourish you.
“I can keep going, why don’t we just do it until he’s 2.”
But I just hated pumping when I was away or working. And the biting happened and as my nipple healed…I was ready.
I realized the way I weaned your sister gradually by taking out feeding by feeding wasn’t working with you. She understood even when she was with me, she followed the pace and set the schedule. Not that it wasn’t hard then, it definitely was. But with you it was more of a challenge since you didn’t even like taking milk from a bottle. We had tried every single one until we found one that actually felt like a mom’s boob. So that was the one. And like they say, every child is different.
I also needed to nip the guilt in the butt.
I realized I just needed to step into and own what I needed to do. That it was okay to wean you, it wasn’t selfish. You were thriving and enjoying food (and liking the goat milk I was trying to transition you to).
For about a few weeks, I started to give you just my pumped milk with goat milk for one feeding almost daily. And you were okay.
Then another few weeks, I gave you all goat milk for one feeding a day and…you were okay.
And then I went on a work trip.
My mom watched you and gave you all the frozen breastmilk for your morning and night feeds and the goat milk for the afternoon. She also made you your favorite foods like kichree, oatmeal, daal and spiced up vegetables (we love how much you savor indian flavor). You were fine. More than fine.
“Beta why don’t you stop completely now. He will be okay.” She was suggesting it since she knew I was trying to wean but I started to get emotional. My mom was trying to help as she always did. In my early breastfeeding days with you, she prepared special Ayurvedic teas and porridges that helped boost supply and heal my body from giving birth. And so I knew she had a point.
What if I just keep one out of the two feedings? (at this point you were nursing 2 times- morning and night- and getting that goat milk for your nap feed)
We knew though you would not be okay with just once a day…and that you really would be fine. So I got back from the trip and didn’t nurse you. This? you still said and pointed. And I held you instead. Gave you pumped milk I had from my trip.
And then fed you the goat milk exclusively once my stash depleted. You liked it. And took it from me.
It was hard for me both emotionally and physically (my journal, an occasional Aleve, cabbage leaves, sage tea, mint tea and warm compresses were my best friends). At one point your 4 year old sister told me, “Mommy, I found your cabbage bra on the chair.”
But we got through it. And here we are now my sweet baby boy.
Finally the other day, you pointed to the bottle and said du-du (slang in our language for milk). And to me, mama.
Yes, yes. I kissed you. Thank you, I whispered.
You are still loving on me, we are still so bonded. What a journey it’s been, in the most beautiful, heart opening way.
With all my heart,
p.s. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, or know someone on this sweet journey, be sure to check out our e-book The Tell All on Breastfeeding for Modern Moms in collaboration with Dr. Amy Shah MD.
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