February 28, 2006
So I haven't written about breastfeeding for awhile. I bet whole dozens of you are wondering how that's going.
Behold! The contents of my garbage bin!
I find it always makes trash day EXTRA SPECIAL to toss out several hundred dollars worth of breastfeeding paraphernalia in one grand, sweeping gesture.
(Okay, maybe I saved the unopened breastmilk storage containers.)
(And the Avent pump.)
(And maybe I have not actually thrown any of this stuff out yet, but simply moved it out of my kitchen cabinets and into a box, a box that is now sitting in our foyer, where it can either be taken to the trash room or scuttled upstairs to the storage area, and it awaits its fate with great fear and trembling.)
ANYWAY, the point is that breastfeeding is over for us.
When I was pregnant, I planned to nurse my baby for six months. Then reality set in, and reality was a SOUL CRUSHING BITCH, but I pledged to nurse him for six weeks, bloody thrush nipples and nursing strikes be DAMNED. And after six weeks I decided to shoot for six more weeks.
By the time Noah was 12 weeks old he'd completely outgrown my punkass supply, but the timing seemed wrong to quit right as he started daycare. And because I always sort of viewed breastfeeding not so much as a parenting choice, but as something I MUST CONQUER AT ALL COSTS. I WILL MAKE YOU MY BITCH. I SHALL NOT BE OUTWITTED BY A COUPLE OF LITERAL BOOBS.
I had a few blissful weeks there where everything seemed to work. We had our rhythm and our routine and there was enough milk and no pain and I started dreaming of nursing until Noah's first birthday...or beyond! Because I've won! I've fought through it all and come out the other side, to that alternate universe where my toddler asks for some fries with that, where "that" equals my boobs, my fabulous, life-sustaining boobs.
And then my milk dried up. Just like that.
One morning I woke up and there was just nothing there. Noah pulled away in disgust and howled until I gave him a bottle.
I still kept trying. I'd admittedly gotten a little reckless with my supply and lazy about pumping during the day, so I figured if I just pumped more and popped some extra fenugreek my milk would come back.
My milk never came back. Noah never latched on again. My period started on Friday.
Emotionally, I'm all over the place about it, which is fine, since there's not a damn thing to be done about it and being resigned and in tune with my neatly organized emotions doesn't really serve any purpose.
I guess I expected Noah to make the decision not to breastfeed anymore, or that reaching the magical "six months" number would make it easier to let myself quit.
I guess I didn't expect the final days of breastfeeding to be so strange and fumbling. I didn't expect him to adapt so quickly to the fact that Mama is not where his food comes from.
I didn't expect to feel like I could have done something more, even though I fought through weight loss, low supply, raging hormones, crunchy burnt toast point nipples, thrush, nursing strikes, supplementation and pumping woes. I didn't expect to feel like I still failed somehow.
I guess I expected that at some point, the guilt would go away. That it would just be enough to have tried.
I did try, baby. Please don't look at me like that.