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I'm Out

So I haven't written about breastfeeding for awhile. I bet whole dozens of you are wondering how that's going.

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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.

It's over.

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.

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I did try, baby. Please don't look at me like that.

Comments

Mabel

(((hugs))) Just (((hugs)))

Mabel

AND!!!! HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm first.

Cagey

Bah. It was enough that you tried. Shit. It still would have been enough even if you HAD NOT tried.

Be gone, The Guilt.

therubygirl

Oh, such a beautiful boy. Don't beat yourself up about the boobie issue.

Ashley

The last caption killed me. I haven't been there, but I felt your pain. Thank you for sharing it and getting it "out there."

Vaguely Urban

Hey. It's ok. It's ok. You know? I mean, just look at him. Unless you're photoshopping his glowy chubbiness, you've done - and continue to do - beautifully.

Just think of all the mommas out there to whom breatfeeding comes easily, but don't expend one tenth of the energy and love that you do on your baby. Would Noah be better off with a momma like that? Nope. He's better off with you, who will always do your best from him. Your best is better than good enough. Just look at him.

chris

please dont beat yourself up. you did the best you could and that is good enough. i breastfed a a little longer than you did with my son (who is now a monster 14 month old) and beat myself up enough for the 10 people when i stopped. he is happy and healthy and so is Noah so please be kind to yourself about this. there is no right or wrong way to parent. I am slowly learing this...s-l-o-w-l-y

Dawn

I have so been there too, thanks for writing about it. I nursed all three of my kids for varying lengths of time but it didn't matter - when I decided to quit with each of them (for varying reasons) I felt as upset and depressed as I ever have. My husband thought I was crazy but the guilt was overwhelming. It will get better.

tracey

i remember those days. i remember my girls not seeming to miss the nursing when it was over. like they both just decided to 'call it quits' on their own,and i remember feeling sad. and then relieved a little and then sad again.
and the failure thing...it seems like no matter what it is we moms do,what painstaking lengths we go for the good of our babies, we are always feeling like failures for one thing or another! i hate that! you did good amalah, you did good!

for Joke!

Noah is looking more like you every day :)

Sadie

I don't need to tell you that he got the most important benefit of the breastfeeding from you months ago, and obviously he is in no way failing to thrive, breastmilk or no. He wants polenta, Amy! with herbs! You did a great job for as long as you could, and there is no need for any guilt.

Frema

You are wonderful.

Stephanie

dude.

no beating yourself up. you accomplished more than most.

hell, 3 days is enough to give him immunities that he never would've gotten from formula.

you did your best, noah loves you.

now move on.

cause you rock :)

Sarcomical

somehow? i think he will be able to forgive you, what with the FUN, COOL, and completely BLOGGABLE mommy he will have. ;)

but yes, save the boobies, indeed.

stephanie

Dude, Noah is like the size of a 7-month old, so it's kinda like you breastfed him until he was more than 6 months old, right? I mean, let's say your boobs don't know his age, but they know how big he is and what he eats... maybe they thought they met your goal already.

(Clearly, I know nothing of this stuff...)

Liz

You made a valiant effort. Thanks for sharing the reality of breastfeeding- that it's not always as easy as it seems on TV.

jomama

"I didn't expect him to adapt so quickly to the fact that Mama is not where his food comes from."

That made my heart hurt. Be strong sweetie. You just gotta remember there are much more important aspects of being a good mommy than breastfeeding and you are excelling at them.

Contrary

I could tell you how you did your best and you shouldn't feel guilty until the cows come home, but it won't do a bit of good until you believe it. It took me a while to believe it too, after I dried up and blew away.

I will say though, it's very hard for me to feel sorry for poor, pale, undernourished little Noah when he is obviously getting his share and some other little kid's share too.

He's just not getting it from your boobs.
Which? Is ok, apparently.

(you know that the 'poor, pale, undernourished' part was loving sarcasm, right?)

Jenn

I stopped at 8 weeks and my boy could not have cared less. He's growing and thriving (as is yours) and THAT is what matters.

Mir

*patpat* You done good, Mama. This is just the first in a long string of Mommy Guilt hurdles to be cleared. Not because you did anything wrong, but because it's in the nature of motherhood to second guess EVERYTHING. You did not fail that gorgeous baby, nor will there be any shortage of opportunities to feel like a failure as he grows. Pace yourself. ;)

R*belle

You beat me by 6 weeks, so you DO WIN!

Zoots Mom

Hang in there girl. You've done fine and he sure looks fine!!!

Corie

::applause::
You done good, Mom. It will be ok.

Betsy

My son Alex was born, 6 weeks early, on Oct 2. I have since discovered your site and devoured your archives -- it's hilarious to me to see how parallel a lot of my stuff is to yours, including the aquarium bouncy seat, the footie pyjamas, the same Freddie the Firefly toy, the editing career, etc. Alex couldn't leave the hospital until he could eat from a bottle, every 3 hours, for 2 days straight. We were supplementing and I was being encouraged to breast feed, too, and I pumped diligently. I had two lactation consultants come out and had every possible device latched, attached, and even TAPED to my boobs, but I never made enough milk or had the right nipple shape for Alex. And the day I sent back the goddamn pump (when Alex was 8 weeks old, imagine the SHAME and GUILT OMIGOD) I did a Snoopy dance of amazing proportions. I tried my best, I did my best, and I know that Alex will be fine with my best and a lot of formula (born at 5 pounds, 3 ounces, at less than 5 months he's 17 pounds, 6 ounces TODAY), so it is what it is. As my mom told me, the nature of motherhood is to feel guilty about what you're doing and what you're not doing instead, so get over it and have fun. And that's what we do. That's my long way of telling you that I empathize with you and hope you feel better about it as the days go by and you see Noah grow and be happy and loved.

Lumpyheadsmom

God Lord Woman, you've done it for this long. GO. YOU. Really. clap clap clap clap clap.

I've gleaned from the blog (because I'm clever that way with the reading comprehension and whatnot) that you really don't need us chattering nincompoops to make you feel good about yourself. Buuut. . .GO. YOU.

Anyone who has ever hooked herself up to a breastpump has wondered "why the hell am I doing this when perfectly wholesome formula is available?" Because, dammit, it hurts. A lot. And it's annoying and inconvenient and soul-sucking. But we believe the hype about it being good for our babies so we do it. And you've done it for what, (searching. . .math. . .hard) five months? That's SUPER.

(again with the clapping)

maricar

Don't feel bad momma. You did awesome. I mean, look at how cute he looks! Are the boobies weirdly deflated now? Cause mind are. It's mushy like it's filled with cottage cheese. So odd.

Kristin

Someone just commented on my own blog that only one in six women make it to six months. It's way harder than They ever let on.

Also: second hand breast pumps are sold in baby consignment stores! I know, gross! But maybe you could sell yours isntead of scuttling it into storage and enable the purchase of a fab new dress because you deserve it.

Heatherg

Could you donate all that Breast feeding stuff to a womans shelter or someplace like that.

Seems like a waste to trash it, when it could give someone else the opportunity to feel nipple pain as well.

MK

Hugs! I can only imagine how you feel! I have been breastfeeding for 6 weeks now and have gone through most of the same problems that you did and loved how much detail that you posted and that I wasn;t the only one that struggled with breastfeeding. It seems like my daughter and I have finally clicked with breastfeeding, but I am still having to supplement because my milk is not "fatty" enough. I am still struggling with the pump though- it strangles me and hurts so bad that I am scared to use it again, but I have to try something because I go back to work in 6 weeks. Also, did you boobs hurt before the milk was dried up? hugs!

anniem

I think it is hard to be done nursing at any point. I don't think there is a time where it is easy to do it. You gave it your best shot and your baby boy is gorgeous. You have nothing to feel bad about!

Vickee

I would quit worrying about the breast feeding stuff. That you managed it at all is Gold-Medal worthy, in my book.

Give yourself a huge pat on the back for what you and Noah did accomplish. I think you three, actually, are doing great. We are all rank amateurs when it comes to first children. The cure for that is having another child. Then you are a Professional Parent and feel completely qualified to give complete and total strangers, on other continentants, no less, unsolicited advice.

Sheryl

Been there. Hugs to you.

scoutsadie

Wow - that is a milestone, if unexpectedly reached. I'm sorry you find yourself feeling guilty, like you could have done more. But as I finished your post and looked at that sweet boy's face, I thought, "What a great thing Amalah has done in creating that cute turtle face!" So, totally not to dismiss your feelings, but on the bright side: wow -- what a great thing you HAVE done! Good job!! :)

That is all.

scoutsadie

P.S. And of course I wrote that without seeing your caption... :(

I interpret that look as "I am a satisfied and healthy turtle boy."

lolismum

Amy, look at how healthy, cute, smart he is! Oh yes, the formula is really holding him back! Not!
Breastfeeding is hard, breastfeeding when you work full time is near impossible. My daughter is 18 months, I still breastfeed, I still work full time, but I also believe you do whatever you humanly can and then forget the rest. You have done all you can, more than most people ever try. I say, dump the damn pump, now go out and buy yourself a nice diaper/work tote that does not have to have room for the soul sucking pump.

Jonniker

Look, dude, I know that this means nothing, given that I have never breastfed nor had kids, but I guess I just figure this:

You're a good mom. You love him dearly dearly dearly, some might say to bits and pieces. He is happy, healthy and thriving with two supercool parents. I guess I just feel like the breastfeeding nazis, while serve their purpose, sometimes overshoot the mark when they make parents - wonderful moms - like you feel guilty by way of overinformation.

You are a good mom. Noah loves you. Feed formula guilt-free, along with hummus, olives and spices and WHATEVER you want.

katbliss

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump! Toss it... unless you plan to have another cutie like Noah. :)

Robyn

I was so happy to have had 2 weeks of nursing with my son. He was such a good nurser, I just did not create milk, no matter what I did. I had an even worse time with my first child. It was so hard to "give up". Be glad for all the wonderful nursing moments, it means more to you both than you can imagine!

Wicked Stepmom

It'd be easy for me to say "don't feel guilty" and be done with it. But we're women, we're Moms and the guilt always finds a way. Even though Noah is delicious and healthy, and you did your best, and that kid is damn lucky to have a Mommy like you.

Three and a half years later, I STILL feel guilty over not overcoming the latch-on problems with The Boy and having to nurse AND pump for 5 months. Ick.

Things seems to be going much better the second time around with The Mouse (now 3 1/2 months), but I am bracing myself for ultimate failure. My LC yells at me for lacking confidence but the guilt from The Boy keeps me from celebrating my [supposed] success.

When will we learn? ::sigh::

Real Girl

Please don't feel bad for something that's not your fault. Please!?

Every mother does her best. For every good mother? That's enough. You're a good mother, and the kid will grow up just fine, boobs be damned.

The caption should read, "Don't look at me like that, Mom. Just pass me the nachos."

Julie

HUGE kudos and ZERO guilt for sticking it out through all that stuff. I hope you will be able to be proud of how long you were able to breastfeed, instead of disappointed that you couldn't continue.

Other commenters have said it, but I'll say it again anyway because I'm dull like that -- Noah is the picture of health and happiness. You're doing an awesome job.

Stacy

Don't beat yourself up! You did amazingly well considering how fucking painful breastfeeding can be in the beginning. Noah is doing great and will continue to flourish from your loving parenting. Yeah I got my period recently, too...not quite as fun when I'm not on the pill. It lasted like 14 days! fuck! Now go squeeze that little man for me!

Kathy

Oh, the memories of guilt! Why do we do this to ourselves? When my son was about three months old, I had to go back into the hospital for a raging uterine infection, could no longer breastfeed due to massive amounts of antibiotics. Always had to supplement him anyway, finally had to stop altogether. Oh, the tears! The gnashing of teeth! The wailing that I had somehow failed my boy! I had nursed my daughter til she was old enough to ask for it, so I really felt as though I had set up some sort of Mommy favoritism that would somehow scar him for life....He survived, he just turned 15 last week, he's fine! Still loves me too!
You're doing a great job, and your baby is thriving beautifully!

Missie

Didn't read all the comments, cuz dang! But I am there with you, girl, but in a different way. I decided that Miss93rdPercentileInWeight was done with breastfeeding after the appearance of not one, but two, TEETH. After getting bit and yanked on by the JAWSOFLIFE at 2am, breastfeeding loses all its Madonna & Child aura. She's been eating solid food and taking bottles fine along with bf'ing, so I thought, "No big. I want my boobs back before they officially sag to the floor." She has adapted well, but when she's tired, she still makes the boobie dive bomb and doesn't understand why she gets a mouth fulla shirt. But now, we are back to the wake up three or more times in the night because my mom is depriving me somehow and I will grow up to rob convenience stores for drug money thing. Never let anyone say that motherhood is not without fun...or without guilt...but it is without sleep...

Kate

Hey...congrats on lasting that long. I lasted 8 weeks, and I brag about that.

Congratulations on sticking it out...and celebrate having your body back with a big fat glass of wine!!

Lori

In the immortal words of Dave Barry, "Crunchy Toast Point Nipples" would be a really good name for a rock band.
Would you criticize another mom for ending the breastfeeding? Will you harp on Noah when he only hits a triple, not a homerun? Why beat yourself up when you have done your best?
Because your gut is at work here, not your logic. Ain't NOTHING logical about being a mom.
But we in Internetland think you rock, and obviously your son, husband and pursedog think so, too, which is most important.
Re-read Mir's post. And go have a bottle of wine.

Lisa B

My milk supply dried up too, even after taking Fenugreek and smelling like maple syrup all of the time. I know what you mean. :-)

Pam

So, the period started again, eh? Are you starting to think about having another?

And by "another", I mean "margarita" (purely for medicinal purposes of course.)

Heather B.

My mother breastfed me until I was over the age of one, and still regales me with stories of the "brown jug" during family get togethers. God.

And from the looks of the cutest baby ever, he seems to be just fine. Of course, that doesn't mean you're going to stop feeling guilty, but at least you have some assurance that he's a-ok.

blackbird

I've got 20 years on you in the mom-ing business. Let yourself feel sad for the next few days and then move on -- do yourself the favor of moving on.
Parenting is all about exploding our expectations.
I breastfed Youngest (since these comments are all ABOUT US) until he was about 3 months old. Then he turned his little head away and never breastfed again --
turned out he has a partial facial paralysis and couldn't manage it anymore.
who knew?

who knows anything?

he is gorgeous and looks happy and healthy. (Noah that is, although Youngest is pretty damn cute.)

Dorothy

I only made it to seven weeks, and I was weaning at that point. I salute you and your efforts.

There will be plenty of other opportunities to feel guilty. We mamas need to be nicer to each other. Don't let anyone (including you) get you down about this. Parenting is too, too hard to do if you aren't at least firmly in your own corner.

I hope your mom is doing great. You are in my thoughts. Relax and let go of the guilt. Formula is wonderful stuff. Babies do great on it. Before you know it, Noah will be slurping down whole milk and demanding a Pepsi chaser. :)

Laura

Went through similar nursing issues (low supply despite everyone telling me that Wasn't Possible) and I still feel guilty about it, 17 months since she was weaned. Seeing how happy and healthy she is, and knowing I did my best (I really did) makes it easier to live with. Noah doesn't look like he's suffering one bit!

Tifany

I also had nursing difficulties, couldn't even get my kids to drink from the tap and I spent a LOT of time with lactation consultants. Anyway, I pumped for 4 months with the first kid and 5 months with the second. I beat myself up after stopping each time, but I can't even tell you the relief I felt from not being tied to a pump anymore. Let yourself feel sad for a little bit, but move on, this is such a small part of the experience of motherhood. Enjoy the new relationship you have with Noah and the freedom of not having to milk yourself at regular intervals:)

Jodi

I made it two days. My son wouldn't latch and cried for 2 days straight so I went to formula. So, think of what a great job you did!

Liza

First time commenter here.

I seriously was wondering where you were on breastfeeding. Thank you for posting. I had a rough time starting out and felt like the nurses at the hospital were pushing formula. My 4 month old is 100% breastfed now, but I still constantly question myself, Do I have enough milk?, is he pulling a nursing strike?, will I always be exploding while skipping some of the middle of night feedings?. It's a stressful thing and I'm not even working.

Love your blog.

honestyrain

he'll forget all about it if you promise to buy him a car. that's what he told me. a car and an xbox.

comfortablycrazy

You always feel guilty when you stop nursing. Rapunzel was just over a year and SuperChic was almost 18 months and I still felt that I could have gone longer, what if it wasn't enough. So feeling that way is normal, but still not fun. The good news is that he's not crying because you're not nursing him. That means he's ok with it, even if you're not. You're doing a great job, well at least that's my opinion based on the pictures you post of your gorgeously plump baby. And if anyone tells you differently, smack 'em.

jomama

I already commented, but I forgot to say something earlier: you went 5 months post-partum without a period? That's pretty cool considering I only went six weeks and I've been breastfeeding/pumping the whole time. So in that arena: you suck; in all others: you're wonderful.

JustLinda

You did great!!

I have a whole gaggle of kids and each time it's ended like you describe. The kid doesn't miss it, couldn't care less that it was over, it just fizzled out, no "grand moment" where we gazed into each other's eyes with that This Could Be The Last Time We Bond Like This knowledge. It was an antievent - it happened and I only knew it in retrospect when it was too late to do anything about it or to, you know, CAPTURE the moment to live in infamy.

Amy, I swear more people are like you and I probably than are like the poignant stories from the books. I truly believe that.

And when you go back to work and pump and battle low supply, well, I don't care if you make it TWO days, it's a success.

You done good, mama. Don't go trying to get yourself kicked out of the club- you are one of us, we are moms who breastfed. Period. We did it. Screw anyone who doesn't think we did it "long enough". Right???

lindsay

That you nursed at all is wonderful. Either way Noah doesn't seem to be suffering! When Eamon voluntarily quit at 9 months, I was the one who was a reck. He never looked back, and I cried for two weeks. sigh.

Kristy

Oh your nipple woes make me so uncomfortable! I can't imagine how it would feel to possess those crazy raw nips. I am so not mature enough to breastfeed, let alone have a child.

You are SOMETHING!

callistawolf

You gave it your best and no one could ever ask for more. You held one when a lot of women would have given up. So please, please, please don't feel bad. You are doing GOOD by Noah. I mean, look at that kid! Look at those *cheeks*!

FWIW, I don't think it's ever easy to stop bfing. My son decided he was done shortly after his first birthday and I was like, "Wait! I'm not done yet!" So please don't feel guilty. *hugs*

cate

I think you did great, and so does Noah!

Patchie

Do not feel guilt over this. Trust me, there will be so many more opportunities to feel guilt!
Both my kids were born with tongue tie, and quickly learned that mommy's boobs=no milk. Bottle=milk. Even after our second got his tie fixed, he still remembered that mommy was not the source of easy food. Healthy kids are the goal here, no mommy awards. You fought the good fight, now enjoy your kiddo. He is adorably healthy and sweet and smart.

Terry

Like everything else about parenting, breastfeeding is just so, so. . .
UNPREDICTABLE. It goes well. It doesn't go well. You want to do it till the kid is 12. Or at least a year. You never want to do it again. It's the best thing you've ever done. It's the most painful thing you've ever done & secretly, in the wee hours of the morning when you're hunched over trying not to scream out loud while the baby pulls on your oh-so-sore nipples or your hunched over in a bathroom stall on your lunch break trying to pump while the rest of the world is, you know, eating lunch -- you think I hate this with every fiber of my being. I won't tell you not to feel guilty, so many others have & they're right -- I'll just say how much I think you rock & thank you for sharing your thoughts & feelings on not just the breastfeeding, but the other parenting issues as well -- I'll read your words & they will express the exact emotion I'm feeling (or have felt) & that's why I keep reading & reading. . .

Ninotchka

What everyone else said. It's totally OK. I mean, look at him, he's absolutely perfect. You did good.

Sara

Oh, you did so wonderfully! I hope you can shrug off that guilt somehow; you have a thriving, happy baby (and you get your boobs back!). And I think you should sell that stuff on craigslist, it's worth good money!

Nina

you are an awesome woman. and an awesome mother. with or without milk flowing out of your boobies. Life is good. Your baby is beautiful and healthy and adorable and growing.

we, the internet collective, affirm you! =P

foodmomiac

I just finished weaning Max last week. He is six months old. I nursed his sister until she was 16 months. I feel awful too. But, my life is different now. And as my friend pointed out, he won't remember. I realized that the only reason I was still b'feeding him was out of guilt. I felt guilty that he wouldn't be nursed as long as I nursed Dylie. Guilt SUCKS. And I am no martyr. So, we move on. HUGS.

Jojo

simply stating the facts (mother of three children, breastfed all three until they were two years old- again, not bragging, just stating the facts and my credentials for the following comment because there are SO MANY MYTHS OUT THERE ABOUT BREASTFEEDING and i think we women owe it to ourselves to be as honest with each other as we can) but breast milk supplies only dry up if the child stops sucking at the breast.

Nila

The guilt would be there, whether it was 6 weeks, 6 months, or even 1 year. That's motherhood...one big ole guilt trip.

Noah is lucky to have you for his mommy!

Stephanie

I liked nursing because it was convenient and in my case (thank the one that shall not be named) not painful in the least. I disliked it because I really didn't like the sensation of little parasites (I have nursed two) sucking at my breast. Different strokes for different folks. Bonding for me? No. Good for the baby? Yes. Was I happy when I stopped? Man you betcha!

JustLinda

JoJo - you are wrong. Breatmilk supply suffers when you substitute a pump for a baby, or when you get sick, or when you have hormonal imbalances. It's a PRECARIOUS thing. Your post sounds vaguely like the "you just didn't try hard enough" CRAP that people have peddled at me for years and frankly I'm not buying it.

There are MANY factors that affect milk supply. It's not as simple as JUST putting baby to breast.

It's for people like you (unless I'm misunderstanding you) that I wrote THIS POST.

Anne Glamore

It is MORE than enough that you tried and hung on as heroically as you did. It's a hard job, and as my late mo would say, "You get a star in your crown!"

Sanna

Hi Amy,

This is my first comment to you :)

You have done an AMAZING job with nursing. It can be no picnic and girl, you fought and fought hard. I know of very few women who would've worked it as hard as you have. I have two sons - one who nursed likea champ and the other....notsomuch. I can relate so much to what you've said here...the trying, the thinking you won and then the full stop and guilt.

But don't guilt yourself. Nothing to feel guilty over. And hey, Noah (who is absolutely adorable and makes me want to have one more baby) is never going to ask you how long you nursed him. It's a hope that you had, not one he did. All he is ever going to want to know is that you love him, and it's obvious how much you do.

Stephanie

Wait, Noah is not a parasite and any suggestion of that in my prior post should be discarded. He is really cute and any one that enjoys nursing... (oh never mind)

Leah

Hey, like everyone said - you totally rock. Noah loves you, and everything is all good, babe. Now you can drink whenever you want! I'm totally jonesin' for whiskey sours!
Chloe just up and quit on me, too - I was weaning, but at MY pace... Then she just stopped latching on. Brat. ;) I cried and cried and she laughed at me.
So, here's to independent, happy, healthy kiddos - no matter what they drink.
(((HUGS)))

Marja

De-lurking to say:
AMEN.
AMEN and Hallelujah.
You captured completely my experience with nursing, from the sudden turning off of the spigot to the unsettling feelings of guilt, even though I, too, had been mainlining fenugreek and pumping like a Jersey cow.
It's been about 2 months since the end of the era, and I *still* feel guilty on occasion- it's hard to remember that I am doing all that I can (and always have done) to keep my daughter healthy and strong. From what I read on your (wonderful, witty, incisive- insert compliments ad infinitum here- blog) - the same is very much true with you and Noah. We moms gotta give ourselves a break, and remember the props. Much props.

I'll end by saying, "Bravo, you." And keep writing- it's immeasurably good to know that others are going through the same struggles...

Lisa

I think you did a great job. I mean look at him! We are always going to find someway to beat ourselves up about not doing something well enough or long enough or this or that. We all struggle with that as moms. I never feel good enough. I am always saying oh I got to sit down and do this with her or did I really soend enough time with her today but really. I am at home with her all day why would I even question that. Its just our nature. I dont think you not breastfeeding changes anything about your love for him.

Erin

If it makes you feel any better I bf each of my girls for almost 11 months. When they stopped? I still felt bad. You are a mom, guilt comes with the job. lol. You did your best! That's all that counts. Congrats on the time you did.

Heidi

I am a self-described lactivist. I am one of those crazy people with the funny breastfeeding tshirts, etc. I was luckily able to feed my daughter until she was 22 months and am currently feeding my son (7 months). Breastfeeding is the HARDEST thing I have done, and it has actually come easy to me.

I commend you for trying at all. I commend you for lasting as long as you have. I commend you for wanting the best for your baby. I also commend you for knowing when the time was to give up so that you can give all you are to being Noah's mommy.

No matter what, Amy, you are not a pair of boobs to him. You are his Mommy. And you are a good mommy (well, from what I read on here. Honestly, you could be feeding him glass shards and we wouldn't know).

You will always doubt something you do as a parent. I do every day. When it comes down to it, you do the best you can. And that is all that is asked of you. Let the guilt over this lift. Tomorrow there will be something else to feel guilty about.

~*M*~

That caption killed me for I have also btdt. It sucks. 3 times I've tried and failed. ((hugs)) The guilt it stupid and should be tossed. I'll toss mine if you toss yours ;)

Amy

Amalah you continue to inspire me. It doesn't matter how or why you stopped. You did the best you could. We have to go for a weight check on the boy this Thursday. Again. Third visit in three weeks. And I am terrified they are going to tell me I am not producing enough and that's why he's not gaining. So I feel your pain.

mama speak

Dude! If you do it once in the hospital you've done your child so much good. Why on earth would you beat yourself up over it at this point? You didn't even choose to give it up, your body chose for you. It's a bummer, but you both got so much out of it AND you never had to deal with the whole biting issue! Food still comes from mommy, just in a bottle now. While it's sad in some respects it's liberating (for you both) in others. And it’s one of the first realizations that yes, your baby is growing up.

Helen

Hey there.
A few points to consider.
1) THE MOST important milk is the very first -- the colostrum with which you supply your wee bairn w/ antibodies and other goodness. He got that.
2) Look at that boy: he's healthy most of the time, and he's happy most of the time. You did fine! He is NOT scrawny. He is NOT FAT.. He looks perfect.
3) Breast feeding is about nutrition and bonding. You've gotten both done pretty darned well. You've both gotten a lot out of it... now let it go. Be grateful he never bit those poor nipples with brand new teeth!

Quit beating yourself up already!!!

Robyn

De-lurking here; and I say that mommies have too much guilt. I apparently had some kind of hormonal problem, and had no milk. I was so stupid about breastfeeding I didn't even know. I would have taken her home and given her an empty breast if a sharp-eyed nurse hadn't figured out something was wrong. She thought it was a poor suck, though, so I thought I still had milk and took medicine to dry it up while bottle feeding her. With my son, obviously the same thing happened but I still didn't figure it out. (My lactation consultant came in once, three hours after the birth, and shook me awake. When I couldn't form a coherent sentence, she thanked me and left. I never saw her again, but was charged $35 for the visit.) I took him home, but when he hadn't wet a diaper by the end of that day I gave in and gave him a bottle. The doctor figured out later what happened, but I thank God I "gave up" on breastfeeding when it got difficult or my kids could have died.

The point is, they are now happy, healthy teenagers with whom I share a great relationship. We bonded just fine, and I found a dozen other things to feel guilty about.

Ivie

Sorry JoJo, I have to agree with JustLinda. I nursed my two kids for 3 months and 3 weeks (respectively), and it was not for lack of trying that my milk supply wasn't abundant. I actually had a better supply with my 2nd child - ooooh, I could pump 8 oz instead of only 2 :P - until I had to start taking birth control pills again. Then...pfffttt...milk all gone only 3 weeks postpartum.

Amalah, sorry that breastfeeding wasn't all you hoped for and ended before you were ready. Not that it will help your guilt, but I think you did great sticking it out as long as you did. And I swear, Noah is just the cutest thing in that onesie! :)

Michelle

Amalah you brave girl. Brave for hanging in there with nursing as long as you did and brave for telling everyone about your struggle. Breastfeeding is a bitch. I wish "they" would be more up front about how friggin' hard it is. Don't you sweat it. Your baby is precious and delicious and I'm sure he remains a big fan of boobies everywhere.

Kate

Congratulations on sticking it out for as long as you did! Noah got lots of benefit from the breast milk you gave him. For what it's worth, I think that the deck was stacked against you continuing the breast feeding much past the 12 week point since you had to go back to work at that point. If you had been home all day, and Noah could nurse on demand, your boobs and he might have achieved that elusive, ever-increasing, equilibrium level. But trying to get there by pumping, when you're a professional woman with a demanding job that requires you to "be" there when you're there, would be very, very challenging/impossible.

Jessica

I am so sorry this happened. The sucky boobies just suck. And I know, I have a pair of my own!
You did everything you could and you did awsome for a long time. Most people quit when you persevered. You went through what many moms won't even try to attempt.
I could go on and on. I feel your pain. I'm going through it myself. Only I never got the baby to latch on and it was just me and the pump. I'm envious that you and Noah even made it to that point for a while.

On a much lighter note, that may even come accross as super tacky... At least now you can use a slightly smaller diaper bag...

Hugs oh sister of the dud boobs. (what, I can't be melodramatic??)

BoopShoop

lol damn that little tyke gets cuter by the day.

There's nothing to be upset about, dear Amalah. The biggest lesson of motherhood I learnt (and still am), is that NOTHING. NOTHING! plays out the way we think it should.

I sold my breastpump on ebay (not with the actual touch-the-boobies parts), for a decent amount...they cost a bucket load, so why not?

More clothes for me :)

Kathryn

I have so been there. I fumbled through the whole thing and never really quite felt like it worked the way it supposed to. I hated giving it up, but mainly because I could always get my little missy to fall asleep. A few weeks from now, you'll just think of yourself as a mama who breastfed, you'll forget all the other parts. He's perfect anyway, so who cares!

Leah2

First of all: hugs? Are you kidding me? I don't think Amalah is a ((hugs)) kinda gal (i could be wrong). Funny, and poignant posting as usual. Sooo..... welcome to the world of mommy guilt. If you were still breastfeeding, you'd feel guilty about something else. You HAVE to feel guilty, 'cause you're a parent. And no matter how much anyone tells you "don't feel guilty" or "you did your best", it doesn't matter, 'cause you're his mommy and you'll feel guilty. That's how you know you love him more than you've ever loved anyone, even doggies. So hooray for guilt!!

Darcy

"I didn't expect him to adapt so quickly to the fact that Mama is not where his food comes from."

Yes, that hurts. And the hurt comes from a completely irrational place, a place that could CARE LESS about the logical voices that say, "Noah looks great and is obviously thriving and healthy."

But, honestly, it would have been so much harder for the both of you if he couldn't let go of the nursing, when the milk had dried up and there was nothing to be done for it. Babies and kids are resilient little boogers.

Just another random stranger who agrees with all the logical voices 'cause it's not her kid.

Jem

Again, I feel a bit pointless replying because I don't have much experience in this area :( But Amy - you rock. You're such a great mom. You have totally done the best you can do.

Missy

I think this is my first post here. Hi.

Anyhoo, honey, give yourself a huge pat on the back. You freakin' conquered those boobs! You gave your little guy a great start and he's doing just great!

Your little man is so cute, by the way. It wouldn't matter if he ate twigs and berries for nutrition...he's still a cutie.

the kim half of glamorouse

Oh dude, if you're crying as much as I am. If you're feeling the stress and pressure of getting up, getting ready, getting out of the house, getting baby to daycare, getting you to work, getting work done and getting it all done in reverse at the other end of the day is it any wonder you're boobs went, "enough already".

But the getting the period. That sucks.

anna

de-lurking here.

1. There's no way this was your fault. You can do everything and still have problems. I nursed my first two into toddlerhood with ease. I thought I knew it all. With my third, no one picked up on anything (in the hospital, in he doctor's office, in the midwife's office, etc.)until she started getting skinny. Too skinny. Talk about the guilt of not noticing your baby isn't getting enough milk for so long she has no butt! Ugh. I spent months going to the LC's office weekly, which hogged up almost a whole day each time. I was about to back over my pump-in-style with my car. I could barely choke down the disgusting teas and capsules.

2. The guilt, as others have said, has nothing to do with the length of time you breastfeed. I think it's more of a general motherhood thing. Because there is always someone doing more. If you breastfeed for a year, someone else does it for two years. If you have barely managed to drag your kids out of the house with tangly hair and semi-clean clothes, you will inevitably get to the playground at the same time as a woman who is teaching her glowing triplets latin or something. So as for that feeling, well, don't let it go. Just make room for it, because it's here to stay.

Kate (Again)

PS I also think that the long-term flourishing of your career is very important to Noah's well-being over time (more important, in my opinion, than that he nursed until he was 5 or whatever). The days of blithely counting on one spouse's job/job security seeing a family through from babies to college to beyond are over. And in today's economy, having a flourishing career means taking the energy/time necessary to nurture it.

Carrie

You did awesome. Not everyone has it easy. And I think guilt is just part of motherhood. I felt guilty weaning my son even though he had a long nursing career and it was time. You are a great mom. You'll make it, and so will Noah.

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