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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.


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.


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



Gah! The Guilt! Even when you've done everything you can there's guilt. IMHO, it's just a part of being a mother. It will rear it's ugly head many more times I fear. At least it has for me.


Not that I have anything to say that hasn't already been said, but. . .

Amalah, you are a wonderful mom, and Noah is unbelievably lucky to have you. You are clearly committed to doing the best for him, and he knows it. Breastfeeding is very, very hard, and it doesn't work for everybody--the fact that you hung in there as long as you did, with all the difficulties you faced, is awe-inspiring.

JustLinda--preach on, sister. Loved your post.

Linda B

Dude, it IS enough that you tried.

You lasted longer than a lot of people do. And obviously your baby is healthy and hello, longer than a football field, so everything is ok.


GUILT! Not the first time you've felt it and DEFINITELY not the last.

It's amazing that we find the whole breastfeeding thing so (totally, heart-wrenchingly, soul-splittlingly) hard to get over and the little ones just kind of shrug their shoulders and think, "Meh. Pass me that bottle, will ya?"


Amy, my mother never breastfed me a day in my life. I loved her more than air.

I lost my mother to cancer five years ago. A different sort than Nanalah is battling, but it all sucks.

In her honor, and for your mother, I'm buying my granddaughter one of those fashionable save the boobies t shirts and she will wear it with pride.

You are a good Mommy, Amy. Don't ever doubt it.

Her Bad Mother


I'm almost 4 months on the BFing, after a crazy rocky start during which I was desperate for someone to tell me that it would be okay to stop. Now, I'm terrified of it stopping.

It helps to hear that I'm not alone in my freakish, on-off relationship with the boobies-as-milk-torpedoes. And that it *does* hurt, in all the ways that matter.

(And thanks JustLinda, for your comment and the post that you reference - which I went and read - *totally* needed to be said.)


Can I tell you something I'm sure you don't want to hear: I had the some prob with LilZ - and the same guilt. But - with NikkiZ? It's fine and almost perfect - so at least there's hope for any other children. You may not have the same issues (and hopefully not another 10 pounder - hehe).


I opened up your blog as I sat down in my office to begin pumping for my own son (born 9-23-05). I feel your pain. My own production almost dried up after my OBGYN gave me some birth control samples that I took only after quizzing him SEVERAL times- "Now these won't effect my breastfeeding, will they?" ARGH! I was pissed. Luckily I noticed in time, but there is nothing like that feeling of noticing that not enough is coming out. This week, again, I noticed it slowing down- my gut is wrenching. But I am hoping it has to do with the weekend and starting my little guy on cereal instead of nursing exclusively.

I only nursed my daughter, now 13, for 3 weeks. I quit due to the pain. And she is fine- a beautiful, sweet, intelligent girl. Noah will be fine. And you, will no longer have to watch what you eat, and pump X number of times a day. I sure can't wait for that freedom!


Here's another point of view. I have been nursing my daughter for 18 months and now I get harassed by my mother , her friends, my friends and even by the pediatrician to stop. I am like, "Are you fucking kidding me?" The same people that made me feel so helpless and frustrated about struggling through it in the beginning with "You are not holding the baby right. You are not eating enough, you are not drinking enough liquids, you should pump more etc... and pushed me to breastfeed at least a year. I did breastfeed for a year you bastards, and I did enjoy it and even extended it. I have been breastfeeding for 18 months! Loli learned the word "nurse" after 12 months and demanded it all the time. Now everyone is all, "of course she won't sleep through the night, you should stop nursing. Of course she is picky about solid foods, you should stop nursing. Of course she is too thin, you should stop nursing." Sorry to rant, but screw everyone. We will stop when I want to stop or when the baby wants to stop or when the milk stops. Everyone else can just stick a sock in it. So don't beat yourself up about it. If you breastfeed shorter than expected you get shit, if you breastfeed longer than the norm, you get shit. We can never win.


I have nothing to add. Just wanted to say you are doing a wonderful job, and Noah looks gorgeous and healthy.

Mujer Maravilla

Look, there are so many women out there who never even consider breastfeeding b/c it's "gross" or "indecent" or too much of a committment or sacrifice on their part. I, too, battled thrush (and mastitis) before my son was even a week old, and now that he's 5 1/2 months old, I've gone back to work and am going through the crap of pumping. I'm holding out as long as I can, but it's hard. As it is, I feel guilty when I even *think* about quitting altogether. My point? 1 - It was enough that you continued through all that early crap, whether you had done it for one month or five. 2 - We all do the best we can under our circumstances. 3 - No matter what we end up doing, the guilt will always be waiting for us at the end.

But seriously - how were you able to be lazy about pumping? If I don't do it, my breasts get so hard and painful that it brings tears to my eyes, so I don't even have a choice.


Mujer - I guess that's one of the benefits of chronic low supply -- I never got engorged or leaked. Of course, the downside was that the workday would fly by and it would be 3 pm before I remembered that oh! Shit! I haven't pumped yet! And that's where I get the "It's all my faaaaault" bit.

Or maybe it's just what everybody else has said so well: The guilt, it gets you in the ass no matter what you do.


You stuck it out, despite the crappiest of circumstances, for what, five months? You deserve congratulations, not guilt, for trying so hard. Please don't beat yourself up.


you did a great job!! he is a big strong man now!!

please don't toss your stuff, send it to me, or to Bethiclaus, who needs it like in four weeks!!



I'm sorry. You did try, very hard. I'm sorry it didn't work out.


After reading all of you blog mommy divas and your difficulties with breast-feeding, I have seriously thought about not doing it. My mom has only one arm, so she bottle-fed me. I don't think it had too much effect on me--well some may disagree--hehe. Anyway, I think you'll feel better about this after a while.

Sniff sniff. The pain will lesson, and one day, you might even be able to look at your boobies and not want to cry for their abandoning you in your time of need. Of course, then you will cry because they are as perky anymore. Oh well. Nevermind.


they "aren't" as perky anymore. Jeez...I got so carried away, I forgot to edit.


The fact that you persevered through all of the bad times says how dedicated you are to making the best choice for your son. But talking from experience, I can sure empathize with the whole sudden end. Good for you for going as long as you did.

AND...I MUST have one of those shirts for my brand spankin' new nephew! Where does one get that magnificent shirt?


I was like that with all 3 when I quit. You'll feel better about it soon, it's just hard. (((Big Hugs.))) I freakin LUV LUV LUV that last pic and that shirt!!!!


Don't throw away all the equipment! Sell it or donate it!!


ditto on the whole not-being guilty thing. it was great that you lasted so long!
also, don't throw the pump away. sell it on ebay or give it to a friend. I've got my friend's pump & accessories and another friend bought one ("slightly used") off ebay.


Hi Amalah...
This has nothing to do with your post..but my cousin just had her baby and named him Noah...I instantly thought of you...the stranger whose life I am addicted to reading about on-line...which my husband thinks is TOTALLY BAZARRE!! Happy Hump Day!!


Good job for sticking with it as long as you did. I can see myself giving up long before you did if I'm faced with the same kinds of problems.


I remember when I was curled up in a ball in the corner of my daughter's doctor's office, sobbing because my ovaries didn't work (we needed a donor egg) and then, after my baby was born, my breasts didn't work very well (I had supply problems too, and my baby was given a failure to thrive diagnosis). In other words, I was a miserable failure at being female, or so I thought. The one shining piece of so-true advice that the doctor gave me was that all of these things were really such a small part of the bigger picture of raising a child to be a good adult.

And eighteen months into it, I know she was right. Peace to you. It IS OK.

RockStar Mommy

Mir's right. You have to pace yourself, woman. The guilt will never stop.

Right now I feel guilty FOR breastfeeding my kid. I'm still trying to determine if he has food allergies and if he does that means I've been hurting him for the past 5 months and it makes me want to cry when I think about it.

I would like to stop breastfeeding at this point, but the allergy thing is making it nearly impossible since I refuse to spend $80 a week on allergen free formula.

We're all doing the best we can.


Um, y'all, the "equipment" is nothing I can sell or donate. I used a rented pump that I've returned, so that big pile of stuff? Is actually just tubing and cones and some beat-up containers -- stuff that actually touched my boobs and/or milk.

I'm giving the unopened and sterile milk containers to my sister and keeping the Avent pump for hypothetical future use.

That leaves...tubes, suction cups, cones, membranes and instruction manuals from the rented pump and a few Fenugreek capsules. Trust me, I'm not denying needy women or missing the opportunity to recoup my investment here.


I am going to look like a complete wack job here and say that my 20 month old...breastfed until he was 18 months old. Did I want to do that? No. Had I intended to do that? No. But I was just too poor and too lazy to try to ween him because nothing would calm the boy except for his security boob!

He is happily drinking out of a sippy cup now and I have my boobs back. Sorta. I wrote about it here:

I know that feeling when throwing out the pump stuff. I still have a random Avent bottle laying around here and there.


I have never seen more guilt, both external and internal, than that which comes in the wake of giving up breastfeeding. Please don't feel like you have failed that angel-child, because you haven't. What he got the first few days was the most important; everything thereafter was, as we say down here in Louisiana, lagniappe. Good job, mommy!


A great use for your used stuff is toys for Noah. I can't count the number of times my son got excited about playing with a cup, bottle or anything that was not offically a toy. Of course, nothing non-toy that would be a safety hazard.
I would fill the bottle with a little water, put the screw on top on and he liked to shake it.


Thank you so much for posting all your breast feeding trials and achievements. I feel like such a failure because I am supplimenting my daughter with 4oz of formula at each feeding (she's now 2 months old), but there just isn't enough in me unless I nurse her continously and even then she just screams in hunger. So thanks for being honest and for letting me know that I'm not the only person in the world who suppliments her baby with formula.


So many people commented that you gave it your best shot, and damn it! they're right!!! I too recently struggled with breastfeeding my son..who *gasp* is already almost 14 lbs now and is *bigger gasp* is ONLY 2 1/2 months old!! I stopped breastfeeding when he was only 6 weeks old due to the fact that my boobs simply just stopped producing. It was so odd, so confusing, yet so damn frustrating because I kept feeling guilty. Then you DO realize that your baby is beautiful, so so healthy, and that everything will be fine. Plus, Noah is now realizing how tasty regular food is.. I hear that's when all the fun begins! Everytime you start to feel sad about the breastfeeding just remind yourself how perfect he is- BECAUSE OF YOU! =D


Lady--kiss it goodbye and NEVER LOOK BACK. You're done. Welcome back to your body.


Almost made me cry there. Thanks for your honesty. And since nobody else has said this yet (not): Don't feel guilty anymore. You did splendidly - you tried so hard! and look at that boy - he's perfect! You did everything and more anybody could have expected of you.


Any amount of breast feeding you did is beneficial for him; so it's great that you tried so dang hard and that he got as much milk and as many weeks as he did. His immune system is stronger, he'll have better health in the future than if you hadn't, less chance of obesity....everything you did was great for as long as you did it. So focus on the positive! That's awesome that will all those difficulties, Noah still got breastfed! That's great!


I JUST went through this myself, and am still dealing with the pain of my milk drying up. And my girl is only 12 days old. So I'm with you on the feeling like a failure, even though we totally are not because you tried! You did it for as long as possible! And your Noah still has the most delectable baby toes (aside from my girl's)!


I think its amazing that you tried so hard and went through sooooo much to breast feed your beautiful baby boy.

He's a very lucky to have such a awesome, and pretty, mom!!


I think its amazing that you tried so hard and went through sooooo much to breast feed your beautiful baby boy.

He's very lucky to have such an awesome, and pretty, mom!!


OK, speaking of guilt here, and on a lighter note:
The smart money says he was over it by dessert.


Not a bad mommy, I promise. You did the best you could, Noah will not be upset with are his one and only Mommy. GO AWAY GUILT, Amalah needs to be happy!


I wrote about the same thing today - something is in the air. But now having weaned for a month or so, I am wildly enjoying having my body back. Go have a shot of tequila. And take some advil. At the same time, if you're feeling really daring.


In my opinion, Amalah, that breast pump bottle is half-FULL, not half-empty. Look at it that way -- and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Noah = Perfection.


You are a better woman than I - I actually just decided to stop pumping today after about a month. I never could get breastfeeding to work and so pumped for the last 24 days. Every time I pumped I felt miserable, most of the time I was not comfortable, many times it was painful and always I regretted not spending the time with my newborn son. I hated sticking him in the swing so I could pump. I am frankly AMAZED that you hung in there so long in light of all you went through. Having decided to stop today, I am having many of the same feelings as you are but I am getting over it fast. For the last 46 weeks, I have shared my diet with my son - I am pretty psyched to be all on my own.

Anyway, good job, your son is beautiful and you should be proud and happy with all you did for him!


C'mon!! You did great, and you shouldn't feel guilty over mother nature's little games.

Noah's gorgeous, and obviously healthy. What more could you want? I can bet you're an incredible mommy who loves him to no end.

So cheer up! You're the best, Mommalah!


Amy - Everyone has shared the whole "buck up" vibe - but I am here to tell you "congratulations on getting your body back!" I fed my son until seven months - he is also a monster-large child and got teeth (ouch) very early. In any case, I supplemented from the get-go, etc. Once I stopped nursing, it was a sad feeling, yes (amazing how those kids adapt within 15 minutes to the new food reality) but also - I could eat and drink whatever I wanted! For the first time in pretty much two years! And I didn't have to think about it!

So enjoy the liberation - little solace now, but you may be singing that song in a few days.

And congrats on sticking it out - it is so much harder than anyone tells you - so make sure you celebrate your success vs. feel like a failure.


I know how you feel... I to quit nursing, however I quit much earlier than you did.

You know what bothered me the most? Even more than the actual stopping? It was the fact that I felt that I had to explain the reason why I quit to all of my friends, family, etc... When in reality, it's really no one's business but my own. However, for some reason, the feeling of failure made me want to take up for myself and make some sense out of the nonsense that I was feeling.

All I can say is that if I ever see another breast pump in my home, I will personally take it outside and run over it numerous times.

You are a good mother, regardless of breast feeding. Always remember that!


your struggles allow me to see how blessed i am.

i am so sorry for all of your suffering -- it should be a huge relief to totally have it all behind you now though.

you're a wonderful mother.


Whoooooooa, mommy blogging is more intense than i thought. Re: archive: consistency of vaginal discharge?!? holy holy!


i'm actually nursing my big fat baby boy while I am reading this blog. Love it! I had all the crunchy holistic experiences while nursing my first. The second? I am too friggin lazy and cheap to buy formula. Seriously, I never even pump & give him a bottle, because that requires some kind of forethought. He's lucky if I toss in a handful of Cheerios for good measure.

My point, though, is this: WE ARE SO UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY. Our great-great-grandmothers didn't have the choice of whether they wanted to BF or use formula, or whether or not they wanted drugs in childbirth. They would have considered it a good day if they managed not to die in childbirth, and all 17 of their kids survived past the age of 5. We live in a golden age of mommyhood - which is why we have the luxury of feeling guilty.


ps: your baby is freaking ADORABLE!! (i am unbiased because i don't have a baby of my own. it seems other mothers always thing THEIRS is cutest!)


All I gotta say is my SIL, the granola queen who is a Doula, her mom is a Midwife who delivered both of my SIL's kids a la home water birth blah,blah,blah...

She was going to school for her degree in Nutrition (graduates in one month...) but took the first year of her sons life off... fulltime SAHM, and after a couple of months, her milk just dried up. Did you hear that? Her milk JUST DRIED UP... everything that could be done WAS done shy of the dark beer thingy (she's a Mormon). It happens.

Did I tell you she is the granola queen? She put a little bit of Flax seed oil in his formula bottles. It helped her feel a little better... a little crunchier I guess.

Love and happy feelings going in your direction.


Don't feel bad, the truth is that no matter when you stop nursing you will feel guilty. It can be so much worse when you stop nursing as they become more expressive with language and emotion. The thing is everyone (sane) can tell that you are doing a great job and the Noah just might be the most loved baby in the universe. He knows were his love comes from, and I would say that is more important than anything you could beat yourself up for.


Yeah Amalah!
Congratulations on getting your boobs back... I don't know if you guys have Take Back The Night in your area (actually for womens' rights/rape survivors, empowerment, etc) but I think you should start a Take Back the Boobs movement. No guilt! You love your son! He is happy as a ... baby turtle! Also: My neice: fully weaned at about a month and half. She JUST turned six months old and she's over 20 pounds. She was three weeks early and weighed just over five pounds. No failure to thrive there, methinks.

Amanda Cowan

YES! I'm number 153! You rock! 6 months is great! You've given him such an awesome start.. I got about 4 months before I decided I was done. BTW, those unopened storage bottles make great extra containers in the kitchen (you know, extra salad dressing, etc.).

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