I never did a post on this. I have all these ideas swirling around in my head about it, but haven't written it down.
I was fortunate enough to breastfeed Jenna for just over a year. I stopped, because *I* wanted to, not because she wanted to... well, I say that, but I'm not entirely sure about it.
Breastfeeding has been something I was committed to from the very beginning. It was never easy. Never. Within 3 days of her birth we went to single sided feedings. I was feeding her too much and she'd spit up after every meal, a lot. She had reflux so we had to feed her less more frequently, we got thrush at 6 weeks. I'm convinced either I had the longest standing case of thrush or I had psoriasis on my nipples. I'm pretty sure it's psoriasis... it's finally getting better with psoriasis meds now that I've weaned I can use them. Jenna would feed quickly, ferociously but often thrash about trying to see what else is going on in the room, in the house, in China. She bit when teething. She was always teething. I would try to feed her at lunch at day care and she'd bite me because she wasn't hungry. I had many bouts of oversupply. I'd have my pump with me at all times to avoid quarter boobs (boobs so full and heavy you could bounce a quarter off of them).
Then, it came time to wean. For me. I want my body back. I want to be able to wear a shirt without worrying about leaking, being able to expose myself (the hooter hider only worked for about 4 months, after that Jenna wouldn't nurse if I was wearing it). Jenna never took the bottle really well, she'd only eat ~ 2 ounces from it at 9 am with Irma. This made things difficult. So, we became more consistent with the bottle at 10 months. I would pump, Nick would give a bottle. Slowly, she started to take it.
We started to add WCM in with the breast milk. She was doing great, actually, eating more. We dropped it down to the morning feeding and the night time nursing session. Then dropped the morning one and I would pump. We reduced feedings until I was only feeding her during the middle of the night. Then I quit. I stopped pumping and feeding her in hopes of drying up. 3 days later my poor boobs were literally square from being in a sports bra and felt like a bag of rocks. You could feel each duct swollen with milk. It hurt. I called the advice line and she told me to do warm heat and drain them. I did. my bra size changed drastically that day. I was back in pre pregnancy bras the following day. I still have to drain every now and then, but it's been over a month. Jenna's doing fab, I think she's even putting on more weight now than before (she can be distracted with a bottle as the bottle will travel with her mouth. Her sleeping's gotten a bit better since it's more difficult to prep a bottle than it is to just go nurse her.
I'm happy with the decision to wean. I think it's been good for Jenna, good for me and good for Nick. I do look back and wonder how things would've been different if I had stopped sooner. Would I have been happier? I look at my relationship with Jenna now, it's different. I appreciate her more now than I did when I was nursing. I know that sounds lame, but it's the honest truth. How would things have been different if I only nursed while on maternity leave? or until she was 6 months old? or 9 months? How would her sleeping patterns differ? Would they? I'm proud that we made it to a year, as that's what's recommended and all, but was it really worth it? I don't know. It doesn't really matter, I've got my beautiful girl, she's got me (but not my boobs) and we're all good.
Life is good. I'm happy the cows are getting the relief from pumping instead of me.