By: Courtney Hunter, Lethbridge Community Director
While I don’t profess to be an expert in breastfeeding, nor do I have an opinion on what is right or wrong for each mama, my experience and my choice was to breast feed my son. In the lead up to and as we passed my son’s first birthday I found myself less comfortable with breastfeeding, and it was my turn (and my choice) to wean him.
Here’s what I learned in the process…
1. Weaning is hard!
It just is. Breastfeeding was not only a way to sustain and fuel my little infant, it also served as a calming agent, sleep cue, cuddle time, anti-depressant and all-round comfort.
2. It hurts
While I have been incredibly blessed not to have had to struggle with mastitis or blocked ducts and the like, the engorgement that comes with reducing feeds just plain sucks! Cranky mommy!
3. Sleep is hard!
Replacing the sleep cue was undoubtedly the toughest…some nights the relaxing music, essential oils, bottle of homo milk or blankey just wouldn’t cut it!
4. Thy will be judged
“Are you still feeding him?” “Don’t stop feeding him!” “Have you weaned him yet?” “He needs you to feed him as long as possible” “It’s getting gross” “Don’t let him ask for it!” …
5. Daddy wins
Having previously been the “master” at getting baby to sleep in our house, suddenly the roles had switched! If I tried to get him to settle, without feeding, he would twist and turn and whine and cry… But when Daddy went in to calm our little monster he wouldn’t even bother to protest!
6. But… “Why?”
Sitting on my lap in the middle of the night, our little babe’s face changed to utter sadness as he realized he wasn’t going to be fed anymore. He would pick up my hand and place it on my shoulder (where the nursing bra unlatches), bottom lip dropped and a look of “but…why?”
7. Bra shopping is ridiculous
Ok, so it probably was a bit too soon to be shopping for some non-nursing bras. Looking like a boob-job gone wrong, all I could do is laugh, apologise to the nice lady who was helping me with sizes and hope like hell that one day soon my boobs would be the same size again!
8. He’s hungry again!
Breakfast, 2nd breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, 2nd afternoon tea, pre-dinner snack, dinner and then maybe a bottle of homo milk around 11pm… This kid seems to be eating the entire contents of my fridge in one day!
9. Why Yes, I will have another glass…
Now, no longer having to calculate the hours until I need to feed again, or quantifying the amount of alcohol or spicy foods or indulgently rich chocolate I can eat, suddenly I’m at the risk of becoming an overweight, raging alcoholic!
10. My little boy’s all grown up
One thing is for sure, my little baby boy who used to fit so well in my arms and cuddle up on the feeding chair and drift off to sleep, has grown up! For me, the end of breastfeeding is like the end of an era with my precious boy, to be replaced by other special mama and baby times like reading books together, building with the blocks (ok I build and he destroys) and playing on the swings.