Friday, April 11, 2008

No More Meal Tickets

I've been weaning Ethan from breastfeeding for the last few weeks now. And I have to admit that I've been really looking forward to finally having my body back. I NEVER lose weight while I breastfeed and I try to not take any medications. This has been especially important with Ethan because I didn't want to have any medication interactions between the meds he is already on and any that may pass through my breast milk. Recently, He hasn't been happy about my decreased milk supply which is part of the reason why he has been so fussy at night. However, He was sick a week or so ago which was kind of the clincher as to the decline of my milk supply and the end of our breastfeeding days.

So, anyway, I just got Ethan down for a nap and I think this is the last time I will ever breastfeed him again. You might think this is great news but, surprisingly, I am sitting here in tears. I know, I know, you all think that I am crazy. I've always felt a little sentimental with my other kids when I was done nursing. But there has always been an equal amount of excitement to balance it out. However, with Ethan, you have to understand that not only do we plan on him being our last child (which it's always a little bit harder when you think it's your last), but, when he was born this was literally the ONLY thing that I could do for him. It was so hard when I couldn't hold my baby, I wasn't sure if he knew who I was, he didn't yet know my smell or voice, and I didn't feel I could comfort him in any way. I couldn't even do the small things for him like change his diaper.

I had been told by some of the doctors not to be surprised if my milk never came in due to the stress of our situation. I remember becoming very determined to do this ONE thing that nobody else could do for my baby. I religiously pumped every 3 hours and I would even set the alarm to pump in the middle of the night. I really worked hard to make it happen. It was only after much persistence that his doctors even let me try and breastfeed just a few days before he was discharged from the hospital. Usually heart babies can't breastfeed because they tire too quickly and don't get the nutrition they need. However, I think Ethan and I made a great team. He is (to date) the only HLHS baby to ever be discharged (post Norwood surgery)without a feeding tube.

I promise, I am not one of those le letche--shove it down your throat kind of women. I only breastfed my 1st 2 children for 4 months, and although I did breastfeed Gavin until a year old, it was mainly because HE liked it so much (and it did save us some money). Now, I obviously agree that breastfeeding is what is best for the baby but I completely think it is the mother's choice in what she feels is best for her and her baby. But with that being said, this was VERY important to me to give him the best nutrition possible under his circumstances and to help keep him from getting sick through the winter months and his 2nd surgery.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to feel like I did something that mattered to him. I will miss feeling like he needs me.



kelly said...

I cry every time a stage is over.
Reading your story even choked me up a bit.
There are so many bitter-sweet moments in motherhood, aren't there?

Anderson Family said...

I know how your feeling. I have been slowly losing my milk supply of this past month. Once I was only getting 4oz a day I decided that I was going to have to let go. I havent been pumping for 2 days now, after 4.5 months of pumping, It brakes my heart knowing Mariska's not getting breast milk from me. It tool 4 months for her to even start to like being cuddled, this had made me sad for a long time. So I guess I have traded cuddle time for my milk supply, I think I can live with that. This is the frist time I have even talked about this other then my hubby. In a sad way I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling down about this, I think I need to just have a melt down and pick my self back up again. Now I can give all my time to her.
Sending our love,
Melynda and Mariska

Mike & Rebecca said...

I watched Becky pump herself silly trying to do the only thing a mother can do for her only child and in that situation. I watched how determined she was to pump from day one for an entire year. Brinley never did actually breastfeed, and I'm forever greatful for Becky's decision to do so. I can't imagine from your point of view the feelings your going through.

Mike & Family

Shelby said...

I know exactly how you feel. I always hated to give up that special alone time with the baby and it felt so good to provide for them in that way. Especially with the last, it is hard to let go.

Fowers Family said...

Breastfeeding the twins was so difficult. I pumped for almost three months before they could latch on, as they were too little. When I was finally able to breastfeed them I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of accomplishment, because I hated the pump. So to stop nursing them was very sad, I remember feeling as if I was letting them down even after almost a year. Dont' worry each stage brings new enjoyable moments to treasure. I love you lots, and good luck! Jody

carolyn q said...

I am sad for you too. I know it's the end to an era and a closeness you shared with Ethan that only you could provide.
I was never able to breastfeed Hope, so I pumped. . .but I was lucky enough to also bring her home without a NG or NJ too. I often wondered why they didn't send me home with her on a feeding tube, but they must of felt the 2 oz she took every 2 hours was sufficient . .I sure didn't think it was because at 4 months she was just 12 lbs.
Because I pumped for Hope, it became natural for me and so when Nathan wanted nothing to do with my breast. . .I didn't fight it, I just pumped. For Cole, I also tried but he wasn't interested either so once again I pumped for 3months but he suffered from breastmilk induced jaundice and though it wasn't harmful to him, I sure got tired of people asking me why he was so orange. . so I stopped and cried knowing he was my last.
Thinking of you.

Kevin & Holly said...

Ethan will always need you, Allison. Just not in the ways you might expect. You're a good mommy. :)