The lights are coming on, the jukebox has been turned off. This bar is closed, and much to my daughter's dismay.
Thanks to CeCe's adorable little fangs and her discovery that biting is funny, I've decided it is time to stop breastfeeding. And much like our introduction to breastfeeding, I was unprepared for all that came with the finale.
Instead of feeling like concrete was solidifying in my boobs, this time is was hot coals resting inside of them. Raising my arm above my head made my skin feel like it was going to tear, and I was only cutting out one feeding a day.
I started reading my breastfeeding books and looking around online to find some tips about how to handle the pain and discomfort of weaning. And the only tip I found was telling me not to wean.
I think certain breastfeeding advocacy organizations have an admirable mission in providing aid and encouragement to women who wish to breastfeed. But I resent being made to feel like if I can't nurse until my child is a toddler, then I am failing her in some way.
When a child can walk up and say "Hello Mommy, I'd like some milk from your breast now please," it is too much for me.
Letting your child decide when he wants to stop nursing is called "natural weaning." So what I am doing is unnatural, I guess.
Stopping breastfeeding can leave a mother consumed by guilt. Should I keep going? Am I pushing away my own baby? Am I being selfish? A majority of websites I found answered those questions with a resounding "Yes." What I was reading essentially told me I just wasn't trying hard enough.
Telling a women she must nurse until her child is at least two years old can be incredibly intimidating. Mothers need to know that breastfeeding isn't an all-or-nothing deal. I made it 8 1/2 months with CeCe on the boob. Some moms I know only made it a few weeks. And we all should be applauded for our efforts.
Breastfeeding simply doesn't work for some women and their babies. And some of us have our reasons for stopping, whether it is a difficult work schedule, a dwindling supply, or like me, a vampire baby with daggers for teeth.
Pumping would be a nice alternative, for those who have the time and resources. I was never able to produce as much milk with a pump than with my real live baby. And the soreness and time commitment still takes a toll on a mommy.
So to all the Mamas who left the breastfeeding party early (like me), let's stop the guilt! Stick an ice pack in your sports bra, take some Motrin and cuddle your baby while you feed them a bottle. Take it slow, but don't despair. You did the best you could for as long as you could, and I bet your baby appreciates it.