Thursday, November 3, 2011

The end of our breastfeeding journey

This is a hard post for me. Mostly because I really didn't expect to have to write it this early. We have officially stopped breastfeeding. Grace is now formula fed, with her solids of course.

We had a very easy time breastfeeding from the very beginning and I must admit that I loved it. It was great bonding time for Grace and I and it was so easy and quick. I delayed starting solid foods primarily because breastfeeding was so much easier. When she woke up in the middle of the night, I could quickly nurse her and she would fall back to sleep easily. When we started, I really wanted to make it to 6 months. We easily surpassed that goal and I thought that we'd easily make it to a year and be able to forgo formula. But then I had my health problems 2 weeks ago and everything changed.

The nurses and the pharmacists really did try to find medications for my heart that would allow me to continue breastfeeding. I appreciate all of their hard work, but honestly these medicines are not made for breastfeeding moms and after countless hours of research and conversations with doctors, lactation consultants and family members, I decided that we needed to move to formula. This was probably the hardest decision I've made so far as a mom. I knew that Grace didn't take bottles. I knew that she didn't like the taste of formula. But so many of the medications that I'm on have not been studied sufficiently enough to know their risks for babies and others have been linked to rare but very serious, fatal diseases. These risks were just too high for me and I know that I would never be able to forgive myself if something happened to her because of the medication I was taking. So we stopped nursing Tuesday, October 25th.

I wish I could tell you that the transition was easy. It was not. It was painful and stressful for everyone involved. There was screaming from Grace and tears from me, but after a 3 day hunger strike and a trip to the pediatrician, Grace finally decided that bottles were not the evil things she had thought they were. She now grabs for them and gets fussy if we don't get them in her mouth fast enough.

I will write more later about how we finally got her to take the bottle, but I felt like I needed to write a post about the end of our breastfeeding journey. It was not the smooth transition that I originally thought it would be, where we simply cut out some feedings and moved to may be one feeding at night for possible extended breastfeeding. I figured that I would simply breastfeed Grace until I got pregnant again. That was not in God's plan for us and I'm learning to accept that. But I'm still sad about it. I miss it. When I hear her crying, I want to just put her to my breast. Instead I have to listen to her cry while I get her bottle ready. Luckily, she takes bottles from me and I still get a ton of cuddle time. But it will probably take me a while to get over our abrupt weaning. Neither one of us were ready for it and I think she has adapted better than I have! Please do not leave comments asking me about certain medications or questioning my decision, this decision was extremely difficult for me and I'm trying to stop second guessing myself. Now it's time to go make another bottle....

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3 comments:

  1. Being a good mom can be tough when it comes to things like this. Think of all the good things Grace received because you were able to nurse this long!!!

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  2. I completely understand how hard this decision was for you! I had to switch Torin to formula when he was 4 months old because it just wasn't working for us anymore. It was an incredibly hard decision, one that I didn't take lightly at all. But in the end it worked out, and now he's happy as can be to take a formula filled bottle. You did the best thing for you and your baby, and that's the most important thing.

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  3. I was one of those people who planned to do extended breastfeeding but at 6 months my (now ex) husband and I split up andI was so stressed about everything that my milk totally dried up.. I was devestated.. I pretty much had to do what you did and go directly to bottles, but thankfully for me I was working/pumping so she was already used to bottles so that wasn't to hard. Now I'll go back and read the post you wrote today.

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