Friday, 11 April 2008

The end of breastfeeding for Adam?

I always said I wanted to let Adam self wean and thats still the plan. Pregnancy seemed to make it happen slightely sooner then I thought it would and when I was around 8 weeks pregnant (and he had just turned 3) my milk seemed to go. That didnt seem to stop him trying but it was less frequent and afterwards he would make comments like 'I can't wait till my milk comes back'. My breasts didnt feel any different other then my nipples being sensitive so I hadn't noticed my dwindling supply but nonetheless I tried to hand express some and nothing came. Not only that but my nipple seemed to have lost its 'stretch'. To get the milk out effectively they normally stretch to the back of the childs mouth but mine were hard and rigid which explained the discomfort and sensitivity when he latched on.

As the weeks past by he tried to latch on less and less and even when he did it was one suck and he was off again. I thought that was it, that he had weaned. I was amazed by how well it seemed to be going, he took it all in his stride and seemed to accept that was just what happens. His bedtime nursing was replaced with a 2 second nuzzle, 2 stories instead of 1 and me holding his hand to help him to sleep. I thought when the time came for him to wean I would feel all sad and nostalgic but it was all going so smoothly that I didn't feel any regret. It was just a really nice ending to what had been a lovely breastfeeding relationship and the beginning of a new phase.

Then halfway through my second trimester things changed. Suddenly my hormones kicked in and I became moody and snappy. I tried to find ways to use the emotions I was feeling so they didn't impact on Adam but because they came alongside other stresses in my life sometimes I would find myself snapping at him. That made me feel worse. I pride myself on being connected with my child, being able to accept him for who he is and being able to handle whatever each day threw at us. But this was a different kettle of fish - it was like I had a monster inside of me and sometimes I couldn't contain it. I started doing and saying things I'd always hated. I'd have days when I would just feel overwhelmed by everything and would cry for no reason and I felt like we'd lost our connection. Adams behaviour changed too - he began to hit me and then laugh at me. It was obvious he was searching for that connection again and didnt quite know how. But in those moments it seemed that neither did I - I would shout at him and sometimes have to leave the room. The instant I did any of those things I felt immediate remorse and would go back to comfort him and try to move on. In those moments we would seem to reconnect and we'd hold each other and try to talk about what had happened. But I still felt bad - by my own outburst had I manipulated him into stopping the behaviour I didnt like?

So understandably as this has been happening Adams need to nurse has increased again. I still don't think the milk is there (although he says it is) but the one second suck has turned into half a minute and its become more frequent. I don't mind this as I understand the need and I was prepared for it happening at some point. But it's not easy - its a bit like starting breastfeeding again and my nipples have to adjust as its quite uncomfortable. I need to put my energy into keeping our connection and not get so overwhelmed by my emotions. I need to find another outlet for these moods I'm experiencing - perhaps this blog will be a good way of doing that. Another way I've found is to tell Adam I'm feeling angry and roar like a lion. He likes that and roars along with me lol.

So back to the milk thing. This morning Adam latched on for a little while and as he came off there was white blobs on my nipple. I was amazed - had my milk come back in? We both got excited 'look, look milk'. Then I realised he'd just finished a yoghurt so I had a taste and it had a definite raspberry flavour to it so it wasnt my milk after all.

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