*Cue horror movie music* Noooooooooooooooo!
I’m too distraught to even think of a creative title for this entry. It is what it is.
I can’t believe it. It’s not that I didn’t know this time was coming but it’s so soon and I most definitely am not prepared. I’m not ready. At four months old, breastfeeding has become quite the debacle with little Liam. As he is gaining more self-awareness and becoming more alert, his attention to the breast has become less directed as he becomes so easily distracted whether it be by John’s voice or a bright light or nothing at all. He’s taken to the habit of popping himself off the breast and laughing then returning to the breast. Not exactly the most efficient way to drink milk.
Not that I’ve tried.
Also, due to my transition to work I was forced to introduce formula into his diet, which means not only has he become more accustomed to the bottle, but he also isn’t breastfeeding which in turn lessens my milk production so when he does feed, he’s not very impressed with my wimpy let-down. It’s all very melancholy, if you ask me.
Number two to the bottle.
If that isn’t depressing enough, Liam’s abusive arm movements while he’s breastfeeding could might as well be him saying, “This sucks! Where’s the good stuff at?”
Okay, maybe not abusive.
But his little swinging arms with no coordination make me feel like I’m in the ring of an illegal fist fight. Sometimes, I desperately clutch his little fists to my chest in an effort to calm him down, but no sooner after I let him go, he’s back at it with a vengeance. As a baby who associates sucking with sleeping- All Hail the pacifier!- Liam falling asleep on the breast used to mean he was satisfied. Not anymore. He still falls asleep, of course, but it now means he’s resting and waiting for the second let-down of milk. What he doesn’t know is, it’s not coming. A few months ago, this was a well-thought-out strategy on his part. He’d feed for a few minutes until the milk started to lessen in force. Then he’d lie back and close his eyes and relax and time it almost perfectly to the second let-down of milk before he started to feed again. When he fell asleep for the third time, he was more than satisfied. Nowadays, the second let-down is next to non-existent meaning when he goes back on, he’s back to the arm swinging. He even kneads the breast like a piece of dough as if he’s trying to squeeze some milk out it, much like trying to squeeze the last bits of juice from a Caprisun. I don’t even wear bra pads anymore; my breasts are definitely getting the hint.
I’m NOT ready!
I’m not ready for my breast to go back to regular size, or in the case of my left one, smaller than its original size.
I kid, I kid.
But, seriously. I’m not ready.
I’m not ready to give up the most cherished bonding experience I have with Liam in breastfeeding. Ironically enough, I almost feel like I’m losing some of my mum-hood. Like I’m going to be less of that mama that Liam depended so heavily on in his first few months of life; like I’m about to lose some of my purpose. And in a sense, I am. Once Liam no longer needs to rely on me to be fed, he can practically be fed by anyone who knows how to hold a bottle. I’d be lying if I said losing some of my mothering doesn’t bother me. I can admit that him being bottle-fed does offer some convenience since his feedings had graduated to lasting over and hour sometimes which wasn’t exactly ideal if I had thirty minutes to get ready in the morning. With the bottle, when it’s done, it’s done. Liam hasn’t quite grasped that yet, poor thing, and always protests after his last drop. Nothing the pacifier can’t handle. All the motherhood websites I use to research different milestones say “Don’t wean until you know for sure that you and baby are ready.” Although I’m not ready, I don’t feel like I have much of a choice because as much as I want Liam attached to my drying breast, he still has to be fed at the end of it all and by the looks of it, he doesn’t seem to be quite so sentimental about it as I am.
If I could help it, I would breastfeed Liam as long as he wants to be breast-fed. If he doesn’t stop, then I won’t stop. I’d stop before he’d go to college, of course.
I kid, I kid.
Believe it or not I actually enjoy breastfeeding, contrary to the common belief that most mothers can’t wait for the day they no longer breastfeed. However, due to a decrease in hormonal levels as weaning progresses, other actions which stimulate the production of these hormones are encouraged like cuddling, hugging, kissing and singing are encouraged. The silver lining in the cloud. I already bug the baby out of Liam with my cuddling and my smothering as it is, now I have a legitimate excuse to do it. Poor thing won’t know what hit him.
For me, a baby has three main needs: to be warm in the arms of their mother, a supply of food from her breast and the knowledge of security in her presence; breastfeeding satisfies all three of those demands. Although I may not be able to satisfy the second demand for much longer, Liam will never have to question his security and will never be without my warm arms around him. Weaning is a bitch, it’s true.
But love trumps weaning.