Sunday, January 30, 2011

A sweet goodbye

I am a little sad to report that Will is now 100% formula fed.

Throughout my pregnancy, I was determined to be one of those mothers who nurses for an entire year. Breast milk is amazing stuff. It's free, nutritionally-sound and on demand. What's not to like?

But Will and I struggled with our breastfeeding relationship from the moment he was born. He wouldn't nurse after delivery, and struggled with getting a proper latch. We pushed through for three weeks, until I just couldn't take the pain and frustration anymore.

But breast milk was really important to me. So we started pumping (and pumping, and pumping). I pumped 6-7 times a day for four months. That's about four hours a day pumping and washing pump parts, which equals about 480 total hours or 20 whole days. If you figure I pumped 30 ounces a day for four months, that's roughly 3,600 ounces or 28 entire gallons of breast milk. I'm practically my own dairy.

I wanted to breastfeed exclusively for six months, but unfortunately I fell short of my goal. The thing about pumping, is that it doesn't stimulate your milk production as well as a baby does. So month after month, I made less and less. Until Will simply needed to eat more than I could produce.

I'm happy to report that he's thriving on formula, and in many ways I'm thrilled to have my body back. But it was difficult to stop breastfeeding entirely. It felt like I was giving up one of the fundamental things that made my baby my baby. It's very fulfilling to provide food for your child.

So last week, as my breasts filled with what would be the last of my milk, I nursed Will one last time. It was early in the morning and we were snuggling together in bed. He wasn't yet starving, so he snacked happily, gently suckling and patting my breast with his hand.

I had long ago mourned the loss of our breastfeeding relationship, but it was the perfect way to say goodbye. Goodbye to the rigid expectations I had set for myself, and goodbye to one of the most intimate moments between mother and child.


  1. It sounds like the perfect way to end a beautiful part of your relationship with Will =)

    I know that you might not feel like you met all of your breastfeeding goals, but I sincerely hope that as time passes you see in yourself what I can see in just this one post: that you have not in any way let yourself or your son down. You did everything in your power to make something work that you felt was best for your family and that? THAT deserves a round of applause. That makes you one of the most successful breastfeeders of all time. In the end, what matters most is that your child is loved and it sounds like he has love in spades =) And as Will gets older, you will see: everything about him is you, everything about him makes him your baby.

    Give that five-month-old cutie pie some snuggles from Charlotte and me. We're sending you some warm fuzzies too.

  2. Sarah, thank you so much for your support. I'm such a huge fan of your blog. It's a thrill to know you're reading mine. Hugs right back to you and Charlotte.

  3. Sam, I still miss breastfeeding and it's been at least 5 months since the "last" official time. It certainly is bittersweet. Thanks for the great post about the daily (hourly?!?) thoughts and emotions new moms have.


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