Friday, February 11, 2011


Today is the first day River did not nurse. I gradually started weening him after the New Year. We were actually supposed to be finished on February first, but he woke up that day with his very first cold. This caused some guilt on my part, because baby's immune systems are the most susceptible the first six months after they stop nursing and I had been debating stretching it out till cold and flu season was over. Maybe I should have, but there was no going back at this point, so I decided some milk was better than none and nursed him through his cold... literally. Well, his cold lasted 11 days and unfortunately, somewhere around day 8, I caught it too. I guess there is a limit to the amount of slobbery, boogery kisses a mama can get from her sick-induced cuddle machine, before she falls prey to the germs.
On day 10 of River's cold, it was apparent my cold was on steroids, so I made a doctor's appointment. It turns out, I have a sinus infection and a double ear infection. After tending a sick baby for over a week, I didn't have the energy to fight my infections naturally, so I accepted the antibiotics. I was okay with this, because at least I know about probiotics and rebuilding my immune system and it had been five years since I had last had antibiotics, so it's not like I overuse them, but then I took the first pill and BOOM... it occurred to me... being on the medication, I couldn't nurse River anymore. I know I had planned on ending 10 days before, but not knowing the last time was going to be the last time was a swift and sharp realization. I'll admit it, I bawled like a baby.
I'll miss this special time I had with him. I'm not saying it wasn't difficult at times. Even with him knowing just what to do and even with my body producing plenty of milk, nursing takes a minute to figure out and with River being colicky in the beginning, I was so unsure. Was I over-feeding him and adding to his tummy-ache? Was he not getting enough milk and that's why he was so upset? How I longed for the measurability of formula.
He was upset a lot from the colic and because he smelled milk on me when I held him, I was able to comfort him the least. I would refer to myself as the milk lady, because if it wasn't time for him to eat, it was easier on him for me not to hold him. This equals post-partum torture. He wanted to nurse, because he was in pain and nursing is comforting, but then the extra milk would upset his tummy more. Instead of peaceful, serene moments, nursing River usually involved tiny fists beating on my chest. I called doctors and midwives and la leche specialists and they all said the same thing, colic will end around 12 weeks and I needed to trust he was getting the right amount of milk and wait it out.
Thank God it did and after that we were blessed with a years worth of those peaceful, serene nursing moments I had been envisioning while pregnant. I can see the plus side of being done. It seems as if the last ten pounds I haven't been able to lose are actually going to come off now, not to mention, freedom from the clock. Heck, maybe in a couple more months, I might even consider a scenario where I am able to spend the night away from my sweet babe. Okay, I teared up when I typed that, so maybe not. One day at a time. Anyway, even with the pluses, I am going to miss it. Nursing River has been one of the true joys of my life. I can't imagine anything more intimate and bonding and I am thankful to have had the experience. I'm glad I trusted and stuck it out. I know why some moms don't, but I'm glad I did.
River did great. His dad was up this morning, so he didn't even notice the lack of nursing. He had his dad and a sippy cup of goats milk and life couldn't get better. The milk lady has left the building.


IrisLillie said...

Even though he won't remember exactly... wh eill remember the love..
You too......

Heidi said...

I can empathize about the abrupt end to nursing; Abigail all of the sudden decided one day that she was done. And I hadn't even been weaning her, really; so we went from about 4 feedings a day to zero. And let me tell you, the physical and emotional pain (since I likely will never nurse another baby again) were both pretty intense. Yeah, and it was also the week we were moving.... Anyway, better to have the happy memories and not have a nursing 7 year-old, right?

The Bears said...

Very true Heidi and I can't imagine going from 4 to 0... ouch! I will hopefully have more babies, but I can see myself being tempted to nurse the last one till he/she is 7! Hopefully they will know better than my emotions.