First things first – I’m a little late in posting that 10 month photo. So here it is:
This. Freaking. Kid. Oh my heck. He’s crawling now, pulling himself up onto things, shrieking wildly at any given moment. He’s funny and hilarious and probably the most stubborn baby on this side of the Mississippi. He’s not a cuddler. If you try to get near him to give him a kiss, he’ll give you a slap in the face and then laugh like a crazy man. He has not ONE shy bone in his body. He bug-eyes strangers and then gives them his signature smile. If he sees kids in the distance, he’ll yell to them. He loves a crowd and likes to make this known by screaming with delight as loudly as he can. He caused a scene in Culvers.
That’s my child. My non-snuggling, stubborn, hilarious little boy. Whose room I sneak into just about every night to pick him up and cuddle with him on the rocking chair because I have to get some good hugs in at SOME POINT during the day. When he’s awake, there’s just too much to explore, Mom…
So that’s that.
Now to the title of my post.
I need a preface to this blog. I want to start off this post by saying that motherhood is tough. We mothers put a lot of pressure on ourselves by trying to be perfect and along with that comes the uncanny ability to compare ourselves to other moms. And then with THAT comes this uncanny ability to feel guilty over just about everything.
Oh you feed your baby non-organic yogurt? You monster.
You mean to tell me that you cloth diaper that kid in pocket diapers? Well I do it old-school with the pre-folds and covers and pins. I can’t believe you call yourself a mom.
Nobody says these things, but they’re conversations that run through your own mind as a mom. You feel guilty for every choice you make because, at the end of the day, you want to make sure you give your babe the best start on life. And when you’re job is done, he’s free to mess it up however he’d like.
Because of this kind of thinking, I’ve always been uber-sensitive about my own opinions on motherhood. I completely, utterly respect moms who decide to breastfeed and the same feelings are shared towards those who choose to do formula. I won’t judge you if you send your child to daycare or stay at home with him. Fill the landfill with disposable diapers, I don’t care – my husband and I have definitely added our share, trust me.
That’s my intro. Because I’m going to talk to you about my OWN personal mothering choices, but I’m telling you that I’m not saying anything for or against a mothering practice if it isn’t what I have chosen to do. Because I don’t want anyone walking away from this post thinking I’m judging. I’m not.
Damn, I’m paranoid.
Anyway, the whole point for my little opening thesis statement is this: About 2 weeks ago Fox decided to stop nursing.
Here’s our history.
I’ve breastfed Fox since the beginning. Unlike many of my friends who had no issues nursing their babes, I had an uphill battle from the beginning. I had issues with overproducing, which would often lead to both of us in tears as he couldn’t handle the flow and would be refusing to nurse from one side.
Things finally started to settle right about the time I went back to work.
The next challenge came with being a working mom. It was called pumping. Constantly. I was determined to continue nursing and feeding him breastmilk so I’d pump during the day and nurse morning and night. My company didn’t have a room to set me up in so I had to use an unfinished room in the building with the building manager’s permission. There was no heat or electricity. I was also walked in on once.
But I stuck with it, having the goal of making it to one year in my head.
As Fox got bigger, his little independent personality got bigger as well and he started becoming less interested in nursing and more interested in the bug crawling on the wall…or the bright spine of a book on his bookshelf…or maybe even just a little baby thought would cross his little baby mind so he’d want to sit up and rattle it around in his head a little bit. It went like this for about a month of him nursing, sitting up, nursing, sitting up.
But I kept plugging along and we made it through.
When suddenly, one morning, he only nursed from one side.
That night he didn’t nurse at all.
And that’s when he stopped.
It was the worst weekend I’ve had in a long time. I pumped like crazy, tried to entice him like never before, called on every friend with a baby and lactation consultant I could find.
It’s funny who you talk to during these times. Lactation consultants are so helpful, but they’re almost SO pro-breastfeeding that it’s hard for them to see any other means of feeding your infant. Mine said that babies rarely wean this young and to keep being persistent in offering.
The pediatrician said that he’s weaning and handed me a canister of formula.
I don’t have anything against formula. I really don’t. But the heartbreak for me came from losing control of the situation. So often I talked about how excited I was for the year mark when I could start to wean him myself, but that little pickle up and did it himself.
I tried for 2 weeks to entice him back, but nothing ever came of it. Even in his sleep, the poor baby would cry out if I came anywhere near him with a boob.
The first time I gave him a bottle of formula I sobbed. I didn’t realize how emotional I’d be over not nursing him.
We’re better now. I still pump and feed him expressed breastmilk, but he also gets 1 bottle of formula in the morning because my body just can’t produce enough for his daily intake needs. Pumping is a lot more work, but I keep reminding myself that I have a month and a half to go and it keeps me going.
I think the lesson I learned from this is that us mothers are way too hard on ourselves. Why did I beat myself up over something that was out of my control? Supplementing with formula doesn’t make me a bad mom. Feeding him a bottle instead of nursing him also doesn’t make me a bad mom. I’m not being kicked out of the “Good Mom’s Club.”
So to all you moms out there – you’re doing a great job. Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, Cheetos-feed, you’re rocking at your job. Just limit your kid’s crack habit to only once a week and you’ve, like, totally got this parenting thing down.