Sunday, February 27, 2011

No More Nursing.

After weeks of deliberation and internal personal battles, as of last night, I am no longer a nursing mother.

As I wrote in my "Dear Anonymous" post a few weeks back, Spencer has always been very slow while nursing, approximately an hour per sitting. It was okay at first, but as I've gotten more busy, and he's gotten bigger, it just wasn't working out.

And pumping was, at first, but then the supply dwindled.

Last week, I had a conversation with Jillian about it, in which I told her I was contemplating ceasing, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I knew the end was near on Friday night when he was so upset that I offered to let him pacify himself, and he just wouldn't take it.

This morning, I did not have time to pump before church. On the way to church, it hit me hard, like a sack of stones, "it's the end for us."

The end of nursing, of pumping, of breastmilk (except for freezer bag reserves) for Spencer and I.

The only thing is, I know it makes sense to quit. It doesn't work for our schedule and daily activities, and it's become nearly pointless to pump with hardly anything to show for it... but I didn't want to quit. Really. That's what's been holding me back.

I've been exceptionally emotional about it all day.

I've cut that tie to my baby. It's like I've lost a part of our relationship, and I wasn't really ready for it. I wanted to nurse for at least six months, and hopefully a year until we started whole milk. I made it to four months.

Yes, that's better than many can say, but it just feels a little bit like failure.

Like I am not good enough a mother to him, to give him what I know he deserves.

And then, while I know it's not actually the case, I feel like ceasing nursing is almost like a punishment to him for being too slow. Like... if you can't do it fast enough, then you don't get to at all. And I don't mean for it to be that way. I know he doesn't think of that, because he really can't process it, but my adult mind realizes that's how I would interpret it... so I feel like he must, inside, somehow.

So, all day, I've been battling these emotions, these demons inside of me, the ones telling me I'm selfish, I'm a failure, I'm a mean mom.

And I look at him and cry, because he wants so badly to be able to have what I will no longer give him. I visualize how beautiful and peaceful he looked as he would snuggle up next to me to nurse, holding onto the center of my shirt with his one little hand... and I know that I won't have that with him, ever again. It's a real loss, one that I was unprepared for mentally and emotionally. I didn't sit and nurse him for every feeding, but I did cherish those times when I had the hour to give him, and now... they're gone.

I know he will forget soon enough those times that we had together, and he will be okay. I just hope that I won't cry too hard, for too long. I can't even help it. I cried at church six times to three different people!


  1. Praying for you. I know the feeling of making that decision. Lots of grace and love, Marybeth

  2. Ah Nicole, what an emotional experience. You did the best you could, for as long as you could. Bless you for having the courage to begin nursing and keep it going for 4 months. Parenting is often about taking risks. You've done well and I'm proud of you.