Thursday, April 10, 2014

Just Kidding

I'm still trying to decide whether to share this post or not. I'm not a failure. I'm just learning. This is my first time around, and sometimes I just have to try something and see if it works.

I made such a big deal about weaning Adara. I shared it more than once on Facebook, and then wrote a long blog post about it. The one right before this one.

Then five days later, just when I thought I was done with both nursing and pumping altogether, I caved.

I was a little concerned that Adara would not do well with cow's milk. Both Alex and I have varying degrees of lactose intolerance. I called Adara's pediatrician to ask about an alternative to cow's milk. Her nurse said that I could try goat's milk and see if that helped, but that it was important that Adara have some kind of mammal milk until age two. I've tried goat's milk before from the grocery store, and it's just as painful to my digestive system as regular cow's milk. Recently Adara woke up from her nap crying and pointing to her tummy, so my concern grew. Still, I thought organic milk might be better, so I decided to stick with organic cow's milk for now.

The chaos started last night. Dinner, playing with Adara, bath time.

Then came the screaming. She would not, would not put on her pajamas. She could not, could not drink her bottle and go to sleep. (We'd read a lot of Dr. Seuss that day.) I decided to let her stay up, since we'd been home all day. She just kept crying and screaming and getting more and more upset. I finally just put her in her crib and let her cry herself to sleep over the next ten minutes. I was feeling very discouraged, especially since the day before had gone so well.

This morning was a breeze, and I got my hopes up again. She saw the bowl I didn't put up from last night, pointed to it and said "ice, ice" for ice cream (we had frozen yogurt last night). So her breakfast was a small bowl of frozen yogurt, pickles (also leftover from last night) and three strawberries she saw in the fridge. That's a pretty good breakfast for her. She drank a minimal amount of milk from her bottle.

 I brought some water in another bottle and a bag of pretzels for our grocery shopping trip. Sometimes grocery shopping is stressful with her, but today was great. I allowed her to help push the cart, and she loved smiling to all the elderly who shop at the same time. We stopped by Chick-fil-a to bring lunch home. Alex is home sick today, and requested I bring something home. We drove home and Adara helped me unload the groceries.

Then the waterworks started again. She wanted my lemonade, but she didn't really want it. Everything made her upset. Giving her fries with "dip" made her upset (which she loves), going outside made her upset (which she loves), taking a bath worked for a few minutes, but as soon as she got out she got really upset again. She pushed me away, and pushed Alex away (he had stepped in to help, even though he was feeling really terrible), and then screamed and screamed when her towel wouldn't stay wrapped around her. I began to question my resolve to be done nursing her. Alex looked at me and said, "you can nurse her again."

So I did.

She immediately stopped crying and calmed down. After about a minute, she looked up at me with the biggest smile I've seen in a week. If I thought it was appropriate to put boob photos online, I would have snapped a photo of that precious smile just to show you how much it was worth it to nurse my precious child.

We read books for about half an hour, then I nursed her before nap time with absolutely no drama. As much as I thought I was relieved to be done nursing, I'm a million times more relieved to be able to comfort my baby and provide nourishment that won't hurt her tummy like cow's milk.

So maybe we'll be done by the time she's two. We'll see.

Monday, April 7, 2014

No Longer Nursing (the first 48 hours)

Whew. What an emotional couple of days.
We'd bee talking about weaning Adara for a while now, and she was already headed that way on her own. She absolutely loves going outside, and will chose that over nursing any time. We were down to nursing in the morning, at night and usually once or twice sometime in the day. This was a drastic decrease from even a few weeks ago, when she was sick and teething.

The problems started about a month ago when I finally got my "time of the month" back and nursing became more painful. At least, I assumed that's why. It probably was a contributing factor, but Adara isn't a gentle nurser-she would pinch and bite me. She wasn't being intentional as much as she just wasn't being careful. Nursing was no longer a relaxing, productive time for us. I loved my baby, but I was starting to resent her because of the pain involved.

A couple of days ago, we finally decided that she was done. She can eat plenty of food, will drink other drinks, and can go to sleep without nursing. At that time I'd only put her down for a nap without nursing, but hadn't gotten her to sleep at night without nursing her right before laying her down. That made me extremely nervous. Add that to all the hormones running through me (TOM plus no nursing) and Saturday was a really emotional day.

Then I backed into a friend's car in our driveway. Thank goodness for car insurance. How embarrassing. Seriously, if you're going to stop nursing a baby (very nearly) cold turkey, don't plan on doing much else.

That evening Alex volunteered to do Adara's bedtime routine to help. That was a mini disaster. Adara loves her daddy very much, but she is very used to me putting her to bed and she cried and cried and cried. I hid in the shower so I couldn't hear her. She finally went to sleep, and amazingly slept until 6:30 am. We'd prayed that she would sleep all through the night.

Sunday was much better. I woke up at 4:30 am and HAD to pump. So I did and went back to sleep. I gave Adara the pumped milk later in the morning, and she drank all of it. This happened a number of times throughout the day. I had time to pump, because Alex was home and played with her while I pumped only long enough to keep from being engorged. I have never experienced mastitis, and I'm going to try really hard to avoid it.

Sunday bed time was much better. We went to a birthday party for a friend of ours-they had a little girl about six months after we had Adara. Adra got to run around and get REALLY tired before we headed home. This time Alex got Adara ready for bed while I pumped. Then I rocked her while she drank her bottle. At first the asked for "ju ju" (we called nursing "mama juice" and so she says "ju ju" when she wants to nurse), but I kept offering her the bottle instead, and she took it. She sat the same way as when she nursed, and lay her head on my chest while she drank her bottle and I sang to her. She still cried when I lay her down and took the empty bottle, but this time she was saying "ba ba ba" because she wanted the bottle instead of me. To me, this is progress. I don't think babies are supposed to suck on an empty bottle. Plus, I don't want her to be hooked on a bottle-I just want to use it to help her transition. She fussed for only a couple minutes and then went to sleep. This is very similar to how she used to act when I first started putting her in her crib, and she adapted beautifully. She slept again until 6:30am.

Today I started mixing breastmilk with regular milk. I'm just using regular whole milk. I didn't have a chance to pump before her nap, so she just got a bottle with some cow's milk in it before her nap, and she drank the whole thing! Whole thing=2oz. That's about all she drinks at one time. I rushed over to pump after I put her down to nap(still crying, but fell asleep in about 5 minutes), and only pumped about 2 ounces. I'm hoping I don't have to do this longer than about a week. Pumping is super boring.

If I could re-do, I probably would have pumped more in the beginning and kept a stash for  this time, so that she could drink more pumped milk to help with the transition to no breast milk
at all. But she's already doing wonderful-if she asks to nurse, I usually read her a book and offer her an alternative drink, and she's fine.

This is one of the biggest milestones yet! I feel a little sad, a little guilt for not nursing her longer, and also relieved that we are done.