**Mommy warning: Please note that this post is directed towards women. Reading any further will possibly result in turning red and/or being unable to look at me, or other nursing mommies, for several days**
On August 24th, 2012, I not only celebrated the birthday of my wonderful little girl, Emma Grayce, but I also celebrated my one year anniversary of giving my child breast milk. This was a huge deal to me. If you’ve been with me any length of time, you know how exciting this is. I have been exclusively pumping for the past ten and half months. As I write that I can’t believe it. I truthfully cry every time I think about how God blessed me enough to be able to do so for my little girl. How much He loves us that He will give us the desires of our heart, even in small ways like this. I truthfully believe we will both receive wonderful blessings from this and pray for her daily that my doing this would keep her from harms way in her health.
As with every good thing, they must come to an end. I’m not going to lie. I was very excited about the one year celebration. Once you’ve pumped for that long it’s no longer as big of an emotional attachment. My daughter and I bonded so much for that month and a half but after that is strictly became about feeding her the healthiest thing I could. I fed her. My husband fed her. My mother in law fed her. The babysitter fed it. Quitting was going to be E-A-S-Y despite the discomfort. What I didn’t expect was how untrue this was.
I waited until her one year check up, August 27th, to officially “pull the plug”. I then waited some more. I thought I was ready but every time I watched her drink a bottle I thought it wouldn’t hurt to wait just one more day. And then another. And then another. Finally I knew I had to make a commitment one way or the other. We were leaving for Disney in two weeks and there was no way I was hauling that pump with me everywhere I went. The decision had to be made.
Luckily, I had already pumped less and less so I was able to quit cold turkey. Last Saturday I knew we would be gone for several hours so after my morning pumping I decided I wouldn’t do it anymore. What a decision to make. I did pretty well. Throughout the day I got sore and had to change my pads regularly, but I did ok. It wasn’t hard. I was with Emma all day and was able to keep my focus on her. The next morning I woke up sore but still ok. I was soaking wet so I had to change out my pads again before church. When I arrived, I had to change them another three times before the end of church. This was starting to take a dangerous turn. I felt like a leaky faucet with no one to fix it. Beyond all the mess I had to clean up, it was emotionally tough, too. I had only seen Emma once and didn’t realize how much I relied on the pumping as a moment to reflect on her. I walked by the room where I normally pumped (the new mom’s room) and realized that with this child, I wouldn’t be going in there again. What an emotional day it was for this momma. I teared up on more than one occasion but did okay. I held back my tears and kept trucking on, knowing it would all be ok. I survived the rest of the day until the evening came. I was sitting around and felt the urge to pump so went to take a hot shower. For those of you who don’t know- showers are miraculous for the weaning mom. I realized at this time that I was seriously out of control HUGE. It was like my milk was coming in all over again and there was nothing I could do about it. I got in the shower and cried. And then cried some more. I was not only sore but emotionally spent. I was blessed to go see my beautiful friend, Stacy, and her handsome little boy, Andy. As I walked in the room and realized he was nursing I had 20,000 emotions run through me that all came rushing back to me in that shower. I would never nurse Emma again. I would never pump for her again. I would never again feed her a breast milk bottle (this was the night I gave her the final breast milk bottle). I cried and cried as the end of an era had come. When I got out of the shower, I used some cabbage from the freezer as a cold pack. Thanks Suzi and April for the great idea! I cuddled with Emma for some emotional relief and went to bed. It had been a long day and I needed some serious rest for my heart and my soul. Thankful that my loving Savior held me through the night as I hurt both physically and emotionally.
The next day we took a trip to Splash Country for Labor Day festivities with my family. It was great healing and if chicken noodle soup is good when you’re sick, this moment was great for this kind of healing. A day filled with fun and family and friends (our great friends, Jordan and Farris, came too!) was definitely what the doctor ordered. A full day off with Emma was what my heart yearned for and I was able to receive this. I didn’t even think about this extra bonus when I decided to quit nursing on the previous Saturday but luckily, God knew. He always knows and cares for his children. I am so grateful for this day because despite the days ahead- I have this day to look back on and remember the rest I was given and the time spent with my precious little girl.
Psalm 34:18 MSG “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
1 Peter 5:7 NLT “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
Matthew 11:28 NLT “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
John 16:33 NLT “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I write all this to tell you this: weaning isn’t easy. It’s certainly one of the hardest things I have ever done, both emotionally and physically. I think the bad days are behind and there are only good ahead. The pain is subsiding and each day I feel better, both emotionally and physically. I’m so grateful that I was able to keep going forward and had support for my family and friends along the way. I wouldn’t change the way I did this for anything. Feeding Emma this way was my heart’s desire and I am so glad I was able to do so. I write this to also reach out to the exclusively pumping mom. It’s not easy and there is NOTHING I could find out there for weaning as an EP mom. I want to be there to encourage and support you along the way, as well as other mommies who breastfeed. I love all of you and want to be a source of encouragement for you in your time of need!
What words of advice do you have for mom’s that are weaning?