Wednesday, August 24, 2011

my breastfeeding journey has come to an end

It's official. Hendrix is done nursing.  It has been about a week since his last successful feeding and I think my milk is completely gone. The weaning was mostly painless because Hendrix did it all.  He just decided he was done. Just like that.

I am feeling mixed emotions about this.

It was my goal to make it to a year and since we are just a few short weeks away from that I will consider that goal pretty much accomplished.  It is interesting to think back along the journey.

In the very beginning, because he was a preemie, I had to pump to get his milk and then it was fortified (to help him gain weight quickly) and fed to him in a special bottle.  The nurses in the NICU were the ones that did this for the first couple of days.  

Then he got really good at eating, and the baton was passed to me to do the feedings.  It took several hard weeks of transitioning to get him to the point where he could successfully eat from my breast, and even then we had to alternate that with giving him my milk from a bottle so we made sure that he didn't exhaust himself and got plenty to eat.

In the beginning we were waking him every 3 hours day and night to feed him; which included both my pumping, and then giving him the bottle.  Looking back now, I can't believe how hard that was.  
I can't believe that I didn't give up.  
I am so glad that I had the support system of my husband and my mother encouraging me that it was worth it.  It was.  It most definitely was.

When he finally got to the point where he could eat himself and I didn't need to pump, I stopped pumping.  I actually even considered throwing the pump away because I was so sick of pumping!  Oh, and I had a freezer so full of milk that I couldn't fit anything else in it.  It seemed ridiculous because he wasn't drinking any bottles.....but it was really nice when he started eating cereal and I was able to mix it with breastmilk.

My sweet little boy started filling out and packing on the pounds.  He doubled, tripled, and then even quadrupled his birth weight all before he was nine months old.  He had multiple chins and plenty of chub!  It was so encouraging to see him looking so healthy since we were so worried about him when he was born so early and only weighed 5 pounds.

When we first started cereal he was not sure what he thought about it!  It didn't take long for him to fully embrace it but he remained an avid milk drinker as well.  He began to learn the 'baby sign-language' sign  for milk (use your hand to make the motion you would if you were milking a cow) and would use it to tell us he was hungry.

I absolutely fell in love with the bonding and closeness that came with breastfeeding my baby.  I loved the snuggles.  I loved knowing that he and I shared something that no one else did.  I really, really enjoyed it.

And honestly, once we got into the swing of it, I think that it was easy.  It was portable, it required no preparation or cleaning, it was convenient.  It took a while, but I got pretty comfortable about nursing in public - though it did get a bit harder as he got older and stronger and liked pulling the cover off of us.  I don't blame him.  I wouldn't want to eat in the dark either.  :)

When he started venturing into the world of solids, he was a pretty good eater.  I still really liked the comfort of knowing that it didn't matter too much if he didn't eat all his veggies because he was still getting all he needed from my milk.  

When he first attempted drinking water from a sippy cup it was messy.  It seemed like it took forever for him to learn the coordination of managing that thing on his own, and he really wasn't all that interested in it unless we added a little splash of juice to his water. ;)

He kept on growing more and more interested in imitating the things that we were doing, which involved less and less nursing, and more and more eating and drinking like a big boy.  He became pretty good at maneuvering a water bottle and still begs for a sip anytime he sees me drinking out of one.

Then he finally got some teeth at the ripe old age of nine months.  Fortunately for me they were only the bottom teeth (he still doesn't have any top teeth) so I never got bit while breastfeeding.  I consider this to be a major blessing!

As he continued to grow, he basically just didn't have time to nurse anymore.  He was just plain too busy.  He wanted to explore and couldn't be bothered with any activity that required him to sit still for more than 2 minutes.  During this period he reduced his eating schedule to only morning and night, and he started to get taller and thinner.  I sometimes worried that he wasn't getting enough to eat, but his pediatrician assured me that a hungry baby would nurse. 

Now my son walks and talks and drinks {whole milk} out of a sippy cup.  

Sure, I am a little sad to see this milestone happen.  But it is most definitely coupled with excitement as I love watching him grow and change and am thrilled to watch more and more of his little person unfold.

Now we need to go find some room in the budget for whole milk.....


  1. You are such a good mommy...Hendrix has been given the very best start in life and I absolutely adore watching you be a mommy!!! He is a lucky little boy :)


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