You’ve only been a part of my life for six months now, but we’ve gone through some serious ups and downs in our short relationship.
I will never forget how you were there for me in the beginning. After my birth plan went to complete shit, and less than one hour after being stitched back up from an unplanned C-section, I asked to feed my baby. I held him tight and pulled him to my breast, anxiously watching his precious mouth to see what he would do. Immediately he latched and began sucking. That was by far the coolest moment of my birth story and really helped empower me after a day where nothing went as planned.
Of course it wasn’t long before we had our first fight. By two days in my nipples were bloody and hurt so bad I was certain they were going to fall off. I cursed you every time I fed my baby and wasn’t sure if you were going to be the right fit for me. But after about two weeks and tons of Lanolin, things got better. You became easy and surprisingly enjoyable. I was able to savor the sweet moments with my son held close to my body when nothing else in the world mattered.
It’s been smooth sailing from there, logistically at least. Now emotionally and physically, you continue to take a toll. You see, when a woman is exclusively breastfeeding, she has no break. If she is away from her baby, she has to pump. And if she leaves the baby with someone else, she has to use her precious supply of pumped milk. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as emotionally attached to anything as I am to my breastmilk. Every time I pull a bag out of the freezer, a little piece of me dies inside.
I also have spent many nights in tears afraid that I’m not doing a good enough job making milk and pumping. Being a full-time working, exclusive-breastfeeding Mommy who exercises 6-7 days a week is no joke. My supply took a hit after I went back to work and then another one after I started really focusing on my diet and exercise. Which leads me to my next point – that myth they tell new moms about you making us lose weight because of all of those calories you burn. Excuse me while I LOL. While you may burn calories, what is not as widely communicated is that you also release hormones to protect milk supply that can promote fat storage. I learned that for a large number of women, it’s actually MORE difficult to lose weight while breastfeeding. Lovely. Despite working out my entire pregnancy and going back to bootcamp at 8 weeks postpartum, I still have a ways to go … and I’m not sure how much longer I get to call it “baby weight.”
These last few weeks have been especially difficult. That freezer stash I’ve worked so hard to build is all but gone. When I’m at home with my son, he still breastfeeds like a boss. But I just can’t pump enough to replace what he eats at daycare. So week-by-week, I’ve watched my once plentiful stash dwindle to about a week’s supply. I had a feeling the time would come when I couldn’t keep this up, and I believe that hour is upon me.
My son will be six months old next week. For six months, I have sustained a human life with nothing but milk made from my body. No formula, no solids. Just breastmilk. If you stop to think about it, that’s really incredible. It’s definitely up there on my list of accomplishments. Part of me wishes we could continue on for months or even years, but deep down, I know our time together is coming to an end.
I’m sure I will cry before, during, and after we have our last hurrah. It’s only natural I guess. Breakups are difficult, especially when you really care about someone.
Our relationship may have been short, but it was so so sweet, and I will always look back on our time together with a smile. Thanks for the happiness and fulfillment you have given me, the countless benefits you have allowed me to provide to my child, and the beautiful moments we were able to share together.
And hey, if down the road I decide to have another baby, I’ll give you a shout and maybe we can hook back up.