breastfeeding, boobs, weaning and other motherly woes

i have been lucky with breastfeeding. things have gone smoothly since the beginning when lucinda latched right on as soon as i got her in my arms, and we've never looked back. it did hurt at first, they told me the tenderness might last for ten days or so, but my nipples were in pain for the first several weeks of nursing. but only for that first moment when she would latch on, i'd take a deep breath and relax myself and feel the milk start to flow and everything would be comfy then. it seemed like i was nursing round the clock for months. she was a very frequent eater and i just kept it coming. to me it was cozy to have my spot on the couch or the hammock, quiet time with a big glass jar of water, my book and journal, ipod, perhaps a snack nearby, and my sweet content baby nursing away snuggled in my arms.
lucy's nursing time has flown and i've tried to enjoy it fully. 

 now it is getting very near weaning time for my sweet toot. she only nurses once a day now, at bedtime, and that is on its way out for one reason: my milk is drying (has dried?) up. 

i think this drying-up process has been frustrating for her and it began to change her nursing patterns a couple months ago. we were down to once or twice a day plus a night nursing or two. i had to cut out the night nursings completely when  i got a horrible case of food poisoning on top of being sick in my first trimester. pure misery (on memorial day when i was supposed to meet up with these lovely gals. boo.)  i was too dehydrated and exhausted to nurse that night, and she was used to needing a few feedings during the night at that point to help her get back to sleep. so around 2 a.m. darin and i just comforted her as she cried. it was heartbreaking but we were there for her, too sick and tired to move so we just held her close. she cried herself back to sleep and we have never nursed in the middle of the night again since then. so i consider that bout of food poisoning somewhat of a blessing in disguise as i don't know how we would have given up the frequent night nursings if it weren't for that night. i am hoping that eliminating this last final nursing session goes smoothly. i worry because she is very attached to it for bedtime, though it does not get her to sleep anymore. in fact, when i slip my boob away she often wakes up fully to either cry or play and crawl around on the bed. after that, bedtime may take up to three hours sometimes and is usually grueling. i am often alone as darin works until 11 pm or has band practice. and if he is here to help it's sometimes even harder because he has to take her away from me and put her in the Ergo to walk her to sleep and she struggles against that. she does sleep through the night now which is wonderful, but it's getting her there that is rough. i think all these sleep woes started as my milk began to dry up. nursing to sleep was just so utterly relaxing for her, she is having a really hard time with that change. she still sleeps between us too. horizontally. we've got a lot to work on around here. 

nursing in the new year:

bf'ing break while my sis was in labor:

interestingly, my boobs are right now the smallest they've been in over a year. they hurt like hell and the nipples are dark, but they're back to my normal B cup size. it's just so fascinating to me the way our bodies change with birth and pregnancy and the physical ways that we adjust to motherhood. the ways that we share so many experiences while we are also each so unique. many women's breasts grow during the beginning of pregnancy; not mine. neither time so far. instead, mine expanded enormously at the very end.
and then stayed big all through the heavy nursing in point below (a picture i was too embarrassed to post at the time, but hell, this is officially a boobs post)

i had dreams of nursing a baby for years. right before i got pregnant with lucy i dreamt that i nursed my friend elsie's babe. i did indeed end up nursing my sister's babe. i find breastfeeding to be one of the most sweet, poignant, empowering and yes, i'll say it, magical activities that i've ever had the chance to experience. i thought i would nurse lucy until about 18 months or even beyond, but i am content with the way things have gone and pray for a smooth transition for her as we cut out her sweet bedtime treat. i very much look forward to the chance to breastfeed another baby this winter. and i thank the universe, my stars, life, god, mother goddess and love every day for the wondrous fact that this happened to me at all. that i have become a mother like i always hoped i would.


Rachel Weaver said…
I'm trying to break/ lessen the boob for comfort thing with Arlo right now. He wants a boob in his mouth ALL night and if it moves, he gets upset. This might explain why he is a beautiful fat giant. Good luck with changes. I do happy for you and your beautiful, growing family.
dolly anna said…
awwww, this is such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing heather!

boobs are quite magical. i think making milk is one of those subtlety mind blowing things---- it's really reconstructed my view of breasts, freeing me from previous junk contempo-culture perspectives.

i'm so happy for your successes with lucy, and the soon-to-be-successes with the little one soon to be in your arms. :D

i hope bedtime grows into a smooth routine for lucy, that sounds tricky. my little guy is a boob-junkie and ty and i are a little bewildered with the situation we've created. we even set up link's bedroom and i nurse him to sleep for naps in there, hoping that it will lead the way to some future-gradual transition.

love you!

Amanda said…
Ah! Weaning. I breastfed mine until he was almost three and we coslept a little longer than that. Thankfully, he was down to only nap and bedtime and then one day didn't ask so I didn't offer. After three days of that I told him I didn't think he needed it anymore and we were done. It was so smooth. I was terrified because he was a BF'ing maniac! He was an 11 lb monster when he was born and he nursed every two hours through the night for a few years.

I LOVED nursing him and I only hop I get the chance to do it again. Good luck pretty ladies!
Teeny said…
Thanks for sharing. It is flippin amazeballs amazing what our bodies do. And how they change. I was surprised to find my boobs got smaller too. (AFter two bubs, they are priiiiiitttttttty small now. I went down a whole 2 cup sizes) And that is okay with me, this is life, their lives and mine. My body has done fantastical unimaginable things growing these children and feeding them. Breastfeeding through illness is awful. xo
Geny said…
You are such an amazing and beautiful mother, Heather! I love hearing of all your adventures with Lucy! My sister, Whitney, is still nursing her almost two year old and she seems to be struggling with it. I think she really wants to stop and has stopped enjoying it at all but really really doesn't know how. Her son definitely uses it for comfort only and does not know how to self soothe at all, I wish I could help her but she really has to do it on her own. Maybe she will see this and learn a little from your own experience with Lucy! Hugs to you!!
Anonymous said…
I'm a bit late to this, but maybe it will be a bit easier to wean Lucy and have a shorter getting to sleep time when she has mastered walking. Lots of babes go through a crazy developmental spurt around this time, their minds and bodies can't seem to stop until they've got themselves walking, it's like they want to practice in their sleep! Things might get a bit easier over the next month...good luck!
Sadie Rose said…
thank you for posting this! it is a wild ride with all the boob adventures, for sure. i have my own stories to tell, too, as you can imagine . you are gorgeous and you have awesome boobs and the CUTEST baby!!
Tera said…
This post was like a lovely story before bed. I enjoyed it so much! I am also happy to see all your breastfeeding photos. I have them too because IT IS such a magical thing that I can't believe I did/doing and I want to remember as much of it as I can, preserve as much of it as I can.

I just read this today on breastfeeding:

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