Breastfeeding is a very emotional and bonding experience between a mother and child. According to studies, there is a hormone called Oxytocin that is released when I mother is nursing her child. This hormone helps increase the bond and calm the child. It makes the child feel safe with the mother.
I believe this is the reason why most children and mothers have trouble ending breastfeeding. Frequently, I’ll read stories about how they weaned the baby off their breast milk. There are even stories of how the mother had to wean herself from the idea of nursing. Because of all these stories, I figured that ending breastfeeding would be a long, difficult process. I was mistaken.
When Kayleigh was 6 months, she began to get distracted when she would nurse. She wanted to watch TV or move around, which isn’t an easy process when she’s supposed to be latching onto my nipple. She started to pull and bite to get to the position she wanted to be in. I decided it would be best to exclusively pump. This way, she could move her bottle around whichever way she wanted and it didn’t cause me pain at the same time.
The problem with exclusively pumping is that it starts to get lonely. You stop producing the same Oxytocin that bonded you and your child. You start to feel like you’re attached to a machine every couple of hours. I couldn’t even hold my child when she started crying. Other mothers have told me horror stories of their children pulling at the tubing and bottles while they’re trying to nurse. Luckily, I didn’t get to this stage with Kayleigh.
About a month into exclusively pumping, my milk supply began to decrease. I went from pumping at 7 am, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 3 pm, and 9 pm to dropping my 7 am nursing session. When a snow storm came, I worked from home and kept forgetting to nurse at 10:30 am and 3 pm. I ended up dropping those sessions too. About 3 weeks ago, we started our audit at my work which meant I, as an accountant, had a lot of work to do. I ended up skipping my 12:30 pm sessions to get the work done. Eventually, I was only pumping at night so that I could sleep without being in pain.
Kayleigh was still waking up during the night. This meant even though I pumped before bed, I still ended up waking up at 3 am to nurse (I refused to make bottles that early in the morning). Eventually, it just made sense to not pump before bed, that way I would have enough milk to nurse at 3 am. A week ago, Kayleigh started sleeping through the night, leaving me to no longer need to pump or nurse. I was done.
At first, I was sad that I would no longer had the bond with Kayleigh that was produced by nursing and Oxytocin. Then, I began to realize that I had broken that bond three months ago when I started exclusively pumping. There were other ways that I could bond with Kayleigh. She is still fed, with formula, and is still very loved.
Trying Not to Go Crazy,