How I Unexpectedly Stopped Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding was always something that I held dear to my heart. It was something that I wanted to do with my son, but I was so inexperienced and gave up on it sooner than I should have. When my daughter came along I was determined to give it my full effort and dedicate time towards achieving her breastfeeding time to at least 1 year. I was finally at the hospital ready for my baby girl to come and when she did it was the most beautiful little chunky face, pulled back eyes and pink little lips. She was perfect. After a little bit of time holding her skin to skin, I began attempting to breastfeed her, and I kid you not, she latched instantly! I knew right there that our nursing journey would be much different than it was with my son. Well that’s how it all started and it has seriously been great ever since, but now it is over, and done before our 1 year goal.. This really saddens be because it happened so unexpectedly and I was not emotionally prepared to let go.

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Okay, so baby girl was 10 months old when my husband and I took a weekend mini-vacation to San Francisco to spend time alone and to celebrate our 7-year anniversary. Can I get an amen?! God knows marriage is work and an everyday decision to love. Anyway, my husband and I had been lacking spending time together, due to work and life and kids. I mean, can you relate? So we were very excited to spend that weekend together without the kids running around and needing us, as kids do.

 

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I made arrangements for my mother-in-law, sister, and mom to watch all 3 kids for the 3 days we would be gone. I packed all my stuff including my breast pump to keep producing milk while I was away so that I could continue to feed baby girl when I came back 3 days later. I made sure to leave plenty of formula for her to drink in the meantime. So the day came to fly away on our anniversary and spend mommy and daddy time away. While we were in San Francisco I pumped 3 times a day, but I had to toss this precious milk away because I had no proper storage to keep it and bring it back home. So every time I poured it down the sink I felt horrible.. knowing that my daughter was home drinking formula instead. By the third day in San Francisco I noticed my milk supply was decreasing. I started expressing about 6-8 ounces per pump on the first day, and by the third day I was at about 4 ounces per pump. I began to worry and feel bad about the idea of drying up before my desired time.

When I finally got home I hadn’t pumped for hours because our plane was late and there was nowhere to pump in the airport. I had so much milk ready to be expressed that I was in pain. So I couldn’t wait to hold my kids and then nurse baby girl. Well she was sound asleep and my mother-in-law told me that she was struggling to fall asleep and she had just managed to. I felt bad so I didn’t bother baby girl. I went into my room and I pumped the necessary milk so that the pain would go away and went to sleep.

The next day I couldn’t wait for baby girl to wake up so that I could feed her! I was putting so much pressure on her to help me produce milk again. Lots of it, like before. She finally woke up and she was very happy to see mommy and so I put her to the breast and she latched as if I’d never been gone, which I was so happy about. Every time before that, I would feel the milk coming down for her after maybe a minute of her sucking. This time I felt nothing.. I sat there praying out loud, asking God to please let this cycle continue. I tried for the next 3 or 4 feedings, but it was just not happening. Baby girl was not eating and I knew it was gone… I cried every one of those times that I tried to feed her and no milk came out. I felt like a horrible mother for leaving to San Francisco and drying up her milk supply. I hated myself for every time I mentioned how badly I wanted to stop wearing breast pads and how uncomfortable it was. I was a mess. I wasn’t ready to let this go. I wasn’t ready for my baby not to depend on me in that way. I wasn’t ready to stop holding her while she ate. I wasn’t ready to stop looking into those beautiful brown eyes while I nursed her. I just wasn’t ready. In my head, that’s not how I saw this path ending. It took me a couple more days to get used to the idea that this was my life now. This was my baby girl’s life now. And after praying for peace in my heart, I got it.

God gave me the peace I needed in my heart to understand that things don’t always go as planned, but that is perfectly okay. He showed me that I don’t have control over everything, but that is okay too. And most importantly, He showed me that my baby girl would be just fine, that I should be proud that I was able to exclusively nurse her for 10 months and that I should be grateful that I didn’t suffer physically to dry up my supply.  So now, I am at peace with it. It’s been a month since, and I can finally put my thoughts in order and share this with you all.

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I really hope this serves as inspiration or hope for any women out there going through something similar!

Here’s a verse for you to meditate on:

Ecclesiastes 3:11  

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Thanks for stopping by! – Jenny C.

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