Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I have really been feeling an internal struggle lately about when I should stop nursing Miss E. If you don't want to hear about it, read no further. :) I have REALLY enjoyed nursing and have been so thankful that Elliott has always been such a good eater. However, probably about a month ago, I feel like the whole experience has gotten more stressful. I think several factors contributed to the change. First, she really started enjoying other foods and really wasn't as interested in nursing. Also, we went down to four feedings a day which has been fabulous for Kev and I (she goes to bed at 7 so we have good hang out time at night), but not so fabulous on my milk supply. I still pump before I go to bed (gag), but I still can't seem to pump as much as I used to.

So typically the last feeding is the worst (especially on days I work). She acts fussy, she won't nurse normally so it takes longer for my milk to let-down. I literally switch her back and forth until finally she will eat a little. BUT in the mean time, it is miserable. I am always paranoid she's not getting enough, and there have been times I have just given up and defrosted milk to give to her in a bottle. Then she acts totally happy.

Part of me thinks, maybe she's just not as interested any more, she's eating other foods great, I have some milk still stored, she's almost 9 months, let's just stop nursing. I absolutely HATE pumping, and right now I'm pumping every night on top of the 3 days I work. I know some people have it worse, but I am SO tired of pumping...especially at work. There are some days I don't have time to pump twice so I just get one time in, so then of course I feel guilty. Sounds like a fairly strong case to quit, right?

Well then another side of me feels bad/guilty to stop nursing. I think I had the expectation to nurse for a year so I feel like I'm throwing in the towel too quickly. I also start wondering if it will be more difficult/inconvenient to stop nursing because I won't have a "bottle" always available. Also, we would probably have to do some formula and that's whole new can of worms that sounds stressful.

There is something so awesome (maybe selfish?) about being the only person who can feed your baby, especially in chaotic times with lots of family around. You can take a little break and you get to have a moment with just you and your baby. No one questions you or asks to do it (that would be really weird), and it's a need only you can fulfill. I feel like I will miss that. So many thoughts and yet I know there is no "right" answer. I go back and forth and still seem no closer to a solution.

Any thoughts??


  1. Hi, Erica!

    I am so sorry that you are struggling with this decision. I was told by my docs (7 years ago) that breastfeeding is best, especially when a baby is newly born. I think that it is hard when you have set an expectation that you would breastfeed until Elliot is 1 year. But, when you set that goal for yourself, there was no way of knowing what Miss Elliot would want/need at what point. I don't think that you are throwing in the towel to quickly if you are seeing legitimate signs that she (and you) may very well be "over" nursing. I don't think that you can make a wrong decision on this one. Do whatever you feel is best for Elliott and for you. It isn't as if she won't take a bottle and you are being lazy and refusing to pump. I'm rambling. Sorry. Elliot is adorable! Good luck!

  2. Oh, I couldn't have written this post any better to describe my own feelings right now. Most of my heart is saying that I want to bf forever! Because I also love that special time between us. And she loves breastmilk. But it is getting harder. And I feel like she actually needs more of everything else. She eats table food so well, that it's hard to justify nursing so much. But HOW do I do this? Both mentally and physically???

  3. Well, I had a long comment for your post and when I went to submit it, it went!
    So, here's the short version
    - I've had the same exact issues/thoughts about when to stop nursing
    - Callie lost interest after starting solids and my supply went downhill
    - The last 2-3 weeks have brought pretty pathetic pumping sessions and make me wonder if it's even worth it
    - Decided to only pump in the AM, use freezer stock during day, and nurse at bedtime. That way I didn't have to pump at work (bonus!)
    - I'm hopeful my freezer supply will hang on until 9 months. If not, will use formula until then
    - My pediatrician doesn't mind whole milk at 9 months so we'll try that then also
    - I won't miss the hassle of pumping but will miss the bonding more than I ever thought I would.
    - I plan to switch back to my old birth control next week to really put an end to my nursing capability - it's a way I can close this chapter without an option to return as it should dry up my remaining measley supply.
    - I've really enjoyed nursing and will miss I just need to look at the positives and hopefully the negatives will fade fast as Callie grows. :)

    K - so not very short but oh, well! :)

  4. Don't feel guilty. You need to do what makes your family as a whole the happiest. If it's just becoming more of a burden/stress, take that away and go to formula. I never used formula so I have no comment on that one. I would think working and pumping would be horrible. I know I hated pumping at night before bed to add to my freezer supply. I can't imagine pumping more than once a day. Your body knows it's not a baby and doesn't produce even close to as much as what the baby can get out so you're already at a disadvantage there. And, if you can't pump the same amount/times that she's taking a bottle, you can't possibly get enough to keep up with her demands. Haisley bit me a few times and it was awful! She started that at about 9 months and I was told to yell, "Ow," which makes her pull off. If she doesn't unlatch, you unlatch her so she knows if she bites, no milk for her. She could have been trying to get more milk to come out faster like she's used to in a bottle not realizing she would hurt you in the process. It's definitely your call but it sounds like you are done and just be thankful you could nurse for a long 9 months which is above and beyond what the average nursing mother does. You will still bond with her because you are her only mother, and for that, no one can ever replace you! I wish you all the best in your decision-making!