I am the first person to complain about nursing. I don't like the time it takes. I don't like having to suffer through colds and flu without over-the-counter relief. I hate worrying about using prescriptions that are "unknown" as to whether or not they will affect a baby who is nursing. I don't like sleeping in nursing bras and I really don't like that my sex drive is non-existent.
At Alex's wellness appointment this week, I found out that my "short cake" was just a little too short. In fact, so small, she's barely on the growth chart at all. She has had NO weight gain since her last appointment. None. Not even a little. The poor girl has been starving these last few weeks as I have not been making enough milk to keep her fed. Only recently did she start to complain and I started to get clued in that she might not be getting enough.
Of course, my initial concern after her appointment was getting her fed. So we started to defrost the vast stores of breast milk and supplemented her every feeding. Initially, I tried to nurse her and then give her a bottle. After several very long days of nursing, bottle feeding, and then pumping, I realized I was probably putting in a lot of effort for not a lot of reward. While I was pumping as much as four whole ounces, she was consuming somewhere between twelve and fourteen. It was becoming obvious that the supply and demand were no longer in sync. (I blame the last two months of almost continuous illness but that is neither here nor there at this point.)
I scoured the web and tried many of the suggestions. Breast milk cookies (true story), fenugreek, copious amounts of water, etc. Nothing seemed to increase the supply. I spent most of the weekend agonizing over whether or not to keep nursing. Should I keep trying to nurse in the hopes that the milk will come back or do I accept that we are done with this stage and try to let it go? I finally decided that this was probably it for us. As much as I hate to admit defeat, my body just isn't cooperating with me at all. I didn't think it was fair to Alex to subject her to the ongoing aggravation of trying to get milk when there isn't any or to put myself through the ongoing feelings of disappointment that I was no longer able to meet her needs.
So it is with a heavy heart that I say we are all done nursing. I continue to struggle with this decision, alternating between feeling guilty that I'm just "not trying hard enough" and sad that I won't get to experience that bond anymore. My optimistic side wants to make a list of all of the great things about not nursing anymore and give myself a bright side to look towards, but my melancholic side just wants to wallow a bit longer and grieve for the stage that is over. I can't explain why something that felt like such a drag is now suddenly so hard to let go, but it is.