For the first time today I faced the realization that I am weaning my son.
Dr. Sojka told me prior to surgery that I would need to wean my son because the hormones that remain active in the body of a breastfeeding woman keep ligaments from tightening. After the discovery of my soft bones, weaning became even more important. I had hoped to visit with a lactation consultant before I left the hospital but it didn’t work out.
I did some reading and decided to pump in the morning for my son’s oat cereal, feed him before school and when he got home and pump every four to five hours – rather than the three I had, meticulously.
Today I pumped only for his cereal and fed him twice. I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. This process is going to be finished a lot quicker than I had anticipated. That is good because it means my bones will return to pre-pregnancy strength more quickly.
It’s hard to let go of what it means to be a breastfeeding mom. Breast milk is best for him and I worked hard to ensure he didn’t need formula. I made sure I ate enough of the right foods for his vitamin intake. I drank about 80 ounces of water every day. And I woke up at night, while he slept, to pump milk.
I had hoped to provide him breast milk until age 2. I know that’s not possible and that what my son needs most is a healthy mom.
But for so long I have put his needs first. I gave up about 32 ounces of coffee daily cold turkey when I learned I was pregnant. I didn’t take any pain medication when I first separated my pelvis until I was sure it wouldn’t make his early medical troubles any worse. My husband and I made every choice thinking of what was best for the little guy. Doesn’t every parent want what’s best for their baby? Their child of any age?
Needless to say, I’m grieving the upcoming loss of our breastfeeding relationship.
But I know it is necessary.
In early March I had a dream I was in a coma and my husband latched on my son and switched him to the other side during a routine visit. I woke up sure the dream was my subconscious was telling me that my husband could take care of everything except for feeding my son.
We struggled through nipple confusion and I exclusively pumped for nearly a month. But he figured it out again and I was so proud of him for sticking with it.
Minutes before they took me back for surgery, my pre-op nurse asked me if knowing I had to wean changed my desire for surgery. I remember clearly what I said to her:
“No. I can’t carry my son down the stairs. I need this.”