Time to Tap Out

Here we are. November. Ethan's first birthday is just around the corner. I thought his first year would seem like forever and in reality it was more like a blink of an eye. As his birthday is days away, I have not been able to take my mind off another meaning behind this milestone {a more personal meaning}: the recommended age to reach for breastfeeding. For most moms choosing to breastfeed, "I at least want to make it to a year" and "we will see after that" are typical phrases. I have said the same words. Well, with a year in full view, "we will see after that" is off the table. Way off the table.

So there it is. My confession. I am so done with breastfeeding. I am ready to tap out. Don't get me wrong, I loved breastfeeding! And I will do whatever is in my power to breastfeed Ethan's sibling{s} when they eventually come along. But for now, I am so over it.

First and foremost, I want to say goodbye to my pump. We have mostly had a hate hate relationship. Not that it was painful, but the hassle of the pump was getting old. The endless cleaning was wearing. Also, I know I was going to bed later and later as I kept putting off the dreaded night pump. I will be thankful for the ability to just go to bed without the half an hour pumping ritual.

Some feedings have been reminiscent of earlier bliss, but mostly its a fight to make Ethan nurse when he would rather be doing anything but made to sit still. He is no longer interested. And his disinterest has been rubbing off on me. And his teeth sure aren't convincing me to to bear it and push on.

The simple truth that our breastfeeding days are numbered is a relief. A relief from whispering mouths and dirty looks at Noodles, at Ikea, and even in the women's lounge at Macy's. No matter how effective I think I am at letting it roll off my back, I still shirk from the looks and feel the whispers burn. I was never wanton or inappropriate, but I still did what needed to be done for my baby when we were away from home. Maybe next baby I'll be stronger.

I am also excited to get the part of my brain that was constantly preoccupied with milk supply all to myself again. It is a glorious feeling to know that each time Ethan gets weighed in a wellness check up and has gained, it is because I am feeding him. Me. I have everything my son needs to be nourished. But every time my supply drops off even teensy bit my mind goes into hyper drive and runs every scenario if I am unable to continue providing for my son. Steps to regain my supply are also Googled, re-Googled, and inquired about to my Mom. I have had enough of this mental merry-go-round. I think I'll pass on the fenugreek, oatmeal, and cluster pumping this time.

Now that I have convinced anyone reading this that breastfeeding has been worst thing for mind and body, I'll say it ever so clearly: Breastfeeding is a joy. A joy. Those moments with my son were irreplaceable. Precious beyond words. And even in my eagerness to move on, I feel the lingering ache that I will never have those moments with Ethan repeated again. My heart and mind teeter totters between feeling as if I am giving up on him and knowing I have made it to this milestone. No, I am not giving up on him, just making my first transition away from Ethan's complete dependence. It's breastfeeding now and moving to college sooner than I can imagine, but for now all I can say,

"Happy birthday, son. And know you will always have a place next to mommy's heart."

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