Self Expression Magazine

When Your Breastfeeding Journey Ends Unexpectedly

Posted on the 25 June 2014 by Wifessionals @wifessionals
When Your Breastfeeding Journey Ends Unexpectedly
Weaning is something I have really been researching and looking into for the past few months. My plan has always been to breastfeed until Rilynn was a year old, but I wanted to be prepared or figure out exactly how I planned to wean her when the time came.
Rilynn got her first tooth at four months. Shortly after that, I had my first "biting experience". The first 1 or 2 times weren't that bad - but then she drew blood. The way I dealt with it was just to say "no" and immediately stop breastfeeding her and hand her to Ryan. It only happened about 5 times and then she seemed to catch on and didn't do it again. Fast forward to two weeks ago. Rilynn now has eight teeth. She's only eight months old!! I have friends who have nine month old babies with NO teeth (count your blessings mamas). I was in the middle of nursing her and all of a sudden she bit me - I screamed and tried to pull her off, but she clamped down harder. My sister saw the whole thing happen and was mortified. Rilynn started screaming and I was crying. It was a huge mess.
About two days later I woke up feeling like I was going to die. I was sweating and felt like throwing up. I could barely get out of bed and the breast that Rilynn bit was in a ton of pain. When I finally made it to the bathroom, I noticed that my one breast was really red and hot to the touch - I knew I had mastitis. The crazy thing was that I didn't have the typical "hard lump" that you read about. As I started researching online, I realized I must have gotten an infection from bacteria entering where Rilynn bit me. All the articles I read said the most important thing to do during mastitis is to keep nursing...and so I did.
By this point I was terrified while breastfeeding. I prayed before every session that Rilynn wouldn't bit me again, especially on the side I had mastitis on. I went to the doctor the next morning and was put on antibiotics. (This just so happened to be our 2 year anniversary - yay)
When Your Breastfeeding Journey Ends Unexpectedly
The doctor asked me to come back in two days to make sure the antibiotics were helping and said we needed to discuss my plan moving forward with nursing. That afternoon, I was feeding Rilynn on the "healthy breast" - and she bit me...this time making a small hole and drawing blood. It was in that moment that I knew that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed anymore.
Both my doctor and Ryan worked to convince me that it would be the best decision to stop nursing. I could continue to pump, but after the two most recent incidents, all three of us were seriously concerned about what could happen if I tried to keep breastfeeding. I know it sounds funny, but Ryan even said "You realize if you don't stop you may never breastfeed any of our future children." After Rilynn refused to let go when she bit me, I knew that her permanently damaging a breast was a real possibility.
The next 12 hours were extremely emotional for me. If I would have made it to one year, and quit on MY TIMELINE, Rilynn may not have been ready and I would have felt really sad about that. If Rilynn one day woke up and just didn't want to nurse anymore and I wasn't prepared, I would have had a hard time adjusting to that too. I don't really think there is an easy way to stop nursing - but I definitely never thought THIS was how it would happen for us.
I breastfed Rilynn when she woke up in the morning. We played and had breakfast and she got dressed. I made the decision that her second feed of the day would be the last time nursing. I picked her up, took a few pictures with her right before (I knew I would look back and remember that those pictures were from the last day I breastfed her) and we headed to her nursery to put her down for a nap.
When Your Breastfeeding Journey Ends Unexpectedly
I had cried a lot leading up to that moment, but I promised myself that I wouldn't be sad while I fed her and that I would soak up and remember that last special time between her and I.
Now if you aren't a breastfeeding mother, you probably think this sounds crazy or overdramatic. When I told my sister what I had gone through emotionally, she looked at me and said, "Not to sound insensitive, but is this all really that big of a deal?" I honestly thought the same thing the past few months while I was researching weaning. But when it actually happens to you, it can be an extremely difficult thing to go through. I know that Rilynn doesn't just nurse because she's hungry - it's also for comfort. I felt like I was taking that away from her. I also felt like I was failing at my plan to breastfeed for her entire first year. I never thought I would make it to 6 months (I had a rough start), but I was so proud and excited of how far we had made it.
Ryan was great during the whole thing. He told me I wasn't taking the "comfort" aspect from her. She still has ME and I can still sit with her, comfort her and give her a bottle. In the days that followed, Rilynn would press her face into my chest when she was hungry or ready for a nap. That was hard to deal with, but besides that, everything else was great. Rilynn has taken a bottle from the day she was born, so that transition was easy. Now, two weeks later, she gets excited when she sees a bottle and I try to pump as much as I can. She's on a mixture of formula and breastmilk, but always gets both every day. I'm not producing as much milk as I used to, but I'm hoping to stretch out my stored breastmilk as close to a year as possible.
When Your Breastfeeding Journey Ends Unexpectedly
This was a really hard thing for me to go through and it's just another example of how things never seem to go according to plan. I am so grateful that I had eight and half months or breastfeeding with my first baby - it was a precious, unexplainable bonding time and something I look forward to with my future babies.
Did weaning your baby go according to your plan? Was it an emotional experience or something that was easy for you to get through? I'd love to hear your story below!!

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