In February, I stopped nursing Caleb. When I went for my first prenatal checkup in January, my doctor told me he thought it would be best if I stopped nursing as soon as possible. I had kind of known it was a possibility that would be the case, but it still threw me for a loop when he said it. On the way home, I called Jason bawling.
“I thought you would be ready to stop breastfeeding,” he said.
“So did I,” I cried. “But I’m not.”
See, the thing is, when I stared nursing Caleb after he was born, it was difficult. It took him awhile to get the hang of things. It ate up a lot of my time. And it hurt. I could hardly wait until he was six months old and I could stop. And then I found out that it’s recommended to nurse babies until they are a year old. That’s a really long time, I thought to myself. But nursing had gotten easier at that point, and I knew it would be the best thing for him. I settled in for the long haul.
Occasionally, it still seemed inconvenient to have to find a secluded place to sit and feed Caleb every three hours when we weren’t at home. And after several months in maternity clothes, having to still plan my outfits around my baby’s needs was a little off-putting. But for the most part, I was getting used to breastfeeding. It was just a part of life.
But now it had to end. I certainly didn’t expect to be so upset about it. I remember reading some essays on breastfeeding when Caleb was a newborn, and some of them were about the difficulty of weaning. At the time, I thought those women were weird for wanting to cling to breastfeeding. But now that I was being told to stop, I totally understood. I probably would have been equally sad if it had happened when he was a year old, but at least then I would have been prepared for it. Everything was happening so suddenly, and I wasn’t ready.
I felt guilty, too. I had friends who’d breastfed while pregnant. Who was to say that I couldn’t do that too? And if I gave up on nursing now, was I being a good enough mom? Shouldn’t I give Caleb the very best I could?
What finally released me from these feelings was a realization I had when I was spending time with the Lord early one morning. It was like he spoke directly to my heart. All of a sudden, I knew that even though breast milk is best for Caleb nutritionally, it didn’t mean that breastfeeding was still the best thing for our family.
And it wasn’t. Caleb wasn’t getting enough milk. He was hungry and fussy all the time. I was too nauseous to eat much. I was losing weight – not a good thing for a pregnant lady. And I was beyond exhausted. Breastfeeding was just taking too much out of me. When I started weaning Caleb, I felt better, and he was happier. It was the best thing for all of us. But I’m still a little sad that it’s over. I’m grateful to get another chance with this baby.