Warning to the menfolk: Boob talk ahead. And not the sexy kind.
I’ve officially started the weaning process. And by weaning, I mean letting my boobs dry up. I’ve heard that to avoid the pain of engorgement, you should gradually decrease the frequency of nursing (or in my case, pumping). Until recently, I’ve been pumping on a 5 times a day schedule. 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and before bed (around 10:30pm). Some days my 3pm ended up closer to 5pm, so I’d skip the 7pm and just pump before bed. This started becoming the norm over the last few weeks (chalk it up to a combination of forgetfulness and laziness). Now I’m actively trying to reduce the amount I pump so that I’m eventually just pumping in the morning and before bed. I’m going to try 7am, noon and 10pm for awhile and see if that works.
I’m feeling a little bummed about all of this though, and I’m not really sure why. I mean, there are definitely downsides to weaning. The cost of formula. The inevitable return of Aunt Flow (have not missed her). But there are positives too. The time savings from pumping and pump part washing. The reclaiming of my body and my boobs as my own. The ability to eat or drink things and not be overly concerned about how it could affect the baby. And most importantly, the fact that I no longer have to plan my life around my aching boobs. It’s such a pain to travel with a pump and breastmilk, I can’t even tell you. I’m ready. I’m ready to move on to the next phase and try to get this wrecked body of mine back into something that resembles my old self, hopefully better, so that I can use that closet of clothes that haven’t been worn since Winter 2010. And while I know it’s possible to get in shape while breastfeeding, I’ve been using it as my entire excuse for not putting more effort into dieting or exercising. “I’m so hungry! I can’t cut calories because of my supply!” or “If I didn’t have to spend 20 minutes pumping every morning, I’d get up and work out instead.” Once I finally pack up those pumps for good, I won’t have any more excuses. It’s kind of terrifying, actually. I haven’t worked out in almost two years. TWO. YEARS. That’s crazy.
But the hardest part about giving up breastfeeding? Is knowing that my kid prefers breastmilk to formula and having to take that away from him. When we make his cereal with formula, he won’t touch it. When we make it with breastmilk, he eats every last bit. So consciously taking away something he loves for reasons that have nothing to do with his well-being, only mine, make me feel selfish and conflicted about this whole thing. But then the rational part of me speaks up and reminds me that it’s not like he’s going to drink breastmilk his whole life, so I just need to figure out what’s best for both of us and go from there. So that’s what we’ll do. We’ll start now, at 6 months, just like my original goal, and maybe by 7, we’ll be completely dried up.
And then I’ll sob into my hands-free bra, wash it one last time, and pack it away.