**disclaimer: this post is all about breastfeeding... So guys, you may not want to read this. Ladies, you may want to skip it too! It's up to you, but don't say I didn't warn you!**
Since we found out that LP hadn't gained enough weight at his 6-month checkup we've been feeding him formula during the day and I've been breastfeeding him only in the mornings when he wakes up between 5 and 6. Over the past couple of weeks however I've decided that it's time to make the break and stop nursing him completely.
I have a few reasons for this change in dining plans for LP. First of all, my most selfish reason is that I'm ready to have my body back to myself. Between 9 months of pregnancy and 7 months of breastfeeding I've now had a baby quite literally attached to me for sixteen months. Enough is enough. I need "me" back. I need to wear a bra that doesn't have cups that unhook. I need to be able to get dressed in the morning without having to plan for whipping out a boob every few hours. I need to go shopping for shirts that don't button down the front. Oh, and I need to be able to sleep in once in a while while Daddy takes on the 5 a.m. feeding shift.
Secondly, I think LP is ready. He's happily taken a bottle from day one and has started grabbing for them lately to try to hold them himself. When I try to lay him down on my lap to nurse he struggles, trying to sit back up... He's quite happy once he realizes that if he lays down he gets to eat, but it takes a few minutes of wrestling to get him to recline. And the second he's done eating he's yanking on my shirt or my arm or my hair to try to pull himself back to a sitting position.
Thirdly, perhaps most importantly of all, is the fact that LP now has two - very sharp - bottom teeth. And let me just say that it must feel like it would feel to be bitten by a vampire, except that vampires bite your neck, NOT YOUR NIPPLES!... Ouch ouch ouch. And when he bites, and I scream, he then laughs- because apparently it's hysterically funny to inflict pain on your mother.
I was lucky enough (knock on wood) to get through nursing without any of the issues that many women have. I never quite mastered nursing with no hands, or nursing him in a baby carrier at the grocery store like a friend of mine did with her baby, but I also never had mastitis, or cracked or bleeding nipples, or over-engorgement, or leaking, or spraying, or any of the myriads of other issues that can crop up. And so I'm hopeful that my good-luck streak will continue and that the act of ending breastfeeding will happen just as easily and naturally as starting it did...
For a week now I've been alternating days on and off the boob. One morning I nurse him, the next morning he gets a bottle. Tomorrow, we're going for two days in a row with a bottle. Hell, if I wake up tomorrow and my breasts aren't killing me we might just go with the bottle every day.
There are definitely some things I will miss about breastfeeding. It IS, as everyone says, a fabulous bonding experience. It's the one thing that only I can do for Little Paul, my body has made the most perfect food specifically for him and that's pretty amazing. Watching him grow and thrive off of my milk has been wonderful, and I'm glad I stuck with it for the first few weeks until we got the hang of it. I'll also miss the convenience of it- there are no bottles to wash and no formula to measure. Breastfeeding can be done any time, any place, and it's always there- you can't walk out of the house and forget to bring something for the baby to eat. You don't have to get up in the morning and go downstairs to make a bottle - instead you just bring the baby to bed and feed him. And also, breastmilk poop is a lot less stinky (and messy) than formula poop. Spit-up too. Formula smells bad, and stains onesies and burp cloths in a lovely yellowish color.
But I'm ready and he's ready... and so this chapter of our lives is nearing it's end- we'll close the door on breastfeeding and open the door to bottles and baby food and I know that Little Paul and I will be just as close and bonded without nursing....
Also, there will be no more biting. At least not of the nipples.