30 Days of Blogging, Day 18

Weaning from breastfeeding. I don’t think I’ve ever been so back and forth on a life decision as I have been with the decision of when and how to wean my daughter from breastfeeding. My blog reflects that with a mix of posts about weaning attempts and posts about how hardcore committed I am to breastfeeding.

Some days I feel like I’m ready to throw in the towel. Like I’m being tapped of my energy and life essence, or I’m touched out, or I just want to be able to have that second big glass of wine after a hard day. I look at my big, healthy toddler and I think, it’s just for me that we’re still nursing. She doesn’t need this anymore.

But then on other days I’m extremely defensive about any suggestion that we stop. I want to fight back against the stigma about toddlers breastfeeding. I shout from the rooftops that the WHO recommends breastfeeding until age 2. I want to remind everyone that breasts were made to feed children. I love how easy it is for me to soothe my cranky toddler, how easy it is for me to get her to sleep (a thousand times a night……), and how reassured I feel when she’s sick and she’s staying super hydrated because she loves nursing so much.

But today I’m flopping to the side of being ready to wean. My nipples have bloody little cuts on them from sharp fingernails and teeth. My wife can no longer sooth her through the night since we gave up night weaning. Last night she was attached to me for hours in the middle of the night and I felt a really uncomfortable surge of anxiety rushing through me. It was like restless leg syndrome in my whole body. I wanted my body back.

So once again, I’m launching a plan to wean. I’m actually considering trying to be completely done by the time she’s 18 months, which is just over one month away. The last nursing sessions to go will be nursing to sleep at nap and bedtime.

Don’t hold me to this timeline, because we all know I’m a flip flopper. But this is my current goal.


Sexy nursing bras – are they mutually exclusive concepts? 

When I was pregnant, I bought two nursing bras. One grey bravado with moderate support that unclips, and one la leche league sports bra style that was recommended as a nighttime nursing bra (also in drab grey). I loved both of these bras. They functioned perfectly for what they were – a garment to hold in my boobs for easy release when needed to feed a baby. 

I wore these two bras for 10 months straight. My wife (ever patient and polite about it) made a comment one day about how I needed some new bras – something not so drab, to spoil myself a little. So I bought myself a bright blue bravado unclipping style. It’s the same style as my previous bra. Nice and high, wide straps, supportive as hell… But just as the other two, so not sexy. My wife tried to be supportive, but the fact is, she was saddened by how I’d let my sexy side go completely. We’ve had some long, deep conversations about this. 

Here’s my deepest and innermost confession about my breasts after becoming a mom. When I had the baby, I lost my sex drive. I didn’t have a huge one before the baby, but as a new mom, it was totally and utterly gone. Even as my body recovered (which took about 6 months) and I started to feel like myself again, I remained first and foremost a nursing mom. My baby is and always has been a big nurser. I nurse in front of family (my poor dad and father in law don’t quite know where to look), at restaurants while I’m eating my dinner, in the car on the side of the road, in the park on the grass… I need to be able to whip ’em out for a famished baby at a moment’s notice, so it’s really hard to see my breasts as something sexual. When I need to breastfeed in front of family, the last thing I want is to feel like I’m revealing sexualized breasts to everyone.  But after a while… after a year in the same drab nursing bras with cotton pads stuffed in there to absorb milky leaks, sometimes partners will start to mourn the loss of sexualized breasts. I think this is totally fair. So is not wanting your breasts to be sexual things while breastfeeding your offspring. It’s a tough subject. 

But, as it has been almost a year, I’m slowly (painfully slowly) starting to put some effort into my appearance again. I’m starting to remember that I enjoyed looking stylish, and wearing things that made me feel sexy. So after a particularly emotional conversation with my wife, I bought two new bras from motherhood maternity as a surprise for my wife. One is a simple black bra that unclips, but it has thin straps, an underwire, and it’s low enough to not be seen under a low cut shirt. The other is a black lace bralette style. It just pulls down when I need to feed the baby, so there is really nothing “breastfeeder” about it. 

I was very hesitant about buying something like this because I was afraid of feeling yucky nursing my baby in them. I was afraid that thoughts of “these breasts are sexual things” would creep into my head while my baby was nursing. So far that hasn’t been an issue. The only challenge that remains in perfectly compartmentalizing the functional from the sexual breast is that I still leak… I need be to completely emptied and then remove the nursing pads before I can turn on the sexual switch. 

But all in all, the new bras are working their magic.