Letting go of Breastfeeding

So my baby is 10 months old! Yaaay! I have unfortunately been sick since the day before Christmas and have not gotten a picture of her yet in her ten-month sticker. Burn me at the stake I know! Ehh I figure I have a whole month to get it done and I just need to give myself a break.

I originally told the hubby to do it, but we see where that has gotten us. He actually has been super helpful while I have been sick, he has gotten up with "A" for at least part of the night for 3 nights because I was so tired and feverish I wasn't able to do it. He also took it upon himself to take the girls to daycare even though it was my day off because he knew how sick I was. Then yesterday he stayed home just to take care of "A" and take me to the doctor because I felt too sick to drive. I know! Collective girl "awwww" he's an amazing man, even though he can't figure out baby stickers.

So in this time, he has been feeding "A" with a Munchkin Latch Bottle which we love, it's the only thing she would take as a tiny baby. The size 2 nipple used to be too fast for her until we had to start adding rice cereal for her reflux, and we were completely unaware that they even had a size 3 but we found them the other day and we thought that would be great because we kind of had to widen the nipple a little bit for the rice cereal, now that she is older. Well, it seems to be that she has taken a liking to the faster flow.

 I tried to feed her yesterday when I woke up and she refused to breastfeed. I was crushed, I am still not feeling well (need another day of antibiotics). Doesn't she know what I have gone through to continue to breastfeed?! I have given up foods, taken her to doctors, strapped devices to myself just so that she could get that liquid gold and she's now just going to reject it?! How could she?! She isn't 1 year old yet?! Doesn't she know her primary nutrition is from breast or bottle until her first birthday? Didn't she learn this in baby school?!

The answer to most of those is no, laugh, and you need to let go. Those things are my expectations, no baby is told how this whole thing called life works, I am the one who wants to fulfill this obligation I have so wholeheartedly tried to accomplish. I am the one who made a stubborn assertion before she was even born that I was going to breastfeed no matter what.

Which looking back is a good thing, persistence is sometimes a necessity in life and can be a great trait in, I don't know, trading stocks. For this particular occasion though stubbornness is just going to confuse my poor baby. She doesn't understand why I keep shoving my boob in her face as she tries to squirm away.

I am the one with an agenda and I am the one who needs to let go of the expectation I have put on myself. She has gotten all the benefits of my antibodies, the nutrition etc. She has decided to move on. She really prefers to eat "real food" now anyway. My mother in law suggested that I try to feed her when she is sleepy, that didn't work either. She woke up and cried like I was torturing her. You know that old saying "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" well it's the same with boobs and babies but there is a lot more crying involved.

So, on one hand, I am terrified that I will lose some kind of bond that I have formed with her as if cuddling disappears after breastfeeding or that I am going to be a bad mom *gasp* (which I know in my head I am not). On the other, I think about all the things I have missed since not being able to eat dairy or soy. Hello! Chinese takeout on line one! Mmmmm Lo mein with extra soy sauce!

I think I mainly have an idea, an expectation that I would breastfeed until she was 1 and then I would be done, to have to do it sooner seems like a cop-out. It feels like I am not accomplishing the task. As a perfectionist, I viscerally cringe at the thought of not doing something "right" as a mother.

That is the true crux of being able to let go is adjusting my standard of what is "right." Sure, I should breastfeed until she is 1 years old, but SHE doesn't want to. She wants to be a big girl now and eat her carrots, green beans, and bananas by herself. Who can blame the girl? Autonomy is one of the most beautiful things a child can learn. Ultimately that is what we are here for, to guide our children to be grown-ups that respect each other, take care of the earth and hopefully eat by themselves.

Sometimes I think I get caught up in what's going on now and I lose sight of the bigger picture. I highly doubt that one day my daughter will be sitting on a therapists couch talking about how she weaned at 10 months old and she is scarred for life. Nor do I think that my first daughter will be on a therapists couch talking about how she was only breastfed for 2 days. These are things that jam me up as a mother, maybe you are with me. For both of us, and our sanity. Just take a deep breath and...

If you are anything like me, you might come back to it again. I again have to tell myself that I am enough, what I am doing is enough, and as I breathe I am letting it go. The prison of expectation is one we make ourselves, funnily enough, we have the key to get out. We just have to accept reality and move on. Easier said than done, I know. I will probably go around about this for a little before I truly let it go, but eventually, I will. That is the beauty of growth, we can only go up from here. 

I am now going to suck on a popsicle because my strep ridden throat is throbbing again. Namaste and I bid you a due, until next time. 

UPDATE: I ended up being able to breastfeed before she went to bed a week or so after I wrote this post. Then one night again she fought trying to breastfeed, and ever since it's been over. I tried to pump a few days afterward for her to eat, but it didn't work out and I really wanted to eat Chinese. It ended up being a bit of an issue for my belly since I hadn't eaten soy or milk for 8+ months. 2 weeks or so later though I am now finally okay with milk products. 

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