DS is self-weaning at 14 months.
We exclusively BFd until six months, when I slowly introduced solids. At around a year or so, I just couldn't seem to make milk for the pump. He was eating like crazy, so I decided to send him to daycare with almond milk, and to nurse only at home.
Cut to about a month and a half ago. He bit me. Like drew blood bit me. And long story short, I got a staph infection in my ducts. I also still have surface tissue damage on my breast, and every time I nurse on that side he just tears it open again. Healing is very, very slow-going. And nursing hurts like you wouldn't believe.
My doctor tells me I can keep nursing if I want, and to take ibuprofen while I'm on these antibiotics.
The thing is, DS is now down to not even nursing every day. I still offer the breast at night (bedtime). Some nights he wants a little, some nights he doesn't want any. I honestly haven't been trying to do a ton to keep our nursing relationship afloat because I dread when he wants to nurse. It hurts for hours afterward.
I think he seems ready to wean. He's cut down his nursing sessions on his own without me doing anything to make it happen. And honestly, I want to wean because nursing is painful and horrific right now. It was that way the first four months. And I know this sounds nuts, but I had a 70 hour unmedicated labor followed by a cesarean and I just, having this terrible pain when I hold him is bringing back really awful memories that I don't want. I want to remember how nursing felt after the birth and the first four months, I don't want to remember it as being terrible.
My goal was a year, and I did that. DS never asks to nurse, and he often refuses when I offer. So why do I feel guilty as can be? I feel like if I don't do something to nurse him longer then I'm terrible. I have mama friends who couldn't bf and formula fed, and I never judged them. I had friends who weaned at six and four months. I never judged them either. But when it comes to myself, I feel like the same rules don't apply. I love my son and I want to do right by him. I do. But I can't stand this terrible pain anymore, and the thought of nursing just makes me cringe. I want to heal, but I feel guilty like I'm putitng my needs first.
Can anyone relate?
Aww, I really sympathize with you. My DS is also 14 months, and aside from the painful bite and infection, our history is similar. I was concerned recently that he was starting to self wean, then he became ill with a nasty stomach bug and wanted to nurse non stop. That's where we are now, with my supply back up a little after what was seeming like a gradual tapering.
He has also started a new biting phase recently. I haven't received as bad a bite as you, thank goodness (and knock wood) but he's given me some very painful chomps that have left me sore for days. I am hoping that this will pass, and that we can keep nursing till he's about 2.
My DD 2 nursed until 2, but my DD1 weaned right around 15 months. Nothing dramatic happened, she just wasn't very interested anymore, and preferred the independence of a cup over the snuggly nursing time. Before I knew it, it had been days, then weeks... Looking back, I sometimes wonder if I should have tried harder to continue (she has asthma and some food allergies, and I wonder if breast feeding longer would have made a difference), but at the time it happened very naturally and gradually.
I would probably wean, too, in your situation. He certainly sounds like he's in a readiness period, and I can only imagine how painful that breast must be. Don't be too hard on yourself! ((hugs))
My situation was a bit different, but I also kept nursing after I started to strongly want to wean during my next pregnancy. I wish i could have nursed longer, BUT I also wish I had honored my body's signal to wean earlier. As it was, the last weeks of nursing were stressful for both of us becaue I was so uncomfortable and put a bit of a damper on what had been a beautiful relationship.
Breastfeeding should continue as long as both mom and baby want it to. Since one of you is not happy (and the other seems indifferent), it's time to consider a change. There is no 'should' and it's good to remember is that circumstances change and if you set yourself up with what you plan to do too far in advance, it can be hard to change course without feeling like you're letting yourself down.
Sending you healing vibes!
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