I recently read this article on a blog, all about Mothers judging each others parenting decisions. I thought about my own blog, and I wanted to make it clear that I am not posting these things about me and my decisions to brag or force an opinion on anyone. I simply feel like there is a lack of honesty between moms sometimes. Maybe not on purpose, but we just don't always share our real feelings for fear of being judged. So I write these posts so you feel like you are not alone out there. So you feel like you are not the only one that struggled with these decisions and feelings.
Ok, now that I said all that, I want to share with you guys about my decision to stop breastfeeding when I returned to work. It was something I struggled with for a month, and with very few friends in a similar situation, I did not have a lot of opinions to rely on.
Breastfeeding is not something I put that much thought into before I got pregnant. I knew that it had great health benfits for the baby, and I guess I assumed I would try it. I mean, God created me with the ability to feed my baby, so I guess that is what I was supposed to do, right? I took a breast feeding class and read a little about it, but if it didn't work out for me I wasn't going to be devastated. When Hadley had to go to the NICU and I couldn't feed her, I was a little upset, but she was fine on the formula. When I finally got to feed her, it was a little more challenging than I had hoped, but we eventually got into a rythm, and after a few weeks at home I felt like a pro. Feeding her was super easy, nothing to clean up, and nothing to prepare. I could do it anytime. And it was free.
What I didn't necessarily expect was that I loved feeding her. I loved being able to comfort her, and even in the middle of the night I enjoyed it. She was so calm and happy when she was snuggled up close to me, it was a very special time.
Unfortunately, I knew that time would eventually have to end. You see, I work a pretty demanding job, full time, with an hour commute each way. I don't have an office with doors, and since our whole office is pretty much open, there really wasn't a place at work that I could pump. I was nervous about leaking through my clothes at a meeting with one of my clients ( I work for attorneys). Not to mention the fact that my breast feeding boobs were huge and probably wouldn't fit into my work clothes anyway. I was worried about returning to work and managing it all. Getting her to daycare on time, fighting traffic, remembering to pack all my pumping supplies. Storing the milk in the office fridge, where I am only 1 of 2 females in the entire office. Even though I know my male co-workers, who are all dads, would be totally understanding.
I felt guilty that our special time was going to end. I struggled with my decision to quit, and considered trying to manage it all and keep going once I returned to work. But the more I thought about it, the more stress I felt it would cause. And I didn't want to be stressed, I wanted the transition of going back to work to be as smooth as possible.
I worked out a schedule to wean her over a 3 week period, leaving one week after that before I had to go back to work. After we found the bottle she liked (after 3 she didn't), things went pretty smoothly. And you know what? She smiles when I feed her the bottle, and sometimes drifts off into sleep right as she finishes. Just like she did when I was breastfeeding her. So I guess its not too bad. And it makes me feel better.
I know every parent is different, but this is what worked for me and my baby. I will share more about my weaning plan, and the bottles I found that she likes in another post. I hope my experience helps you make the decision that is best for you and your family.