If you’re not into the nitty gritty of breastfeeding, feel free to skip this post. It’s pretty much the run down of a lovely little breastfeeding bump in the road.
Bottom line – today was rough. Like, so rough, I’m not really looking forward to tomorrow, lest it repeat. That would be LAME.
Jemma started to wake up this morning around 6:30. She was in bed with us and rustling around and I offered her my breast, like always. Her little eyes popped open and she nursed for a few seconds and then lightly bit me. Nothing that drew blood or left a mark, but I was half asleep and let out a little yelp and pulled her close (she was clamping down and pulling away).
She cried at my reaction and turned away from nursing. I should have known my yelp would have scared her. She is pretty sensitive like that – always giving hugs and kisses and wanting to cuddle when she thinks I’m sad/mad/frustrated/lonely. She is a sweet soul and cares about others greatly.
I offered to nurse a few more times in bed before we finally got up. Each time she turned away. This has happened before and it’s usually because she is so eager and excited for the day. So many things to do, see, and play with. That’s my girl :)
We had breakfast and cleaned up downstairs. I figured she would for sure nurse before her morning nap. But … no such luck. That’s when I started to think we might have a strike on our hands.
I rocked her to sleep and thought about pumping (mama was feeling majorly full), but decided to wait and bank on her being hungry when she woke up.
So, I pumped to take the edge off – 10 ounces in just a few minutes and we had quesadillas and apples for lunch. Other than not nursing, Jemma was acting totally normal. Still lovey dovey, reading books, practicing walking. I read this article for advice on nursing strikes and tried to keep my hopes up. I’m pretty sure my morning yelp is what started this, but she could also be teething which could be related.
Did I mention I have a cold and was already feeling exhausted and completely crummy?
We tried different nursing positions. Different locations. Different lighting. Singing songs. In the bath. You name it, I was game. And quickly filling up with milk.
Then the frustration set in. Then guilt. Why was this happening? Why do I take our breastfeeding relationship for granted most days? Why couldn’t I have kept my mouth shut when she nipped me? I made it through 40 hours of labor pain, a little nipple pinch didn’t really scar me. Would this ever end? Then I read that nursing strikes can last up to 10 days and I needed to be pumping to maintain my supply while continuing to gently nurse – or at least try to nurse.
I attempted to reason with her – a little mama/Jemma heart to heart. I prayed. I re-lived many of our breastfeeding stories – the first time, when I was working, night time snuggles. I faced the giant that I am not ready to wean. The last 12 months, now almost 13, have gone by too fast. My little baby, isn’t really little any more and she is becoming more and more independent. She needs me less. And that hurts.
Instead of crying; Instead of continuing down the road of frustration and fear that she would never nurse again. We packed up and went to the park. Our first time since I stopped working.
We paused our day.
Forgot about the dishes and messy living room.
I left behind the projects I promised so many people I would finish.
We breathed fresh air.
Tried out the slide.
And fell in love with the swings.
I realized that even if she never nursed again (which is very unlikely since babies gradually self-wean and usually wait until 18-24 months), I was still her mama and she was still my girl. Our relationship is going to evolve no matter what I do. Time won’t stop. I need to embrace each moment. Appreciate the small things. Stop worrying about what I can’t control.
We came home and snuggled up for a nap together. I hoped she would want to nurse to sleep or nurse when she woke up. But, no. We both woke up refreshed and I pumped again. Keeping my milk supply is not my fear – milk is Plenty. Plenty with a capital “P”.
Daddy came home and we ate the best chicken sausage lasagna. I totally made up the recipe and am so happy I made a double batch – one for dinner and one for the freezer. Jemma had some pumped milk from her sippy cup and I think it tipped off her hunger.
We read stories as a family and I got Jemma ready for bed. I hoped like crazy that she would be tired enough to nurse to sleep. AND SHE DID! I held her close, smoothed her hair, and thanked the Lord for not letting this strike go on for days.
I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I’m not cut out for stressful things like this. No matter how small it may seem. This totally caught me off guard. I almost feel like I’m mourning my baby. My baby who is growing up before my eyes and made it a whole day without nursing.
I feel worried about tomorrow, but really, what can I do? I’m choosing to relax, have some faith even if it is as small as a mustard seed, and log this away as another crazy mama experience.
You can read all my posts about our nursing strike here.