Nursing Strike – One Month Later

It’s been exactly one month since Jemma last nursed.
I tried everything I could to overcome her nursing strike.
But, nothing.

If I think about it too much it brings me to tears. I had grand hopes of nursing Jemma until she was at least 2. When she was a wee thing I read a blog, I wish I remembered which one, about a mama who was nursing her 2 or 3 year old. This mama asked her little nursling what mama’s milk tasted like and the little girl responded, “Tastes like rainbows and flowers”.

When Jemma nursed and gave me her little milk drunk smile I would always wonder if she was dreaming of rainbows and flowers.

My little love might never verbally share about nursing with me. But, by way she looks and acts I know our year of nursing gave her a strong foundation of health. I’m trying to focus on the positive as our relationship evolves.

ALL THE GOOD …

  • In the beginning, I hoped to nurse Jemma exclusively for 6 months. I was worried about the 4-6 month range because that was when we needed to adjust to my being back at work. We made it to this mark without a problem. YAY!
  • We sped on to 1 year and 2 weeks – beyond the year mark that was my next goal. I’m thankful she nursed past her birthday and chose on her terms when to wean.
  • Jemma is happy and healthy. Even though her weaning schedule wasn’t the same as mine, it hasn’t affected her negatively. We’re getting used to a new routine and she seems happy to snuggle in the mornings with a sippy of mama milk.

During her nursing strike I pumped 4 times each day for the first few days. Then I backed off to 3 times each day. By the beginning of November I moved to a morning pump and a bedtime pump. That’s where I’m at now. Jemma drinks about half the milk I pump in a sippy and I scald (due to excess lipase) and freeze the rest. As long as it’s manageable, I’m going to continue pumping like this. Just taking it one day at a time. I figure as long as I can make milk for her without it being a stress I might as well.

Last week, my La Leche League leader emailed me to check in. Seriously, if you are nursing and want company/advice/friendship with other nursing mamas La Leche is the place to be. Everyone I’ve met is so sweet, non-judgemental, and truly supportive of each individual mama’s nursing goals.

I’m still sad when I cradle her in my arms and hold her sippy. It’s not what I’m used to and I miss the closeness of her nursing. I miss the ease of nursing in bed. I hate being attached to the pump every day. It’s hard to think ahead about meals for her. Nursing was SO easy – milk was always there and ready to go whenever she was hungry.

On the flip side, Jemma has been able to fall asleep easily without nursing. We rock and I sing as she drifts off and I love feeling her little head on my shoulder every night. Nap times have been a struggle though. One thing at a time I suppose. Jemma is learning to hold her own sippy cup, something we never practiced before since we didn’t need to. AND, I ordered 2 new, non-nursing bras. That’s something to be excited about :)

We’re moving upwards and onwards. I’m blessed to have had the amazing breastfeeding experience I did. I hope my sharing the details of lipase, working/pumping, strikes/weaning, and nursing in general has been an encouragement to other mamas. It’s not an easy journey to nurse a little one, but it is priceless one. I’m no expert, but if you ever have questions or just want to chat about nursing I’m only an email away :)


You can read all my posts about our nursing strike here.

 

 
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  2. Jennifer de Cupcake says

    oh mama, this brings me to tears, I am so not ready to be done nursing and it's obvious you weren't either. I can't imagine how hard that was and is. I'm glad to read you're still pumping! That milk is amazing as long as it gets in her somehow. Good luck with the adjustments, and thanks for sharing all the personal experiences with nursing, I'm sure it's helping lots of mamas out there!!

  3. Chelsea D. says

    My kids self weaned at 10 & 11 months, they are 5 & 2 now. With both it was sudden & unexpected, I too was devasted. One year was my goal with both & with my second I was sure I'd make it & so I was letting myself plan on making it to 18 months & then on morning he was done. So I feel your pain, but wanted to let you know that they are fine & I'm fine. I still miss it when I see other nursing mamas, but like you said it's important to stay positive & honestly in retrospect I'm glad they did it on their own terms & it wasn't something I had to take away from them, ya know?

  4. Mrsstethoscope says

    Awe sweets I know the pain your heart is feeling.. E weaned on her own terms at 8M 3W…. it was so hard to deal with but we made it.. I still miss nursing. Good for you for keeping up with the pumping. I never responded well to a pump so after exclusivly pumping my mil dried up about 4 weeks later.

  5. Jamie Scholberg says

    Oh, Gretchen, I'm saddened for you, especially with the suddenness of it all. I know you miss those sweet moments with her, but this new stage for you two brings to mind Psalm 131, specifically verse "I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. "Surely even in this sad transition, He is glorified.

  6. ThatMamaGretchen says

    What a perfect verse – thank you Jamie!________________________________From: Disqus <>To: thatmamagretchen@gmail.comSent: Monday, November 21, 2011 9:11 PMSubject: [thatmamagretchen] Re: That Mama Gretchen: Nursing Strike – One Month Later Disqus generic email template

  7. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Pumping isn't easy – much I'm trying! Transitions like this can be SO hard :( ________________________________From: Disqus <>To: thatmamagretchen@gmail.comSent: Monday, November 21, 2011 7:30 PMSubject: [thatmamagretchen] Re: That Mama Gretchen: Nursing Strike – One Month Later Disqus generic email template

  8. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I totally agree about it being on their terms. I would much rather it be hard on me than hard on her! ________________________________From: Disqus <>To: thatmamagretchen@gmail.comSent: Monday, November 21, 2011 12:08 PMSubject: [thatmamagretchen] Re: That Mama Gretchen: Nursing Strike – One Month Later Disqus generic email template

  9. says

    I think this type of nursing strike could also effects the patients health….So i think some nurses should be available at the health care center for the patients health care, during the strike.

  10. Betsy Shilling says

    thank you, Gretchen, for blogging about your daughter's nursing strike/weaning. I have been going through a very similar experience with my daughter the past 2 1/2 weeks and have been struggling in so many ways (most of all, emotionally!) Like you, I planned to bf her until at LEAST 2 years old with her leading the way re: weaning. I had no idea and did not prepare myself for that happening at just over 15 months! I too have been pumping but have noticed a HUGE decrease in supply, even in 2 weeks. I am happy she will have gotten 16 months of mama milk but so, so sad our nursing relationship has come to an end so soon and so suddenly! I'm trying to focus on the positives and thankful side, but it is still such a deep loss and I even feel like I am learning to mother all over again without it. Anyway, I feel like it is unusual to read others share about when baby weans before Mom is ready/prepared so it was a comfort for me to come across your blog. <3

  11. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I'm so glad you came across me too! It is a terrible feeling to have things end so abruptly :( I know the feeling well! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Don't hesitate to email if you need someone to chat with! On a note of what milk comes next … Jemma has become a HUGE fan of hemp and coconut milk. Both have great benefits in comparison to regular ol' milk. Our pediatrician's son had a milk allergy shortly after he weaned and his was a strong proponent of the nutritional value of hemp. I hadn't heard of it before he mentioned going that route when I expressed my disinterest in going straight to cow milk.

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