I have Mommy Guilt. BIG TIME. And it really… sucks.
Breastfeeding. I struggled quite a bit with it in the beginning – between cracked nipples, supply issues, it basically HURTING A LOT, infections, lack of sleep, etc… it was no fun. But as the weeks went on it got easier. I had told myself prior to Snowdrop’s birth that I’d do my darndest to make it to week 12.
And I did.
In fact, around week 10 1/2 it got SO MUCH EASIER! My supply was pretty good (probably had something to do with my daily oatmeal serving) which helped immensely in not needing to supplement with formula anymore. I felt good about myself – I was keeping her nourished. It’s really an amazing feeling. I felt so proud that I was doing what I intended to do for her and it was working. We were starting to settle into a nice little “non-schedule” (no set times but I was able to expect when-abouts she’d need to eat). Before I knew it, week 12 was upon us.
My goal had been to make it until week 12 and then to re-evaluate the whole thing. At 12 weeks, I decided to go another week. And then another week after that and so on. We were in a nice rhythm, me & Snowdrop. I was really enjoying the moments I had with her while she was nursing. The way her eyes rolled back into her head with enjoyment as she drank – she looked like a little drunkie baby. The way she’d pop off my boob with her mouth open and milk dribbling down her chin when she had finished, eyelids fluttering in exhaustion. How she grabs at my shirt and clutches it in her little hand, as if to say “No Mommy, I’m not done just yet!” The little noises she makes – little grunts, like a piglet. My piglet. My Snowdrop. My precious baby.
I loved scooping her up from her swing in the dark when she’d wake to nurse and tucking her beside me in bed. There we’d lay while she nursed and then we’d fall back asleep, my arms carefully wrapped around her while she slept. When the big girls woke up, Hubby would leave me & Snowdrop to sleep in bed. She’d wake up about an hour later to nurse again and then I’d place her back in her swing so she could have her morning nap. Those moments were so special, waking up together and seeing her pretty little face beside me.
Here we are at week 19 now. I find myself almost needing these nursings more than her. The very thought of not nursing her anymore drives me to tears. It’s not a formula vs breastmilk issue (our twins were formula babies so… I’m not anti-formula in any way). I think it’s more of a mommy/baby thing. I never got to experience this with the big girls. It took me a long time to feel close to the girls… it took a long time to get to know them. With Snowdrop, it’s so different. It’s happened so much faster and is so much deeper. I’m sure this has something to do with nursing her. It has to, right? Because how could I feel more for her at this age than I did with her sisters?
Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t open myself up to the girls because I was so scared all the time that they would die. They were premies and with Mag’s kidney stuff… basically, I’m paranoid. (We all know that!) I’m not so scared this time around. Just a little bit… but I’m not completely a newbie mom anymore. Now I’m more worried that she’s not hitting the same milestones at the same times the big girls did. (Again, the paranoia.) Anyways….
At week 17 1/2, I found my supply seemed to be slipping away from me. I restarted eating oatmeal in the mornings – now a task more than just having breakfast. I loathe my daily serving of oats, how much more oatmeal can I really eat before I am never able to eat it again? I hoped it would help with my supply… One morning, I even put Caraway Seeds (like Fennel, it is a galactogogue – that means it can help up your supply!) and Cinnamon in my oatmeal. Yes, Caraway and Cinnamon Oatmeal. It was so gross. But I ate it… nearly every bite just hoping it would boost my supply. I couldn’t bear to eat it the next morning.
I think I’m drinking enough water/liquids. I’m getting as much rest as I was before… which isn’t much… but no different than before….
And here’s where the Mommy Guilt comes in:
As much as I LOVE, NEED, WANT to nurse my sweet little Snowdrop… part of me wants desperately to have “myself” back. I want to join Hubby outside after the kids go to bed for a cocktail without worrying about the effects on my baby. I want to be able to go to the grocery store or on other errands (or activities) without worrying that I need to be home in time to feed the baby. (We used up all the stored milk we had when Hubby & I went on two date nights. Just TWO.) I want to be able to go out with my husband, possibly even have an overnight date, without worrying about being sure to pump enough while we’re gone from the baby. I want to be able to go out with my friends and not worry about my milk or feeding the baby on time so I can keep my supply going…
I really hate eating oatmeal EVERY morning.
I want to lose all this baby weight. They say breastfeeding will help you lose the weight but mine really seems to be sticking on… I want to be able to cut back my food intake and really get back to eating like I’m a skinny person instead of being sure I’m getting enough calories all day and eating at least three square meals and drinking enough liquids… I want to be able to exercise a bit without worrying that I’m taking away from her nourishment by burning calories.
And I feel like SUCH a terrible person for all of this. 😦 What kind of mother doesn’t want to feed her child anymore? I just feel like a… mommy-bitch.
About last week (18 weeks), I started to wean her. This morning was the first morning that my boobs didn’t feel like they were going to burst – which is good, it means my milk production is slowing down… which will make weaning less painful. We’re set to visit my parents next weekend and it would be nice to be able to leave her for an extended period of time and get out to see my friends.
I feel so sad to be giving up this part of my life but so excited at the same time to be gaining part of myself back. But the sadness and guilt are so much more prominent these days. 😦
Did you have Mommy Guilt when you quit breastfeeding? If you did, how did you deal with it? If you didn’t, what did you tell yourself that prevented the guilt?