I can’t hold it together enough to sing to him. 😭 Last nap nursing…
Next week, summer will officially be over in this house.
I’m sort of sad about it.
We had a really great, busy summer – the type of summer I always envisioned with kids. Weekend trips away, full weeks of summer camps, swimming lessons, trips to the parks and zoo, and a bunch of other random things thrown in there. Bryson changed leaps and bounds and turned into a bona fide toddler – walking, more talking, stacking blocks, holding his own with his brother, and turning into quite the comedian. Matthew turned into a big kid overnight – learning to be confident in the water, becoming an excellent talker (you’d never know there was ever a delay there!), mastering how to introduce himself to strangers and soliciting their names in return, and deciding that “I’ll do it myself!” is his preferred way to do EVERYTHING. Hottie and I somehow found our way out of a rather concerning slump and ended the summer completely in love with one another once again.
So yeah – a little sad to see it end.
But with this seasonal change, our routine is changing too and that’s a great thing! Matthew starts school again on Tuesday and will be going three half-days a week this year. I’m going to be his “room mother” – something I’ve wanted to do since we started talking about school but knew it would be too much last year with a new Bryson in the mix. Hottie’s role is changing a bit at work and he’s looking forward to the change, even if it means a loftier quota goal. He’s always up for the biggest challenges, and never fails. We’ll see how this year goes, but I have high hopes for him! I’m full-on back into my own health and fitness and have a lot of goals of my own in that department, as well as goals to not make things all about me, me, me while sticking to my health goals. I am a mother, first and foremost, after all! If I can find time to go to the gym every day, I can find time and ways to keep my kids engaged and soaking up the good stuff that life has to offer!
So this past week has been about transition.
Hottie had to take a work trip to NYC to better engage one of his clients, all while taking part in this fiscal year’s planning meetings remotely. The timing wasn’t great for him or his partner, but they made it work well enough. Kicking off the fiscal year is always a time of stress and extra work for Hottie and all of his coworkers – but it’s also a time of intense energy and optimism!
Matthew had his sneak-a-peak at school on Wednesday and was very excited to meet his new teacher (and sad to finally realize that he’s not going to see Mrs. E and Mrs. Y every day – he loved his teachers last year!). He did great meeting Mrs. S and Mrs. M and introduced himself to them like a pro! His new classroom is twice as large as last year’s, and I’m excited for him to have more space to explore. He’s already talking about going to Mrs. S’s “house” next week (everything is a house – the pork house, the chicken house, the yogurt house, Katie’s house (our hair stylist), etc.) and is super excited to play with his new friends!
Bryson is getting more comfortable with his mobility and is making me very aware that parenting him is going to be an entirely different experience than was parenting Matthew. He is so adventurous and always trusts that he’ll land on his feet (I hope he always does, literally and figuratively). He is so hilarious, even though he only has 10 words. He’s going to keep me very entertained when Matthew is in school! Bryson is still needing two naps a day, but sometimes he takes just one. Poor kid – he’s always in the car! This fall is going to be one of big-time effort kicking that one night-time feeding and probably weaning him. I just don’t think he’ll sleep through the night until he’s weaned. He likes to have a visit from mama (and her boobs).
I’ve spent the last week fine-tuning my fitness plan and finally have it worked out to not interfere with school and to maximize my one-on-one time with Bryson while Matthew’s in school. We bought a punching bag for the garage and I started running this week, so I’ll do those things on strength days and then serious cardio 3-4 days a week at the Y. I’ll still be going to the Y probably 6 days a week, but at times that work better for the boys. I’ve also taken a step back from a friendship this week that was becoming a bit toxic. I need to write a post all about that, just to get it out, but it’s worth a mention because I’ve been trying to find a way to step back for months but finally found a way yesterday – during transition week.
Like I mentioned earlier, Hottie and I have really found our ways back to one another. We left the boys overnight for the first time ever last Saturday in preparation for our trip to Colorado without them in two weeks. We plan to leave them again later in the fall for a weekend. We’ve been going out on more dates and have been really making each other a priority – and it feels great! We’re getting back into fitness together – the entire reason we met in the first place – and are working out together whenever we can. When I finished my 10 week fitness program on Saturday, Hottie and I went out for our night without the boys and he had a card for me that was so nice and so thoughtful – that I cried. He texted me last night after the frustrating exchange with my friend and told me that I’m a great mom and “AWESOME wife” – something I’m not sure he’s said much in the last couple of years (man, having young kids is hard on relationships, isn’t it? How do we forget to care properly for one another?). I know I’m riding on a high here, but it feels like a great transition that we desperately needed.
Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is the name of the game. I’m just glad we took a week to really focus on the transition and embrace what the changes mean. So often, things change without us noticing, but I knew back on 8/1 that this week would be one of reflection and transition – and it’s been good!
We’re talking about weaning. I dropped the morning wake-up nursing yesterday and it went OK (once there was a yogurt distraction). I dropped it because it wasn’t needed after having fed Bryson just 2 hours earlier, not really because I wanted to start weaning. But it went well so I’m going to try to be consistent.
Tonight, as I was sobbing about Lily, B took Bryson for bedtime books and then decided to rock him. He fell asleep, and is sleeping soundly. If OK with B, I’d like to make this a routine.
Dropping that bedtime feeding last with Matthew hurt my heart. I still cry thinking about the last time I nursed him. The last time I nursed Bryson to sleep may just be last night, when he slept all night with me in a hotel bed, nursing off and on. It was our best hotel night to date with him, and being perfectly honest, I really enjoyed it! If that’s our last nurse-to-sleep at bedtime feeding, then what a sweet memory for me. I’m happy with it. No tears.
Of course tonight may be a fluke and I may be nursing him to sleep again tomorrow. But tonight may be the first of many nights of B putting Bryson to bed, and that’s ok with me. It really is.
When I was weaning Matthew, I never thought that there would be things that would come from it that would make me thankful that he’s weaned. I thought that I would just miss everything about nursing and that that certain closeness would be gone.
But something entirely new, and spectacular, has emerged. Matthew, who would only cuddle while nursing, now does this:
I have a snuggler!
I am typing this on my phone as he naps on my chest. And this is what I’m looking at:
When he is drifting off to sleep now in the rocker, he’ll randomly pop up to kiss me. LOVE!!!! I can bury my nose into his hair and smell his fresh baby scent. And I can flutter his eyelashes with my nose as I sing softly into his ear, helping him drift to sleep. Right now, he just stirred and grabbed me tightly before coo-ing himself back to sleep. We couldn’t/didn’t do any of these things while we were nursing.
I’m in heaven!
* This used to be my Weaning Progress Page, but now that weaning is complete, I figured it was better as a singular post. We really were done on the 14th. I thought that I may nurse until I get my period, but last night (07/15), I told B that I just have to bite the bullet and get the breast pain over with, and that Matthew was ready to be done. So I thawed out some breast milk and filled up a sippy cup for bedtime. It went fine – he didn’t fall asleep, but he hasn’t fallen asleep at bedtime in a long time with the exception of the final night of nursing. Matthew fussed for 20 minutes (like normal) before settling down. It was uneventful. He didn’t seem to miss it – but I did. However… I am fine!
We started weaning today (7/1). This was hard for me – there were some tears over it. We developed a plan with Matthew’s pediatrician who suggested dropping one nursing every 3-4 days. We started with Matthew’s morning nap and will continue to just not nurse for this one nap for three days before then dropping his afternoon nap nursing for three days, and so on. This should take a total of 12 days since he nurses 4 times a day (when he wakes up, morning nap, afternoon nap, bedtime). The reasons we’re doing it this way are that the doctor agrees with me that Matthew will likely be very stubborn so we should ease him into it, and, more importantly (per the doctor), Matthew nurses quite a bit and easing back will help me avoid mastitis.
07/01/2012 – dropped the nursing before the morning nap. I was a wreck over it, and Matthew clearly wanted to nurse, but he let me distract him by rocking him while standing up with him. He fell asleep but then did fuss when I put him in his crib. However, he was over it and asleep within a couple of minutes. My heart broke a little, but honestly, it was easier than I expected. I did not cry at all during or afterwards. He handled it well. I was so looking forward to our afternoon nap nursing that I let him sleep in my arms for 2 hours. I am clearly the one having a hard time with this 😉
07/02/2012 – morning nap went just fine. I’m almost sad about how easy this has been – my boy apparently doesn’t need me as much as I thought. 😉 HA! I put him down awake at 10:28 (after standing and rocking him for 10 minutes) and he whimpered some until 10:30 – no full-on crying. Unreal. We’re coming up on 1.75 hours of napping. I have his sippy cup all ready for him with 3.5 ounces of the oldest frozen breast milk we have in the house – it’s from September. It smells and tastes like metal (this happens with all of my milk once it’s frozen, it’s due to some extra enzyme – it’s perfectly safe), but he drinks it. He’s a good boy 😉 Update: Matthew’s nap today was 2.25 hours. What in the world? And he took his sippy cup very happily! Update #2: Nap 2 was spent in my arms. I enjoyed the snuggles too much, and he went down late and I didn’t want him to sleep past 5 – so there you have it. He actually was not happy about this as he got too hot and didn’t sleep well.
07/03/2012 – Well, this just keeps getting easier and easier. This is the last day of just one nursing being dropped. Tomorrow, we go for the next one, which will be the afternoon nap feeding. This means that I will not nurse tomorrow for over 12 hours, and that has me a bit nervous. We will nurse when Matthew wakes up (6:00-6:30) and then not again until bedtime around 8:00. Oh boy! Right now, I’m going 9 hours between feedings and I feel fine, so maybe 14 hours won’t be so bad? I don’t know. Anyway – this morning’s nap went well. We read 3 books (as usual before any sleep time!) and then I stood up and rocked Matthew over my shoulder. He didn’t even try to nurse. He was pretty playful at first, but then settled down and even fell asleep. I was so happy! When I put him in his crib, he opened his eyes and moaned for a second, and then drifted back to sleep. He’s been asleep for over an hour now. This is going too well.
07/04/2012 – We dropped the afternoon nap nursing. Matthew handled it just fine – he’s getting used to finishing his books, then being rocked to drowsiness on my shoulder. His morning nap was not as long as usual (only 1.5 hours today) because we let him go down earlier. The afternoon nap was then earlier and shorter as well. I like to stretch him 3.5-4 hours before a nap, but today, he wanted one after 3 hours. He does try to nurse here and there, but he’s easily distracted. The breast milk in the sippy cup is treating him really well. I’m not sure it’s going to last into September because he could definitely drink more of it if I’d let him. I am watching his dairy intake to ensure he only get 16-20 ounces a day – don’t want to over-do it. I am doing fine with the weaning, but I was ready to nurse him tonight. I wasn’t in pain, but I would have been if we’d gone much longer! We may do 4 days of this (2 nursings, 2 non-nursings) instead of 3 because I’m a bit scared of how I’m going to feel when we drop a third nursing. I have to believe that will be painful.
07/05/2012 – We hit a rough patch today. Matthew wasn’t too interested in nursing this morning when he woke up, so I went from 6:45 AM until 8:00 PM without nursing, and started that stretch with semi-full breasts. Ouch! By 8:00, I was desperate to nurse. I even pumped afterwards (2.25 ounces). Poor Matthew was desperate to nurse during the day today too. He was trying to nurse from my arm, my shoulder… from anywhere as I tried putting him down for his afternoon nap. He settled for a sippy cup of Mom’s milk. We both survived… but it was tough!
07/06/2012 – Today was going to be my last day of nursing 50% of the time, but we’re going to take an extra day (or two) before dropping it down to 25%. I need to give my body another day to adjust down – I’m a bit uncomfortable by about this time in the day (5:45 PM) after not nursing since 6:00 AM. Today was way better than yesterday – HOLY HELL I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO EXPLODE YESTERDAY! Matthew did rather well today but after waking up early from his nap (he napped in my arms – oh the sweetness!), he tried to nurse. Very quickly, we got the remaining 1.5 ounces out of the fridge and that seemed to do the trick. Whew! I am looking forward to nursing him tonight for different reasons than last night. Last night – I was ready to explode. Tonight, I’m ready to snuggle!
07/07/2012 – Today is going well – Matthew has had his cup of milk BEFORE his naps today and I think that’s working better. He only gnawed on my arm for a few seconds before going down for his AM nap. I am feeling pretty good. We’re doing 2 nursings today and tomorrow, I think. I just want to take it slow so that I am not in pain. I was miserable 2 days ago, and there’s no reason to push it. I’m really happy with how this is going! It’s going much better than I expected for both of us!
07/08/2012 – I messed up my schedule in my milk tracking spreadsheet, so I get an extra day (6th day) of 2 nursings a day – which means tomorrow is a gift! I would rather take an extra day to wean than update that spreadsheet again. I am pleased, I was struggling with which feeding to drop (first thing in the morning, or bedtime nursing). I think I’ll drop the morning feeding next. Today went just fine – and my milk supply is adjusted quite well to just morning and night feedings.
07/09/2012 – This day went fine – it was my bonus day of a 6th morning of nursing. I was supposed to drop down to just one feeding today (at bedtime), but I messed up my milk planning and added a day to the schedule. Fine by me! I truly enjoyed our final morning snuggle together!
07/10/2012 – It’s a rough day – I haven’t nursed since last night at 9:00 and it’s 5:00 PM now. Ugh. I’ll be OK, but this is not fun. Three more hours to go until I get some relief. On the bright side, Matthew is devouring his milk in his cups. He even yelled, “yeah!” when I showed him his afternoon nap sippy cup of milk 🙂 He’s napping great today (almost 2 hours this morning and going on an hour right now, with no end in sight) and he slept until 7:20 this morning. I should rephrase that – he woke up at 6:10 and since today was the first day of no morning nursing, I let him try to settle down and he did within 4 minutes. He woke up 20 minutes later and fussed for a couple minutes. He fussed one more time at 6:45 and then went back to sleep until 7:20. It was so nice to have the house ready before he woke up. His sippy cup was full and waiting for him, and the cats were all fed and shot up (we have a diabetic). We went to Target at 8:30. What a morning! I owe it all to not nursing this morning. I missed it, but it’s OK.
07/11/2012 – I’m always amazed how much better day 2 is after dropping a nursing. I was in terrible pain yesterday by pool time (1:00 PM) and today – I feel just fine at almost 5:00. Unreal! The body is truly amazing! Matthew wasn’t so keen on his milk today – he stretched 5 ounces across two nap feedings, leaving a 4.5 ounce bag in the freezer. This is just fine – he’s getting plenty of dairy between his cups, the one nursing, and his morning yogurt. I’m almost done nursing… 4 nights left. I’ll be OK.. I’ll be OK 😉
07/12/2012 – I cried a bit tonight as I nursed Matthew. It his me that I only had 3 more nights of nursing left before we’re all done. I cried through the entire first half of the nursing. Matthew seemed concerned by this. Besides that, the day has been uneventful in the weaning department. My supply has totally adjusted to just one nursing and I’m just amazed at how smart the human (FEMALE) body is!
07/13/2012 – I did not cry tonight. I’m ready to be done – but only because Matthew goes to sleep better when he’s rocked over my shoulder than when he nurses to sleep (drowsiness). The nights have been brutal at bedtime with him crying for 20-40 minutes, off and on, after nursing. I’m told it could be my let-down adjusting which may be upsetting him. I don’t know – but I do know that I LOVE rocking him before his naps with him draped over my shoulder and I will LOVE doing that at bedtime too. I realized today that I’m not giving up a bond – but the way we bond is changing slightly. And that’s OK. One night left… I think. Let’s see if I chicken out and keep nursing just at night for a little while longer.
07/14/2012 – I think we’re done. Sniff, sniff, sniff… sob, sob, sob! Seriously, the final night went well. I committed to letting him nurse until he fell asleep and fell off of me. Twenty-three minutes in, he was fast asleep but still nursing so I shifted just a smidgen and he fell off – and I rocked him for a minute and then put him to bed. I thanked my sweet boy for over a year of wonderful bonding and told him I loved him and walked out. He didn’t make a peep. And then I cried 😦
What a great run this has been! I never expected to make it this long. I originally planned to make it to 3 months, then 6 months, then a year. We made it to 1 year and 3 weeks, and only quit because it’s time to start trying to give Matthew a little brother or sister and we can’t do that until I’m done nursing (per the RE). We have enough frozen breast milk to get him to 15.5 months and maybe even longer – and we NEVER planned on that! So I am happy. I am proud. I am at peace.
Here are some of our more recent nursing photos – I will always smile when I look at these!
I’ve been a slacker at blogging lately. There’s been some very consuming stuff going on and when it’s not going on, I like the downtime to just sit in the hot tub with B. We’ve done a lot of reconnecting this week, and for that, I’m grateful. I have lot to write about though – like the PAIL monthly theme post, a weaning summary, pool photos, milestones (new teeth), etc.
Keeping my weaning log updated takes some time. Not a lot of time, but it’s important to me and I like to do it every night. I’ve also been planning, and planning, and planning out my frozen milk supply until it’s used up. What’s been going on with that is trying to make sure that Matthew does not get TOO MUCH dairy once we are done weaning. Between his yogurt, nursing, and frozen breast milk, he was getting too much for a few days so I had to dial it back and then re-figure how long our frozen stash will last. I am going to give him around 12 ounces of breast milk a day and then 4 ounces of yogurt and then some cheese, if he wants it. We are not to exceed 20 ounces of dairy total, and the doctor says that includes breast milk. The target is 16-20 ounces a day. I was originally planning to give him 16 ounces of breast milk a day, so you can imagine what this shift did to my spreadsheet!
OMG my spreadsheet! HA HA! I’m happy to report that it is all updated now!
We are not the biggest believers in dairy after a certain age. There are studies that have proven that most humans become lactose intolerant sometime after the age of 3. So when a doctor tells me to keep the dairy intake limited to 16-20 ounces a day, I listen to her and tend to want to end up on the lower end of the spectrum. All of this re-figuring, and then sorting out how to introduce whole cow’s milk to Matthew (which I’m not comfortable with but I guess we have to do it), got our frozen stash stretched out to October 10th. OCTOBER! That means he’ll be 15.5 months old when he switches solely to whole cow’s milk (we are transitioning him over a 15 day period). I am so pleased that he is able to have breast milk exclusively for the first 15 months of his life! I told B the other day that I’m really proud of this. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been prouder of anything in my life, besides having my son.
The other thing that has taken my time each night is keeping my “favorite things about Matthew list” updated. I just love doing this little piece every night – and I hope we all enjoy re-reading it over and over again over the years of Matthew’s life!
So that’s where I’ve been. I have some craft projects to do next week but will try to make more time for blogging. I’m still waiting on my birthday party photos, but I’ve seen them and they’re really good 🙂 I’ll post some as soon as I have them.
I have not been blogging because, well, I’m emotionally drained right now AND all I would be writing about is weaning and how much my breasts hurt (holy hell!). I am ready to be done with this – not to be done with nursing Matthew, but to be done with the weaning process. I do not like it one bit (but who does, right?! HA!)!
I did organize my frozen milk stash and that brought me much delight and comfort because it involved 1) organizing and 2) a spreadsheet. If all else fails, nothing calms my nerves like a complicated spreadsheet that only I understand 😉