Breastfeeding Guilt Update

by jessicaturner on December 19, 2008

Thank you for all the comments so far today. They have been insightful and encouraging. Please keep them coming. I am confident that other moms will also find comfort and wisdom in them. I do want to respond to a couple points people have made…

I only have 10 lbs left (of 60) to lose. :) So, it is just that last bit. Yes, breastfeeding has made a huge difference for me. However, with working full time and nursing AND pumping in the morning, I haven’t gotten back to the gym yet. There are simply not enough hours in the day (and quite frankly, at night, I want to spend time with my family and scrapbook, not go to the gym.) I am mindful of my diet and am not eating ice cream for dinner, so no worries. However, I will admit that Christmas cookies have not helped my plight.

Elias is bottle-fed my breastmilk during the day. He has no problem taking the bottle. He will take food any way he can get it. He does seem to like the breast though. That adds to the guilt. :)

I also want to share one of my favorite comments today because it touched and encouraged me so much.

I’m really glad you posted this because I know a lot of women who have told me the same thing – I counseled women on breastfeeding for many years and am the Breastfeeding coordinator for the state of Wisconsin and personally breastfed my own three children.

First, you should be really proud of yourself. Congratulations for meeting your own goals and you did the best thing for you and the best thing for your baby. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty.

If you want to make the analogy to a marathon (26.2 miles) – you are at mile 22. You’re baby is old enough at 5.5-6 months to start solids (ex: fruits, veggies, baby cereal). With each solid food meal your baby eats, you eliminate a breastfeeding (or a pumping) and your milk supply will automatically adjust (your breast size will adjust too!). Don’t wait until you stop breastfeeding to exercise and eat right – you can start that now.

You’re awesome, you’re working hard and you are doing the best possible thing for Elias! By sticking with breastfeeding for as long as you have you have decreased Baby Elias’s chances of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes and you have decreased your chance of getting breast cancer! Good for you!

Just relax and enjoy the precious gift that is in front of you now.

Take care (and Merry Christmas!)

I like that… I’m running a marathon and I have done really well. I think I can go a bit further, but if I stop now, it’s okay.

Oh, and the picture is there just to make you smile. Matthew took it outside today. Temps are in the high 60s in Nashville today, but very windy.



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah December 19, 2008 at 9:40 pm

How funny! That’s the comment that I read and yelled out loud “RIGHT ON!” That’s wisdom right there.

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ParenteauFamily December 19, 2008 at 10:05 pm

First things first, each woman has to make her own decision about what is best for her body and her baby. I look at my oldest now six years old and the things I agonized over when he was a baby seem so unimportant now. And–that time has gone by in the blink of an eye—I hope that gives you a little perspective. I have breastfed all three of my children for 1.5-2 years each. I am also a working Mom and really HATe pumping. It gets way easier once you start solids by the way. My third child is 21 months and still going. I’d like to stop, but we have fallen into a routine of this just being easier. So my question is what mile would I be at–LOL!? Some days it IS exhausting, but I know he is going to grow up so fast that I won’t even remember the feeling in a year or two. Good luck with your decision.

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andrea.yancey December 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I just wanted to tell you what a great job you've done sticking with pumping. While Cecilia is now 2 and half (&still breastfeeds), I could only stick it out with pumping for about two weeks. You are my pumping hero!

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Heather December 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Hi Jessica
I just wanted to let you know that YOU know what’s best for you and your baby. You’ve done great and you achieved the goal you set! I know the first couple of months are the hardest! When I had my babies, my goal was to nurse them for 1 year. I worked part time after I had my 1st baby but have been able to stay home with the rest. I made my goal to nurse for at least 1 year with the first 3 babies, and even exclusively nursed twins. My youngest is 4 months old and even though she has been the hardest to nurse we are on track for at least 1 year of nursing. I might nurse her longer since she is my last.
Please don’t feel guilty about the choice you make. It is possible to nurse for only one or two feedings a day. The last feeding to go, for my boys, was the night time feeding. I nursed each of them once a night for a couple months until I figured out how to wean them. Good Luck!

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Open your Eyes. December 19, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I read that comment as well and thought how lovely! xxx.

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Rae December 20, 2008 at 5:26 am

I wanted to encourage you with my experience. My daughter is 15 months old and we stopped breastfeeding two days ago. I breastfed solely for her first 6 months. It was hard. I agree with you and there were times I wished I did it differently. But now that it’s done it feels like it went to fast. I already miss the closeness. We weaned slowly by eliminating feedings during the day as her solid food increased. Then we added water instead of breastfeeding. Soon I was only feeding her at night.

Everyone’s experience is different. Only you can decide what is best for the both of you. Like every other thing, “this to will pass.” Just like every other phase in their lives (ie. colic, night waking, tantrums, “no” etc). I never regretted my decisions and I feel blessed that I was able to do this for as long as I did. Believe that no matter what you did what was best for you both. Your son is very lucky to have a mother who loves him enough to give of herself in that way. No one else could have or would have done it for him. Bravo for being such a great mom!!

Tawnda

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Angela W December 20, 2008 at 6:05 am

Yes, you have done VERY well! I am glad everyone’s comments has helped you.

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Christy December 20, 2008 at 7:25 am

I breastfed my second child, the first being in the nicu too long for me to catch up to her. It worked with my second daughter but my twin boys just ate too much and were in no way interested in the boob. So I have lots of experience with formula and while I know that God made our milk to be the best I do think that science has made formula pretty darn close. Those first six months are the most important and you already have the bond established so don’t feel guilty about letting go that stage of your life. Just a warning your boobs are going to sag! Go buy a push up bra now!

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Anonymous December 20, 2008 at 8:02 am

Hello……….we had 12 inches of snow today!!!!!THANKS for rubbing in that 60 degrees….I am so moving closer to you in the immediate future…Warn the son-in-law. xoxo MOM

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Photomom December 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Jessica- keep in mind as he eats more solids, he will nurse less- my best friend is still nursing her13 month old a few times per day- mostly naps and bedtime. You could decrease the pumping gradually- the breastpump was not my friend! Nothing says it has to be all breastmilk or nothing, either. Talk to a lactation consultant for some advice and support, too. My son decided at 6 mos that he preferred the bottle, I pumped only enough to relieve the fullness. I was too full for a couple days, but it wasn’t too bad. Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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Michelle December 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Jessica,
I have four kids, each have been breastfed, but each one I have breastfed for different lengths. The ten year old I breast fed for 4 months because I was working and pumping and I decided the time I spent stressing on the breast milk was taking time away from Kyra. Jackson is 8, he was breastfed 6 months, he was a big eater and again I was working so I pumped and nurse until pumping felt like it was over taking my world to keep up with his intake. Cyrus is 5 now, he was breastfed until he basically stopped wanting it (20 months) and wanted to drink from a cup, I wasn’t working thanks to the wonderful economy and I mean a BIG thanks… I messed up with him, because I waited to long to introduce a bottle and would never take one. He went from the breast to a bottle… bad for mommy getting out… now Jorja May is almost two and she basically stopped at 17 months, she was a nicu baby, so she was breast fed in the hosipalt and also by bottle breast milk, I was lucky they listened to my demands of only breast milk… but again I am staying home now. All of the kids are different in many ways, but none because of how long I breastfed them. I know they are better off, becuase I listened to my heart and what they needed. As a mother we put so much guilt on ourselves, and I am sad to say it only continues, but you believe in yourself and God and you walk thru it. I have friends that never breastfed, and I have never understood how someone can’t on purpose, I do understand that many times your body is not capable of doing it, and I have watched many hearts be broken by it, so I have never taken being able to breastfed for granted, I have even thought about donating. Well anyways, this is way longer than I had intended, but listen to your heart and do what is best, each child will be differnt. I know from reading your blog you have a wonderful heart and know that any decision you make is going to be the best for your family, no one else is in the same situation. God Bless you and thank you for your wonderful blog.

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Terroni December 21, 2008 at 5:25 am

You lost 50 pounds in less than 6 month?!?

Holy crap! Unless Elias weighed 45 pounds (and if so, I must say that scarf sure is slimming), that’s pretty frigging amazing.

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Emilie December 22, 2008 at 4:03 pm

My goal was 6 months too. I figured every day after that was a blessing, and at any point I could stop. I was shocked at how something so natural was so darn complicated! By my book, anyone who nurses even once is a saint!

Have you read the book the Milk Memos? It’s awesome, and a very quick read. I read it while nursing and pumping. :)

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mary h. December 23, 2008 at 3:46 am

Girl, I’m proud of you for just keeping up the pumping. I did everything I could to try to get as much breast milk to my babies. It was barely 2oz with each pump, but I kept it up because of the benefits for them. Kudos!

Btw, after the new year, we ought to get together since I only live about 45min. from you now.;)

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sabakose December 30, 2008 at 3:17 am

Congrats on BFing for this long!!! Every bit of mama’s milk is better than nothing! :-) I give HUGE kudos to ANY FTM being able to BF! With my first, we had a bad latch from the getgo, so I exclusively pumped for 8 months … I know how wearing it is. :-( If you’re still wanting to continue for a bit, I would start by dropping one pumping session for about a week. Chances are, you’ll still produce the same amount in ounces as if you had that extra pumping. :-) Then you can drop one pumping session every week-2 weeks. There are many women who continue to just nurse morning and evening and then all the weekend feedings and their bodies beautifully adjust.

You’ve given him the best start in life so don’t feel guilty for whenever you decide to stop. :-)

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Gone Overboard January 13, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Congratulations on making it this long! Your child has benefitted so much from this, I would like to share my guilt experience with you, My oldest was breastfed for about 10 months, one morning I got up and there was just nothing there, by this point he was eating solids mostly anyway, and there was not much I could do, with my second child, the story is VERY different, He was spitting up a lot and had terrible heartburn, was not sleeping etc. I knew there was something wrong but the Drs. dismissed it as colic and since he was gaining weight said to keep feeding him, but I knew there was something really wrong, he would reject the breast until he was starving then drink so much and spit and cry and this was the cycle, I knew the problem had to be the milk and so I stopped breastfeeding and placed him in special formula to make a long story short, I felt terribly guilty about this until 3 mos. later; it turned out he has a terrible milk protein allergy and so my breast milk and the food going trough it was literally making him sick! So my decision, as selfish and guilt ridden as it felt in the beginning, turned out to be the best thing for him..
My point being, you know when something works and does not for you and what worked for one child might not necessarily work for the other.
Good luck and let your guilt go its better for your family.

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