I wanted to breastfeed until Miss Rose was at least one. Unfortunately biology has stepped in and it’s not going to happen.
Over time Miss Rose has stopped wanting breast feeds in the day, now only very rarely being interested, but she is still feeding in the night. Unfortunately the reduction in demand has resulted in my supply drying up. Over the last couple of nights she has been getting distressed by the lack of milk and biting me.
Last night she and I were both sobbing; she in frustration and anger that she had drained me of milk, me in pain from the bite and misery at failing to provide her with what she needs. I cannot make enough to satiate her, and I cannot cope with the extreme pain of being bitten on the nipple anymore. I feel like a failure. She needs milk and I am not able to provide it. I am letting her down.
This morning she had her last breast feed. I didn’t know it was the last at the time, and to be honest I wish I hadn’t tried. It was a negative end to a long journey full of ups and downs. I should have left it. It shouldn’t have ended like that.
It took me two hours to get her back to sleep after she bit me at 2am. I spent from 4am til 6 tossing and turning, feeling pain and anxiety, then she woke at 6. I was able to feed her a little at 6 then we got up. That was fine, but later in the morning she was fussy and hungry, clawing at me and crying, so I reattached her. She suckled without results, then as she went to bite me and I pulled her away angrily. I was angry with her. Actually angry. The pain and betrayal when she hurts me so badly made me feel it yet it isn’t her fault, she doesn’t understand that she is hurting me she just knows that she can’t get what she needs from my breast. She cried a hurt and miserable cry. That was her last feed and thinking about it makes me cry too.
I went to my Health Visitor to beg advice. Because supply is drying up she needs to get on a bottle; she needs more milk than I can make. Because if I try to keep breastfeeding her she will get confused and make it harder to get her to take a bottle I have to go cold turkey. Because she is used to having breastfeeds in bed with us she needs a new setting, and has to go into her own bedroom. Because her bedtime routine with me involves boob I have to step away and let her daddy take over.
It is the most enormous series of changes I had expected to happen gradually and naturally over a few months all happening unexpectedly in one day, following her last ever feed being a negative experience and I truly feel bereft. My breast feeding journey is over. My bedtime baby cuddles are no more, she is in her own room. It feels like part of my body has been ripped off. I am truly in mourning. I am also numb. It doesn’t feel real.
This is going to take time. She is not going to be happy about it. Her daddy did bedtime tonight and she did take a little bottle in between sobs and has eventually gone to sleep with crying and daddy cuddles. But it’s going to be a long night. Several long nights.
The breast feeding time is so precious, it’s a time when only mummy can do it. Now she is moving onto the bottle anyone can do it. Anyone can take care of her. I am losing something I’m not ready to lose. I am going to have to refuse her when she is crying and begging for boob. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with that. I truly don’t. Denying her something she fundamentally needs feels deeply unnatural. I am not ready emotionally, but physically I have no choice.
I can drink caffeine in the afternoon. Wine in the evening. Go out for dinner with my husband and leave her in the care of my mother or friend. Wear high neck tops and glamorous bras. I will have freedom over my body and life that breastfeeding took from me.
But whatever I gave up to feed her was worth giving. I would give the same and more in a heart beat. I am not ready. I am just not ready.
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