So last week I made a fairly big decision regarding CJ. I decided that I was going to have to stop breastfeeding him. What is the reasoning behind this, you ask? Well, the reasons are twofold.
The main reason is that I feel like it is way past time for me to get back on my Adderall. I have been operating in a fog for the past two years off it, and I am more than ready to feel like a normal human being again. I need to focus at work and at home, and Adderall helps me stay on task and see things through to completion. I am also hoping that getting back on Adderall will help kickstart some weight loss. Two years ago when I got back on Adderall, I lost ten pounds in a month. And then I got pregnant and had to come back off it. Since having CJ, I have basically lost zero weight. My C-section recovery was slow and painful, and by the time I was feeling back up at 100% it was time for me to return to work. After I returned to work, I was exhausted from my commute, long days at the office, and oh, having an infant at home. There was no time for exercise or dieting. Plus I had a very finicky breastmilk supply, and every time I tried to diet, my supply would take a dip. So I am down almost no weight since leaving the hospital. Since I started playing tennis several weeks ago, I have lost a few pounds. But the fall season is coming to a close, and if I don’t sign up for a mixed doubles winter league, I am afraid my weight loss will stall with the holiday season fast approaching. So the first reason is purely selfish. I need to be on a medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding. So I need to stop.
The second reason has more to do with CJ. For the past couple of weeks, he hasn’t been staying asleep through the night a lot of nights, and when he wakes up he can’t get himself back to sleep and wants to nurse. I have not been letting him nurse in the middle of the night, but he still wakes up and will not settle back down unless I let him sleep in our bed with us. You can imagine that the rest of the night is not very restful for anyone. Well, the past couple of nights I have nursed him for half the time I normally do, and have been putting him down awake. He cried for a few minutes at first, but last night after I went in to settle him back down, he put himself to sleep after about five minutes and slept until about 5:00 this morning. This is a marked improvement over the past several nights. I also did not nurse him this morning when he woke up, and he did fine. I did have to nurse him down for a nap, but it was just for a minute or two and then he fell asleep. There have been nights when the Mister has put him to sleep, and he went down just fine. So obviously he does not need to nurse to go to sleep. He just likes to nurse to go to sleep. He has slept better the past two nights not being nursed to sleep than he has in the past couple of weeks, so evidently I may be on to something here.
So I think that next Sunday evening will be the last time I nurse CJ.
Wow. Now that I see it in type, it’s a little scary.
I’ve never considered myself to be one of those mothers who is overly attached to breastfeeding. It has always been a means to an end for me. Baby’s hungry? Nurse him. Baby’s fussy? Nurse him. Baby’s sleepy? Nurse him. And since those are pretty much the only issues CJ ever had aside from a dirty diaper, nursing seemed to solve all his woes. Breastfeeding was not some sort of spiritual experience for me. Sure, it was good bonding time, and as the months progressed I grew to enjoy our nursing sessions because it meant I got to spend time snuggling my baby. But I would have been able to spend time snuggling my baby if I was giving him a bottle as well. When it comes to the breastfeeding vs. formula debate, I fall on the side of feeding babies. I don’t care what reasons you have to not breastfeed. That is your choice, and as long as your baby is receiving adequate nutrition, then you are doing a great job. There is nothing wrong with formula; it is food designed and engineered specifically for babies, just like breastmilk. If for some reason I was not able to breastfeed, I would have bought formula proudly, because it meant that I was feeding my baby properly. I do not think formula-fed babies are at a disadvantage in life. I decided to try breastfeeding because it was free, and what do you know, I am really good at it. CJ had nothing to drink but breastmilk and water for the first 14 months of his life. I am proud of that, and I am glad that I was able to do this for our family.
I used to think, why don’t all women just try breastfeeding? It was so easy for me after the first two weeks or so, so I just thought that if one tried hard enough that it would become easy for them too. But that is so wrong. There are so many reasons why women who want to breastfeed can’t, that I won’t even begin to get into them. And for anyone to say that a woman should have just tried harder to breastfeed when she could not is so offensive. We live in an age where personal choice is so important. Society wants women to have free choice in what goes on with their bodies. Women are supposed to have the choice whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy, but they are not supposed to be able to choose whether or not to breastfeed? Or to circumcise? There are lactivists and intactivists out there who would love to see just that. Like abortion, breastfeeding (and circumcision) is a deeply personal choice. Of course a woman should talk to her family about that choice, but ultimately the decision lies with the mother. There are so many reasons why women cannot or do not want to breastfeed, that it is naïve of me (and other women) to say “well, they should at least try it.” What worked for me does not work for everyone, and there is no shame in that. Like I said, I’m in favor of feeding babies. As long as that is being done properly, then you are ahead of the game in my book.
So what if a woman does not want to breastfeed? So what if parents decide to circumcise? What’s it matter to me? Does it affect my life in any way, shape, form, or fashion? Will my child be affected by the parenting choices of the non-breastfeeder or circumciser? No and no. So what business is it of any of ours, and where do we get off judging other mothers for their decisions? I am admittedly a judgmental person by nature, and I make no apologies for that. Hey, somebody’s got to do it. There are many, MANY reasons I judge other parents. But giving their babies formula or choosing to circumcise their son is such a non-issue that I cannot bring myself to form a bad opinion of them.
Wow, I certainly did not mean to turn this into a platform for my views on breastfeeding or circumcision. All I wanted to say was that if everything goes okay, I will be done breastfeeding CJ by next Sunday and back on my Adderall first thing Monday morning. Let’s hope it works out for me.
And now, how about a picture or two of my little guy?