Feed on


After 32 mostly uneventful weeks of nursing, I have hit a wall. And I’m panicked.

Simon began teething a few weeks ago, a fact I confirmed last week on vacation when he once bit me during a nursing session. He had been drooling for ages, so we weren’t sure when teeth would actually erupt. The day we came home from San Francisco, I finally saw his two lower center teeth and got slightly misty about how quickly time is going by.

Then last night hit. Simon nursed around 1 a.m. and all seemed fine. Then he awoke at 5:00 a.m. and things took a wrong turn. He latched on, then pulled off. Probably because of teething pain, something that happened once during vacation as well. This time, he latched back on, didn’t stay for long, and pulled off and cried, probably from teething pain and frustration combined. After a few repeats of this, I began to worry that I wasn’t feeling let-down. And sure enough, by 5:15 or so I had a crying baby, no let-down, and enough stress that let-down in the very near future seemed unlikely.

And so, for the first time since Simon left the NICU, he got a bottle of formula. Which he, for the record, took like a champ and was plenty happy with. I, on the other hand, was left in tears.

Today I’ve managed to feed him twice, but it’s been a struggle both times and I’m quite nervous that I have a nursing strike or early weaning on my hands. I’ve also got calls in to two lactation consultants, who I’m hoping can help me before it’s too late. I’m quite worried about the timing here, because I’ve nursed Simon so much that my pump doesn’t really work for me anymore. It’s Simon or bust, no pun intended.

I understand that even if this is the end, that Simon got 7 1/2 months of my immunity, my DHA, and close bonding. I know he’ll be OK.

I, however, will be very sad, perhaps irrationally so. Nursing is such an immediate relationship. It’s unique in my experience. I hate to let it go. I hate to lose something that I and only I can share with Simon. I fear it’s the beginning of a lessening of our bond somehow. I hate to think I’ll never again see that little smile he gives me before or during a nursing session, that he’ll never reach up and pat my face while nursing, that in general I’ll become just another caretaker for him.

And I feel bad about feeling that way, because I’ve watched many dear friends and family not be able to nurse much or at all, and I feel like (1) I’m being an ingrate; and (2) I’m insulting many fine mothers. I’m sure this is mostly hormonal on my end. And the cure? You guessed it.

Nursing. Wish us luck.

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