Friday, July 18, 2014

The end

Wednesday July 16th, 2014 was the last day I nursed Ford. It was bittersweet and unexpected yet perfectly timed. If you've followed along my blog, you would know that we struggled and fought for Ford to take a bottle for months and gave up around 6 months. Ford took a bottle like a champ starting at 2 weeks but started refusing around 3 months. I decided that I had made it 6 months of exclusively nursing and could make it another 6 months because looking at the grand scheme of life, it was such a short period of time. In the past 11 months I have not been away from him for more than 5 hours and I have put him to bed every single night by myself. It was hard but absolutely worth it. So worth it.

I knew I wanted to completely wean Ford at a year and I was dreading the process thinking he would want to breastfeed forever. I knew babies self weaned but babies also took bottles easily, mine did not. I stayed awake at night sick to my stomach and praying for a smooth weaning process. We started giving Ford organic whole milk in a straw sippy right before he turned 11 months old and he loved it! I was able to cut our 2 daytime nursing sessions and decided we would continue with morning and before bedtime until 1 year. I had noticed that our nursing time was getting shorter and shorter and Ford would be very distracted. Early on, you can hear the glug glug of a baby nursing and swallowing and I felt like Ford would just suck for 2 minutes and was done. I've never had a supply issue but assumed it was dwindling the less I nursed and the more whole milk he drank. 

Wednesday night I gave him a bath, we read a book, sad our prayers and then I brought him to the rocking chair to nurse. It wasn't more than 1 minute before he bit me so hard that I let out a blood curling scream. Ford had been calm and relaxed, almost drowsy, and it spooked him to the core. I was crying, he was crying, and we both couldn't catch our breath. He had nibbled on me before but it didn't even compare to the pain I had just experienced. I was able to calm us both down and tried again, only to get bit even more painfully. This time he had my clamped nipple in his mouth and didn't let go. The tears were flowing. Jon had just gotten home from a work trip and I shrieked for him to run upstairs. I handed Ford over to him and told him I couldn't nurse. I went down to our room, closed the door, and sat on the bed and prayed. I asked the Lord to reveal to me if this would be our last time nursing. I was emotional thinking about that traumatic experience being our last time nursing. And then I became thankful. My heart shifted from sorrow and sadness to thanksgiving and awe. Most women don't get past the first month of nursing and I made it 11 months! No bottles, no formula, no help. God is sovereign over everything, including my supply, Ford's latch, the blessing of staying home with Ford to be able to exclusively nurse. Tears of joy flowed as I realized this was the end of our nursing relationship. 

Jon was able to calm Ford down and put him to bed without nursing and he slept through the night. Another answered prayer. Jon woke up with Ford Thursday morning and sad he was cuddly and sweet as he offered him his milk cup. I came out of our room a half hour later to my happy little boy who was ready to play. When it was time for bed last night, I kissed Ford, went into our room and closed the door while Jon did bedtime. I continued to pray that God would ordain this process and give Ford the comfort he needed to go to sleep. Y'all. God is so good, so faithful and generous. Ford went to sleep without a peep and 36 hours since my last nursing session I have not felt any pain whatsoever.

I don't want you to apologize for the way our nursing journey ended because I believe it was orchestrated by God for my good. I feel like if I got to choose our last night of nursing I would have tried to make it so perfect and not want to give it up the next day. Please don't be sad for me because I am rejoicing! This is the end of a sweet season with my baby boy who is on the brink of becoming a toddler. I look forward to what comes next for us and I know that will include a lot of nighttime date nights woo hoo! One thing that is sad... organic whole milk is way more expensive than breastmilk, ha! I feel victorious for making it this far. There were many a times I wanted to throw in the towel but I am so glad I stuck it out. Breastfeeding for me has been more than nourishing my son. It has been a wonderful lesson in growth and grace that I pray I get to experience again with future babies.

11 months, 339 days, hours and hours of nursing, so much sweetness. 



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24 comments:

Jordan said...

This brought tears to my eyes! Amazing post, congratulations on 11 months!

Caela said...

I'm so glad it ended like this! (minus the nipple bites, because, ouch). I nursed and pumped for 7 months (4 of those being back at work) and the weaning process was a horrible mind trick for me (baby could not have cared less). After it was all said and done I was at peace and knew it was the right decision, but it was awful while it was happening.

Bridget said...

Congrats on 11 months....that is amazing! It really is SO FUN to move forward from that chapter!!!

~Erin said...

This post made me cry, happy and sad tears. Im so happy for you that you got to nurse Ford for 11 months, what an accomplishment.
Malleys last day nursing was June 19th and it came out of now where too. She literally wanted nothing to do with me after that. I was SOOOOO upset because I wasnt ready to stop. I kept thinking if I knew that June 19th was the last day I would have nursed her, I would have treasured it more and really soaked it all in. {im crying now thinking of it} I definitely wasnt ready.....but Im happy that I got to at least nurse her for 9 1/2 months, so for that I am proud of my accomplishment. So I completely understand. Im glad God was so good in His timing for you and Ford.

Lindsay @ Pursuit of Pink said...

Girl that is awesome that you made it 11 months exclusively breast feeding!!! So proud of you! We didn't make it long nursing, but I decided to exclusively pump and made it almost Kendall's entire first year of life too! God is so good in how He handles things and I absolutely adore your outlook on this. I cringed when I read the part about him biting you and not letting go, I hope you are ok!!! Congrats mama on making it so long - that is awesome!!!

Sia Cooper said...

THANK YOU for being so open and honest. I absolutely loved reading this post. You are so wonderful and brave. Kudos to you, mama!

www.fitmommydiaries.blogspot.com

Megan said...

Way to go, girl! Going as long as you did was a major feat and a huge blessing! I breastfed our son till about 11 months old as well. He self weaned because he was just so distracted-wanted to move move move! :) I'm hoping to have the same luck with baby #2!

Candace said...

I was the same way with my daughter, Grey! We went a little after a year and she started biting- and oh my gosh it hurt!! She soon became disinterested and she decided she was done one day on her own. I was totally not prepared! Took some time for my mama heart to move on, but it's such a fun and new season with her (she's almost 15 months). Congrats on 11 months and praying for your new season with Ford!

Nicole Joelle said...

Go girl! I think that we maybe had the same last day of nursing :) It is so weird and bittersweet! Luke was down to just one feeding in the morning, and the other day, he didn't even try. But, he's still not a fan of milk (neither whole or almond), so we are still figuring out what to do with that :)

Veronika said...

I can definitely relate here. I exclusively pumped for a year for my baby girl and there is no greater gift than knowing my body nourished her for that entire year.

I thought I would be more emotional and maybe if I had nursed from the breast I would have been...but I just felt so lucky that I was able to produce enough milk to give her for her first year of life. I was also able to donate some of my frozen expressed milk to research, which made it that much more fulfilling of an experience. Good for you for nursing so long!

Danielle said...

So proud of you, momma!! God is good! I've exclusively breastfeed Jack and hope to go to the one year mark if he's still interested. He still eats every 2 1/2 to 3 hours but I know this is a short season in my life so I just try to live in the moment and enjoy those sweet times with him. Isn't it remarkable that breast milk is the perfect nutrient for babes? God really is remarkable and the ultimate designer! It leaves me in awe!

Liz said...

Sending you the biggest virtual hug & high five mama!! You did it! And I am so proud of you :) Praying my story is similar to yours next time around! God is so, so good!

the girl in the red shoes said...

Good job mama! My breastfeeding journey ended with some painful bites and lots and lots of praying too! Your photos are beautiful!

the girl in the red shoes said...

Also....I have a weekly breastfeeding series on my blog and I would love to have you share your story! Email me if you are interested thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail

the girl in the red shoes said...

Also....I have a weekly breastfeeding series on my blog and I would love to have you share your story! Email me if you are interested thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail

Allena said...

Yay for peace about the end! I agree that it gave you good closure because you knew he was done. I love that you are so open too because the more normal we make breastfeeding the more people try it who maybe wouldn't have before!

Claire Beeks said...

Congrats on making it 11 months, Ruthie! I pray everyday that Cade will be a good nurser, and I hope I can do nursing with him as long as you did! Ford is such a sweetie, and it's so neat watching him grow and learn new things. I am sure the "next chapter" of Daddy & Baby time for bedtime will be something really special and meaningful for both Jon and Ford! Love you!

Carolyn said...

OMG! I am starting to think about the weaning process, and I'm so sad about it! But also excited! I'm excited to have "me" back and to be able to not be the one that gets up with Weston and puts him to bed every night. Luckily, Weston takes a bottle really well, so I'm not worried about him at all. It's me!! :) I'm so happy for you my friend! Onto the toddler stage...BAH!

dreambigrunner.com said...

My daughter just turned 4 months and for the last 2 weeks she refuses the Bottle (with breast milk). We started with the bottle at 3 weeks and she had no issue at all. until a few weeks ago. I'm also a SAHM so it is not a huge deal, but sometimes would be nice if my husband could help out with the bottle, plus it would give him some bonding time with his daughter. I was thinking instead of fighting to take the bottle again, maybe I should start with the sippy cup? What do you think?

Laura @ The Everyday Joys said...

Aw. Way to go, mama. It was so, so bittersweet when we stopped. And it was totally me. Gabe was only down to his bedtime one, and I cut it off because I was going away. I honestly would have probably continued, and I had regret for a few weeks...but now I'm happy we ended it when we did.

Laura @ The Everyday Joys said...

Aw. Way to go, mama. It was so, so bittersweet when we stopped. And it was totally me. Gabe was only down to his bedtime one, and I cut it off because I was going away. I honestly would have probably continued, and I had regret for a few weeks...but now I'm happy we ended it when we did.

Daisy said...

Wow Ruthie!! Way to go! Ford looks so big now :) A year just flew by.

Jennifer Sabino said...

I cannot believe he is almost one year old. It is also so nice to see you being so open & sharing about your breastfeeding experience! A lot of people have been being criticized about it lately, so good for you!!

-Jennifer
www.jennifersblogbook.blogspot.com

Olivia said...

A victory indeed! I AM sorry that he bit the fire out of you because I know how that feels, but otherwise I am so happy you guys made it so long! Your body has nourished him into the big and handsome almost toddler that he is, what a blessing that is :)

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