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350 Days

by Courtney on July 15, 2014

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to attempt breastfeeding. It was something that I’d always considered, but I had told myself that if it didn’t work…it didn’t work. I wasn’t going to push something if it wasn’t right for me and Lucas, but I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

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So I started out with a goal of making it three months. Everyone I spoke to and everything I read always warned about how tough those first few weeks are, so I hung on to this advice and kept it tucked away for when I needed it. And trust me…there were many times during those first few weeks that I needed it.

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While I don’t have another baby or personal experience to compare mine to, I think it’s safe for me to say that Lucas and I really did have an amazing relationship with breastfeeding. He latched right away, and despite a couple of hiccups while we were still in the hospital after his birth, he and I had this thing down pretty well.

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Don’t get me wrong…I’m certainly not trying to paint a beautiful picture here. Sure, he ate like a champ, but let’s not forget about the leaking, the soreness, the hot flashes, the mastitis, the rigid feeding schedule and feeling like my life revolved around my boobs, and everything else in between. But then, just like that, we made it to three months and we were still going strong.

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At this point, I was heading back to work and knew that our exclusive nursing sessions were now going to be broken apart with my pumping at work. Knowing that this could make things a bit more difficult, as I’d been told by many, I gave myself another new goal of making it to 6 months of breastfeeding and pumping.

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So for 166 days, I carted my pump bag to and from work. At first, I started out pumping three times a day, which was just awful. Eventually, I cut it down to two times a day, and finally, for about a month, I was able to get away with just pumping once a day at work. There were only 3 days where I forgot my pump parts at home and had to drive back and get them, so out of 166 days, I’d say that was a victory.

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Again, with time flying quicker than ever, we found ourselves at 6 months and things were still going great. I wasn’t pumping quite enough milk every day for him, so we had to start supplementing a bit with formula around this time. Some days we needed it, others we didn’t. But I still carried on with my nursing and pumping the same way I had been. At this point I thought, “Well, we might as well try to make it to a year?,” and so, we carried on…me both surprised and thrilled that we were still at it.

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Around the 10 month mark, I was really done with pumping. My supply was getting noticeably smaller, and the output just wasn’t worth the effort in my opinion anymore (about 2-3 oz total). I told myself to stick with the pumping at work up until 11 months, which was right before we went away to Wildwood. While we were away, I attempted to nurse him in the afternoons when he’d typically get his bottle, but he was just too busy and wanted to be up and moving (either that, or he was attempting to bite me…) so we gave him a bottle instead and didn’t worry about pumping.

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About a week after Lucas turned 11 months, I had a night where I was incredibly exhausted and just wanted to go to bed, so I skipped my usual before-bed pumping session. When I tried the next day, I got close to nothing, so that session was the next one that was nixed. I felt no discomfort or pain (as some do feel when they start to wean from breastfeeding), which I attribute to my supply already diminishing.

At this point, we were still nursing in the mornings though, and it was my one and only time Lucas and I could really have our one-on-one cuddles. No other time would he cuddle with me, except for our morning nursing session, where we’d giggle and laugh and play our blinking game. I love this time. Or rather, loved.

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On Friday, July 11th, I went to nurse Lucas as I typically would in the morning. He latched on for 30 seconds but then the weather came on the tv and he just had to watch it, as usual (the kid loves the 7 day forecast?!). From there, he had no interest in having anymore and just wanted to play. On Saturday, July 12th, I gave it one more attempt; I sat him in my lap and as I went to get him to nurse he looked up at me with the funniest face, as if he were saying, “Umm mom, what are you doing?” And just like that, we were done.

350 days later, our breastfeeding journey was over.

And although we were just short of my goal of a year, I could not have asked for it to go any smoother. Lucas weaned himself from his final nursing session, which is exactly what I had hoped, and I didn’t have to deal with any discomfort. That morning nursing session was never really something he went nuts about, so I figured he’d be okay with however the transition was made; but knowing he helped guide that decision makes the teeny bit of mommy guilt I still feel for stopping seem a bit smaller. Honestly, we could have gone two years, and I know I’d still feel a little bit of guilt and sadness. That’s just how I am.

Breastfeeding was an immensely awesome relationship that I was fortunate enough to have with Lucas, and knowing he’s done also means he’s really growing up on me. This manages to make my heart ache and fill me with so much excitement all at the same time, because I cannot wait to see what’s to come with this sweet little boy of mine.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica { EricaDHouse.com } July 15, 2014 at 6:32 am

I lol’ed when you said how much he loves the weather channel!

Congrats on making it to almost a full year, I hope to do the same someday!

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2 Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie July 15, 2014 at 6:53 am

I know how special that time must have been for both of you!
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3 Lauren July 15, 2014 at 7:04 am

Thank you for posting this! I’m wondering how we will do with breastfeeding and it definitely is a fear of mine that it will be a huge struggle. My goal is a year, but I know so many things can factor into that and I am now realizing how incredibly consuming it can be. This post was a beautiful story of your journey. :)

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4 Linz @ Itz Linz July 15, 2014 at 7:06 am

you’ve done AMAZING!! we’ve made it three months so far and in a couple weeks i go back to work – so not looking forward to that. thanks for sharing – breastfeeding is definitely a bond like no other!
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5 Brynn July 15, 2014 at 7:13 am

I loved reading this post. As a mommy to be, I have big hopes if breast feeding. But we have to do what we can, listen to our bodies and our babies because they’ll tell us what they need. I’m looking forward to the bonding time during feeding and can’t imagine what it is like to see that go. But you have a healthy, happy boy and that is most important.
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6 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers July 15, 2014 at 7:20 am

I loved this post, Courtney! I hope to be able to have a baby in the future and hope to breastfeed as well. I think I’ve always romanticized the experience in my head (the bonding, cuddling, etc.) and after reading so many horror stories, I feel nervous about it but still really hopeful. Your blog post reiterated some of the joys I think (and hope!) breastfeeding can bring. :) 350 days is awesome!
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7 Briana July 15, 2014 at 7:30 am

What a wonderful post. I too am wrapping up my breast feeding journey with my almost one year old and though there are moments when I’m excited to get my body back, There are just as many moments I shed tears about it being over. Ups and downs are natural, but I’m so proud of myself (& you!!) for making it a year. Though they probably will never thank us for the hard work and sacrifice, I know our babes will benefit because of it. You’ve inspired me to write about my journey too, so thank you :)
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8 Kim @FITsique July 15, 2014 at 7:44 am

This post is so emotional! I almost started tearing up! Congratulations on making it so far. So many times in the hospital I see women come in and want to breastfeed and by the time they leave they are on formula. Because what not many people tell you is it is HARD and frustrating and even painful, but if you can power through it is such a wonderful thing. Here’s to many more new and exciting experiences with the little man!
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9 Ash @ Ash's Right Direction July 15, 2014 at 7:53 am

You lasted a long time. I believe that any amount of time is good whether it is a week, month, six months, or a year. You will find he still wants to cuddle. Mason cuddles with Tim a lot, but there are precious times he wants to curl up in my lap and cuddle.

Mason really enjoyed the forecast at that age too, he still does stop and watch when it comes on tv.

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10 Tara | Treble in the Kitchen July 15, 2014 at 8:05 am

Aww…He is growing up so fast! I loved reading this :)
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11 Melanie @ Beautifully Nutty July 15, 2014 at 8:40 am

I love, love, love this post. I work with breastfeeding moms on a daily basis and know how challenging it can be. With my little one on the way, I have the same goal of breastfeeding for a year. I can only hope my little guy weans as well as Lucas did! Courtney I am so proud of you! Way to go!!
xoxo
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12 Laura July 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

Good for you!! Congrats on this great accomplishment for you and your son. My story was incredibly similar…my son also decided he was done about three weeks shy of his first birthday. It was a tough year of nursing and pumping, but I’m so glad I did it.

Now, go enjoy having your body to yourself and wearing whatever clothes you want—structured blouses! Sheath dresses! Regular bras! Yayyyyy! :)

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13 Shel@PeachyPalate July 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

What a journey! So great that it was his decision too…can be so hard when the child gets older and just doesn’t want to give it up :) Keep us posted on how your feeling physically, I’d be interested to see if there are any changes…obviously I have no kids of my own :)
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14 char eats greens July 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

I love your attitude on this! I think it’s great that you made it to 350 days (and bonus is it sounds cool :) haha), and that he weaned himself. I was also nervous for BFing when I started, but it went better than my (overactive) mind made it out to be. My girl is almost 20 months and still BFing, but I would end it whenever she decides its time!!
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15 Elle July 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

Congratulations! I am two months into my own journey with my daughter and I love your realistic perspective.

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16 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries July 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

You’re an incredible Mama. You know I know how challenging and time consuming breastfeeding can be, so ANY mother that makes it work for a short time, let alone almost a year, is a hero in my book. I can relate to your bittersweet feelings of letting that breastfeeding relationship go. I’m actually surprised at how little I miss it with Hunter though. I didn’t think I’d EVER get cuddles from him because he’s such a busy body, but he’s typically tired enough at night and right before his nap that he’ll give me a few minutes of cuddles, and I soak in every second. :) Congratulations Court!
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17 Britt@MyOwnBalance July 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

So beautifully written! I have no idea if I’m going to be able to breastfeed or for how long but I am crossing my fingers I have a positive experience like you did!
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18 Amanda July 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

This post was perfect timing for me! I’m getting ready to have my baby and after hearing nothing but horror stories it’s so nice to hear of a good situation – I love your laid back attitude and approach!

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19 Dominique July 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Omg, thank you so much for sharing your Breastfeeding story! i’m 6 1/2 months in Breastfeeding my little boy and while it was so rocky in the beginning, and now that we’ve got our groove, I can already imagine how heart broken I’m going to be when it’s over! This post encompassed all the feelings ipive had/have/think I’ll have.

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20 Ali July 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Awe how sweet. Congrats on making it nearly a year. I think working moms that pump are rock stars! I stayed at home most of the time with Aiden and I hated pumping so I give you kudos:)

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21 Faith@The Stirring Place July 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Way to go, mama! My little boy is almost 8 months and we’re still going strong. But let me tell you, I didn’t think I’d even make it 3 weeks. We had a ROUGH start. I could not have made it without the amazing lactation consultant from our hospital, who I would go visit even months later when we hit a few rough patches, and an amazing support system. Motherhood is the greatest lesson in sacrificial love. You did awesome and now it’s time for new adventures. hugs
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22 Kayla July 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Congratulations, Courtney (and Lucas)! 350 days is incredible. My twin girls and I are almost to the same point in our breastfeeding journey; they just turned 11 months old. My goal was 6 months, then 1 year, and it’s amazing that that mark is almost here! Unlike your little man, my girls don’t seem too interested in weaning, at least not yet. They still nurse 5 times a day, including once in the middle of the night — the feeding my husband is most anxious to drop. I know I could push them to drop one or more of those feedings, but I don’t know how, and I don’t know if they would respond well. Case in point: I skipped the 5 p.m.-ish feeding last night and it took forever to get them down for bed, and I broke down and popped my more restless daughter on the boob when she just wouldn’t go to sleep. Lo and behold, after a few minutes of nursing, she was fast asleep for the rest of the night… I guess I don’t know how to drop since we don’t do bottles (I am a stay-at-home mom.), so I guess they’ll just have to start turning their noses up at it for me to be convinced they don’t want it. All this to say you rock for sticking with it and letting it go with grace.

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23 Jenn@Mark My Miles! July 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

You made it much longer than me and I can relate to the mommy guilt feeling but remind myself that as long as our babies are happy and healthy we are doing a great job. Congrats on sticking with it!!!!
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24 Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely July 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

A bittersweet moment I’m sure. What a sweet post about the whole journey. And the weather channel?! Too funny!
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25 Danica @ It's Progression July 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

This was really cool to read. It sounds like it couldn’t have ended more perfectly, for both of you! And how awesome that it worked out even longer than you’d expected it would – Lucas is such a lucky boy!
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26 Monica @ Baby Steps July 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

Your journey sounds very similar to the one I had with my daughter, Harlow.

It was such a beautiful experience, and while I do miss nursing, I’d be happy if I never had to see or hear that pump again! :) (Unless we go for Baby #2 someday!)

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27 Eva July 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Congratulations! Thanks for writing this post. My daughter is a couple days older than Lucas. I’m still pumping twice a day and she’s still nursing, but I know my supply is diminishing and it’s only a matter of time – I just don’t know how much time! When she does wean, I hope I handle it as gracefully as you have.

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28 Courtney July 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Way to go Courtney, definitely something to be proud of. With my 1st, I was able to stay home with him & we developed such a strong bond right away with the successful breastfeeding, it went very well & he weaned around 7months. My supply was always low, so we did supplement with formula which helped with the transition. With my 2nd [2yrs. later], we were not so lucky. I tried for about a week but it was just not working. It was so painful, I was in tears, & she just wouldn’t take. I was saddened, but I gave it my best shot & then the few days after were HELLISH. It was SO painful for a few days, but I got over it. I had to go right back to work this time around, so honestly, it worked out being easier on me in the long run. I’m so happy for you that you had such a successful experience!

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29 Lindsey July 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

You are such a rock star for making it to a year! I have a 9 month old little girl and we just recently stopped. From one mama to another, you’re awesome! Thanks for sharing this post. I think this is so inspiring to other moms!

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30 Heather July 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Loved reading this post. I’m currently on my 6th month of nursing and know it’s going to get harder when I go back to work. Great job getting to basically a year!

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31 Liz Lauren July 23, 2014 at 7:45 am

Congrats its so sweet, thank you so much for sharing

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