Prior to having Lila, whenever anyone asked me if I would be breastfeeding her, I always said “I’ll try.” I was really careful not to overwhelm myself with expectations, because as we all know – reality can often be very different. Best laid plans, and all that. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but with it most definitely being my very first rodeo, I decided to just go with the flow and do whatever worked best for the both of us. Thankfully, she latched on pretty quickly, and despite a few weeks of bottle-feeding expressed milk due to some seriously painful nips, Lila has been ‘~exclusively breastfed’ for her whole little life, thus far.
But now with her first birthday fast approaching, I have a request for my baby. Can I have my boobies back, please?!
Since getting out of the house a bit more, I’d been trying here and there to give Lila bottles of either expressed milk or formula, simply so that I could have a bit more freedom with getting out and about. That didn’t work. She would refuse and refuse and refuse bottles, until one day she’d randomly decide to chug a full one and I’d think This is it! She’s taking bottles! Hooray! And then the next day she’d be back to refusing, guess again mum – whip ’em out… and both myself and my nipples would collectively sigh.
But okay, no biggie…I’d just keep breastfeeding her until the time came to wean her off. Well, that time came. And went. Lila didn’t get the memo. She got the memo re: party at boob, just not the memo re: party at boob cancelled. She’ll be breastfeeding and it’s like everything else is infinitely more interesting than the task at hand. Boob at hand, if you will. Ooh, what’s over there? A mobile? Cool, haven’t looked at that thirty thousand times before. Ooooh is that a radio I can hear? Sick tune. I Wonder what’s up mums nose right now? I’ll investigate with my small baby fingers. Better yank her hair as well, just for good measure…
And then there’s the teeth. Sharp little baby choppers, always ready to bite down on anything. Yeah, that’s a barrel of fun. Her favourite thing to do seems to be dragging her teeth across my nipple, every time she turns her head. And that’s roughly every .4 seconds out of our ten minute struggle-fest, so you do the math. Lila doesn’t seem to be very interested in actually doing any breastfeeding, but she also isn’t ready to stop breastfeeding. Whenever I change her nappy and get ready to put her down, she starts furiously slapping my chest and head-butting my shoulders like a small, rampant moose. If I don’t get out a boob she’ll keep butting me and yanking at my clothes. Hold on Lila! – headbutt – we’re going to try a bottle tonight! – double headbutt – Just one sip from the bottle? – triple butt – just.one.sip..!! – god forbid I’m still holding out at this point, shit’s about to go nuclear.
And I’ve tried all the tips. I’ve worn jumpers instead of singlets. Didn’t work. I’ve had someone else feed her. Didn’t work. I’ve shortened the feedings, I’ve mixed formula with breast-milk, I’ve changed bottle teats, I’ve tried every weird baby bottle and/or cup they sell, I’ve loaded her up with food, I’ve given her different types of milk (even chocolate milk. Don’t shoot me), I’ve given her warm water, none of it worked. Baby wants boob, and baby isn’t going down without a boob.
But I am so done with breastfeeding. I know – it’s awful. Motherhood is all about being selfless and providing for your baby and I should be grateful that we have such a lovely breastfeeding relationship – if you call having someone grind your nips with their fresh incisors a lovely relationship. Think Parenthood, people. Not 50 Shades of Grey. I guess my impatience with weaning stems from the fact that I’m starting to get out and about more, and after two years of being mostly housebound, I don’t want to wait any more. I would love to be able to go to a gym class, or go to dinner with friends, or go out for more than a couple of hours without knowing I have to be home for every nap time and bed time. And you know, not having to wear bras that are big enough to house a family of five would be great. So yes, my reasons for wanting to stop breastfeeding are purely selfish. But that’s okay. I went into this with no expectations, no hard and fast rules about only eating organic vegetables and breastfeeding on demand until she’s ready for her first day of primary school (Thank god, because I broke the organic vegetable rule faster than you can say ‘store bought baby food’). My daughter and I have been following each others lead since day one, and that’s evidently what we will continue to do. So it looks like I’ll be keeping the sexy bras stored in the back of the underwear drawer for now, and signing up my nips for more fun at the jaws of death – aka baby teeth. (PS – now is a good time to tell you I don’t actually own any sexy bras)
My hope is that by the time she actually hits 12 months old, she will completely lose interest in the breast. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself while I g̶e̶t̶ ̶f̶u̶r̶i̶o̶u̶s̶l̶y̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶d̶b̶u̶t̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶m̶a̶l̶l̶,̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶b̶-̶o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶a̶n̶g̶r̶y̶ ̶b̶a̶b̶y̶ continue my loving breastfeeding relationship with my baby.