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August 5, 2010

The Curious Case of the Vanishing Boobs

It's World Breastfeeding week, so it's only appropriate that I say a few words on that topic. The topic being boobs, babies, and just where I'm at with nursing.

If you follow our family on Twitter, you may have seen my frantic posts last week about the amazing shrinking boobs. It's nothing short of shocking; you nurse your child for 7 months and, without warning, your boobs start to shrink. This prompted many a panicked tweet from me, wondering if my milk was drying up and what we would do if my son refused to eat formula. Could we switch to cow's milk? Could we even afford to buy formula? And did this mean that I COULD FINALLY DRINK AN UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE EVERY SINGLE DAY?

Now that it's been nearly a week since this discovery, I think it's safe to say that the reason my boobs are shrinking is because my son is simply eating more solid food. DUH. In other words, I'm not a freak of nature; it's completely normal. Huge thanks to all of my Twitter peeps who talked me down from my panicked state last week.

Even though I'm glad that we won't have to broach the issue of presenting our very strong-willed child with an entirely new diet in the near future, part of me is a little sad. The fact of the matter is, I WANT to be done nursing.

Not what you expected in a post about World Breastfeeding Week, right?

The honest truth is that I'm tired of nursing. I'm tired of wearing a nursing bra 24 hours a day. I'm tired of constantly being aware of the last time I nursed or pumped so I don't have a repeat of the leaky boob incident. And I'm tired of approaching feeding times with fear, wondering if my son will draw blood if he bites me again.

I continue to nurse because it's what is best for my son and my family. It's free. It's convenient. I know that I am blessed to have the option to nurse, since there are many women (some of whom are my friends) who have not had that same opportunity. But it's been 7 months of nursing around the clock and as selfish as it is, I want to be done. My body hasn't been fully mine since the day I found out that I would become a mama and I long to have it back.

I made my original goal of nursing for the first six months of my son's life. Now I am setting a new goal for myself, to nurse until we can make the switch to cow's milk, because even though these coming months will be more difficult for me than the first six, I know that it's best for my baby and, in the long run, that's what it's all about.


  1. Part of me is ready to be done too but an even bigger part wants to make it the whole year, or until we can go to whole milk. Sadly, I am drying up, too, so I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to keep doing it.

  2. I have been nursing my son for 10.5 months, and I too want to be done. My goal is to get to at least 18 months, unless he weans himself, but i know exactly how you feel. i could have written this post myself. as time goes on, they will need less and less breastmilk.. so you wont always be going at the rate youre going. I am breastfeeding him probably every 4-5 hours.. and he doesnt even eat THAT much solid food. (at least compared to some other babies- toast, bagels, crazy solid food). You should be proud for going as long as you are, many mother's can't say they went that long. It does get tiring and feel very selfless at times, but you are giving your child the best start in life, and the longer you go, they have less chance of becoming obese, and it helps decrease your chances of breast and cervical cancer. WOW didnt mean to type out an essay for you. happy breastfeeding week. :)

  3. Good for you, Alyssa! Continuing to do what's best for your child is the sacrificial mindset that is the hallmark of motherhood. You're right - your body is not your own...nor your time, nor any of your resources. You willingly and gladly give everything you have for the betterment of your son and that's what makes you a good mom. You do all of this because, long before you first laid eyes on your newborn, you gave him the most valuable thing you possess. You gave him your heart.

  4. My son is only 6 months so I'm no way near being done with nursing but wanted to say you dont have to wear nursing bras. I hated them so I just wear my regular ones and pop one up to nurse. Its just as easy and I get to feel cute with my victoria secret bras again!

  5. I too am so torn on this whole breastfeeding thing. My son is 7 months too, which means 9 months of pregnancy + 7 months of continually being a prisoner to my boobs and the baby/pump. I'd love to quit, be able to resume a normal schedule, to stop wearing these icky nursing bras, and to be able to get dressed for the day without thinking about how difficult my top will be to lift. But I will definitely miss the bonding time with my baby and I don't want to have any regrets for quitting. Plus the free thing is nice too!
    Good for you for continuing to try for another 5 months. That is my goal too. Hopefully we can make it. You are giving your baby the very best start in life that you can, be proud of that!

  6. You think they are shrinking now? Wait until you wean! I'll warn you, it is depressing. I ended up two cups sizes smaller than I was before pregnancy. Cried in the Victoria's Secret dressing room when they measured me for new bras. They went from firm and fabulous during nursing to flabby and, well, I don't want to get you too upset.

    I nursed my daughter for a year, and I am so glad I did. There are times now (she's 19 months) when I still miss it. And I would do it all over again. No regrets at all for doing what was best for my child. But I hate the toll it took on my breasts. It's just not fair.

  7. hahaha...I love the way you write things. I know exactly how you are feeling. I have a 1 year old now, and I nursed, and I got to a point towards the end of that year where I was SOOOO tired of nursing, so ready for that one year mark to start on whole milk...and I didn't make it, I started her two days before her birthday! haha, i know i know, they say wait, but what is two days? and she is fine and does great, the odd thing is that when I stopped...I actually felt bad. Isn't that funny? cause she didn't have any problems switching to a bottle, she was not fussy, yet I felt bad. It feels like forever and you are doing a great job. Love your blog btw

    oh, and I never once wore a nursing bra :)

  8. Thanks for all the support, ladies! And several of you are right- I wouldn't have to wear a nursing bra. The only problem is that my boobs are so big but I'm so small around that I can't just walk into Target to buy a bra- I have to go to a specialty store so I end up spending about $60 every time I buy a bra. So instead of buying a bigger bra that I'll only be able to wear for a few more months while I nurse, I think I'll just have to stick it out in my nursing bra until I wean and my boobs settle into whatever size they're going to be... and hopefully that will be a bit smaller than they were before!

  9. The grass is always greener...right? I miss nursing and hate my boobs for failing me...but then I read about blood and teeth and I think that yeah...the grass is always greener. Glad you figured it all out, though.

  10. well it's late to say, but good on you, my widfe tarried on with #1 for too long- he could not Attach properly apparently- the bottle was a great change for the three of us!