Thursday, February 26, 2009

Backed into a corner

That's a huge understatement of how I feel right now. Breastfeeding Alex has always been rocky - slow gaining in the beginning, the whole FTT/low supply song and dance and lets not forget the bad latch - of which I have what I hope is not a permanent reminder (callous - ouch). There have been some nice parts, don't get me wrong - but for the most part it has been a constant struggle. Even now I'm downing the fenugreek and blessed thistle again to boost my supply so he'll hopefully give me some rest, but after a year of toe-curling pain and not a few tears I am really ready to be done.

My mind is at war with itself. There is a big part of me that continues for the reason that I never made it this far with Michael - our nursing relationship was dysfunctional from the start and ended when he got his first cold and went on a strike. There there's the whole WHO recommendation of nursing for two years minimum which has been beaten into my head from the message boards I frequent. There's the fact that Alex is only 13 months and still such a baby and really does need it, not only for nutrition but the emotional attachment it brings.

Those are all reasons to continue, there's also the fact that constant sleep deprivation is taking a heavy toll on me. I never fully heal - the past year has been one long series of colds that never quite go away. My body is always achy because it never gets the restorative sleep it needs to function. I am starting to have some serious concerns about the toll this is taking on my health - both physical and mental. My brain is mush and I am not nearly the parent I know I can be to my kids because I'm always just shy of complete exhaustion. Hell, so much of my energy is focused on just getting through the day that I rarely get to just sit back and enjoy my kids.

I've made the decision to night-wean and then onto complete weaning if that doesn't work. We are starting the arduous process of registering Michael with the school district for kindergarten and in my current mental state there is no way I can be the advocate I need to be for him. I can't skip meetings or doing things because I'm too exhausted or just can't muster the mental energy necessary to interact with people beyond the baristas at my local Starbucks. While Alex has some pretty big needs right now too, I can't sit this process out - it's too damned important. I want to do what's best for myself and my kids and unfortunately that might mean not breastfeeding any more.

I'm probably trying to convince myself here more than the faceless internet. I've made it to 13 months nursing and that's no small feat considering the social climate and the obstacles I've faced. I'd like to continue to do so, but the time is fast approaching where I'm going to have to make that hard decision between doing what's best for me and my family verses the standard that others have set.