Babies, Boobs, and Mental Health

My baby isn’t so much a baby anymore, and I don’t know if I want to jump with joy or curl into a ball and cry. He just turned 11 months and took his first steps the other day. Where has the time gone? And why is he so hell bent on becoming a “toddler” before his first birthday? Of which, the invites have been sent, the theme has been chosen, and I’m left wondering how it is possible that my little squishy newborn is almost a whole year old?

That’s the thing about motherhood that pulls at your heartstrings. I am so excited to watch his personality continue to develop and see him hit all the milestones that I watched his older brother meet, and yet it isn’t lost on me that he won’t ever go back to the little baby that he was. The only time he really lets me snuggle him anymore is in the middle of the night when he (yes, still) wakes up for mama’s comfort.

Any other time of day he is off to the races, squirming out of my arms to find a new adventure. I want to freeze time yet watch him grow all at the same moment. Motherhood is wild.

It is also nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey. I did it. I exclusively fed him breast milk up to this point, and have enough saved in the deep freeze right now to last him well through his first birthday. I’m proud and grateful to have been able to keep it up this long. But I won’t miss washing pump parts and bottles.

My baby still nurses about three times a day, and usually drinks two bottles at daycare. I am down to just one pumping session in the morning, and plan to drop that within the next couple weeks. My Righty is more or less dried up. I can get an ounce or less during my pumping session. Lefty is still going strong, getting about five ounces from pumping.

I think I’m ready to wean, but not sure how well it will go down. He LOVES table food and is drinking from a sippy cup, but he still prefers me to the bottles when he is home. So my plan is to start offering breast milk in a sippy cup in the evenings to start dropping his evening nursing session. I’m also going to start introducing whole cow’s milk, so we will see how that goes.

A large part of me is ready to be done nursing. To get a little bit of my body back, and hopefully sleep. I want to go talk to a dermatologist about skin issues that have plagued me since puberty, and I need to be done breastfeeding in case I am recommended medication. But I’m not going to rush it. He’s my last baby and this will be the last time that my boobs serve their purpose.

Speaking of boobs, I had someone comment to me the other day about how freely I talk about breastfeeding and pumping. It’s become such a common part of my life that I forget that there are people who don’t live in that world, especially someone who hasn’t had babies.

But the way she said it made me question the taboo attached to talking about breastfeeding. Boobs were made for feeding babies. They aren’t genitalia. So when I tell people that I have to go pump, it’s not like I’m running off to do something sexual. Boobs are boobs. I just don’t get why that makes people uncomfortable. I’m not walking around my workplace with my boobs hanging out, attached to my pump. My point is, we need to talk about it more. Breasts shouldn’t be thought of as a dirty word, certainly not when it comes to feeding babies.

And I realize that I haven’t posted an update on my anxiety lately, so here it is. A few months ago I had my doctor up my dose to 100mg and it has made a huge difference. Has it erased all of my anxiety? No, it’s not magic. But it has made a TREMENDOUS difference. I feel calmer and not consumed by anxious “what if’s?” I’ve even been able to tolerate a cup of regular coffee now and again!

My sleep is still relatively poor. The baby wakes up one to three times a night, and I’m such a light sleeper anyway. And when my diabetes decides to act up, oh boy. I don’t know if I will every get a solid eight hours of sleep again. But I’m hopeful that once I can get a good chunk of sleep at once (five to six hours) I will feel even better. I’ve come to realize that I require a lot of sleep. That’s the thing about diabetes. My blood sugar isn’t a steady line like a normal person’s is. It goes up and down all day, not always drastically, but the little bumps take its toll on my body, tiring me out.

Its been several months since I visited my therapist. I just haven’t felt compelled to. And about a month ago, I got notice that she was leaving the practice I saw her at, so I will need to find a new one and just haven’t made the effort yet.

Overall, I feel the best I have in a long time. I shudder when I think back to those first few weeks after the birth of my second son and realize how unwell I was. Anxiety had its claws in me. This is my reminder for those who know new moms: reach out to them. And don’t always assume their fine just because they say it.

Want to read more about my mental health journey? Check out these posts:

Do BetterBlue Sky DayMy anxiety journey

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