The end of an era…the last pump

Today marks an end. After today my breasts will not provide any of Elanor’s nutritional needs.

I’m conflicted about this. I *had* hoped to do a full year, then after the milk allergy diagnosis, I wanted to make it to six months. Being dairy free has made me exhausted, and it’s just been so hard that I had started weaning myself from the pump. I’ve been down to a single pump a day for a few days, and I had decided this morning that today would be the last deliberate pump. I’m disappointed, and not a little bit angry with the universe. I feel cheated out of having a breastfeeding relationship with Elanor.

Today we learned that the Alimentum formula isn’t working and Elanor needs a more hypoallergenic formula. If I want to keep doing any breastmilk I’d have to do the full elimination diet. And honestly, while I could cut out dairy and soy, eggs would be hard and peanuts would be impossible for me to cut out of my diet. So I’m glad I had already decided today would be the last pump. Because even if I’d been breastfeeding, this would have been a line I couldn’t have crossed…even if we’d been breastfeeding, the full elimination diet would have marked the end of our breastfeeding relationship.

I think one of the hardest things for me to do is separate the quality of my mothering from the topic of breastfeeding. I can genuinely say I’ve tried my best. But it’s hard to remember that how you feed your baby has nothing to do with the quality of your mothering.

The end of my breastfeeding relationship with Elanor does not mean I’m not a good mom. Giving her formula does not limit our closeness or our bond.

It’s still a hard thing to walk away from.

Even with the giant candy bar that’s waiting for me once I’m done.

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