I am sad. My belly fat, ever my gauge for my milk reserves, is disappearing. My appetite is decreasing. My breasts no longer tingle at regular intervals, don’t feel full after a few hours, and they have stopped leaking on the not-yet-suckled side.
This can only mean one thing: my trusty milk supply is dwindling.
A combination of factors has contributed to this. Traveling across 10 time zones. Vi’s first cold. Nearing her first birthday.
And mainly sleep training.
Apart from a few flukes, Vi has never slept through the night. A good night’s sleep means getting at least one stretch of three hours. Most nights I’m up every two hours.
I haven’t slept through the night since entering the second trimester. I’m exhausted.
I was hoping to nurse once before I go to sleep around 11pm and then again around 5am. Just one six-hour stretch, and I would feel much better than I have been. So I’ve been working on not nursing to sleep and decreasing the time at my breast in the night. But my nights are more disrupted. Sometimes I spend an hour calming Vi back to sleep and I think, Why am I doing this when I could nurse her back to sleep in 10 minutes? Then I remind myself that, with these multiple night feeds, she’s not getting a good night’s sleep either. I am upset that I am having to choose between sanity and safety vs. nurturing and nourishing my girl.
I know I shouldn’t complain about my dwindling milk supply. Vi will be a year old in a couple of weeks and I’ve been able to breastfeed her for longer than some mothers are able to nurse their babies. For far longer than I ever thought I’d be able to. I am so grateful to have been able to feed my girl the way I wanted to. Who knows if we’ll have a second? And if we do, who knows if I’ll be able to breastfeed again? The loss and infertility and high risk pregnancy and traumatic birth have proven to me that you never know what will happen. Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
But, tonight, I am sad because I can see that the end of an era is nigh.