Saturday, 4 June 2016

Even when it's easy; breastfeeding can still be hard

So, remember how I detailed my strategery for weaning Kate off breastfeeding and I acknowledged how things seldom go according to plan? Well, no sooner than I wrote those words and published that post, I came down with a cold. We all did. Who knows if it a virus Kate brought from Day Care, or germs acquired on the flight to Hawaii, as it just seems too opportune to get sick on vacation. Kate got it first, but fortunately she was recovered in two days. Husband's version of the cold was actually a case of man-flu and it sent him to the pharmacy in search for some remedies. Just after one dose of pseudophedrine, he was enjoying those decongestant benefits. I started to pop a tablet for myself, but spit it out just in time and I remembered that it could dry up my breast milk. A few days later, I was still miserable. My throat was raw from coughing and postnasal drip, so I relented and took a few Halls. Sure enough, I was pumping a little less. I thought this might work with my plan for weaning.

I was feeling better by the time we flew back to the main land, but I still had a cough. A horrible deep hacking cough. I sounded like a 3 pack a day smoker. It was so embarrassing. Husband was away at a hockey tournament for Memorial Day weekend, so I was left alone to care for Kate. On Sunday, I feel absolutely exhausted by the time I put Kate to bed. After going through my usual ritual of being grateful that I only have one baby and being in awe of Moms of multiples, I began to wonder if there was something else going on. I took my temperature. It was 101.1. After feeling a bit validated, I asked one of my colleagues to prescribe me a Z pack. This is only the third time I've used azithromycin in twenty years, so I hardly think I'm contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

I started the antibiotics and was afebrile that night. However the cough didn't go away and almost seemed to be getting worse. On my penultimate night of the Zpack, my temperature was elevated again and I began to feel the pains of sinus congestion. As I had a full day of work ahead of me, I realised I needed to bite the bullet and take some pseudophedrine. "I'm sorry Kate." I said as I swallowed the tablet. Throughout the day I kept reminding myself that this was when I wanted to stop breastfeeding. This is part of my plan. Why do I feel sad? Is there an automatic guilt reflex that accompanies the end of breastfeeding?

I wasn't feeling any better by the end of the day on Thrusday, so I made an appointment to see a Primary Care provider on Friday. She sent me two email messages. One informing me of something I suspected and one telling me something I already knew. I had pneumonia and she would be prescribing Levaquin. I would need to pump and dump my breastmilk for the next week. As I drove home, it occurred to me that this would be the opportunity to wrap it all up and be done with breastfeeding. It also meant that when I fed Kate that night, it could be my last time nursing. I felt overwhelmed with sadness.

I began to research whether or not I could breastfeed while taking Levaquin. I shifted through the usual yada-yada-yada, insufficient information, blah, blah, blah. Although one source suggested that peak levels dropped after 4-6 hours, so you could nurse after that interval. Then I reviewed the side effects of Levaquin. Although I don't have any risk factors, the possibility of tendon rupture makes me nervous. Just as I was acknowledging that I didn't want to possibly expose Kate to any of this; my pediatrician sent a response to my inquiring text "I'd prefer you didn't". One source I read advised women, "talk to your doctor about whether you should take Levaquin or continue to breastfeed." I didn't need to have that conversation. I had a fever of 103.1 and I had just hacked up half a lung. I needed to take care of myself by taking the meds that would require a cessation in breastfeeding.

"You can nurse again after you stop the Levaquin" Husband assured me. It just doesn't make sense. If we're able to wean her away from the boob, it just doesn't seem right to re-introduce if it will be for a short time. Initially I thought I would never want to breastfeed. Then I figured I would just give it a go. Maybe we'd make it a few months. I couldn't believe it when she latched well, and I had a good supply. No issues with cracked nipples or mastitis. I never thought the hardest thing about breastfeeding would be stopping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


  1. So sorry you are sick. That's terrible. It's alsp sad to have the decision to stop breastfeeding pushed on you by illness, when you feel crappy anyway. You didn't ask for any of this; it's ok to feek bad about it. On the other hand, No matter how weaning goes both you and Kate will ultimately be fine (there might or might not be hard parts in the process). In a few months you are unlikely to feel bad about weaning and you will be both enjoying your lives post boob feeding. But yeah, it's hard. Do what's most logical and best for your health and Kate's.

  2. Oh no I'm so sorry to hear that you are so sick! Stopping nursing is such an emotional rollercoaster, so this is all very normal. The good news is that Kate is going to be just fine on either formula or whole milk, whatever you decide to give her.

  3. So sweet. I'm glad you have enjoyed breastfeeding Kate. I always desperately wanted to breastfeed, and even considered inducing lactation if I had enough time with an adoption. Because I wanted it so bad, I also always sort of assumed that it would suck terribly and that I end up in miserable pain and hating it. Your surprise enjoyment sounds better. ; ) Hope you're feeling better, sweet friend!

  4. When I went to Honduras I was still nursing Paloma to sleep at night. Andino was able to put her to sleep without much problems but when I came back she definitely wanted to keep nursing. I had planned to use our separation as an excuse to wean her and Andino also thought that was the best idea, but it was around Christmas time and I had missed her so much when I was away, I decided to continue for a few more weeks and officially wean her on January 1. It actually ended up working out quite well. Maybe if you tell yourself this doesn't have to be the 100% end (maybe you'll give in here and there for the next month or so) it might make weaning a bit easier. Either way, it certainly is emotional!

  5. I agree with so much of what you've said about the enjoyment of breastfeeding. It real has taken me by surprise. I haven't even thought about weaning and it makes me sad just reading this post and thinking that that day will come. Sending you big hugs that you get well soon and that you have an awesome, lasting memory of the breastfeeding bond that you two have created together!! xoxo

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