I'm done breastfeeding. I will never again use my body to feed another human being (barring some sort of crazy Donner Party-esque event). That does make me a little sad, but I am so proud and grateful that I was able to feed both of my boys for as long as I could.
I've spoken before about how I wasn't able to feed Connor for very long and I always felt guilty for that. I always felt like I failed him in some way. Obviously I didn't, he's still a strong, smart, incredible little man, but I couldn't shake the feeling for a very long time. When we had Kylar, I was bound and determined to feed him for as long as I possibly could. My goal was to make it a year. I planned to feed him until his birthday, then let him decide when he wanted to stop.
I went a little crazy in the beginning with Kylar. I fed him, then I'd pump. I ate lactation cookies and drank lactation smoothies, and pumped. I pumped and froze over 100 ounces of milk "just in case I lost my supply" I wanted to make sure he was still getting the best he could from me. I was pleasantly surprised that I never really had to tap into my frozen stash. We'd dip into it every now and then, for date night or if I wanted a drink and didn't want to worry about him, but we still have easily 100 ounces in the freezer. I don't know what to do with it, but it's all expired by now. It just seems to wasteful to throw it away...
On his first birthday, I celebrated (in my head) that I had reached my goal. I was freaking thrilled that I was actually able to feed my baby for a full year. It was something I'd always wanted to do and had felt miserable about being unable to do with Connor. I had won this time, though. I'd beaten my body and achieved what I'd honestly worried was an impossibility for me. Then came the semi-awkward conversations: "So...when are you going to stop breastfeeding him...?" my family would cautiously ask. "I don't know, honestly. I guess whenever he stops asking for it." After his birthday, I stopped offering "Kylar, do you want to feed?" but I wouldn't deny him if he asked *crawled into my lap and flopped over on his back, looking up expectantly.* He continued to ask for another two and a half months. By Thanksgiving (US, not Canadian) he had stopped asking and I'd begun the rather painful process of "drying up".
You see, with Connor, my supply dried up on its own and without much warning. There was no painful period of engorgement while my body continued to make now-unwanted milk. Nope, this was all new and downright torturous for me. I'm a rather large breasted woman as it is, add to that a bunch of milk that no one wants/needs anymore? Bras didn't fit right for week. Weeks. I researched how long it would take for my body to stop producing, in an attempt to comfort myself and my sore chest. 2-4 weeks. What. the. Hell. It was pretty damn miserable. It was Christmas before I comfortably fit in a bra again, and even now (4 months after our last feed) I can still successfully milk myself a bit. It's a little creepy, actually. Where was this over-enthused behavior with my firstborn, boobs?
At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted something tangible to commemorate my breastfeeding journey. I started shopping for breastmilk jewelry and that's when I found the perfect ring:
The Gracie ring caught my eye and I couldn't imagine a better memento to symbolize the amazing experience I had while breastfeeding both of my boys. It appealed to the minimalist in me with its classic simplicity. Just freaking perfect. Kristen is an amazing woman. She is the owner and creator behind Precious Relics and she does phenomenal work. It took almost exactly 6 weeks, from the time I sent her my milk, until the day I received my precious ring and Gracie pendant in the mail. I haven't taken the ring off (minus bath times and working out) since I got it.
Here comes the fun part, and almost certainly why you're here. For the next 2 weeks, I will be hosting a giveaway in which ONE winner will receive their own Gracie ring and pendant, courtesy of the wonderful Ms. Kristen! The giveaway will end at 11:59 CST (aka 23:59) on March 7th, 2018, then I will pick, verify and contact the winner as well as pass their information along to Kristen. I'm so excited to share this with y'all! If you just can't wait to see if you'll win, or you just want to see what else she can do, head over to PreciousRelicsJewelry.com and see all the amazing things this woman can create.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community