His Tears. My Pain.

looking down the barrel

I put him down in his jumper making sure his chubby little feet pop through the leg holes and  rest on the floor beneath.  He’s surrounded by toys that rattle, that sing, that blink their LED lights at him.  It’s a baby’s fantasy come true…so many objects to delight the senses.  He doesn’t press his toes to the floor and launch himself upwards in delight.  He doesn’t fixate on knocking two objects together creating a percussive cacophony; a new skill he’s very proud of.

He doesn’t play.

Instead he looks at me.  He looks at me and his eyes fill with tears and he stiffens his body in protest of this joyful prison.  I know what’s about to happen but I focus on moving through the kitchen and out towards the dining table.  The lunch dishes sit there and it’s my goal to collect them and place them in the dishwasher.  He realizes that I have no intention of rescuing him and he cries.

He’s usually a happy baby.  He prefers to fuss or grunt or ramble “da da blah da da da” for communication. He rarely cries.  But he’s crying now and I know I need to pick him up and soothe him.  The dishes will need to wait.

I coo at him and wrap my arms around his body.  I dance him around the kitchen while I wonder how on earth I’ll manage to get it clean.  If I can’t get it clean I wonder how I’ll make dinner around the mess.  I know my husband will come home from a 12 hour work day and clean it up without complaint but I wish he didn’t have to.  I wish he could grab his plate and eat and relax instead.

The baby does not cry any longer yet he’s far from content. He’s grabbing at my shirt with his pudgy fingers and I know what he wants.  It hasn’t been an hour since I fed him last but I comply with his wishes and sit down to nurse again.

He eats but it’s not a calm and satisfying experience for either of us.  I wonder about sore gums; are his teeth coming in?  He arches his body and writhes in my arms.  I wonder if he needs to burp or if his reflux is acting up. I had two cups of coffee today instead of one.  He finally relaxes a tad and then he’s done.

I try again to go for the dishes on the dining table.

Again, he cries and this time he’s very upset.  I don’t know what to do to help him.  I don’t know why my plump and pleasant baby is so distressed.  He did have his six month vaccinations but that was two days ago.  Any discomfort from the needle should be gone by now.

As a last ditch effort I fix a bottle of formula.

We sink into the recliner where we’d sat moments ago and I place the rubber device in his mouth.  He suckles and begins to make the sweet little ‘num num’ noises that he usually makes with me. Me, his comfort in the darkness of night.  Me, his nourishment since the day he was born more than six months ago.  Me, his mother.

I realize it was at the six month mark when I began having supply deficits with his sister as well.  I now know that the cramp I feel in my side and the pimple that sprouted on my chin are resulting from changes in hormones.  I know that for me, this is the beginning of the end for my milk supply.

It will be nice to wear ‘regular’ clothing again and to not worry about springing a leak in public but he is my last.  He is my last nursling.   Once he weans I won’t ever nourish, bond with or hear those special ‘num num’ noises from another baby again.  He is my last and I don’t know that I’m ready for us to move on from this point in his babyhood so soon.

He guzzles the bottle’s contents and burps.  He smiles at me as I put him down on his play mat.  He focuses on his colored rings and begins shaking them happily. I walk out of his view to fetch the dishes and don’t hear any sounds of protests.

The dishes get loaded in the dishwasher, and the spent bottle too.  The kitchen becomes clean and he smiles still.



  1. Awww I never nursed exclusive but i was still sad when my youngest took his last nursing session at 8.5 months. I know how close I got to him because I never nursed his siblings. He’s a healthy 2.5 year old now but I know its hard when you know the end is near for nursing. *hugs*

    • I managed to keep going with a combo of nursing and formula till about 9 months with my oldest so that’s what we’ll do again this time. Thanks for the hug!

  2. Oh what a little sweet heart it made me remember when i knew that my 4th baby was my last it is kind of sad day for mommy xoxoox

  3. I nursed my last baby 20 years ago and I still fondly look back on those times. I totally understand where you’re coming from. (((HUGS)))

  4. Oh wow, Heather. WOW. I am in tears at this. It is written so beautifully, with such emotion. I love how you created the scene. You didn’t try to say, “We are using formula, so there!” You just relayed what is happening. This is one of the best written posts I have read all week, hands down.

    I am hugging you right now. I went through the same thing, at a different age, with my son. My supply dried up when I got pregnant way earlier than anticipated. I remember well the pain of knowing I could not do what I desperately wanted to do!

  5. ((hugs)) Heather I agree with Annie. This is an amazingly well written post and it definitely draws you into feeling exactly what you are thinking/feeling. ((hugs))

    • thank you! I’m glad I was able to convey my thoughts and feelings at this time…it’s certainly a time I wish to remember

  6. Aw, Heather, I cannot imagine those emotions. I barely mad it to 2 months with my son, so when Bella was born, I was determined to make it work. We are going on four months now. I know you said you had supply issues with your first too, but there are tons of products out that that may help you. I’ve found that eating oatmeal and taking Motherlove More Milk capsules has helped me. (I’m sure you know all of this already, but just in case.) If you want to talk, you can e-mail me.

    • congrats on making it 4 months! I will try all the tricks and see if I can stretch my supply for him but last time, none of that worked. I’m happy to have made it this far. I mean, he’s eating solids now and if I can go till 9 months on a combo of formula / nursing / solids I’ll be happy

  7. I thought you produced enough milk to feed an army of babies? LOL That sucks, especially at such a young age. Have you tried the Mother’s Milk tea or oatmeal? Maybe some of the other natural methods of increasing your milk supply?

    I nursed Rowan until she was 15 months old. SHE weaned herself. One morning, she just didn’t want it anymore. I still, even though she’s six years old, miss that bonding and closeness we had then. She is my only. She will be my only (Damn you, cervical cancer). I understand your pain.

  8. Oh Heather, I know how you feel a million times over and I wish I could take that pain away for you. My boys are growing so fast. My youngest goes to school this fall and I can hardly stand it, knowing I will never again have a little hand to hold and a little boy to love. Big {Hugs} for you!

  9. ugh. I remember that feeling well. My milk supply up and left when Jillian was 5.5 months old. Sending you huge hugs. I know I teared up reading this, so, I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. ((HUGS))

  10. This is a beautiful post. Of course, I was all too happy to stop the agony of breastfeeding…I’m glad its gone so well for you! ((HUGS))

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