Breastfeeding, Mom Guilt, & Infertility

Well here goes. If you stumbled upon this page and you know us -- we're wanting to try for another baby this year. I mean, I guess everyone was assuming we'd want another at some point. Give me all the babies!!

We want to try sooner rather than later in case it takes another three years or three transfers to get a sticky baby. I don't want a huge age gap between Atticus and any future siblings. There's a five year difference between my brother and I. We get along great now, but I think we aren't as close since we were at different maturity level for most of the time we were living at home together.

Here's the thing. Starting an IVF (or FET cycle in our case) comes with a whole different set of challenges when you are a mom: you can't breastfeed and do IVF. You have to be fully weaned before beginning a cycle for a couple of reasons:

1. Elevated prolactin levels (the hormone that makes milk) can affect the outcome of a cycle. Some women do not resume menstruating while breastfeeding since it can sort of act as birth control if you're doing it the right way. We'd want to make sure we're doing everything to get the best possible outcome we can, since it aint cheap!

2. Obviously, anything I ingest or that goes into my body eventually makes its way to my milk. We definitely do not want Atticus hopped up on IVF meds.

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed Atticus for at least a year. It is super beneficial for their long term health* (hey and saves us some money too!). I know a few people who nursed their toddlers until 2 to 3 years old. What I didn't really consider when pregnant is how nursing is a relationship between mom and baby. I was thinking about it primarily from a nourishment standpoint, but it's much much more than that. Atticus gets a say too.

Nursing provides comfort - I think for mom and baby. I swear when we were in the hospital after he was first born, my belly didn't hurt as much from the surgery while we were nursing. Throughout his first year of life, nursing has become his comfort mechanism. I'm definitely okay with that. Sometimes, I feel like I need a break, but overall I really don't mind.

He is a boobie monster. When I first decided to try and cut back his nursing sessions, he was basically feeding on demand. At night especially, he relied on nursing to fall back asleep. It was the quickest way to get him to sleep, so I did it. Our weaning journey doesn't come without a fair dose of mom guilt.

  • What if I'm weaning too far before he's ready? (He definitely hasn't shown any signs of self weaning).
  • What if our FET fails and I weaned for nothing?
  • Will I regret this down the road, if the cycle fails or not?

Also, breastfeeding has been a really happy experience for me. I didn't really have many issues - even in the beginning. I think with all the pain, difficulty, and time it took us to finally reach motherhood nursing was my reward. It was one thing my body didn't fail me on. It knew what to do for once, and I was happy to provide something my growing baby needed.

I just can't help but feel like I'm being selfish and taking away something Atticus still needs (at least emotionally). I'm thinking of a baby who could or could not come to be and not thinking of the baby I've been blessed with. At least I think it can come off that way sometimes. Infertility makes things so complicated.

Combine that with going back to work nearly full-time and missing out on being there for him - I've sort of been a wreck lately. I'm holding it together; all this is mostly in my head. I haven't really had time to stress about doing another FET yet, i'm mostly worried about whether or not we'll wean before the end of summer.

*Note: If you didn't breastfeed for whatever reason, please don't be offended by this post. A fed baby is a health baby - be it formula or breastmilk.

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