Fast forward to now. Rebekah will be 9 months in one week. She is now almost exclusively formula fed from a bottle. I started to supplement nursing with formula when she was about 7 1/2 months old. I will never forget making that first bottle - she was hungry, I had just had a very hard workout and I had nothing to give her and no milk in the fridge from pumping either. I did know that I had some containers of formula in the pantry - samples they mailed me when I was pregnant with her. I followed the instructions, hesitant but knowing that the most important thing for her was a full belly not my pride. So I let it go in that instant.
Now my experience with nursing has been great, but I am not a "super duper milk producer". I always have said that God gave me "just what Rebekah needed"...until I started dieting and exercising rigorously. I haven't found many blogging fitness/dieting moms who lost all the baby weight in 4-5 months who were exclusively breastfeeding. If you are out there PLEASE prove me wrong. Most of the women I found inspiration from actually promptly stopped nursing. I am not saying that my experience is the rule, I just know that if I could "do it over" I would have started a lot slower out of the gate, and I would have met with a nutritionist to help me with the dieting part. Often times I know I was not getting enough calories for nursing and doing an hour of p90X or a 3 mile run. There were days I was shaky, irritable and exhausted. Looking back I think I took on too much and it greatly effected my supply.
Rebekah "feeding herself" - She likes the independence of the bottle that is for sure!
I do not wish for a do-over. The weaning process has been easier than I imagined, though sooner than what I thought I wanted. I have not felt a great loss and I don't believe my daughter has either. We have not made this something more than it was. She is not needy and fussy because she is not nursing any longer. She is not distant or resentful, and for that I feel like the timing has been perfect. I don't have to deny her anything because she isn't asking for anything she doesn't already have. My identity and my womanhood and worth is not wrapped up and entangled in this, though it was a beautiful gift and a beautiful season that I will forever cherish.
After 9 months even though I am STILL not at my pre-pregnancy weight I am strong, I can see my body coming back. I have a half marathon in 8 days and I am ready. There is hope ladies, but the best thing you can do at two, three, six months after having your baby is BE GENTLE with yourself.... especially if you are nursing. Start slow, and realize the stretched out skin, the tone and definition will come back but every body is different. Every body heals at a different pace, and way - just like some women produce a ton of milk, and some don't - some have the metabolism of a cheetah and some are sloth like - self acceptance is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. Better than any diet, weight loss program or fitness regimen. Stop getting on the scale every day or nit picking yourself in the mirror.
On my way out of the house for an 8 mile run two weekends ago - last weekend I did 10 miles, this weekend I'll do 6 and then 13.1 on November 9th for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon!
Say one thing you like about your body a day and weigh in once a week. That has helped me start to accept who I AM and where I am going - instead of meditating daily on what I consider my failures (ie the number on the scale or the tummy in the mirror).