It’s All Hard.

by Lara on April 17, 2013

Sometimes I can be a slow learner.

A day or two after G was born, I called my mother crying one morning at 4am.  “He doesn’t sleep!” I shouted.  “And I need to turn on the light every time I need to latch him and my boobs hurt and he wants to nurse all night!”  She laughed.  She told me he would sort out his days and nights soon enough, and that breastfeeding would get easier in three weeks.  “Three weeks is the magic number,” she told me.

It's All Hard

Three weeks came.  Breastfeeding got a little easier but he was still up all night.  Everyone assured me that three months was, in fact, the game changer.  “Three months is when they figure it all out,” said one mom friend.

It's All Hard

Three months came.  G was still up one million times per night.  I still had milk, quite literally, coming out of my armpits.  At my weekly lactation group meeting, the leader told me, “Six months.  Six months is when it gets so much easier!  They start solids and they nurse less and they really lengthen out their sleep then!”

Six months came.

…You see where this is going, right?

It's All Hard.

Now, at eight months, friends with toddlers tell me that the big hush hush secret is that it’s the whole first year that is hard.

Well fool me once, twice, or three times, people.  But now I know better.  Now I get it.  It’s not the first three weeks or the first three months or the first six months or even the first year.

When you love someone more than life itself, it’s the whole thing.  When you worry 24 hours a day if they’re drinking the right milk and eating the right food and breathing the right air, that doesn’t just magically go away one day.

It’s all hard.

And this month feels especially hard for some reason.  You’ll notice in all the pictures above, I could “fix” G by rocking and nursing and holding him.  Now, seemingly overnight, he no longer has any interest in this attachment.

He went from wanting to nurse constantly to hardly nursing at all.  I am tied to the pump, which my body has stopped responding to because I am so stressed out about losing my once overflowing milk supply.

And where he had once started to wake only once or twice at night and take two long naps each day, he is now back to sleeping in 30 or 60 minute fragments.  But this time I don’t have nursing as a tool to get him back to sleep.

The physical consequences of the nursing strike suck, but emotionally I am not handling it well either.  I am worried he is weaning.  I am worried I will dry up.  Where I once envisioned nursing until age 2 or 3, now I am wondering if we’ll make it a year.  The rejection, though I know it is harmless, feels hugely demeaning and personal and somehow embarrassing.  Emotionally, this is the hardest breastfeeding hurdle to date.

I know we will get through it.  I know it’s all worth it.  This will pass.  But today…this week…this month…I’m ready for a different “hard.”

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea@WellnessNotes April 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Sending you a big hug!

I remember once talking with a friend about when kids get “easier,” and she said, “I would say it gets different.” I would have to say I agree with her.

The kid didn’t want to nurse around 8 or 9 months. We ended up going on vacation, and he was so freaked out by the new environment that all he wanted to do was nurse. I almost feel we “cheated” and got through it relatively easily…

I’m sure you’ll get over the hurdle! Try to relax. Maybe try some yoga… 😉 Well, unless that stresses you out, which it may (I speak from experience!)…


Lara April 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Yoga…or a vacation? 😉


Andrea@WellnessNotes April 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I’d say vacation!!! 😉


Lindsay April 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Edith has just started dropping nursing sessions but still nurses 6-8x per day (vs. 6-12x). I worry about my already low milk supply and am planning to start back at the dreaded pump this weekend. I worry about the days when she starts to drop more and if we will be able to go until she is 18-24 months (my personal goal). Sending you positive thoughts and best wishes!

Also thought this post might be helpful for you to know you aren’t alone-


Lara April 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks Lindsay! I’ll check out that post. I’m trying to have faith that he won’t starve himself and we will get back to where we were soon, but his weight is already low on the curve, and with BLW, he isn’t taking in many solids still. Similar situation to you, I imagine. Good luck this weekend on the pump!


Abby April 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Everything seems so much worse when you’re tired, just keep swimming mama, this too shall pass.
Have you tried not offering a bottle but instead exclusively offering to nurse? I doubt G would let himself go hungry for long.


Lara April 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I think that’s the next step. Thanks Abby. He rarely got bottles to begin with, but with the strike I started freaking out that he was starving himself. Then last night we gave him a bottle from the freezer and I couldn’t pump a single drop, which was terrifying. So I think we’ve come full circle to no bottles again!

Thanks for the support 🙂


coco April 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

This is such a touching post. I can only imagine a fraction of what you’re going through. My baby hasn’t been sleeping well the last two nights and I feel devastated already, can’t imagine doing that for 8 months.

What I tell myself when something like this happens is that there’s only one life opportunity that we get to experience this with our baby. Soon enough they won’t need us, they would become independent, they will find comfort elsewhere, then we’ll miss these moments.

Babies’ appetite do fluctuate from day to day. It happened to my baby, for few days she’d eat half of what she used to eat, but then she’ll get back to normal. Meanwhile, keep pumping, short frequent sessions work the best.

Good luck Lara.


Lara April 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Thank you, Coco! This is very helpful and encouraging.


Sana April 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm



Lara April 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm



Jessie April 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Oh hon. I have been in your shoes and I know. The freak outs, the panic. I know. But I’m sure you will find your way out of this darkness and you will be stronger for it. I took Lyric’s nursing strike so personally. I cried. I thought that I had failed her. I rocked my brain trying to figure out what I had changed. Laundry detergent? Perfume? Had my hormones suddenly turned my milk a different flavor? I drove myself crazy w/the “what ifs” and then suddenly, she nursed again. And again. And we were back to normal without any changes from me. I can’t explain it. And it’s so frustrating that I had no control. I hope your situation improves soon! Thinking good thoughts. 🙂


Lara April 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Thank you Jessie! Did Lyric strike right around this age, too? Did you pump through it, or just wait for her to be super hungry?


Jessie April 18, 2013 at 6:31 am

Yep, same age. She had already started to go through that super distracted stage which was frustrating but then even in her room with the door closed she started pushing away and arching her back every feeding. I would offer and then pump and give her whatever I could pump. Repeat with every feeding. I had heard to try when they’re really tired which helped. But I just kept up with it and waited it out. Even after that she would strike whenever we traveled. So I always had to pack my pump. Annoying but we made it through!


Lara April 18, 2013 at 9:20 am

Ugh, exactly! Well it’s encouraging that you made it through. Thanks!


Stacy K April 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I wish I could give you a big hug! You are an awesome mama to G! When we had to start supplementing I cried
for days. I ended up seeking help because I couldn’t cope with the guilt, frustration and felling of failure.

I was reading in my birth club that a mom was going through something similar and she stayed at home all day one day and left her top off and laid next to the baby the whole time to encourage him to nurse.

We know it gets better eventually but being a SAHM means you don’t get a break often. Maybe you can get a babysitter for a few hours to recharge your batteries? Text me any time we aren’t sleeping well either so I’m up at all hours.


Lara April 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

Thanks for all the support, Stacy! I have a babysitter coming for a couple hours this week so that will be a nice break 🙂 I’m sorry you have been going through such a tough time as well…I really think they need to teach courses on this mommy stuff in college!


tina April 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Lara!!! This is so funny because everyone said the same thing to us and when we would approach that time (6th week, 3 month, etc.) my husband and I would still say, “when will it get better?”. What you wrote nailed it- it’s always hard! I too worry about every single thing and I suppose as our babes grow older we will still fret/worry over this and that, lol.


Lara April 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

Ha! Well it’s good to know it’s not just me 🙂


Sarah S. April 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

Ugh. I am sending you hugs! It IS all hard. And it’s always going to be hard I think, because moms never stop caring. But the lack of sleep is a killer, and I truly hope it eases up soon for you. Eli didn’t really sleep until a year, so I clearly remember how awful it was. And the anxiety about the milk… AH! But it all does work out, eventually. And isn’t he lucky he’s so cute?


Lara April 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

He certainly is, Sarah! Thanks 😉


Laika April 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

It is TRULY very hard. I have a 6 mo old as well, no one tells moms how hard it is going to be. But I know in my heart, it’s all worth it.



Lara April 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

It definitely is. Thanks Laika.


cATHY April 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Oh Lara I feel for you! Sending you hugs and loving thoughts. You’re a great Mom!


Lara April 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

So sweet of you, thank you, Cathy!


Ruby April 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

Oh sweetheart, nursing strikes are THE WORST. The worst! Not only the strike itself, but the fact that you’re hit SO hard by it & confused & desperate for help & support and most people just look at you and say “well, yeah, he probably weaning, what’s the problem?!”. It is a horrible horrible thing. We had one nursing strike at I think 14 or 15 months, and it SUCKED. It ended up being because of a combo of some kind of ear infection & teeth or maybe even a painful mouth. But she latched back on, and we continued until 30 months.

Whatever. Give in to whatever sadness & frustration there is, because it is a really, really sucky thing to be in.

As for the “it gets easier” there are indeed no special timelines. I too finally gave up hope of it ever getting “better”, but it did. For us it was at 12 months after giving in to sleep training. But it wasn’t just the sleep: Amber was so much happier by that time, as she was getting the hang of walking, and we’d figured from the start she was just MAD at the world for her being born and not being able to walk and talk immediately. Sure enough, walking brought a much happier child, and when she started communicating things just improved tenfold.

You know YOUR child best. Whatever you feel his personality to be, his “beef” with the world, or even an ailment: you will be right. I promise you, he will get older and you will see all the things you thought you saw at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months – proven to be true to his nature.


Lara April 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

I think Amber and G are alike about being frustrated with their little baby bodies! Thanks for all the support and encouragement, Ruby. I hope you are feeling well!


KatyBug April 25, 2013 at 5:59 am

I’m just catching up and sending you HUGE hugs across the Web…

…we’ve had a good first six months, but my little ball of sunshine is having everything thrown at her at once — teething, a growth spurt, shots, nap strikes, new solids — and there are a lot of days that I just end up holding her for hours and hours to ward of meltdowns. Of course it’s wonderful, but it’s also mentally exhausting. I’m so sorry that things are hard, but hang in there.


Lara April 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Thanks Katy. This week is a bit better already! I think my little guy is just fed up with this baby stuff. He wants to be a big kid!


glidingcalm April 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I think it gets better after 24 or 25 years old. Ha! At least, that’s how I imagine my parents finally feel about big bro gc and me.

hugs to you and your family. this blog is always filled with so much warmth and love… it’s really beautiful.


Lindsey Pitts April 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm

You have definitely figured out the secret 😉 Parenting is like a marathon….you go from one hurdle to the next. Each stage is different, with it’s own set of challenges. But just the same, each stage has its own set of accomplishments for parents and their babies. Truth be told, it will all be worth it! That has to be your attitude 🙂 No one said parenting would be easy….but until you’ve had your own kid, there’s no other job that rewards like being a parent. Just as you conquer one area of parenting- your onto something that you have no clue about. Caring that you are doing it right, is probably the most important part of being a good parent….and THAT, my friend, is what makes you a great parent.


Emily May 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Yes, it IS hard! My second child has been harder than my first; he’s nine months old and still not sleeping more than a couple hours at a time. My first is now 2.5 years old and that’s a whole other ball game! My guess is that it’ll be easier when they are both 30. You are right, I don’t think it ever gets easier…just different.


Lara May 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Your nine month old sounds a lot like mine! 😉 I can’t imagine doing it with a toddler, too. Supermom!


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