My daughter has been weaned for six months.
I’m not really sure how that makes me feel. Once she turned one, I decided to stop pumping at work, since, honestly, my supply had dropped a lot and I was hardly getting even 2 ounces despite my multiple 20+ minute pumping sessions. (Trust me, I LOVED not lugging my pump around or worrying about forgetting the pump or any other supplies at home.. I’ll share a pumping horror story another time.) But, what I didn’t expect was her almost instant drop of our morning nursing sessions. I figured we’d at least go for a few more weeks… Although I now had “freedom”, it seemed like she didn’t need me anymore. (She really does just love eating, which I think played more of a role.) Didn’t she know about the AAP breastfeeding recommendation: For one year and then as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. I thought we were supposed to make the change together.
It seems that from before she was born, even until now, my feelings about breastfeeding have flip-flopped all over the place.
Before she was born, I read books and had learned about the physiology and benefits in school. LOVE
Once she was born, she was very tiny (no one had even hinted toward that possibility) and deemed a “lazy feeder” by the hospital nurses. HATE
This made us have to use a nipple shield, which helped get the job done, but was a hassle to lug around if we left the house and to clean after each use, which was very frequently initially. HATE
We, somehow, within the first day or two home, lost the nipple shield, so I ran into Target (with my hubby and L waiting in the car) while going through engorgement – the baby section in our store is right across from the electronic department, where they were blaring a high-paced song. With the raging hormones, sweating bullets in my winter coat, and days with very little sleep (bags galore!), I’m sure I looked like some type of addict or crazed person. It took me forever to find what I was looking for because I could hardly concentrate. HATE
I was also advised by the hospital’s lactation consultant to pump for 10 minutes after each feeding (round the clock) since the nipple shield made my nipples less sensitive to her latch and my body might have not responded appropriately by increasing the milk supply. HATE – especially after those late night feedings in the days of already little to no sleep
She didn’t lose weight at her hospital follow up appointment or her one week appointment (in fact, she gained)! LOVE (but also very uncommon for most babies)
Colic. Constantly latched. Mama is feeling very touched out. HATE (for me and for her)
The realization that I am the only one who can give her this gift of nourishment and comfort. LOVE
News from the lactation consultant that I didn’t have to keep pumping after nursing because my milk had fully come in. LOVE (the best Christmas present ever – I could actually enjoy time with my family)
Segregating myself from others because I wasn’t sure how they would respond to my nursing. HATE (fortunately, I got over this, as everyone else thought I was moving into other rooms for my own comfort)
Stress over not pumping enough at work. HATE
Pride in the fact that, despite my troubles, I was able to meet my goal of breastfeeding her for a year. LOVE
She doesn’t need me to nourish her anymore. umm… this one isn’t so clear cut – LOVE the freedom, but MISS the bond.
Comments from family, friends, and even L’s doctor: Well, you made it to a year; don’t worry about it! HATE-ish… Let’s just say that’s easier said than done (& I know they meant well).
So, even though L and my experience was full of highs and lows, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Plus, if E and I are blessed with another child, I know that experience will be even better.
For more on my breastfeeding journey, check out this article and this one.
What were your favorite (or least favorite) breastfeeding experiences, Mamas?
Image courtesy of Jomphong at freedigitalphotos.net