Friday, March 23, 2012

15 Nursing

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I will be the first to admit that I am in love with nursing. 
I have always loved it. I really just didn't know how to before Abby Sue.

My children all have been great at nursing. They latched on and wanted to nurse right from the get go. I never had enough information to be successful at it the first two times though.

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I stopped breastfeeding both Gabriel and Sadie at 6 weeks. 
Sadie wasn't doing that well with it. She was a really hard baby and improved a lot when we switched her over to formula. She started calming down soon after being on formula for the first couple of days. 
Was she just not getting enough when I was nursing her? 
I doubt it. I produced enough for twins! 
Was it what I was eating? 
Perhaps. Although I limited myself and cut so much out of my diet in attempts to continue to nurse her.
She would also fall asleep any time I fed her. I could not keep her awake for anything! She got in the habit of having tiny milk snacks and waking up very frequently because she was constantly not full. It was very difficult and we were all sleep deprived. With formula she would eat her entire meal, was a more content baby and slept better. It just seemed like the better fit for her.

With Gabe I was a brand new mom, I was a single mom as well. Making me very unsure as to how the whole process was supposed to run. He nursed great but at times wouldn't stay latched on. 
At the time I thought he was uninterested and would become frustrated when he would pull away getting he and I both soaking wet. Looking back I now see that I was engorged and he couldn't possibly eat that way. He wanted to nurse so badly and so did I. I wish I had someone I could have talked to about it all. Someone who could have shown me the simple answer. I decided after 6 weeks of nursing him to try formula and he did okay. He took it right away but spit up a lot with it and was having reflux problems. I felt so overwhelmed at the time. I was so new at it all.

This third time around with Abby Sue she came out a nursing champion. She would nurse for stretches of 45 minutes in the hospital. Fresh from being born and eager to eat. I was in heaven. I just knew this time around I would be more successful at it. I also had begun talking to a friend about my previous struggles with this and she shared a lot of knowledge with me.

First thing I learned was the first 6 weeks are always the hardest. Obviously that is true because that is when I gave up the two times before. If you just stick with it things do get easier. Schedules are more in place, feedings are predictable and your baby is more alert and aware to participate. I knew this time around not to let myself get too engorged or to express some milk before a feeding if I was too full.

The best thing I did to be more successful this time around was to open up and talk about it. It is intimidating and somewhat embarrassing to say you don't know what to do. It is as if because we are mothers this all should be so natural that we never have a single question. That is completely untrue though. Being a strong mother is seeking for answers. That makes you the best mama because you are improving yourself.

So here we are. 15 months later and still going strong. I used to think that going past a year was just plain crazy and had vowed to stop at 12 months. I am having a difficult time sticking to that original plan. 

Nursing is so beautiful. The quiet time between mother and baby. The deep connection you feel together and the satisfaction of meeting that need for your child. I confess that I feel guilty my other two children and I were robbed of this time together. I am having such a hard time letting go. 

To me when I stop nursing it is like admitting Abby Sue is no longer a baby. That is hard for me. So for now I am okay with people thinking I am crazy for nursing so long. I am okay with people thinking I am being "kinda hippy" about the entire thing. Because this mama just doesn't want to let this precious time go.

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15 comments:

kelli@eatprayreadlove. said...

What a beautiful post. I find it sad that hospitals don't usually offer as much as help as most moms need. It is HARD! I have three and only with my second was it "easy." I actually had to go back to a lactation consultation with my third! She said that in older generations, grandma/aunts/older sisters were available to help and encourage BFing women, and sadly that's not the case anymore. I did have my mom to encourage me with my first, or else I don't think I would have stuck through it. It took my son FIVE weeks to nurse. Lots of tears!
Thanks for sharing your experiences.I am sure it will help other moms! My 3rd is 16 months old and I just now weaned her. So sad!

Tara said...

I think that is so great that you are still nursing her! you go mama! :)
It is always nice to hear stories about breastfeeding! I am hoping to get pregnant soon and I cant wait to breastfeed and have that bond with my child! Although i will admit i am a little worried, i will hate the feeling of the baby eating off of me.. did you ever worry about that? Am I weird! LOL

Laine Griffin said...

This is an amazing post full of wonderful insights. And your photos are just beautiful!

Salena @ A Little Piece of Me said...

Love, love, love this. I loved nursing and I miss it so much. All 6 of my kids were nursed but the first 3 was not for very long. Aleshanee was 23 months and had to force stop because I got pregnant and was having contractions. Dakota was 22 months and had to force stop for the same reason. Hayden was 18 months when one day she just decided she didn't want to nurse anymore and never nursed again. I was crushed. I miss the bonding and snuggling. I was so heartbroken when she stopped but was happy that I would not have to force her to stop later. Enjoy every moment!!! =)

Cassie Salt said...

Good for you for posting about your struggles, and your current success! I think we don't talk about this nearly enough, and it leads us to give up because we think there's something wrong with us as women. That's absolutely not the case. Knowledge is power, and talking about breastfeeding, birth, parenthood, etc.. is how we learn and grow.

Thanks for sharing your story. Brighton and I struggled a LOT for the first several months, but I had so much support, from Spence (the hubby), my midwife, a lactation consultant, my mom and sister, etc. I was surrounded by people committed to helping us, and that is how it SHOULD be. We had to use a nipple shield until he was five months old, though. I thought I would have to nurse him that way for the full 12 months. Thank goodness he finally figured out his latch. Now it is just wonderful, and I have no qualms about nursing beyond a year if we are both still enjoying it.

For the record, there is nothing hippyish, wrong, weird, or abnormal about nursing beyond a year. Breast milk is SO good for babies and toddlers! I used to think that was strange too, but even the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years. So nurse ON, mama!

-Cassie

Cassie Salt said...

Sorry, have to comment again to Tara, no, you're not weird! I dreaded breastfeeding, didn't want to give up my body, be needed all the time in that way, etc. I was transformed when he was born, though, and it was just right, and it didn't bother me anymore. But every woman is different, not weird, just different :)

Francis said...

Good for you. I nursed both of my babies. With my recent one I stopped a month and a half ago. She sort of weaned herself and my supply had really dwindled. I wanted to reach a year but we didn't quite get there. I'm still unsure if I'm going to nurse my next one due in November. I had issues from breastfeeding and doing it again may make my issues worse and really hinder my recovery. I haven't decided yet what I plan to do.

Keeping up with the Joneses said...

I was a "hippie" with Ella and nursed her till 18 months she was so attached to nursing and It broke my heart when I tried to stop at 12 months and she would just cry for it. So I kept it going and I loved that time. I'm trying to go for at least a year with Ollie. I'm a huge fan of nursing and I think this post is great!

Hanna said...

Hey gorgeous....love this post. I too have always loved nursing and the bond that is like no other. I nirsed little milton, my first baby all the way through my second pregancy with ginger and then nurses both of htem for about 3 months:) LOVE

Lauren said...

I think this is just a lovely post. You are beautiful and so is your baby. I loved breastfeeding my baby too. She is almost a year now. Sometimes I miss it. New follower through the Wiegands :)


LaurenRebecca.com

Tracy said...

i am due with my first baby in 4 days, and plan on trying to breastfeed, and this post was just so wonderful, im glad i stumbled upon it. thanks so much!

The Mrs. and The Momma said...

I plan to nurse my little guy for a while because a know it's going to be hard to stop...especially since he's my last. So happy I came across your blog. I think we have a lot in common. I look forward to following along!
-Kristen
The Mrs. and The Momma

Julianna, Jade, Janae, Jamie said...

also nursing my 15 year old! I love reading these stories cause I do feel like people think I'm weird sometimes but I love knowing I'm not the only one. I agree. Neither me or baby is ready and we will stop when we are ready!

Mrs. Blanton said...

Loved the photos with this one. I love those jeans :) Where from???
mommysguiltypleasures.blogspot.com

C.LEE said...

The jeans are from Khol's. Thank lovelies!!