Independence Day: My truths about breastfeeding

I love nourishing my baby with breast milk. It’s amazing really. I see my daughter grow knowing my body produces the milk that feeds her development.  I’ve actually stared at my bottles of liquid gold in awe. “Those five ounces came from me!” I kid you not. My plan has always been to nurse for one year.  Plan. Ha! Do you hear God laughing? I guess what I hadn’t planned on, are the feelings of sacrifice that come with nursing.

I always knew I would breastfeed. I never thought otherwise. Forget the advice of  ‘La Lechers’ or Jack Newman or anyone else. For me, it just seemed the natural thing God designed our bodies to do. Fortunately, it’s all gone pretty smoothly: problem-free, easy and cost-effective. So why now, am I giving my milk a new expiry date?

It’s a bit hard to admit. I find myself now, at four months postpartum, with self-serving reasons for wanting to stop short of a year. 10 months, I started to think. 10 months is good. Then I could shed those last milk-making pounds and get back to some serious body-building business.

But before long, even that August end-date started to feel like forever. I want to run. I need these heavy, food-filled boobies done with. I want my rock-hard body back. I need to load up on protein to rebuild muscle. I want to go out spontaneously. That means without prepensely pumping or navigating around public feedings. I want intimacy without off-limit areas…enough said. Then there’s the unpleasant prospect of sweaty nursing sessions in the height of the summer season. One word – Ew!

Baby books and magazines are filled with images of women joyfully holding babe to breast. Guaranteed by April I will paint a picture of a woman grown weary of it all. Ah, but the scale of reason tips one way then the other. What baby needs; what mama wants.

I hear the voice of my midwife in my head. She tells me about the mighty immune system of her son who drank breast milk for two years. I love that. Then I hear the voice of a fellow mother. She tells me about her feelings of freedom and boundless energy having recently weaned her boy. Heavenly. If I could, I would pump enough milk to last twelve more months. Problem solved. Alas, I would need a genie to grant that wish.

Okay June. That’s what I’m thinking. Start weaning in June and wrap up this boob fest by July. My babe spent nine months growing in utero so nine months nursing sounds good. That’s my reasoning.

There you have it. The Dairy Queen closes this summer. I’ll gladly be celebrating independence day on July 11th this year! Funny enough, I don’t think I’m alone in this. I detect a certain streak of independence in my daughter. It won’t be long before she’s done with nursing, onto solids, and booking her own table at Chiado!

What motivated you to start/stop nursing?

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Independence Day: My truths about breastfeeding

  1. I didn’t stop nursing till Ione was 2! Thanks to hand, foot and mouth disease and the pain that ensued when she attempted to nurse. For me, it was all perfect timing. During this time, I nursed her only before bedtime. It was really just for comfort. By then, (before then) I was mentally done. Nursing to a year is ideal for baby’s health and it’s cheap! It will get easier in the summer, with the right clothes and lots of parks to hang out it at. All babies are different though. Ione was not into pacifiers, baby bottles or sucking her finger. I was the human pacifier – as I always say. It seems like forever, but the time really flies. I look at her now and miss that little, sweet, nursing face I saw when I looked down at her. Awww. Memories. 🙂

    • Debbie King

      You’re the woman in the ads! LOL.

      Proof that all babies are different – Naomi is totally into pacifiers, bottles and sucking her hand!

      You make a good point about summer nursing. The lack of layers could make all the difference. Perhaps the ‘dairy queen’ will close a little later than expected – who knows? 🙂

  2. kirstenheyerdahl

    Before giving birth, I imagined myself nursing for a year. And then when Calvin was born, the feeding problems began. Debbie, you’ve heard my laments before! However, it got better–thanks to 16 daily pills of Domperidone, breast compressions, and my determined stubbornness that surprised even my mother. Now I actually enjoy breastfeeding. I craved this feeling for months. I don’t know when I’ll give it up, but I suspect that if my body and my baby comply, I’ll make it to at least a year.

    • Debbie King

      16 pills – sheesh! But I’m SO glad you are finally able to enjoy the experience. Sounds like there’s a lot to be said for stubbornness 🙂

  3. Pauline

    Oh wow! This is a hot topic, girl! Haha! Well, ultimately what makes Mama happy will make baby happy (within reason! lol) Lily was completely cool with nursing for 13 months. And we were both done without any effort at all. Marcus….. well…. 17 months later and he’s still crying for it all night. I’m done mentally. I need to cut him off. But my resolve weakens when he starts wailing his head off at 3 a.m. I’m hoping we can wean him off this month. I’m REALLY ready. I want my body back. And I know he’s doing it for comfort only. But I’ll update you next month to let you know how THAT went. hee hee
    I agree with Michelle, though, about the summer. The warmer weather makes everything easier, it seems. Nursing, changing, walking, hangin’. Aaahhhh….

    • Debbie King

      Re: summer feedings. What about the furnace factor? We can get so warm during feedings sometimes. I can’t imagine adding 20+ degree temps to the mix.

      • Pauline

        For some reason the heat never really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, the crook of my arm would sometimes be soaked with sweat, but I didn’t mind. LOL! I guess maybe I just love heat in general.

  4. re: The Dairy Queen is closed in June. Debbie you make me howl when I read your posts…

    I am always curious to hear other women’s experiences. At the other end of the breastfeeding spectrum, I had difficulties since day one. A week into it I didn’t think I would last another 24 hours let alone one entire month. From the first feed in the hospital, my little bundle of joy drew blood – she had a bad latch from day one. There was nothing like seeing a sweet little baby with blood coloured spit up dripping from her mouth. It was beyond challenging both physically and mentally.

    I did everything you are supposed to do; I went to a breastfeeding class through my prenatal group then to a class at the hospital, I hired a private lactation consultant day 3 when things didn’t look good, I got additional support from my midwives, and then I went to clinics at the local hospital. They all tried very hard to help. In the end I felt like if I heard ‘you just need to fix your latch’ one more time I was going to ram my fist down someone’s throat.

    I looked for online help, but found very little that coincided with my experiences. Yes breast is best, I found a lot of evidence to support this, however I didn’t find anything else that would help when things weren’t going to plan. All the support kept telling me WHY this was so important (which frankly, I already knew…) but they couldn’t tell me HOW to feed in a way that wasn’t excruciatingly painful. Yes I was putting my arm like so, I was aiming the nipple up to the roof of her mouth… For 6 weeks there wasn’t one day that would go by where I wasn’t screaming and crying out in pain during feeds. Tears, more tears, with a little sobbing thrown in for good measure. I bent several of my fingers back then banged my feet on the side of the chair in attempt to transfer pain during feeds. I bent my fingers so far back that I thought I might break one. To anyone who didn’t go through this, it may sound extreme. However, at the time I was in so much pain that I would have gladly broken several fingers if I thought that the pain in my breasts would go away. I still get chills as I write this…

    So how does this answer the question why and when I will quit breastfeeding? I, like so many moms thought I would breastfeed as long as I could, or well… at least for a year or so. But I never imagined all the challenges I would have, or all the guilt I would face. The only way I made it this far was with the help of a pump. I nurse about once a day, and pump the rest of the time.

    I am proud to say that tomorrow is LO’s 5 month birthday. I feel like I have been to war and back when it comes to the challenges I’ve faced breastfeeding. But I am proud (and probably very stubborn…) that I managed to stick it out for as long as I have. I never thought I would make it 3 weeks, let alone 6 months. Having said that, I have started the process of weaning. I am now mixing in a bit of formula into LO’s breast milk. I plan to fully wean by 6 months. I didn’t want to deny the babe, the benefits of breast milk, but at some point mum needs to start recuperating from what has been a really big challenge and trauma to her body. I am looking forward to when my boobs no longer hurt before AND in between feeds, and to when I can finally get rid of the blood blisters that have developed, and reduce the amount of Advil that I’m currently taking 🙂

    • Debbie King

      Wow Jen. That’s quite the reply! You should have your own blog. Until then, I promise to keep you howling with mine 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your story. I knew you had a rough go at it but I didn’t know if was such a painful experience. I didn’t know if COULD be such a painful experience.

      Kudos to you for persevering. It was obviously very important to you. And I agree, at some point you have to start recuperating yourself.

      You’ve already been thru so much for LO. Hopefully she’ll go easy on you during teething, potty-training and the teenage years! LOL

  5. amy

    My daughter will be ten months on the 28th of this month. Since feeding her solids her desire to be nursed has fallen off dramatically. In fact, she is a much better solid food eater than nurser. I started incorporating a bottle in the evening just to get her used to it and to ensure she was getting “enough” nutritionally. Since then, she has basically all but weaned herself. She loves her bottle and I love the freedom. Good for you, and trust your insticts, you know what is best for both of you.

  6. Listen to your body, it always knows what is best. I breast fed my son for a year, I would have gone longer but my body refused. Breast feeding no longer felt comfortable, I started to feel “irked” by the whole thing by that time (my sons teeth did not help either). I told myself that was enough and I stopped. I soldiered it out for a whole year and I was proud of myself, my mother only lasted 2 weeks!

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