AND It was the worst of times…………
those times that I am referring to are the past almost 13 months of BREASTFEEDING!!
I’m really not sure where I want this post to go, just to post something about what has been the most challenging and at the same time the most amazing and rewarding thing I’ve EVER done!!
To be able to somehow document the past 13 months…….the ups, the downs, the mellow points and the painful points – that is what I want to do, because all of these highlights and ‘lolights’ have shaped so much of the past 13 months for me.
First off, there is a LOT of stuff people don’t tell you – lactation consultants don’t/can’t/won’t tell you. Maybe it’s more misguided attempts at advice then people not telling you – nonetheless, the theory of ‘nipple confusion’ is it! I call it a theory because I don’t buy it – yes I believe that little our little ones will find confusion going from breast to bottle – but we were told, time and time again, NO bottle for 2 week, NO bottle for 6 weeks, 3 months – you get the point…….and this is where I call BULLSHIT!!!!
I was so scared to introduce a bottle or pacifier that I didn’t, and when it was ‘time’ to do so, Gradie wanted NOTHING to do with it. When I say nothing – believe me I mean absolutely nothing at all!!
At which time we come to the next piece of information that drives me UP THE WALL – people saying; “Oh, don’t worry, she’ll get hungry enough, she’ll drink!!” Well I have news for you – NO SHE WON’T!!!!!! She can and she will and she has gone between 8 and 10 hours with minimal milk consumption – starting from around 12 weeks old when she began going to daycare.
Then we get to the next piece……..anxiety!! I’ve NEVER suffered from anxiety before – not until I had to leave Gradie, knowing she will not drink, not enough, that she will fuss, and cry, that she’ll be hungry. Will she be wondering where I am? Why am I not coming to feed her? I don’t know what babies think – who knows what they think, but the thought that she might be thinking that I am not there for her and/or not providing for her – that makes me sick to my stomach.
Along with all of this comes the fact that trying to find a sitter for her would cause me so much extra anxiety, that I just couldn’t do it, unless I had to. For 13 months, besides for days at work, the most time I’ve been away from Gradie is a couple hours. If I attempt to get some time to ‘relax’, go to a movie, dinner etc. I am left with such worry that she is miserable/inconsolable, which is extremely hard on both baby sitter and baby, that I just prefer not to attempt it.
Granted this has gotten better as she has got older!! At the age of 13 months – she is now sort of drinking from a straw, and actually keeping it in her mouth, not swimming in it – so I am openly optimistic we might be rounding a corner here to weaning, and the funny thing is, once she has weaned I am almost certain I’ll be sad that she has.
I don’t want anyone to get me wrong, I LOVE that I have breastfed Gradie, and I’d do it again in a heart beat (just without the bottle refusal). I love every single minute I get to look down at her sweet and innocent little face as she nurses – except when she bites my nipple.
Knowing that my body has been able to produce for her best possible source of nourishment amazes me every single day.
I know that I am blessed, beyond words, to have produced enough milk for Gradie and that, at 13 months old, I am still producing exactly what she needs, for all of this I am blessed and I am THANKFUL!!!
When I started this journey I said I’d NEVER feed in public without be covered up. Well let me tell you something – a baby is a very inquisitive being, and Gradie is no exception. She got to the age where she would NOT be covered, and on our flight to Johannesburg, on June 10th 2014, I ditched the cover, and I haven’t looked back. I wear a nursing tank under every shirt I wear, it keeps the majority of my ‘goods’ covered and to be completely honest, I just got to the point where I had to do what I had to do, and that is keep my child fed and happy. Don’t worry you won’t see me out there at nurse in public ‘sit ins’ and the like, but if I need to feed my baby you best know I will do so, even if that is in public.
Breastfeeding has become a way of life in our household, and in the houses I frequent, Jami’s (our awesome daycare provider), my in-laws (my FIL has seen more of me then I am sure he ever thought he would 😉 !) and any of my friends.
As I said I wasn’t sure the exact way this post would go – just that I wanted to post on the topic, that people might know how important breastfeeding was and still is to me, and while it means so much that I have been able to do it for this long, it has also caused me untold amounts of stress and anxiety, pain and tears.
From getting bit, to having, what feels like, my life sucked out of me by my relentless breast pump, to watching her face as she nurses, as her little hands hold onto my breast, or play with my nursing bra – this continues to be one of my most emotional undertakings ever!!