Friday, January 29, 2010

A Wonderful Experience

I have begun the weaning process with my 19 month old son Bobby because I am currently 16 weeks pregnant with my second child. I am definitely ready to wean Bobby, so I am not experiencing a lot of sadness over it. Instead I am just overjoyed that we breastfed for so long. Looking back and thinking about all the wonderful experiences I had with my first child, has really allowed me to look forward to nursing my second baby.

With Bobby, I loved being able to calm and soothe him almost any time. I loved that he grew happy, smart, strong and chunky on just milk for six whole months. I loved the early morning and night waking, when all was so quiet; it seemed like we were the only people in the world. I loved being the last person to hold him every night before he went to bed. I loved lying in bed feeding him, both of us warm and snuggly and dozing off. As he got older, I loved that, as busy as he was, he was always ready to take his milk break, and just sit contentedly with me for a while before going back to his very important toddler activities.

I also am so happy that my husband was a part of nursing, too. The first night we were home with Bobby, I was upset and crying because I couldn't get him to latch on. I was so worried that I wasn't going to be able to do this. I thought this tiny being would surely starve. My husband was the one who got me to stop crying and try another position, offered helpful advice he remembered from our breastfeeding class, and the book he had read.

When I nursed, my husband would often come over and sit with Bobby and me. I asked him once what he was doing, and he said, "Oh, I just like to watch this. It's so peaceful." Once I went back to work he washed pump parts and bottles as often as I did. He was amazingly supportive, and I think he was proud that Bobby and I did so well.

I only hope that this second baby and I can have as good a time of it as I did with Bobby. Nursing him has been one of the best parts of being his mom.

Rachel 34
Bobby 19 months
Baby number two on the way

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Soft Boobs Make Me Sad

Because that means after nearly 6 months of breastfeeding (not exclusively, but still) we are nearing the end of weaning. Adrianna has even started to notice what is going on because our babysitter said that she has started to reject the bottle and is trying to nurse. It makes me much more sad that I thought it would have, too. Once I was done weaning Brock it was such a huge relief because we never really did hit our stride & it was incredibly stressful to try to breastfeed and then pump to prevent engorgement. Don't get me wrong, Brock loved to eat, just not directly from the source.

But even still--yesterday I was packing away some of my breastfeeding supplies and I came ::this close:: to breaking down and crying. I know that it's silly because we are planning on having at least one more baby so I will get to do this again and I surpassed my original goal (breastfeed longer the second time around) and will meet my newest goal (breastfeed until Adrianna is 6 months old).

I feel like when I'm breastfeeding her, she is 100% mine. Nobody else can give her what I am and I love love love when she falls asleep at the breast. She is absolutely heavenly to watch as she drifts off into sleep and her little lips barely part as she begins to take soft, even breaths. She usually has one of her tiny hands on my boob just to make sure that I don't try to sneak it away from her and there is always milk running out of those little chipmunk cheeks of hers. I know she will look the same when she is eating from a bottle as she is drifting off to dreamland, but it's just not the same.

Tara, age 26
Brock, age 2 1/2
Adrianna, age 6 months

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Helping Hand From a Friend

Breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome since becoming a mom. Even at 7 weeks it was still a struggle. Many times I found myself throwing my hands in the air ready to give up. Cans upon cans of formula were delivered to my door, as "gifts" from the formula companies. I even went as far as to make a bottle of formula for my son at one point. After tasting it myself and watching him wince and cry to have the comfort of my breast was heartbreaking. I kept on going for him knowing it was best for him. My supply was great from the beginning but our main issue was his latch. With the help on some very determined and helpful nurses and lactation consultants we finally found a way. Nursing my son has been one of the enjoyable and emotional experiences I’ve ever had. After a long nap I love to reconnect with him and am amazed at how comforting it can be for him. Knowing how strong this bond can be, I knew my friend needed one last shot at breastfeeding and I was so happy I was able to help her with it.

Since his birth, my friend’s son was a very colicky baby. She had a complicated birth, and sadly many unexpected health concerns arouse for her son right away. They had a terrible time breastfeeding, with her emergency c-section her milk didn’t come in fully. Due to health concerns after birth her son was not able to spend time her with and was whisked to the NICU. A few months after the birth I offered to babysit one evening. Her husband often worked long hours and I wanted to let her get a much deserved nap. When her husband got home very late we talked about some baby issues and I offered my advice on how to help her with breastfeeding. She had continued pumping so she had a low supply still going. I wanted her to enjoy her son and be able to comfort him, hoping it could help with the colic. If it wouldn’t help with colic, I was at least hoping to help strengthen their bond. I said jokingly to her husband late that night, "I wish I could just breastfeed him so I could show him how to latch!" He took it seriously and said it would be amazing if we could get their son to breastfeed. He ran up the stairs and woke up my friend and asked her how she felt. To my surprise she was completely fine with it & eager to see if it would help. As their son started to fuss I held him to me and cautiously helped him to latch. I must admit I was incredibly nervous and felt a bit guilty, I felt that this was my son's breast and as if I was "cheating" on him. It was difficult but only took a minute or so to get him to latch. As he eagerly nursed I told my friends husband to get my friend quickly. As she hurried downstairs I said I would switch their son from my breast to hers and see if he would latch. It was a little bit difficult but he latched easier than he did with me. They said it was the first time their son ever latched without a nipple shield and without screaming and fussing. Even the lactation consultants at the hospital couldn’t help her latch him on. As she nursed her son quietly, her husband looking on in awe, I quietly sat back. Seeing them all together having a beautiful moment at 3am was heartwarming, and I was overwhelmed. I felt so overjoyed that she was able to have that bond and emotional experience with her son. She was able to continue breastfeeding successfully for a short time and even though her supply wasn’t enough, I was so happy for her to have that time with her son. While I can’t imagine myself getting into that situation again however, I was so happy I was able to help them that night.

Jackie 22, 1 son Aiden 4.5 months

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting Started

The gift of breastfeeding…

It occurred to me while reading the raw emotion of a friend’s words on the end of breastfeeding, that there are all these tips out there on how to breastfeed, and how to wean. But there really aren’t any tips on the emotional effects of breastfeeding, stopping breastfeeding, and the simple gift it provides both mom and baby. So I started a blog about this… and would love to hear your stories. Stories about the simple ways in which breastfeeding changed your lives, how breastfeeding changed you as a person, your story of ending breastfeeding. Any memory, favorite moment, joys, sadness, and troubles you experienced in your time as a breastfeeding mom. Even if you tried to breastfeed, but it didn't happen for you, please share. Really anything you want to share – I would love to read them.

Email me your story. I can put them all together into this blog – Simple Gift – Stories from Breastfeeding Mamas. Anonymous or first name and age only – please include the number of children you have too and their ages. I am not doing this for monetary gain, just for personal reading pleasure, and to share it with others as they embark on the end of their breastfeeding journey. Thanks for sharing your story.