Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Breastfeeding Journey

Both kids are taking naps! It's a small miracle to get them to sleep at the same time, so the stars must be aligned or the moon must be full or the universe might be telling me to go play the lotto. Something like that. Anyway, today I want to write about my breastfeeding journey. Why? Because right now the little man is doing something of a nursing strike. It doesn't seem to be a full time strike, just a daytime strike. At night, he nurses just fine. During the day, he arches his back, pulls away, and looks all around like the whole room is more interesting than me (and, ok, it might be). I am trying so hard to enjoy every moment of feeding him at night, afraid it might be our last nursing session. I read that babies typically don't wean until 18-24 months. Anything before that isn't really weaning, it's just a strike. I don't know if that is true, but I hope it is. My time feeding Jack is so nice and peaceful (and, let's be honest, cheap and easy).

Looking back to Lily's infancy, I wasn't sure what I wanted out of breastfeeding, only that I wanted to try it. She was something of a lazy sucker, and fell asleep whenever I fed her, so the beginning was rough. Because she was born in June, I had about 9 weeks home with her for the summer before school started. This meant I would go from breastfeeding to mostly pumping in a fairly short amount of time. Lily was an ok breastfeeder. We stuck it out for 2 months, and, with school coming, I decided to exclusively pump. Now, this isn't as easy as it sounds. You are strapped to a pump every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes a session. I was lucky though, and was able to pump enough for her (only having to supplement for a very short amount of time) for the first year of her life. After I finished pumping for her I found out I was pregnant again, so the time between breastfeeding Lily and Jack was really only 9 months.

When Jack came I was determined to not be a full time pumper. It would be too much to sit down for 20 minutes every three hours with a newborn and almost 2 year old. I was resolved to breastfeed him and only pump to build a freezer stash. So far, things have worked wonderfully. Jack has been a great eater, so we have has a really good thing going. I stocked up on lanolin (something I didn't do so well the first time), and things have been smooth sailing since day 1. My freezer stash is over 500 ounces (holy cow (ha, cow!)! I thought it was around 300, and then I counted...I was wrong), so I know I have a nice amount built up for when I return to work. My goal, again, is to get to a year. Ideally, I would like to get him through next year's flu season, so that might be a tad over a year. I really believe my breastfeeding Lily kept her illnesses to a minimum during her first year, even with her being in daycare.

I didn't think Jack's strike would weight so heavily on me, but it is. Maybe it's because I feel like he is growing so quickly. I just want him to stay this little infant for a little longer (and yes, he will, he is only 5 months old...but it feels like time just goes in fast forward these days). The time I get to hold him at night, and imprint his little features-- little hands, little feet-- into my brain are just so important to me. Even though waking to feed him at 1 am can be so tiring, I love it. I love his weight in my arms. I love his dreamy little smile when he sees me. I love our "us" time. He will never get to experience being an only child, so this time is really the most one-on-one time he gets (unless Lily is napping).

Of course, Breastfeeding also serves some practical purposes- I don't need to pay for formula (important during the penny pinching summer months), and I don't need to make bottles to travel with (so much easier!). I hope my guy will get back on track soon (I think he will, he is doing better today). This journey is not the easiest one-- I do think that the natural act of breastfeeding is really anything but natural (at least, at first)-- but it is the best journey I have taken (with both kids).

Are you on this journey? What is your story?


  1. I'm a breastfeeding mom too. However, I had a few problems the first time. I wasn't producing a good amount for the first two weeks which resulted to her loosing more weight as expected. I had to pump because of that and I needed to give her formula to be safe. That was before. We're doing well now. She's 4 months and breastfeeding is easy as pie now. :) And I know what you mean. They grow too fast, right? I'll surely miss the times when they're still a tiny baby.

  2. I had a lot of issues with Jacob. He had a hard time latching correctly at first. The lactation nurse said it was because he had a high palette. I had to use one of those shields for a few weeks until he got the hang of it. Then there would be days when he wasn't interested... and then days when he couldn't get enough.

    Even with all of that, I wish I could have nursed Jacob longer than I did, but pumping at work was becoming more and more inconvenient. So when Jacob decided it was time to stop... well... I didn't push it. If we ever have another child, hopefully I'll be able to nurse that one a little longer.