05 August 2012

Thoughts on Breastfeeding

It's funny...I'd sort of tossed the idea of doing another post about breastfeeding, but hadn't done it.  And then a couple of nights ago I saw my {udderly* lovely and slightly hippie**} friend post some pictures of herself breastfeeding her 2 month old outside of a Victoria's Secret store for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and I decided I ought to get my thoughts down on {virtual} paper. So here we go...

I nursed Olivia until she was almost 2 years old.  You can read about my holycraptimetowean post here.  I nursed her a lot longer than I expected - 20 months - and I was still nursing her at least 3 times a day.  That's over a year and a half of pretty hard core nursing.  I wish I could say I loved every minute of it because that would make me sound like Super Mom, but I didn't.  I loved most of it and I am SO glad that I did it and was successful with it {because, man, I struggled with it that first week or so}, but towards the end, I was done with it.  {And, then I wasn't...}

Olivia was a twiddler.  Is that the right word?  I just googled it and Urban Dictionary has a completely different definition for it.  But, that's what I'm gonna call it.  She would play with my DoNotDisturb,  while nursing from the other.  And it drove me crazy.  It was uncomfortable, annoying and was anything, but a sweet, loving, bonding experience.  To this day, she still grabs for a boob when she is sad, scared or tired.  And, the girl doesn't discriminate - she grabs my mom's and David's more often than mine.  Mine are off limits these days.

But, back to the nursing or maybe just more on boobs.  Right after I quit nursing Olivia, I found out I was pregnant with Sydney.  My poor dears hardly had a chance to, um, bounce back before they were changing all over again.

With Sydney, the nursing just happened so naturally.  The fear or anxiety I had when Olivia was first born was gone.  I knew I could do it and I knew how to do it.  And Sydney was either a more efficient nurser or I produced more milk the second time around because the girl gained weight so much more quickly than her big sister.  And while it was easier nursing the second time around, it was also more difficult. {Say what?}  With Olivia, I could nurse her anytime, anywhere.  And I did.  Remember this post, where at 4 months she had pretty much been breastfed everywhere from the side of the highway to the top of the USS Midway in San Diego?  But, with Sydney, it wasn't that easy.  I had a 2 1/2 year old to watch/take care of/play with/feed/put down for a nap at the same time that my little newbie needed feeding.  Thankfully, I had a husband who worked from home and a supportive set of grandparents who were around enough to help out with that.  But, I can honestly say, there were times my lady bits just came out in the playroom or the bathroom or wherever Olivia happened to be when Sydney needed feeding. {Sorry, Dad.}

True confession:  I sometimes nursed her even when she didn't need it just so I could take a rest.  Like my friend Sarah said, "Breastfeeding is God's way of telling a Mama she needs to take a break."

All that said, when Sydney turned around four months old, I started thinking to myself, 8 more months of breastfeeding. And, I continued that countdown for several months.  I hate that those thoughts went through my head, but they did.  It is such a huge commitment.  And, I think I especially felt that way since I wanted to be able to go out and do things with Olivia without worrying that Sydney was starving while hanging out with my parents.  {She never took a bottle which worked out perfectly since I hate pumping.}  But, now that the year mark is approaching, I have to admit I am a little sad about stopping.

Why stop then, you ask?  Well, for starters, David and I are going to San Diego at the beginning of September {for a Dave Matthews Band concert} and it will be our first solo trip since Olivia was born.  We are talking almost 3 1/2 years without even a full night away to ourselves.  It's time.  And, if that wasn't enough motivation, let's add in that she pulls at my mouth like a madwoman while she nurses {only slightly less bothersome than the twiddling}.

So, with less than 3 weeks before she turns one {don't ask me how that is even possible}, I am down to nursing her 2-3 times a day.  She is now, generally, sleeping through the night.  I nurse her in the mornings and at night, but if she wakes up super early and falls back to sleep, I will nurse her twice in the mornings.  The fact that we are down to only 2 feedings is really impressive, seeing as how just a couple of weeks ago I was nursing her before her 2 naps and afterwards as well.  {Yes, I nursed my babies to sleep. Don't judge me.}

I feel like we have come such a long way - from feeling like there was no way I was going to be able to make it through those first days of painful feedings to the sleepless nights where it seemed like all my baby girls did was eat&sleep&eat some more to being almost completely finished nursing forever.  Sydney is my last baby {at least, my last biological baby} and while I'm looking forward to a little more freedom, I am definitely a little sad about giving it up.  My lovely lady humps, however, are probably pretty glad.

An oldie, but goodie.

* Pun intended.
** Maren, I love you, but girl you know you are a hippie.  

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