All Moms deserve lots of trophies and recognition. I just wanted to say congrats to ALL mamas on nursing their babes...whether the nursing relationship was 3 hours, 3 days, 3 months, or 3 years plus...I think parenting is THE HARDEST JOB EVER. NOTHING can prepare anyone on what it is like to be a parent. And mothers in particular, because, let's face it, even working moms do the traditional brunt of the housework, cooking, and childcare. But I think especially, nursing Moms deserve a round of applause because in a bottle-feeding world, we don't know what to expect and sometimes feel a need to defend our choices.
I posted a status on Facebook that I was excited to be coming up on our 2 year nursing anniversary with the approach of Claire's birthday. I did not mean this as a bragging insult to any other Mommas. Instead, I was just trying to say I am proud of myself for sticking with it. So if being proud of myself is bragging, then I guess I was bragging, but I wasn't trying to be. We had a rough start. I didn't know how people could nurse a whole year...or more! When Claire was born, the doctor used the vacuum extractor as she came out face-up. If I had been a smaller woman with a smaller frame, she would have totally been a C-Section baby. PLUS...my water had been broken more than 30 hours ago, etc...so anyways...why does this matter? Well, because her head freaking hurt and she would not nurse on both sides. She would only nurse on the left side, which is totally understandable because it hurt when the other side of her head (where the suction was). Anyways, we dealt with a sleepy (drugged up?), non-latching newborn baby. And when she did latch, she did not latch well...so she didn't get much milk out...so she NURSED CONSTANTLY for about the first 6 weeks. And she didn't latch right and I had sore nipples, bleeding and scabby...until one day I noticed the scab chunk was gone when Claire pulled off. The joke is always bleeding nipples give the baby some extra iron. Which...ewww...but anyways...she burped up the scab. I was glad she didn't not digest it, but I will stop talking about that grossness.
Another thing I dealt with was her getting too much foremilk as I was obsessed with switching sides. I would do 10 minutes on one side, 10 minutes on the other, then if she wanted more, it was back to the other. WHY? Well, this is what the hospital told me to do. And I wanted to take their "advice." Well their advice sucked. It was wrong. Well, she was never getting the hindmilk which is richer in fat. It took me about 2 months until I figured out I didn't need to time it, and I just went with the flow. In the hospital we were offered a nipple shield as Claire would not latch because she was asleep...DUH! Thankfully, from Cherish's experiences at LLL that I heard about, I refused the nipple shield. We were offered formula. The nurse even went as far as going to get a little bottle of it, and put some formula on my breast to "tempt" her to want to nurse. UGH. It ticks me off that I can't say she "never" had a drop of formula because I think a couple drops got in her mouth of that. She did not wake up that session and I threw that premade bottle of formula in the trash, angry that we'd probably been charged $12 or something unreal for it.
UGH. ANYWAYS...we had other struggles. She went from 7.15 at birth to about 6.9...some weight loss is normal, but even more weight loss is normal after an induction and IV meds like I had (pit, antibiotics, and some other painkillers to bring down my BP because it shot up so high from the pain of the pit/backlabor, etc.) Had I not known better, I might have supplemented because who wants to let their baby lose weight. So we also dealt with biting and bloody nipples at around 12 months, at which point I KNEW why women weaned for biting. But I figured out what worked for her to get her to stop. I didn't have a choice...she would not take solids. At 15 months Dr. W. labeled her at FTT (failure to thrive) which I laugh about now. NOW I think I had an oversupply because she gained weight sooo fast in the beginning. She was up to 19 lbs by 4 months! And 24 lbs by 9 months. Well at that point she grew taller, but her weight stayed the same then dropped. She was 23.5 lbs at 15 months. And Dr. W. did not like that she was not eating. Ha...of course she was eating! Every 2 hours plus. I drove myself crazy about this for awhile, but then decided she was fine. She was biting me when she didn't want to nurse because I was obsessed with trying to make sure she ate more. She finally clicked at about 18 months at Christmas and started eating. By 19 months at Holly's wedding shower, she was snatching candies off the table and cramming her little mouth full. Apparently, I just hadn't been offering anything she liked. :) When we go in for her 2 year check, the doc will probably tell me she is obese or something. LOL!
We've had days where she has only nursed at waking up, nap-time and bed-time, but it is usually more like she is still nursing at least 6 times a day and twice at night (AT LEAST!) and sometimes I wonder if she will ever wean. But then I remember...she is weaning! At any point when any other solids or liquids (water/juice/cow's milk/etc.) are given, weaning has started. Weaning just has to be a REALLY REALLY slow process to help the mom from becoming engorged which can lead to mastitis and/or plugged ducts...and the child needs to be weaned gently with love for obvious reasons. Whenever I have posted or will post about breastfeeding, I don't want anyone who has ever had trouble nursing to feel guilty or like they need to defend themselves. I know sometimes I've been in a situation where I feel like I need to defend my reasons for continuing to nurse for so long. I guess if you think about anything too much it will drive you crazy.
I know lots of ladies have had bad luck with LLL, which breaks my heart. Read this post and the comments here to see what I mean: http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/06/22/lll-is-too/ But we also have to remember, that's like saying, well, I don't like public education, because Mrs. Smith who was my son's 1st grade teacher hit him (or whatever). LLL is a huge INTERNATIONALE organisation, and we have to remember each meeting is different. All the experiences we bring will change conversations at these meetings. And just because one meeting didn't go well for a person, does not mean that the whole organization sucks. I have found great friends there and really enjoy going to the meetings.
Anyway, I think it all goes back to we are all just looking out for ourselves and what works best for our families. Nursing works for ours, so that's what we do. I'm signing off for the moment!