My kids are now 5 yrs and 11 yrs and I miss my breastfeeding days! In another week I’ll have one in kindergarten and one in middle school! I never thought I would be that “crazy breastfeeding lady,” but I honestly miss breastfeeding my kids.
With my first child, we weaned him right after his first birthday. No reason really, we would have both been completely happy to continue breastfeeding. I was young and didn’t know any other friends or family members who breastfed; I was breaking new ground for my circle of friends. This was before the internet was wildly popular and before we spent all our waking hours surfing Facebook. My doctors didn’t really provide me with a lot of information, but there was a staff of lactation consultants at the hospital; however I only used them once or twice in the beginning. I relied a LOT on my own instincts as a mother. If you listen to yourself, you’ll be surprised how confident you can become. Even when family members questioned me with those commonly asked questions….
How do you know you’re feeding him enough?
How long do you plan on breastfeeding?
When are you going to introduce solids?
…you know the questions! I just replied confidently that we are fine and this is working really well for us. Sure we had our challenges; he didn’t latch well at the beginning, I had inverted nipples, and oh, one time I bleed from a cracked nipple while pumping at work. Yeah, those are the times when you fill your own mind full of doubts, but I didn’t want to give up! I had a goal in my head to make it to a year; and I was going to make that happen…and I did!
Fast forward 6 years later when I gave birth to my youngest child, and I knew I wanted to keep going, and going, and going! She is our last baby and I wanted to savour every moment of being a mom of an infant. This was going to be the last time I would ever breastfeed a baby and I knew that when it was over I was going to miss it dreadfully. This time around I was mostly working from home but I was traveling a LOT; which meant pumping in airports and boardrooms, toting that valuable white gold home with me, and always making sure there was enough mil in the freezer for while I was gone. Thankfully, when I was home, I had a part-time nanny for the first 6 months and I didn’t have to pump at work. The nanny would bring her to me when she was hungry and it would force me to take a 20 minute break.
We only had a few latch problems at the beginning, but I wasn’t about to let the nurses at the hospital know. My primary nurse was terribly rude and I was ready to go home and let her learn on her own time. I remember telling her a little white lie about how awesome she was doing with nursing; it was easier than with my son, but I still needed to let her practice. I relied heavily on my trusty nipple shield (it worked great for us) for the first few weeks and slowly weaned her off of that and onto the boob! She was such an easy baby! I was much more confident the second time around too and was armed with an entire stash of nursing tanks for breastfeeding in public. I no longer ran out to the car to hide; I was going to be confident and feed her when she was hungry! I never was one to make a big scene or allow my boob to flash; but I was very confident in public. I even attempted to breastfeed at a Disney water park in a bikini; which for the record was very awkward (aside from the pool chairs, there are no private areas for moms at the water parks). Since we lived in Florida this time, I actually became quite good at breastfeeding on the beach, too! Hint: It’s all about staging your chair just right so you’re not on display! Back then (2009-2010) I was online a lot more and I even blogged about our breastfeeding accomplishments!
Then my daughter turned two! I honestly was not emotionally ready to wean her, but my husband and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on extended breastfeeding. It was best for our relationship and for our family to wean. It really wasn’t a big deal for her; she was old enough that it was more of a comfort than a need. I felt very proud that I made it an entire year longer than with my first. I still wear that mommy-badge proudly; in the hopes of encouraging just one mom to stick with breastfeeding just one more day!
One day you’ll look back and remember how sweet and innocent those breastfeeding days were. How relaxing breastfeeding can be when you are focused on the most important thing at that moment. How incredibly full your boobs were (seriously, nature’s boob job) and how much easier it was to lose that baby weight! One day, when you’re chasing after a 5 year old who has been up for 17 hours (with no signs of tiring anytime soon) you’ll be wishing you could just lay in bed and nurse her to sleep just one more time!
Babies are little for such a short period of time. Be confident in yourself and find something that you love about this time. For me, it was breastfeeding.