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23 Months of Breastfeeding

24 Feb

IMG_3766snuggled in nursing on our family trip to Acadia National Park

Today is kind of a sad day but I’m taking it in stride. After 23-months of exclusive breastfeeding, my toddler has self-weaned. Earlier this morning, she snuggled up next to me in bed like she does most mornings and tried to nurse but after a moment shook her head sadly and said, “this no working” while she signed “broken.” It was shattering. It’s the end of an era.

I still have some milk coming in actually but I think we’re closing the chapter on almost 2 years of exclusive breast feeding. As much as I’ve longed for a break and to have my body back before our second child arrives late this spring, I’m finding it bittersweet.

Weaning my toddler couldn’t have been easier since I let her take the lead and wasn’t in any rush. We were down to only morning nursing session as of December with occasional nursing during the day or in the evening on very rare occurrences. Only in the last month and a half or so have I gently encouraged stretching out nursing a bit if she didn’t really seem interested in the morning. It was often as easy as asking if she wanted to go make cinnamon toast for breakfast or build a castle with her blocks.

I will share that as we passed the year and few months and then the year and a half point, I did feel a little uncomfortable sharing that I was still breastfeeding my daughter. I often rolled my eyes or made a joke about it or made to sound exasperated if it came up in conversation among family or other moms but the truth is, I am really happy to have made it well past my goal of a year.

When I remember back to how much we struggled in the beginning and how often I wanted to give up; of the pain, the bleeding, the tears, the exhaustion, the toll on my spirit and body having to respond to the grueling routine of being the sole food source in those veery early months, it feels like such an accomplishment and one I’m incredibly proud of and want to celebrate. That those dark early days and physically demanding first few months gave way to so many beautiful moments snuggling, doting on and adoring my daughter, well… I can’t begin to express my gratitude for having been lucky enough to experience them.

 

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Breastfeeding: 12 Week Update

20 Jun

I am SO happy I stuck with breastfeeding. We’re doing so well, it’s hard to remember how close I was to throwing in the towel less than a month ago. I love nursing Emilia. LOVE IT. Do you hear me? I love feeding her.

We turned a corner when we finally got the hang of side-lying nursing. We tried it here and there when she was much smaller, but I don’t think her nursing abilities (or her mouth, or tongue…who knows) were advanced enough for it then. Now we have it down. The midwife who runs the mom’s group I belong to shared some great tips with our group recently for how she nursed in side-lying position with her kids which prompted me to give it another shot. Then, once I had a taste of how comfortable and relaxing it could be, I watched a few YouTube videos for more pointers and picked up some amazing tips, like rolling a receiving blanket into a little log and propping it behind the baby’s back and how to lean forward a bit while on my side to place a support pillow behind my back. Now I absolutely LOVE nursing her. I pull her into bed for her one nighttime feed around 2 or 3:30 AM and she dozes off easily and I slide her back into her co-sleeper. Then repeat again around 5 or 5:30, and then 7:30, when her day has been officially starting lately.


At this last feed of the early morning, she’ll nurse lying beside me either on her back or her side, tummy to tummy with me, while I snooze. Her eyes usually close and her little hand find one of my fingers to grip as she makes these contented, soft “Mmm mmm” noises here and there. My heart just melts. Then, when she’s had enough, she’ll sleepily, gently slip off and nuzzle her nose right into me and relax her body against mine. Here sweet little face looks so peaceful and gorgeous. Occasionally, she’ll smack her lips in the cutest little satisfied way, or throw one arm over her eyes like, “Oh my lawd, this is so good.” It swells my ego in the biggest way, to be very honest! It’s my favorite time with her and I am so grateful that I stuck it out and get to experience these incredible moments with her now.