Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Long to Breastfeed

Posted by Lauren Eggers at 7:50 AM
My story on breastfeeding encompassed over 2 long years. I originally had only planned to nurse Yaya for 2 months...
Breast Mother

I do advocate breastfeeding whenever possible. However, I'm really not one of those people who will haggle anyone about it. What you choose, whatever works for you and you baby, is best. Number one importance is keeping your sanity and not feeling guilty about one decision or the other!

My story started long before Yaya was born. Originally I figured I'd "give it a try" and breast feed her. I soon realized I would have less of a choice about it then most people. Our funds became so limited, and formula is well... Expensive!

Breast feeding accessories are ALSO very expensive. Friends and family were more willing to gift physically usable items like nursing pillows, nursing covers, bottles, then say, gift tubs of formula. Which makes sense, usually once a family picks a brand of formula that works for them, they stick to it. More-so than all that my insurance was willing to gift me a top of the line Medela pump IF I breastfed the first 6 weeks. I made a promise to breastfeed for 2 months exclusively, then to do combined feeding with formula and pumped only milk.

Fast forward to after all the wonderful, sweaty, painful birth stuff.

Here she was, the most frail creature I'd ever seen still covered in birth snot. They placed the 17" long baby on me and cleaned her up after, thinking I'd like to hold this wet smelly thing (I was still quite exhausted, adrenaline still pumping, and I was kind of surprised). I shot a look around the room like are you sure this is mine? When I looked back her eyes met mine and suddenly like hitting a brick wall at 90mph I burst out crying quite loudly. I was not sad, I was overwhelmed with sudden emotions. Fear, Happiness, and most of all absolute pure undeniable LOVE. Love like I'd never felt before. 

The rest of the story  of how hard it REALLY was I shall speak of later on. It is quite long, and quite a struggle.

After she hit one year old people began asking when we were going to stop nursing. It's not like we hadn't tried over the months. She refused bottles all together. She hated formula. The lovely $300+ breast pump from my insurance company sat barely touched... It took me 12 hours to pump 4oz of milk. We saved frozen milk for emergencies only.

Now she was old enough for cow's milk and I was beginning to feel like a cow. I didn't realize this wasn't the end of it. She, of course, was not a fan of actual cow's milk...

Warning: Boobs are for food.
Another year passed. I definitely was a cow now, only a skinny cow. I lost most of my pregnancy weight. My breasts went from a C cup pre pregnancy, to over a DD-DDD after 5-6 months of nursing, to maybe a B-C cup.

My daughter was on mostly solids and finally willing to drink cow's milk during the daytime. She only breast fed for comfort, especially before bed. It still ruined any intimacy my fiancé might have with my chest. I was still producing breastmilk, obviously. 

Most of the family was not supportive, but they had long given up. They instead made jabs at me and my daughter. Which only hurt both of us emotionally. I did have supporters, I knew many people who breastfed until their children were 4 or 5, but this was getting out of hand for me. I didn't WANT to breastfeed that long, I already felt it had gone too far.

We tried a lot of things. Eventually using bitter items on my nipples to avert her tastes. I told her Mommy's breast milk had gone sour. It worked quite well, along with wearing many layers of clothing to bed to make it hard for her to sneak on while I slept. It was an easy break for me, not so for her. 

Eventually, after several weeks she got the picture. Not that she didn't still attempt occasionally for months. However, now my breasts were dry and tiny. Barely filling in an A cup (this changed again  several months later). It took time, but I began feeling like I missed it. Our special time together. I knew, that despite missing breastfeeding, I did the right thing for us.

I won't lie, it still took a long long time before I'd let my fiancé even think about touching my breasts again. It felt too weird for a long time. He was sort of upset I didn't feel the disconnect from food source to sexiness right away. However, he still gave me the time I needed to feel less like a cow and more like a "wife" again.

So how long is too long? Really... only you can answer that for yourself. If you decide to do extended breastfeeding, more power to you! I'd highly suggest being prepared for the ups and downs. Also, the fact that everyone has input, you can't make everyone happy. Some will think you've done it too long, others too short. If you're pregnant, don't set a timeline in stone either. Things never work out as planned with motherhood!

 Just listen to your heart.

Only you know what is best for you, and your baby.


The Meditative Mom on October 5, 2010 at 9:03 PM said...

Cute blog! Just popping in from Twitter Moms!


BN Mom on October 14, 2010 at 7:14 PM said...

I think this is a great topic, I wanted to breastfeed with my son and ended up having to pump exclusively because he never latched on properly.

Just popping in from the blog hop!
Maybe you can join my blog too!

Autumn Blues Designs on November 4, 2010 at 11:18 PM said...

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ShicSavers on November 13, 2010 at 1:15 AM said...

I breastfeed my Daughter for 4 months - had to return to work and my Son for 15 months. I believe that when your child is old enough to eat, conduct a conversation and get up from the table go to you and lift your shirt for a drink that is way to old!! (waitress @ 20, yes it happened, little girl was 6!)

I am your newest follower! (from MBC group) ShicSavers.com

Combat Boots Mama on November 21, 2010 at 4:33 AM said...

What a wonderful post. Reading it, I remembered how wonderful it was to nurse my babies. My first child couldn't latch properly and it hurt like you know what. But it got better and I loved how he looked up at me as he nursed. Eyes of love. I only nursed him for two months because I got sent away for a training.

My second son took to it right away. I fed him exclusively for only 6 weeks but did a combined breast/formula feeding for 6 months.

Thanks for posting this, it brought back beautiful memories.

Joyful Mommy on November 24, 2010 at 6:25 PM said...

Hi! Loved reading your post! I am happily breastfeeding my almost two-year-old ADOPTED daughter - Yes, it IS possible! I'm your newest follower and would love it if you stopped by for a visit...


Emma Riley Sutton on January 24, 2011 at 4:32 AM said...

I was able to nurse my daughter for 49 months. She and I were blessed to be able to share such a precious time together. In three days, we will not have nursed for two years. We both still miss it. She's dealing with it better than I am!

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