Our Journey goes like this:
Sunday, September 13, 2009 just 20 minutes after the birth of my daughter “W” at 11:50pm was my first experience breastfeeding. W took to nursing fairly well however there was a nazi nurse that practically forced formula down her throat while I was showering. My husband was too chicken to say no. I discovered this is a very common occurrence in hospitals. Nurses mean well but they have no idea how that jeopardizes the nursing relationship.
At W’s first doctors appointment that Friday the doctor wanted us to supplement with formula since W had went from 8lbs at birth to 6lbs 13oz by that Friday. I followed the doctors suggestion and supplementing ALMOST put a hault to our breastfeeding relationship as W got nipple confused and practically refused the breast. After doing a bit of research I discovered I shouldn’t have supplemented at all. Most likely due to a c-section W’s weight decreased drastically because of fluids. I fed W formula for three days and never fed it to her again. This small hiccup almost cost us one of the most beautiful experiences.
When W had just turned four months I had experienced a Gall Bladder infection and had to get it removed. Having gone through all the breastfeeding education I learned to be empowered while in the hospital. I demanded breastfeeding safe antibiotics, I also demanded that my nursling be able to visit me. My husband brought W to me just after surgery. I was happy my daughter’s belly was full. Though since having never introduced the bottle after W’s first week of life she refused drinking out of it which made the middle of the night feedings less than desirable for my husband. Thank goodness I was only in the hospital two nights. Often times you hear about women having stopped breastfeeding because they took antibiotics, either the doctors said not to nurse or the antibiotics dried their milk. If these women would have had a little more information they could have avoided halting their breastfeeding days. This makes me very sad.
At 6 months W started solids. We dropped two feedings a day which was my first bout of sadness knowing one day she’ll stop all together. A lof women stop here and think breastfeeding isn’t necessary any more because their child is on solids and also because the doctor says they can introduce cow’s milk. At six months of age a child should MOSTLY be nourished by breastmilk, NOT solids and definitely NOT cow’s milk.
At 9 months old W cracked her first tooth. I have a few friends that proclaim their breastfeeding days will stop once their children have teeth. There’s so much misinformation and I keep reassuring them that it doesn’t hurt.
W chugged along nursing away and after her first birthday I did the only weaning I would do which was to cut out the middle of the night feedings. I did this to encourage her to learn how to get back to sleep on her own and also so she didn’t get cavities in her teeth since milk is a big cause of them. We had three sleepless nights however since we also bedshare/cosleep there weren’t that many tears. By her first birthday she nursed at 4am, 9am, just before nap time, after nap time, before dinner and before bed.
By 16 months she had self weaned to morning upon waking up, just before nap time and just before bed. Each week she would ask for milk less and less and by 18 and a half months had cut down to nursing just before nap time.
The last time W nursed was just before nap time on Sunday April 17 at 1:15pm. She nursed for 5 minutes. I held her in my arms while sitting at my desk. I watched her eyes drift off to sleep as they had so many times before.
I learned a lot in my breastfeeding journey and it has definitely pushed me in to breastfeeding advocacy. I learned an immense amount from www.kellymom.com and I hope that I can help educate as many new mom’s as I come across.
These past 581 days have truly been one of the most beautiful experiences I had in my life. It has been quite amazing to see this child grow right before my eyes…first referring to the milk as mmm mmm, then mew, then mak, and finally night night mak. I feel so spiritually connected to my daughter and I feel so proud to have given her the best nutrition I could possibly give her. Although I am very sad we will not share this experience anymore I look forward to all the rest of the experiences we will share together as mother and child.