Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Breastfeeding Journey Ends

It's been three weeks since I have nursed my son. He never tries anymore and I really think he's forgotten all about it. Hallelujah. I was ready to be done. The teeth for one reason. Plus, I really wasn't producing anymore. I think my body was ready to be done. There was a time though when I thought I wouldn't be able to nurse him, a few months ago (my supply was lessening), and I was so upset about it. It really has been quite a rollercoaster of a journey for me.

It shouldn't be hard. It's what our bodies were made for- creating and sustaining tiny little bodies. But it was hard. At first anyway. It's one of the things I'm most proud of in my life actually. It was hard and I stuck with it. So not like me. (Ask my husband or my parents, they'll tell you I'm a quitter)

The first time I nursed Will I really had no idea what to do and he didn't either. He was not a good latcher and I was clumsy. We were in the hospital for 4 days and I used the lactation consultants many times. Because he was having blood sugar issues, feeding was very important. I nursed on each side, or at least tried to- he was so sleepy and hard to keep awake. Then we topped him off with milk I had pumped in a bottle.

Once we left the hospital, I had some serious postpartum anxiety. I was terrified and so stressed out about feeding him. Steven was there for every single feeding that whole first week. I called the lactation consultant hotline constantly, as well as every breastfeeding mom friend I have, and was online researching as well. I had been warned so many times that breastfeeding would be painful. I was expecting that. I was not expecting to be so worried about not being able to see whether or not my baby was actually eating. At least with a bottle you can they are eating and see how much they ate. With breastfeeding you have no idea. I was so crazy with worry that he wasn't eating enough and his blood sugar would drop and he'd get sick and something horrible would happen to him. I cried and shook and barely ate and cried some more. It was a really hard time for me. And my husband- he deserves a medal.

Until I took him to his two week appointment and he was up to like 10 pounds. Somehow he gained a ton of weight even though he only nursed for a few minutes at a time. The anxiety began to lessen and I was less afraid each day.

It was painful. VERY painful. Grip the edge of the chair and hold back tears while the little barracuda chomped away painful. But the pain faded too and we learned how to do things.

It was great for weight loss. I got down to like 17 pounds lighter than I'd been before getting pregnant. (After deliver I lost a total of almost 55 pounds!) That can also be attributed to having to give up all dairy for a few months b/c Will seemed to be sensitive to it. That was hard too.

It went great, then not great, then I had more than enough milk and then barely any to back to normal... up and down. But I stuck with it for 11 months. I'm patting myself on the back. It was the first chance I had to put my son first and myself second.

I tell all new moms that I talk to this. It is hard. It's a lot of work, a big commitment, and a big sacrifice sometimes. But it's best for your baby and if I can do it- really anyone can. I'm a weenie and a quitter. I had a good support system.

Last benefit- it's free. That's enough to make me do it all over again. Not any time soon though.


theblans said...

Congratulations! You should definitely be proud of yourself. It really is SO hard. Well written. I look forward to joining you in the freedom of having a weaned baby!

Amber Koter-Puline said...

Thanks for sharing that you had PPA. I hope that you will send any readers who need resources for PMDs to other survivor resources, as well, such as Postpartum Progress. Take good care,
Amber @Beyond Postpartum