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Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Breastfeeding Year in Review

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with Levi, and co-hosted by The Slacker Mom, and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. Visit the links below and link up your own story or leave a comment!

Last week's theme was about passing the torch. I wrote about my wish that mothers really embrace motherhood and breastfeeding and realize that they can truly accomplish anything in life. This week's theme is about milestones.

So many moms set breastfeeding milestones: They will breastfeed for six months, one year, two years... Like most things in life, I didn't have any plans when it came to breastfeeding. I just knew I was going to do it. Because of that, I didn't really have any expectations, either. I guess I expected it to feel natural and be easy. I expected my kids to nurse for about two years. I didn't expect to ever nurse two kids at a time or for breastfeeding to be such an emotional experience.

Nursing and working full time with Baby T was challenging at times. I had an oversupply and a forceful letdown. Baby T had terrible gas. He woke up every 20 minutes to nurse sometimes, and he went through a few nursing strikes when he was sick and teething.I had excess lipase in my breastmilk, and I had to scald all of the milk I pumped before storing it.

But this post isn't about my first year breastfeeding; it's about this past year.

In 2011, I:
  • Nursed a brand-new baby--Little M was born!
  • Coslept comfortably while nursing, getting much more sleep than I had with Baby T. (Even in the hospital, not cosleeping was never an option. I was just too tired to consider anything else. The nurses kept asking to put him back into his bassinet. They never asked me not to cosleep, but they acted as though it was strange for me not to want him in his bassinet.)
  • Tandem nursed a toddler and a newborn.
  • Nursed a toddler as much as if he was a newborn.
  • Went through weaning my toddler. It was a roller coaster. I often questioned the decision to wean. I never thought that I would want to initiate the weaning process, but nursing a toddler and a newborn was challenging. Not nursing a toddler and nursing a newborn was challenging too.
  • Dealt with a forceful letdown but no oversupply issues.
  • Worked on improving Little M's poor latch for the first three months of his life. His mouth was small and he had a severe overbite, so he often lost suction when nursing unless I was holding my breast with my hand and squeezing it into a flat shape so it would fit in his mouth better.
  • Dealt with (and am still dealing with) a baby biting while nursing. Little M is a little more precocious than Baby T was in that area, and he often bites when he doesn't feel like nursing or when he just wants to be playful. He usually only does it once, because my surprised reaction tends to startle him into stopping.
  • Had a few moments when I questioned my supply. I trust my body to make the right amount of milk, and I know it does, but compared with the oversupply I had with Baby T, sometimes I felt like I barely had any milk for Little M. And Little M is much smaller than Baby T was... it's hard not to compare. Whenever I questioned my supply, I would nurse Little M more often.
  • Spent a lot of time nursing in a wrap or sling.
  • Nursed at a breastfeeding cafe put on by the Port City Breastfeeding Project every month.
  • Became a childbirth educator and guided moms through the process of breastfeeding.
Little M will turn one next month, and his nursing is still going strong. He nurses at least five times a day and at least twice during the night. Some nights he latches on for an hour while we both sleep. I don't expect him to stop nursing any time soon, but he is a much more distracted nurser than Baby T ever was, and he eats a lot of solid food, so I am afraid that he will stop nursing sometime during this next year. Maybe I'll be ready for him to stop. I don't think so, but I really don't know.

That's the beauty of breastfeeding--because I never had any expectations, it's the one time in parenting that I'm more or less comfortable going with the flow. If only the coming years of parenting could be so easy.


Karen said... Best Blogger Tips

This post was very interesting to me. I am still nursing Eli who will turn 2 in March. I think he will not be ready to wean for a good while yet as he still nurses about 10 times a day. We are discussing the pros and cons of trying for baby #2 soon, so learning of other mother's tandem nursing experiences fascinates me. Thanks for sharing yours!

theslackermom said... Best Blogger Tips

You have had quite the year. I think one of the best things about this hop is the ability to go back and look at each week and each phase of the breastfeeding journey and see the ups and downs, the triumphs and the bittersweet endings. We've got a good group here.

Judah was a relentless biter- there was no tip or trick that could convince him to stop. He's lucky he's so cute!

All Natural Katie said... Best Blogger Tips

I really enjoyed reading all of your accomplishments! It is great to learn from others who are doing the right thing!

Tmuffin said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks! That's exactly how I feel, too.

Tmuffin said... Best Blogger Tips

I know, right? The look Little M gives me when he bites makes up for it. But it hurts like a &*(@#$!

Tmuffin said... Best Blogger Tips

No problem! It's definitely emotional, and has both pros and cons. I honestly still can't say whether tandem nursing has more pros or more cons. It's just something where you do what feels right for you. It's especially hard when your toddler nurses a lot. Baby T did too. But they get old quickly, and are soon distracted by other things!

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