>> Monday, January 31, 2011
If someone would have handed me a crystal ball after the first time I nursed Jackson and said I'd still be nursing 20 months later, I would have laughed in their face. To be honest, I talked bad about people that nursed for too long. And by my definition, I reached too long a long time ago.
I mean sure, I was going to nurse or at least give it a try. I had to give it a try. I was promised that it would help me loose the baby weight, and that was enough for me! Did I mention that I'm lazy and just the thought of working out exhausts me?!?
With that said, nursing did not start off easy. Jackson and I got off to a rough start. His latch sucked, literally. My nipples cracked and it was down right painful. Every Lactation Consultant I talked to kept saying it shouldn't hurt if I was doing it right.
Well, how do you do it right?!? I'm still not sure that's something someone can tell you. And I can't tell you the times that I just showed up at the LC office in panic. Nursing hurt, and it hurt bad. Numerous nights I would cringe when it was time to nurse, again. The pain would shoot down through my toes.
However, my crazy hormones made me feel like I had something to prove. No pain, no gain, right?!? There was no way I was going to let my body fail me. I may not have been able to get pregnant the good ol' fashion way, but dammit, I was going to breastfeed!
And with some positive reinforcement, some helpful advice, and by the grace of God, we got it. Jackson learned to open his mouth and latch that beautiful latch you see in the books. We found the position that worked best for us. And we fell in love with our time together.
I was never an "on-demand" nurser, which I actually think helped us. I always knew I was going back to work and would have to stick to a schedule. My only regret is that I didn't start Jackson on a set schedule earlier. For us, schedule is key! When Jackson ate, he ate. He was hungry and it was time.
As Jackson got older we spaced out our feeding times. From every two hours, to three, to four...etc. When Jackson seemed to be ready to drop a session, we'd gradually drop it. He would always nurse for shorter periods of time when he got ready to drop that feeding. I'd just help him along, which helped me too. For example, when it was time to drop the middle of the night feeding I knew because he'd play more then he'd nurse. So, I'd nurse for shorter periods of time until we got down to just a few minutes on each side. After a few nights of this, he'd sleep through the feeding and so would I, without engorgement!!!
Somewhere over the last 6 months Jackson was down to only nursing in the morning and before bed. When he was a little over 1.5 years old, I decided that the morning needed to be dropped. I waited until after he recovered from his surgery, and gradually nursed for shorter and shorter periods of time. Looking back, I wish I would have dropped this feeding a long time ago. I became dependent on it to start my day and was waking him up. Now, he's sleeping until 8:30, straight through the night!
Weaning Jackson completely gave me huge anxiety. My pediatrician is a huge breastfeeding advocate and kept me going for a long time. Breastfeeding never cramped my life or our lifestyle. I believe that Jackson needed all the immunities I could give him. And our bath, boob, bed routine just worked for us.
But, all good things must come to an end, at some point. And that point was the birth of my sister's baby. As much as I wanted to go and help her, I knew that I would have to leave Jackson at home. Any of you with toddlers know that you're little help with them in tow!
Purchasing my plane ticket was the point of no return. I had a little over one week to savor my last breastfeeding times with Jackson. And just like the times before, I nursed for shorter and shorter times. We started around 7 minutes on each side, 5, 3, and ended at 2 minutes. Taking him off my breast at 3 and 2 minutes was hard. He cried for a minute, but I used his blanket to comfort him.
Our last time was special and sweet and easier than I imagined it to be. I certainly soaked up every second of it and let him nurse as long as he wanted.
Poor Mr. had the lucky duty of putting him to bed for the first time without nursing when I was in St. Louis. To both of our surprise, he didn't shed one tear.
Last night was the first night I was back home for bedtime, and it was okay. Instead of nursing, we read a new book. Jackson went down just fine and my breasts only got a little sore.
So my friends, that's how I did it. 20 months of breast feeding. No formula. No milk. No engorgement. No leaking. No pain.
Now, if I could just get Jackson to drink cow's milk, we'd be good:)