“Are you going to breastfeed your baby or bottle feed him?” my nurse asked me this when I arrived to the hospital in labor.
“Breastfeed!” I responded without hesitation “and no pacifiers please.”
Rather or not I would breastfeed my son was never a question in my mind. I always planned to. I remember mimicking my mother when I was 4 years old, holding my baby doll up to my tiny chest the way I saw my mother nurse by baby sister. I’d read about all the benefits to both baby and mom. I watched my best friend breastfeed my god daughter. When my Lamaze instructor informed the class of a free breastfeeding lesson at the hospital I signed myself up immediately. I could not wait to do the most natural thing in the world, breastfeed my baby.
I had my breast pump and storage bags weeks before Kaleb arrived. I would nurse and pump and my baby would be fat, healthy, and happy!
When my son was born, the nurse placed him skin to skin and he immediately started rooting for my breast and began suckling. It was like magic! Just like I’d seen on the videos. I had done it!
Well little did I know the struggle that would ensue over the next 14 weeks. Breastfeeding was not as easy as I imagined it would be. My son didn’t gain weight as expected and I had to supplement early on, I was heartbroken. I felt like a complete failure. I began seeing a lactation consultant for help and advice dragging my son’s father with me. My days literally consisted of nursing and then pumping every 90 minutes. I became obsessed with my son’s weight. I never slept. I cried a lot. I was miserable.
When my son was 4 months I started working again. I was able to pump with a hospital grade pump on a better schedule and my milk supply began to flow. I was able to collect and save more milk than before. I would nurse Bean (that’s what I call my son now) in the morning when I woke up and then again right before I left for work. I would pump twice at work. Once I arrived at my parent’s house to pick Bean up I nursed him immediately, and then again at home when I put him to sleep. And of course, throughout the night whenever he woke up. My life still consisted of breastfeeding and pumping, but now I felt like I knew what I was doing and I was seeing results. I was bringing home enough milk for him to have while I was at work. Eventually, I no longer need to supplement with formula.
Nursing Bean was such a joy! I absolutely loved feeding my son with ease. Our bond grew stronger and I gained a new sense of self confidence and pride in knowing that I had joined the ranks of breastfeeding moms.
I would soon reach 6 months of breastfeeding, so set a new goal for nine months. Nine turned into twelve, which turned into eighteen. Today I am near 23 months of breastfeeding. Over the months I have found breastfeeding to be a lifesaver. The literal fix to any of Bean’s problems.
The purpose of this new feature is not to tell you about my breastfeeding journey. Quite the opposite, I want to write about my weaning journey. I have found that the only thing more challenging that becoming successful in breastfeeding is to successfully stop breastfeeding!
My son turns 2 on January 11. I sincerely hope that January 10 will be the last day I breastfeed Bean. I’ve been “weaning” him for months now and I honestly see no end to it. So here is to making an honest effort and recording it for my own accountability and for your entertainment.
Weaning my toddler, 40 days and 40 nights.