Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I nursed a baby for 16 months

A couple months ago, when Joony was still nursing around the clock, there seemed to be a wave of blog posts from Moms who were done with breastfeeding (I really hate the word "weaning").  I read one or two of them, and while they were beautifully written and obviously therapeutic for the women who wrote them, it was too much for me to handle and I had to stop.  Now it's my turn to write one, and I've gone back and forth on hitting 'publish' so many times.  I kept crying just looking at the title sitting in my drafts.  Maybe announcing it to the [blog] world makes it feel too official?  Like I can pretend things are still the same if I haven't announced to the internets that they've changed?  That's silly.  Oh well.  I want woman sympathizing and support.
I didn't get the birth I wanted for so many reasons.  I came to peace with it before Joony was born and had a very special experience that was sacred to me (which is why it felt too personal to share here on the blog).  Because of that, I had my heart set on breastfeeding. I never worried too much about it, I just trusted that everything would work as it should. Sure enough, that brand-new Joonybug latched right on and preeeetty much didn't let go for a couple months.  I was in heaven.  Middle of the night feedings, feeding him in public (proudly and without a cover, thankyouverymuch), bedtime...I loved all of it.  Joon was exclusively breastfed until he was 10 months or so--no rice cereal (yuck) or anything.  Around then, he started being less interested in the boob during the day.  He was so busy and distracted, I finally got the message that he was ready to try more solids.  We still held onto our nighttime nurses, though, as well as the occasional daytime nurse if he was sad or having a tantrum.
Slowly, those nighttime nurses shortened in length.  For the last couple weeks, he would latch on for just a minute or so, then let go and start talking to me, playing with my hair, goofing off, etc.  I kept offering him a bedtime nurse, because it was routine, but he just wasn't into it and it got to the point where I don't even think milk was letting down.  Finally this thought entered me head: I'd been so focused on baby-led weaning meaning that Joon would nurse as LONG as he wanted, it didn't occur to me that it also meant he could nurse as SHORT as he wanted.  That thought broke my heart, because I knew immediately that he was okay now without his nursing times.  I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that it's a good thing he feels secure and safe even without his nurse.  It's a good thing he's growing and changing and realizing the things he wants. Hey, I get my body back or whatever!
I'm just not ready, though, which is of course secondary to the fact that he IS ready.  He is so active and busy these days, I miss the close, still, quiet time together.  David has been reminding me over and over again that he still needs me, just in different ways now.  I got 16 months of breastfeeding him, and even though I would have happily gone 2 or 3 or 4 years, 16 months is still a long time.  And of course (TMI ahead), the decreased breastfeeding time means that my 2-year menstruation hiatus has ended, bringing mood swings and acne and cramps back again.  I'm a crying, sweaty, pimply wreck, okay?

So...I still feel sad about it.  I also feel selfish and silly when I remind myself of friends with much bigger trials than my own, but human emotions are complicated, and this is where I am.  Soaking up every single moment with my walking, opinionated, hilarious, sweet boy.  Glad I took some nursing pictures just for me to look back on. Grateful for this crazy ride of parenthood.  Any words of encouragement you have would be appreciated...also any toddler meal ideas, because all Joon wants to eat for lunch and dinner is raviolis and I'm thinking we should mix it up...

6 comments:

  1. looooove you B. also, try pizza with Joon. Gemma loves pizza.

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  2. aww, this made my heart hurt. i want to breastfeed grey for as long as possible bc free food, why not?? he hasn't showed *that* much interest in real food yet which is good. we still give him tastes of things just to show him there are other flavors. lately he's been sooo wiggly and pinchy that i want to wean him right then and there. but like you said i do enjoy those few minutes of stillness we have together...as i browse the internet on my phone..

    i also took plenty of breastfeeding pictures and i'm glad i did too! even if i won't show them to anyone, it's nice to look back on them.

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  3. This is so sweet Brandilyn. It makes me excited to nurse my little guy.

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  4. I completely understand your sentiment. My little one is 14 months and her nursings are becoming shorter and shorter. I know I'll be very sad when it ends which seems like it will happen sooner than I thought. I definitely would be in the long haul like you (2+ I wouldn't mind at all).

    As for meals hmmm our little one really loves rice and I usually mix it with a veg like peas. She also really likes hummus.

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  5. I loved reading this. And I loved the picture of him sleeping on you after he finished nursing. I remember that feeling and miss it so much! I haven't nursed since December and while stopping was hard- I promise that these next stages just keep getting better and better. As he starts talking more and putting sentences together and saying "I love you," there will be different things that make you just melt and feel so close to him. Jax will wrap his arms around my neck and play with my ponytail and stare right into my eyes sometimes and moments like that come more and more as they get older and start to do little things because they love you. And there are lots of times they still just need comfort from their mom, of course! And plus, before you know it you'll be hauling around a toddler who tells you he loves you with huge pregnant boobs ready to nurse a newborn and you'll feel totally back to normal! ;)

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  6. I'm not a mom but I thought this was such a sweet post. You two obviously have a very close relationship and I think that is so sweet!

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I'd love it if the feeling was mutual!