How I Fell In Love With Breastfeeding

After Little Dude was born, I remember the moment the nurse at the hospital asked if she could help me hook up my sweet baby to nurse.

With pure delight and raw excitement, I said yes!

It didn’t seem that difficult – but at the same time, my OB was a sewing me up from delivery… I was a little, um, distracted.

After a couple days in the hospital, the lactation consultant finally visited us on our way out the door.  At that point, I already nick-named our son “the barracuda” and since I had just nursed him, I was nearly in tears when she asked me to show her how I get him to latch on.  I didn’t want to. But she insisted.  It was painful. Nothing Lanolin could sooth… 🙁

New book idea: What No One Tells the New Mom?

Breastfeeding HURTS for the first 2-3 weeks.  Yes, there is a technical side to it – and it takes time to teach your baby how to properly latch on (after you learn what is and isn’t a good latch), but how do I describe the pain?

It’s a “brace yourself” kind of pinching and pulling.  After a minute or so, that pain dulls away, and you continue the nursing session.

I remember texting my friend Courtney (who has a daughter 7 weeks our son’s senior) and asked “am I doing this wrong? or does it just hurt?!”

She lovingly sent me a text back saying “don’t worry, you’ll toughen up! Give your body time to adjust.”  It’s not that I learned to tolerate the pain, it actually went away.

Oh to earn those Mommy Wings. 😉

After getting over the initial phase of breastfeeding, I absolutely adored it.

I feel in love with it.

I loved that I got to snuggle with my baby.

I loved how it helped me love our son more.

He needed me: for nutritional and emotional survival.

I needed him: at first to relieve the pressure of a bunch of milk stored up, and for emotional wellness, too.

It’s a beautiful, gorgeous way to bond…

I know it sounds cliche, but there is a “give and take” involved.

As someone who has struggled with self-worth, I truly felt like I was worth my weight in gold (or breast milk).

I told myself from the beginning that I was going to nurse Little Dude 12 months – then see how long he goes.

While some of my mommy friends were posting status updates about their 11-12 month olds barely being interested in mommy’s milk anymore, this was totally not the case for us.

Since he turned one in September, I figured I wouldn’t rush the weaning process during the winter – because of all the health benefits breast milk has.

I kept setting myself up “I bet he’ll be over it by Thanksgiving… Christmas… Valentine’s Day…”  All of these dates came & went.

He was still all about the milk.

The giddy feeling I had when I fell in love with nursing him (after the initial pain went away) still overcomes me, even today.

We are officially down to one precious nursing session a day and he’s not nursing before bed (HUGE milestone – this means we can go out on a date!! Not that he hasn’t gone to bed before without me, but Chris has been there when I wasn’t).

It’s a bittersweet emotion – one I’m glad I didn’t rush to.

Anyways, someone suggested that I have Chris take a few private pictures of me nursing our son – because he could just wake up and be over it.

So that’s what we did.  Obviously they are never going to be shown to anyone else – they are simply for my closure.  Photography has a way of lifting me up to healing… if that makes sense!  “Take a picture, it will last longer,” mentality.

Now that I’m ready to let go, I can rest in the fact that I can always close my eyes and remember all of the feelings associated with breastfeeding and I’ll have a personal visual reminder, too.

How did you cope with ending breastfeeding?  Was it a slow transition or abrupt process?

How were the hormonal changes for you during & after weaning?


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Kasia - March 18, 2012 - 4:41 pm

the best statement I got about how breastfeeding feels at first is “It’s very litterally a toe curling experience but this is normal and will go away after the baby gets the nipple where it should be” It was SO true! But, I was prepared :] So I curled my toes, and it was fine! After our little girl got over her jaundice she became a feeding champ and I love being able to feed her! I am sad that I miss out during the day and that pumping is only so-so, but I plan to do the same as you- nurse until 12 months then see what she wants. We’ll see how it goes.

I have also heard a great way to help with the seperation and sadness of stopping nursing is to go out and buy yourself some new, non nursing bras!

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