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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