When I started my breastfeeding journey, I didn’t know how far I’d be able to go and didn’t know when I would proactively end. First time mom problems - the beginning was rough with hourly wakings to nurse day and night. I was so engorged. I constantly leaked through my reusable eco pads and most often through my shirts. And the poor nips.
Emma wasn’t great at latching for a good period of time and the friction from nursing felt as sharp as glass shards. It was impossible for them to heal from the cracks and tears in between feedings. I didn’t want sympathy. A lot of the time I wished Trav could breastfeed just to be able to grourelate a little bit more when I talked about the frustration of pain and engorgement. (I even tried to convince him to just let her try latching onto him!) But that didn’t change anything and wouldn’t, I cherished the quiet moments of just her being aware of nothing but me.
She never took to a bottle and I just didn’t have the patience to keep at it. I chose my battles for my sanity. At around 8 months we were down to two nursings, when we woke for the day and before bedtime. At 12 months I started to feel touched out and saw no end in nursing for her. She had a routine, how could I break that? It wasn’t only comfortable for her, but I also found comfort in this small constant. It made it challenging to start to let go even when we both seemed ready to.
A month later she moved her morning nursing to 4:30-5am. Afterwards, she would fall back asleep until 8 am and start the day. At 15 months I decided to wean her off the morning nursing. On the first early morning of weaning she cried for a few minutes when I told her I didn’t have anymore. She’s usually half asleep and went back to sleep ease. The next morning and after that it was the same thing with less crying each time and right back to sleep. After a week she no longer woke in the early morning and would sleep from 9:30/10pm-8:30am.
She is now 18 months old and communicates a lot more. Every night she would yell out and sign “milk, milk, milk!” And nervously laughs till she got it. One night we were in her bed and she forgot to ask for milk. (Don’t ask, don’t offer right?) So we turned off the lights and after a few tosses and turns she was out for the night! The next night she did not forget to ask, I tried to distract her by asking her to grab a few books to read before we went to bed. After we were done reading the books, she asked for milk again and I explained to her that I didn’t have anymore and that we could hug (she loves to hug). She was frustrated and cried. I let her cry her frustration and afterwards we hugged it out and fell to sleep. This took a couple more days of our new routine of reading books before lights out, but she no longer cried about not getting any milk after the third day.
It’s so exciting to see how big she has grown and I’m happy to be free of zinger nip bites when shes dozes off while nursing. At the same time, I didn’t think it would end here. This breastfeeding journey has been a precious one. To all the mamas who breastfeed beyond this point, you have the patience of a saint (and nips of steel).