Saturday, January 30, 2016

Breast is Best, Until the toddler months!

I only Breastfed Liam for 4 months, supplementing with formula as I had no real knowledge about breastfeeding back then. All I was sure was that breastfeeding meant that I got very little sleep and my already colicy baby was crying more often than not, oh yes, and the fact that it was painful has heck. So I gave up, threw in the towel and moved on.

My research on VBAC before having Aspen revealed a lot of things to me. I learned how important breastfeeding actually was, and my sister who had been exclusively breast feeding her then 7 month old taught me a lot about how to maintain it. So I then started my journey properly with Aspen. I loved every minute of feeding her and was sad when I had to wean her at 13 months because I had unexpectedly fallen pregnant with Jesse. Little did I know, I could have continued feeding her all through my pregnancy.

Image from Breast Feeding Magazine
Click on the link to find out about Extended Breast Feeding

So I had another go with Jesse, and loved breast feeding him just as much. He was just as fussy as Liam was but breastfeeding was by saviour. It was the easiest way to calm my screaming baby down and get some well deserved rest. Our journey was however short-lived as well as hubby and I planned a honeymoon to Mozambique when Jesse was 11 months old. I am not sure if it was the medication that we had to take before the trip to prevent Malaria that dried up my milk or if the medication made my milk taste weird to Jesse, but within the week before we left on our trip, he weened himself off of the breast. When we got back I longed to feed him but he was so not interested.

Because I had such amazing experiences with breastfeeding Aspen and Jesse and missed it so much when it ended, it was a no brainer that I was going to Breastfeed Aiden for as long as I possibly could. The beginning of our journey had a few rough patches with surgeries and recovery time, but he was a champ though it all and was just as determined as I was to continue our boob bonding sessions. I would just sit and watch him suckle, smell his head and feel so inlove with the last human being I would ever have the opportunity to share those moments with. I knew he was my last baby when I was pregnant. Hubby was not going to have one of these 'surprises' happen again so I promptly got a tubal ligation done. I embraced feeding Aiden and from early on I could tell that he did not want me distracted by anything during our sessions.

The time flew by so fast. Aiden became active very early on and a lot more verbal about how he wanted our feeding times to go. I was not to sit with my phone or move around, he wanted me 100% present. I loved it and pushed on long past the times both Jesse and Aspen weened.

At 21 months, we, or should I say Aiden is still pushing on. I have long since gone back to work and eventually had to start supplement feeding with formula as expressing at this job was almost impossible. But I would walk in the house and he would be so excited to see me as the bottle was not nearly as satisfying as his 'nah nah'. At this age, however, its becoming more difficult for me for two reasons. Aides is old enough to verbalise what he wants with more demand then ever before. My sleep is now almost none existent as he wakes and comes to our bed in the middle of the night, and insists on sleeping on the breast until morning. Not to mention two grown adults sharing the bed with a twitchy 13.5kg toddler. Most nights I find myself sleeping at the foot of the bed just to get some rest.

I still love breastfeeding, but never did it occur to me that breast feeding an almost 2 year old would be this difficult. When i come from work now , he grabs my hands and says "mummy, seat". He feeds, goes off and plays and is back within half an hour, trying to make up for the whole day. My breasts are taking a beating with his teeth and nighttime insistence and sitting at the entrance of a shopping mall to feed him right there because he is completely losing his mind is most probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Hubby has been saying for months now that it is time to stop, and I know that it is. My mind and my body are exhausted from all the fuss. I am sure, anyone reading this would also be thinking, yes, why don't you stop, but there are two probably fleeting reasons that I have not given up breast feeding as yet. The first being that our entire family would probably not get any sleep for a week because Aiden would be crying so much. That stress scares me and I have to think about the fact that I have two primary schooled children who have to be able to function in class. The second more emotional reason is that he is my last baby. The last child I will ever breast feed again. I know I will miss it terribly, I know I will miss holding any of my children that close again. I will have to accept the fact that having babies is forever over for me. I am not ready yet, I don't know if I will ever be ready to give up mothering my precious babies just yet. Being as young as I am, could I really go another 40 years without being able to have this special bond again?

I have decided not to decide and let nature takes its course. Of course I am going to complain and be upset that Aiden wants to feed in the middle of a restaurant. Of course I am going to get more and more stares of shame from disapproving visitors. But we continue until the day my heart accepts the inevitable and we eventually move on.

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