The first moment I held Eli, it was probably close to 2:30am, I was actually on morphine, and no one had slept in over 24 hrs. It was a moment of extreme confusion and panic and just plain exhaustion for me; all the drugs and the C-section had robbed me of that nice rush of hormones that come in to give you super mom powers. All I wanted to do was sleep, and Eli from day 0, was no sleeper.
It then occurred to me, after a few more hours of sleep torture, that I was woefully unprepared for something even more important than the birth:
The next few days at the hospital, lactation consultants came and went, and I realized, every single time, just how unnatural this natural action was for me. I wondered if it was just me? And why on earth did I read seven different books about being pregnant, and not one about breastfeeding?
But I was determined. And despite several people telling me to just formula feed, I felt very strongly that to do so would be a complete failure. You know those mommy hormones rage strong in those first few weeks. I was not to be messed with.
And if there are any soon to be or new mommas reading this, who do want to breastfeed, if there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this: YOU CAN DO IT. Surround yourself with support and hang tough.
That being said, the first four months were simply torture. I would escape to the shower and cry out of sheer frustration and pain. My entire body would cringe when Eli would cry in hunger, because I knew another torture session was about to begin. But we pushed through. Some weeks, I would pump every two hours to give my poor girls a break. I felt like a milk cow for a long time.
But guess what?
I also loved it. It was a special closeness that only Eli and I could have. And when we finally got our groove down (aka, my nipples finally stepped up to the challenge…) I loved breastfeeding. For reasons of sanity and occasional dinners out without Eli, I supplemented with formula too. This worked for me and for us. It doesn’t work for everyone. You have to do what feels right for you, always.
Now, I knew that in August when we took our first baby-free vacation, that our breastfeeding run could be at an end. I pumped while there to keep up my supply, but when we came back, Eli pretty much dropped all day feeds and wanted a bottle instead, and so I was only breastfeeding him in the middle of the night.
Three nights ago, he decided he was done with that too.
At almost 11 months old, I’m not going to call this a “nursing strike” because it feels done to me. I sense it. My milk production is low, and Eli has no more patience or desire for it. He wants his bottle at night, and that’s it. He’s very good at explaining these things.
So, this is leaving me a bit… Off center.
It took so long for us to get our boob groove going, that I feel we could have continued longer. I read a lot of articles about women who breastfeed through their second pregnancy and then tandem nurse with an infant and a toddler! Not that I felt interested in that scenario; I just assumed we’d at least make it to his first birthday.
It’s really just another reminder of how quickly my baby is growing. He’s wearing the 12 month clothes that I used to laugh at – he’d NEVER fit into that! He’s so heavy. And now he’s done with mommy’s milk.
I realize that doesn’t mean he’s done with me. But it’s an emotional thing!
It also means a few other things:
- REAL bras.
- My boobies will perhaps go back to normal size
- No more free calorie burn
We’ll see how this goes. Hubs will probably want to burn my nursing tanks.
And in closing, how did this guy…
Turn into this guy…
Next week he’ll be asking for the keys to the car!
One of the first things I learned about being a new parent is that everyone has an opinion on the best way to raise a child, or your child. Some great advice is shared, some nosy advice is shared, and some people just like talking. I want to be clear when I say this: to each their own. Unless it’s some gross form of neglect, I’m of the opinion that every baby is so different, you really just need to find what works for you and your family. So I’m absolutely not judging here.
Eli has never been a good sleeper. Since day 1 he’s been making my nights a living hell! For the first five months, Hubs and I were literally living in a zombie-like state. It was no bueno. I was given oodles of advice – and believe, I asked ANYONE for advice – and the most common advice was to put rice cereal in formula and stuff the boy. As a new mom, dead set on breastfeeding, initially this horrified me. But one evening, feeling like I’d pretty much do anything for an hour of sleep, I gave it a shot. It failed miserably and only led to me feeling like a jerk and a constipated baby. Maybe this method works for some, but it didn’t work for us. Since I was up all night anyway, I researched as much as I could and of course spoke to my pediatrician, who stated this clearly:
Sleeping is a physiological milestone.
That means some babies sleep 4-5 hour stretches in the first couple of weeks. Others (lucky us) don’t reach that milestone until months later. It happens eventually. You get through it. Eli still isn’t a champion sleeper, but most nights he’ll sleep 4-5 hour stretches and it’s very doable for me.
But I digress. This post is about food.
Now that Eli is nearing 8 months, I’m constantly being asked if he’s eating yet. My answer is, “Sometimes.” Pediatricians recommend that infants drink only breastmilk or formula until 6 months of age. They also agree that prior 1 years old, babies really don’t require anything beyond milk nutritionally. Being that he has the entire rest of his life to eat, I’m just in no rush to feed him. Yes, he eats. Sometimes a tablespoon of sweet potatoes, or a whole serving of pureed bananas. But I don’t force him. If he enjoys it and it keeps his interest, we keep going; I absolutely am not going to force feed my son.
Anyone who has met him, or lifted him, will not be worrying whether or not he’s hungry. He’s a solid kid, and is currently in the 96% percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. His eyes are bright, he’s happy (most of the time), and now that he’s mobile, there’s no stopping him.
I still breastfeed, and supplement with organic formula, because I’m VERY over pumping all the time, and my milk production has slowed a little bit. Plus, I like the convenience of being able to make a bottle here and there, for those times when I’ve had a couple glasses of wine, or if I need someone else to feed him. This works for us, and I’m happy. I’m glad he’s getting as much breastmilk as I can give him, and I’m glad that he’s healthy and thriving. That’s all any mom wants, right? A happy and healthy little kid.
Am I giving Eli juice or rice cereal now? No. I’m not giving myself sugar and try hard to stay away from processed food for a reason: it’s just not good for you. Plus, anything that can potentially constipate my kid is completely out of the question – he is a TERROR when he can’t poop. Again, you have to find what works for you.