9.13.2007

Breastfeeding

I'm to go ahead and stir the pot here. I'm sure I will offend someone with this post but ehhh thats me right? Anyway people keep saying to me,

"you aren't going to breastfeed this one the same as you did with Brandon right?"

You see, what they mean is that my son was soley 100% breastfed. That means that in the 15 months I nursed him he maybe had a bottle about 20 times. I barely pumped because I took him to work with me and he was able to nurse on demand. A lot of people told me I was making him a mamas boy and a lot of people were bothered they couldn't share in the feeding. My husband didn't really mind, he knew I was doing the best thing for my son, but I know it was frustrating for people at work that if he cried they couldn't just give him a bottle they had to wait for me. It also made it really really hard for him to spend the night or even go somewhere for a few hours because he hated the bottle so much he just wouldn't eat.

No matter what though the thought of not soley nursing Codi has never crossed my mind once. Brandon seems pretty smart and so far healthy (knock on wood) and a large part of me can't help thinking it is because I nursed him for so long. I want to be clear that I'm not at all against formula feeding if you have to. I would rather figure out before I left the hospital that I couldn't nurse efficiently and start supplementing immediately so that trying to nurse wouldn't be so frustrating. Ive always actually wondered why the hospital even lets a person go home with a baby who is clearly not nursing right or clearly not getting milk. The amount of baby who go home and starve for 3-6 or more weeks because the hospitals didn't stop it from the beginning baffles me. A good friend of mine said when she had her son 18 years ago, the watched her nurse, told her the baby wasn't latching well or getting enough out and they sent her home with about 5 moths worth of pre-bottled formula. Nowadays they say ehhh whatever they will figure it out soon enough and if not hopefully the pediatrician catches on. Then by the time the parents or doctor figure it out, their first weeks of parenthood have been stressful and miserable because no one took the time to say, hey, maybe there is a problem here. Now that I have nursed a baby and seen a hungry baby too, I'm pretty sure I will never hesitate to tell any of my friends, hey your kid isn't getting enough to eat try something else! This also means that if for some reason my milk doesn't come in this time, or Codi doesn't come out of me sucking instantly I would take some help right away! However since I had a super ultra large amount of milk I never felt a reason to give Brandon formula.

Even when he measured small and weighed small I was apprehensive. I was grateful the doctor did a bunch of tests and bone growth tests and deemed my son to simply be skinny like his dad (who seriously can't get over 170 if he tried). Actually my doctor said he found those percentage charts to be frustrating because they were based on formula fed babies and not on babies who were soley nursed. He said he would really like to see someone put the time and effort into making a separate chart for kids like mine who were only nursed. So even though my little guy was in the 3rd percentile nearly his whole life I never supplemented with formula. I'm also smart enough to know this kid never went hungry. There was never any screaming or crying or signs of hunger. In fact this kid nursed himself into a milk mustache induced sleep and slept happily for long periods of time. It was clear when he nursed he was getting milk because he was also a messy eater which meant he always had milk dripping down his chin and my shirt and all over the place. I could easily tell the milk was still flowing.

I would say one of the hardest decisions I ever made was to stop nursing at 15 months. I still don't know why exactly I made the decision, I know I blogged about it some time ago, but more then anything I think I just knew it was the right thing to do for both Brandon and I. I won't say that there weren't days after that where I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and all I wanted was for my little boy to latch back on, but we never looked back. I did it slowly of course, I started giving him regular milk instead of nursing during most of the day and only nursed at nap time, bed time and some times in the morning. Then I cut the morning and then the nap and finally the bed time one. Still to this day he pulls down my shirt a little and looks at my boobs longingly and I know that we both miss the good ole days but can never go back. It has been harder for him since I got pregnant because my milk is starting to come in and I know he smells it. He nuzzles my chest a lot when he is sleepy and I think if I let him he would, but I can't let a two year old nurse.

One of my biggest fears for when Codi comes is that Brandon will freak out to see another baby nurse and he will either want to do it or try and not let Codi do it. I think that time will be the hardest time of all for Brandon to understand. However. No matter what I plan on nursing Codi just the same. If I am able I want him to be another soley breastfed baby. I plan to pump a little more only because once I had surgery and I didn't have enough milk stored for Brandon and I don't want to encounter that again.

I read Sarah and Jordan and I love to read that this woman is still nursing her kids at one year but even more SHE IS NURSING TWINS!!!! Now there is a champ people! I was happy when I noticed Angelina wearing a nursing bra because that to me said hey, wow, not all Hollywood moms are drunk, drugie pieces of shit huh. So while I don't go around fighting for womens rights to nurse in public and I didn't join the La Leche place I am still a huge advocate for nursing. I think moms who can nurse and choose not to are selfish (ie Jenny McCarthy, she has enough money she can get her boobs redone people).

Aside from anything though I just purely enjoyed nursing. I loved looking down at my little boy while he looked up at me. I loved when he got a little older and he used to make this little half smile at me that would make him lose his latch. I loved when later that turned into a game and I had to try with all my might not to make him giggle or he would lose his latch over and over. I loved when he got a little bigger and would hear a sound and stop to sit up, check it out and deem it safe and then lay down and go back to happily nursing. I never did anything else while I nursed. Although I am a great multi tasker I never did because I always felt bad that Brandon would be looking up at me and I wouldn't be looking at him. So as often as I could I would just sit there for however long and stare right back at him. No matter what happens in his or my life now, I will always be uber thankful for those moments I had with him.

Back to that question I get asked. I don't understand why some people would consider me nursing my child as a bad thing. It baffles me that they even ask that. Why on earth wouldn't I nurse this one the same as Brandon? I always answer back that of course I will be nursing Codi every last second I get. That yes I will nurse him just as long and yes he probably will never take a bottle either. I don't apologize for it because honestly like I said, I think I'm doing the very best thing I can for my kids.

So now I ask you moms out there, how long did you nurse for? Did you enjoy nursing like I did? Why did you stop? If you have more then one kid did you nurse them all the same or did you change your nursing habits with the second or third? If you did change them, did you notice any differences in the kids?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ella self weaned around 11 months. Once she was mobile it was over. I think breastfeeding is great. It wasn't all peaches and cream for us in the beginning we both had a hard time. Ella still fondly looks at my cleavage and frequently lifts up my shirt to get a glimpse. "Boobies" was one of her first words. Where I live most women breastfeed well into their first year. The playgroup I go to 3/5 are still breastfeeding and our kids are 2. We may be a little more granola here. I am sure Brandon will do fine. He is a smart little boy. Maybe try talking to him about it ahead of time. Does he have any dolls? Ella breastfeeds her baby, it cracks me up. I think however you handle it will be great. And I don't really understnad why other people would care wether you breastfeed them the same or not. The only thing I can think of is maybe them wanting to bond with the baby too through being able to nourish the baby.

MrsGrumpy said...

I bottle fed my daughter because I was young (19) and stupid. I nursed my son solely until he self weaned at 10 months. Much the chagrin of my father in law who told my husband it would "ruin my boobs" and that I should pump and feed if I was set on it. As if pumping would have made a difference. He was always uncomfortable around me when I was nursing and would ask me, in my own home, to go do it "somewhere else", shich of course I did not. It never really bothered anyone else. My sweetest (even more so now) memories are of cuddling on the couch with my husband while I nursed our son.

Swistle said...

Let's see. I nursed Rob (he took a few bottles of breastmilk when he was very little, but then started refusing--this happened with all the kids and I won't say it each time) until he weaned himself abruptly at 10 months, which made me so sad and upset and FREAKOUTISH and crazy, especially when a icky lactation consultant then assumed I was just SAYING he'd weaned himself because I wanted him weaned. I didn't! I hated it that he weaned that early! I panicked!

William nursed until 1 year. I weaned him at 1 year, then was upset and sad and panicky and wished I'd let him nurse longer. I think I weaned him too quickly, and I still regret it. Not for HIS sake--he didn't even blink--but because of how sad I was.

I nursed the twins until they were 15 months old. They had 4 oz of formula a day for one week starting 3 days after birth, because for some reason my milk didn't come in by the time I'd left the hospital, and the babies lost more weight than the cut-off amount. But then my milk came in and we didn't need to use formula after that first week--though I was prepared to if it was too hard to nurse twins (it wasn't). I felt pretty good about that weaning process: it was slow enough not to freak me out much.

I'm nursing Henry now, and I plan to nurse him the way I did the twins: letting him gradually self-wean sometime after a year old.

I don't know why people think breastfeeding is bad, either. It only happened A LOT to me with the twins: people would say, "You're not going to NURSE them, are you?" or act like I was a freak because I didn't give them formula. I wouldn't have minded any of the babies getting periodic formula, but it was more difficult for me to give them formula, so I breastfed.

I DON'T particularly enjoy nursing, but I am lazy and nursing is easier for me than formula. Also, cheaper. Also, it makes me feel like I'm automatically getting points as a mother, which is necessary to make up for the times I put the baby in the swing so I can be on my computer.

Kat said...

Breastfeeding your baby is the best thing you can do for him. It is the way nature intended our babies to be nurtured and in my opinion it should not be messed with by bottle feeding formula unless necessary.

Jeninacide said...

I plan to nurse Coleton until he is a year or so (Assuming that everything works right and I CAN)... It has been proven over and over again that it is the best thing for your child and hello?! Yeah- CHEAP-ER! The only reason I am going to have to start pumping for bottles at three months is because Erick is going to stay home with him while I am at work and if he doesn't take a bottle then he will starve. So yeah. Let's hope this plan works! Or I will be working from home a WHOLE LOT!

YAY FOR BOOBS!

Cristina Mathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cristina Mathers said...

had a rough, rough time. i thought from the start of my pregnancy that i would breast feed almost exclusively and then pump when i needed to. But my milk never really came in. so even though i really wanted to, i just couldn't get things going.

the nurses when i delivered were what i referred to as BFN (breast feeding Nazi's) and were very pushy that I had to breastfeed. they were waking ellie up at 2am with cold washcloths on her face to try to get her to eat. OBVIOUSLY, i know/knew that the breast was best, and was bummed out not to make it happen. but by the 2nd day my child was getting jaundiced and not even trying anymore. so when i went home, i fed her water, and then pumped and supplemented with formula. her jaundice went away. I pumped for about 4 weeks but it was torture. i would pump for almost an hour and would only get 2 ounces or so. so i pumped and fed, and pumped and fed and pumped and fed and pumped some more. at 4 weeks old, i decided to move her to formula exclusively, and life with baby became much simpler and much more enjoyable.

and ellie is a smart, happy healthy girl. she is in the 99% for height and 95% for weight. she also doesn't seem to be lacking in the smarts dept.

it was a hard decision, but i feel confident now that i made the right one for us.

i find it hard to grasp why people would critize you for doing whats best for you son. plus you are are the mom, you know best.

Christy said...

Porgie and I had a really difficult time with breastfeeding. To make a long story short, after 4 weeks she had not regained her birth weight. And she cried ALL THE TIME. I finally reached my breaking point, and started pumping. I pumped exclusively for 6 months.

angie said...

I obviously don't have kids, but I think that breastfeeding your child is a good thing. I don't understand why anyone would question your decision to breastfeed...it's not like you breastfed Brandon until he was six or anything...you did it and quit at a time you felt was appropriate for your son. Again...there's the big word YOUR SON.

Just from listening to the way you talk about your bond with Brandon it sounds like you know just what you are doing. So of course you would feed Codi the same assuming that he is as good at nursing as Brandon was.

I had never thought of Brandon getting jealous while Codi is eating...that is a really interesting concept. Oh and I about died laughing when you said so fart healthy...I thought she must have meant so far healthy...then I thought no this is Shannon she probably meant fart hahahaha

karla said...

Nate was exclusively breastfed until about 6 months, and at that point I introduced solids, but he has never ever had formula. Not that I am against it, he just never needed supplementation and I am happy about that.

I still pump twice a day so that I have breastmilk for his cereal (he gets cereal for breakfast and dinner). Somedays it wears on me, breastfeeding and pumping, pumping and breastfeeding, but I plan to nurse well passed a year.

I love it, despite the negativity I still get from both my parents and my in-laws about it.

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