I recently read a very interesting article, and it really related to a few things I have been pondering over and dealing with since my lovely bundle of joy entered the world. All about breastfeeding, the public norm, appropriate ages, and the bottle.
And I thought I would share my 2 cents or feelings, sorry if it's rambly, but I intend this to be more like a journal entry of things that have arose and feelings I have.
When I got pregnant I never for a moment, thought I would be mixing up bottles of formula, I knew I would definitely try to nurse Skyla. I was a bit scared and worried, as I did the big mistake of "reading on the web" and hearing horror stories of women in pain, bleeding nipples, cranky babies etc etc. But I thought "how can something our body is suppose to do be so hard?" but I guess I could say that about labour...throw tomatoes if you like, but I found labour and delivery much easier than most women describe it. Yes I was exhausted and there was a time when I was so bone tired (lack of sleep leading up to it, and your water breaking after a long week of walking around miles and miles in hope to bring labour on, breaking just as you lay into bed will make you tired haha) a time that I thought to myself "I can't do this, I am to tired" tired, not in pain, not scared, just tired. Actually right after I wanted to go and do it again, but this time with sleep, to see if it would change at all. Yes I'm crazy, we know that!
Feel free to throw more virtual tomatoes....just as easy as I found labour and delivery of my baby (not the placenta, it was not hard, just did not happen, so that SUCKED!) I found breastfeeding a breeze. Skyla was a hungry little piglet, she latched on well, she slept pretty good, she was happy, no supply issues (still to this day I have to much milk actually) no nipple damage, she nursed quickly - no hour long nursing sessions every hour, so I was a happy mommy, and able to get out and enjoy life as a mom in public and not feel trapped at home nursing around the clock.
I consider myself VERY lucky, and I know a lot of women that have had troubles, some who found the strength to keep up the battle with the breast, and others who decided breast is only best if everyone is happy, and a happy mom is important. Stressing about nursing does not make you happy, so formula can be a saviour. I have no judgement towards mom, and my mom friends who use formula, I know the majority of them feel very defeated and guilty. DON'T!!! And I really try not to be "braggy" because it feels like everyone I know has had bumps and hurdles and a hard path to get to where they are now.
As easy and natural (for me) as breastfeeding has been we did have a few bumps along the way, when she was a few weeks old she would scream at the breast, because my letdown was/is so active and she wanted to comfort nurse. I would have had no problems in her comforting herself there, but she clearly did not want a meal...so we introduced the soother. Around 2-3 months she also was fighting at the boob, and I have no clue why, I thought my supply was diminishing, but I think it was more of an evening out thing and she was being super impatient since she did NOT have to work for milk for the past 2 months. That was a stressful time, the milk was there and ready for her, but she was so impatient and would get upset after only sucking 2-3 times (what a diva ha) she figured it out eventually though that 5 sucks and it would come pouring out. Now our "issue" (I hate using that word) is her distraction, she has always been a quick nurser, but now she just wants to be playing and crawling and avoiding food, until bed time. It makes for quite the scene when trying to feed her in public, since she likes to pull off just as a letdown is happening. I want to cry at the milk that gets wasted since she decides "look at this leaf, screw milk, I want to crawl" but it's a never ending supply....so as the saying goes "don't cry over spilled milk" right?
Anyhoo that's a bit of history I'll try to get back on track.
Where was my train of thought going....breastfeeding, nursing, that article....
Hmm well firstly I don't get what people's obsession is with breastfeeding, every feels the need to ask "are you breastfeeding?" and then it is usually followed by "how long do to plan to do it"
I admit, before I was a mom, before I was pregnant, I was very much in the "if they can ask for it" or "once there is teeth, no more!" camp. But once I had this little lady growing inside me and I knew I wanted to breastfeed, those timelines completely vanished. I get quite annoyed actually when people ask, for one it's none of their business, and for two I honestly feel like it's not my right or decision to just make a deadline and cut her off of amazing nutrition that cannot be found in any wonder food, avocado, flax, salmon, the wonder goji and acai berries, ain't got nothing on the milk that comes from a mother. Did you know that breastmilk also works wonders for skin ailments, like rashes, body and bum, eye infections, cuts and scrapes. I am pretty tempted to concoct a breastmilk mask for these stubborn hormonal pimples I have. Usually when I say "well I plan to let her wean herself, I will let her nurse till she decides she is done with it" and almost every has some sort of reply to it along the lines of "but not past 1 years old" and "if you don't set a limit" or "it just gets wrong at a certain age".....why are others so concerned, and why is it wrong to nurse a child past the age of 6 months, 1 year 2 years (depends on the crowd). Like I said I was of the other camp before I was pregnant, however I never thought someone else doing it was wrong, it was just a personal preference at the time...or maybe what I was used to with family friends. Why do we live in a society that is so set on timelines, rules and charts? If they sleep in your bed, you will never get them out...if you nurse her to sleep, she will never learn to get to sleep on her own. You have to start cereal at this age, she needs more than breastmilk....blah blah blah. But I suppose that is a whole other blog about guidelines and rules ROLLING MY EYES!!!!
So world, family, friends, and strangers to answer you question...
Skyla will nurse until she is done with it, I will not force her to stop, I will wean her on her terms, that being said I also will not force her to nurse, it goes both ways. However most people seem to think that just because a mom is not weaning her child, she is making her child nurse. Not the case...cause any parent knows it's a hard task to get a child to do something they are not interested, why would anyone TRY to force feed their child...purees, finger food or milk.
My other thought on nursing, bottle feeding and formula is:
Why? Why do some families decide to formula feed from the start without even giving breastfeeding a try? I don't understand why one would not try to do it. But I also don't understand women who are dead set on having drugs involved in labour. I am very much a give the natural way a shot, follow babies lead, and do whatever it takes to make them happy, even if it means doing something you were so dead set against (like co-sleeping, we did it, she has not needed it for a few months now, but if she needed it she would be back in our bed no questions, I miss the ease for night nursing. At first I couldn't imagine having a child in bed every night, now I understand families that do, and I understand some babies need it, some toddlers need it.) I'm all for the path of least resistance ;) If Skyla is happy I am VERY happy. So yes formula is sometimes the path of least resistance, when you have tried and tried to nurse. But to not try at all? To make a choice to not give your newborn the health benefits that formula definitely cannot, if anything even for a week or two to get the really rich colostrum. Why???? Is it because you think breasts are meant for pleasure only? Is it gross to you? I'm honestly curious. Is it convenience? Cause personally I find a bottle a PITA, my milk is always available and at the perfect temperature and travels where I go without the need of extra weight of bottles (well maybe a little extra weight since they are slightly bigger than pre-baby) This is not at all meant to say formula feeding is wrong (I was formula fed, whatever! My mom did try to BF with me, and I appreciate that and I love her regardless, and would love her just the same had she decided to not try bf'ing) and I love my mom friends and their babies that use formula. I just want to know why some make that decision without giving breastfeeding a try?
I am sick of feeling bad or frustrated about Skyla nursing herself to sleep. It does not happen every nap or bed time. There was a point, where I felt like she would only go to sleep at the breast, and that I was never going to be able to leave her with someone else, and that I could not have a night off, that she would always need me (what's so bad about being needed?) and I was breaking down and dealing with "try this and that" and dealing with feeling like she should not do it, and that I had to train her to put herself to sleep. But I honestly think this breaking point that happens for a lot of us nursing moms, is also at the same time when babies sleep becomes very disrupted and all the lack of sleep we as moms (and some dads) catches up to us. So we have an overtired, emotional mom, and a sleep protesting baby. Truthfully I don't think we ever catch up on the sleep, and it seems like every 2 months is another "sleep regression stage" or another milestone that fucks up the 2 days of pretty good sleep and routine you had going on (teething, crawling, sitting, standing-yeah my child decided to do all that in one week, the teeth not exactly so the first 2 weeks of her crawling and standing is a foggy blur gahh, and then walking, talking, climbing yadda yadda) so at the first breaking point, we start to feel a pressure that baby will never not nurse to sleep. Well I am pretty sure there are not many 13 year olds that need their bedtime nursing session. And for us, we got past that, and now I really enjoy bedtime, and nursing her before bed, I find it very relaxing to me, we pop in a lullaby cd, she smiles at me, and plays with my face when she is done, or taking a break, one the nights she does not fall asleep (which yay is more often than nights she nurses to sleep) we have a cute little routine where I sit her up and we put our foreheads together and she smiles and giggles at me while looking me in the eye, I think she thinks I look funny, cause I know she looks funny from that angle. She gives me a kiss and then it's bed time. Sometimes she is not done eating and will want more 15 minutes later, and I'm 100% OKAY with that. Oh and those couple nights a week when she dog tired, and cranky, and relaxes once we nurse and falls asleep, my heart grows 3 more sizes filled with even more love, she snuggles in and sometimes I just sit there with her head on my should asleep for a few minutes, enjoying the love and snuggles. I think any mom of a crawling, active and fidgety baby would understand where I am coming from. Those days of snuggles are long gone, so when she falls asleep at the breast and snuggles, I soak it and hold onto the memory and feeling for as long as I can, because I already feel like I forget how she was as a snuggly sluggish newborn and fear I will forget these moments as she becomes more and more independent and "not needing mama"
So to all the breast feeding moms out there, who are in that place of feeling like you will have to nurse your little one forever, and feeling guilt that you want to make them figure it out with you (I know I felt guilt, which is why I trucked through) and sick of hearing it from whomever in your life is haggling you about nursing them to sleep, follow your heart, and do what you feel is right for you and your baby! It will be get better and easier eventually. And for all the other people opposed to nursing them to sleep because "it's wrong" take a hike. I bet you have a nightime thing too, even something as silly as putting on lipchap before bed, try not doing that and see how well you sleep and how much you toss and turn before you cave and grab that tube of lip chap...yes I need lipchap before bed, and a glass of water, and I have to be able to see what time it is, if I can't see what time it is at all hours when I wake up, I wake up constantly fretting about the time, so we have a clock that projects the time onto the ceiling ;), we all have our quirks. A baby dependent on mom and dad for safety, love and food should not be expected to kick a bedtime bottle or breast for our convenience.
Yet another irritating question, well statement "she is sleeping through the night?" I don't even sleep through the night, I wake up to pee, get some water, and stretch or change positions. And when I say well she wakes up 1-2 times, I get this look of horror...there are nights when she wakes up 4-5 times, those are the hard nights ha, but again thankfully my babe goes back to sleep after getting her soother of nursing if hungry so I can go back to bed in about 2-15 minutes. I used to just fall asleep with her laying beside me, even though her crib was in our room, it was comfy in our bed and I would pass out. She is now in her room, so it's a bit more convenient to stay in her room on the chair to nurse...I still doze off for a minute here and there though. For the most part she sleeps from 8/8:30 - 1ish sometimes to nurse sometimes just for a soother, then back to sleep till 5ish to nurse or soother but sometimes she sleeps right till 7:30, she is not a routine girl. I personally don't mind 2 wakeups. I prefer when she does a 3am wake up so I can sleep from 11-3, but whatever. Anyways if your baby is over 6 months old they *should be sleeping through the night* and weaned of night feedings. Uhmm okay?! That's not to say it's easy, it's tough and tiring and especially for mom's whose babies wake up screaming, 4+ times and take an hour to get back down. I appreciate that she prefers to comfort nurse the soother than me...it's the active letdown, she knows better than initiate a volcano when she is not hungry. But I still have to get up and comfort nurse her with the soother, since she refuses to figure out how to find one of the 6 in her crib on her own, and sometimes I think she just needs and likes the help, she gets to smell and feel one of us. How is that selfish, she is a baby. But so many experts make it out to be that our baby is selfish and manipulative. phssssssssshhhhss to that. Also on the co-sleeping note, I fully support it to whatever age your child needs it! I actually enjoy when James has a morning off and he wakes up with her and brings her into bed for a morning snuggle, sometimes we all get to fall back asleep and sleep in, who doesn't love to sleep in! But sometimes she just wants to crawl on, say good morning, and poke our eyeballs. I do miss having her in our room, even when she was in the crib in our room and not in our bed for the whole night. I am grateful that she decided on her own at a young age that her crib is not so bad, and that she did not rebel against going to her own room.
If you are interested in the article that helped me here is the link
...helped me realize I am right. Not that you are wrong if you are doing differently, just that sometimes we get a little wound up with right and wrong and really it comes down to what you are comfortable with that is what is right, and for me this is my comfortable life, so it is right. I enjoy reads like this, since so often I feel put down or judge or in the wrong (about many other parenting choices not just breastfeeding) because we (both James and I) feel no need to put a boundary or limit on our child right now, we don't follow rules and guidelines, we don't stress on schedules and routines, and we very much believing in following our instinct.
Anyhoo, my thoughts for the day...well clearly enough thoughts for the year!
Skyla is awake from a long afternoon nap (WOW!) so I am going to go and nurse my milk loving booby monkey.
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