Tomorrow, Miss Crankles will be 3 months away from her second birthday, and we are still going strong with the nursing. However, if you would have asked me when she was a newborn if we would have been doing this, I probably would have laughed.
You see, when she was a few days old, she would not latch. She didn’t want to nurse. She had jaundice, which probably didn’t help. I remember feeling defeated when my husband got formula for her because we didn’t know what else to do. I began to pump and feed her that way, but I was afraid I would not be able to produce enough. I kept putting her to my breast with little success. I even contacted a lactation consultant in hopes of getting some answers. I remember her telling me I needed to pump once an hour, and I cried because I knew there was no way I could do that. I had two other kids and a husband who was in the oilfield. I decided to go every two to three hours with pumping. By the end of the first month, and after a trip to the hospital for exhaustion, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I made plans to abandon the effort and just feed her formula. Then the funniest thing happened the night after I came out of the hospital.
I was holding her close to my chest, and it was late. She began to root around like she wanted to nurse. She hadn’t done that in weeks. I decided to humor her and see what would happen. She latched! She nursed for an hour! At the time, I shrugged it off because I didn’t want to get my hopes dashed. However, she wanted to do it again the next morning, and then she became my best nurser out of the three.
I never figured I would be nursing past age one. I didn’t have great experiences with my other two and hadn’t nursed past six months. Nursing Crankles was one thing that really helped me with my PPD though. By the time she turned one, I was slowly starting to get better. Nursing her was therapeutic. It helped me gain a bond with her that I felt I missed because of the depression. She is now over a year and a half, and I still nurse her several times a day. It is our cuddle time. I love the closeness. I love being able to breathe in the baby smell on her head. I love holding her. It is healing.
I don’t know how much longer I will nurse her. I figure I will let her decide when it is time to stop. For now, I am enjoying our time nursing. Going through this experience though, I will say that I don’t think there is enough support still for breastfeeding. There is still a stigma against it. Whether someone decides to formula feed or breastfeed, it is a personal choice. As moms, we are all doing what is best for our baby. Some of us can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Then there are those of us that just can’t find support. That is the biggest reason why I didn’t make it to six months with the other two. With Crankles, I got some advice, but I was made to feel that if you didn’t do things a certain way, you couldn’t nurse. I would like to say that is not true, and my nursing experience is proof of that. My best advice is to talk to your friends and ask experts, but don’t get hung up on things if nursing isn’t going as planned. If you are getting stressed, you might need to re-evaluate your decisions. You have a little person that needs you, and you are probably not getting enough sleep as it is.
Nursing turned out to be a beautiful way of bonding for me and Miss Crankles. However, if it is not for you, there are other ways to bond. The important thing to remember is that as mothers we want the best for our babies, but we also have to be at our own best too. So try not to stress!
Do you have any breastfeeding experiences to share? If so, I would love to hear about them in the comments below!