My daughter is 19 months old and is still breastfeeding. My initial goal was to try and wean her by the time she was 2. I feel that my time to nurse her will be coming to an end sooner, so I’ve been reflecting on my experiences nursing two children. I feel like there is a lot of judgement out there from people when it comes to breastfeeding versus formula, so I feel the need to share with you my experiences.
My son was born early. Not too early, but early enough that it affected a few things. He was born at 36 weeks and 6 days gestation via c-section. He was a very lazy sucker and all he wanted to do was sleep. The minute I tried to latch him, he would sleep. He was so small and sleepy that his suck was not effective enough to stimulate my milk supply. I pumped around the clock. I had unlimited use of the lactation specialist at the hospital, and I visited a lactation specialist twice outside of the hospital. I was specifically told by lactation to supplement my son with formula because he was not gaining weight. For 6 weeks around the clock I pumped, nursed, pumped, nursed. The entire 6 weeks I was only able to pump 1 CC of milk at a time. A little after my son was 6 weeks old, I gave up and exclusively formula fed.
Why did I give up? Because the stress, worry, lack of sleep, spending time pumping, nursing, pumping, did I mention lack of sleep, was taking away time from my son. All I remember my first few weeks was stressing over pumping 1 CC of milk when I could have been bonding with my son. It intruded on that bond, and I didn’t want to sacrifice anymore bonding time. I do remember some hurtful comments I received, specifically by people I knew. When my son turned 1 and he could drink cow’s milk, I remember being told “good he is off that nasty formula”. This person did not understand how hard I tried to nurse my son and it didn’t work. There were tons of factors that prevented my milk from pouring out. It’s not that simple. For those that say everyone has a plentiful milk supply, I just don’t buy that.
My daughter was born on her due date. My VBAC failed so I delivered her by c-section as well. I did not have the same worries when she was born because I knew I had a chance nursing with a baby that was able to develop longer inside the womb. I was worried that maybe because I have very large breasts that I would be unable to nurse. However, my daughter was born knowing how to breastfeed. The first time I tried to latch, she didn’t let go. That girl wouldn’t let go for a long time. In fact, 19 months later, here I am trying to figure out how to wean her.
The only problem I had with nursing her is she wouldn’t let me sleep. I once had a marathon breastfeeding session for 17 hours. Yes, you read that correctly. I was fearful that I had low milk supply, and I didn’t want to give up like I did with my son so I let her nurse all day. I also couldn’t afford to get formula at the time, and I would not qualify for any government services either so I was scared into letting her nurse for 17 hours in one day. Anyways, I visited a lactation specialist and confirmed she was receiving adequate milk. However, my problem was not solved…
My daughter wanted to nurse on me every hour literally around the clock and if she was not latched she would scream. I am not exaggerating when I mean nurse every hour. It was more like every minute. If I put her down for 30 minutes she would scream. I got like 2-3 hours of sleep per night the first 2 months of her life. Usually she was sleeping with me. I would fall asleep in the rocking chair with her latched. The minute I would move her she would cry and scream. I took her to several checkups thinking there was something wrong. Finally at 4 months of age, one of the doctors gave her medicine for acid reflux for babies. After a few days, it seemed to help. She was not crying so much. I was relieved that there seemed to be help.
She didn’t sleep through the night until she was 1 year old, a far cry from my son who slept through the night at 4 months old. Now my daughter’s teeth are still coming in so she likes to teethe a lot when she nurses. My decision as of today is to take it one day at a time trying to wean her. I hope to have her weaned by her 2nd birthday. I know she technically does not need breastmilk anymore at this age, but according to AAP and LLL it is perfectly fine for her to continue to nurse at this age.
At this point I nurse her at night, when I put her down for a nap, and in the morning. Three times is too much probably at this age, or at least that is what a doctor would say probably considering she is getting a sippy cup. However, I don’t know how to put her down for a nap without nursing unless my husband puts her down to sleep. She even brings ME the Boppy pillow!!
What has your feeding experience been like? I would love to hear about either experience, nursing or formula, there is no judgement here.
**Oh guess who is under the nursing blanket in the picture above? LOL.
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