July 15, 2009

Nearing the end of a beautiful relationship


"Breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime."
~Author Unknown

Funny Girl has begun to wean. She'll be four in November. I know she's weaning because, like her brother did before her, she's not asking to nurse every day. When she does nurse, it's only for a minute or two, and when I offer to nurse her, she now refuses me. This may be the beginning of the weaning process, but I doubt it's going to stop completely for a few more months. If she gets sick, she'll want to nurse and if she goes through a physical or emotional growth spurt, she'll be back on the breast. Since I'm still breastfeeding Dimples, I am not as sad as I was when Robotson weaned. I cried a lot when he was done. I am a little nostalgic though and it seems like a good time to reflect back on our nursing relationship.

Funny Girl was a water birth. She came fast and when I first looked at her she was staring back at me with totally wide open eyes, not making a sound. It was so strange that I asked the midwife why she wasn't crying. It would be a very long time before she was that peaceful again. FG was the very definition of a high need baby. Our second night in the hospital had her up crying all night long. Even the nurses stayed away after a while when they finally heard our room was quiet. I expected her to nurse a lot, but she'd get upset with me if I offered her the breast when she was full. It wasn't long before we tried a pacifier despite my dislike for them. FG took it and was content. I nursed whenever she wanted, but there would always come a time when she just wanted her pacifier. By six months she was asking for table foods but refused all baby food. So I gave her little bits of whatever I was eating. By nine months she was walking and eating half of my food. At one, there wasn't really anything she wouldn't try to eat at least once. Through it all, FG kept nursing. I got pregnant with Dimples around this time. The first three months were painful for me with the sore breasts, but it got better. Near the end of my pregnancy, the milk was nearly gone but she never stopped. She was really excited when my milk came back in. I think I did nothing but nurse for the next six months. FG practically stopped eating.


In case it all seems very easy, it wasn't. Most of my pregnancy nursing was torture for me. Not pain, just an almost overwhelming feeling of NOT wanting to be nursing. It made no sense really, but every time she latched on I just wanted to run screaming from the room. That pretty much disappeared after Dimples was born, but came back a little this past year. It's not all the time, but sometimes I have to literally make myself be calm and take the time. To those who don't understand the feeling, it might seem like I should just give myself a break and wean her. That's not what it is. I want to nurse. It's a completely normal feeling though I think it's called breastfeeding agitation. This pretty accurately describes me:
I felt an overpowering urge to stop nursing, immediately. It was a visceral, gut reaction like an itch, making me tense, anxious, cranky, and agitated. It was so confusing because I wasn’t in pain, and I was committed to nursing my son as long as he needed to nurse. The feeling only came when Jake was nursing, and quickly passed when he was finished.
So that's where we are now. Not sure when the end will be, but I'll always feel happy about our nursing time together and all the benefits it gave her.

2 comments:

  1. It really is a gift - for both child and mama.

    I breastfed E for 19 mos and A for 26 mos. They both weaned themselves, which is a nice way to end a wonderful aspect of the mother-child relationship.

    You still got Dimples though!
    I didn't realize you had a water birth - wonderful, I imagine. I'll be asking you about ....

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  2. Thank you for sharing and hugs to you during this transition. My little guy said he was going to wean when he turned 5, and well, it seems like he's sticking to that. Apparently I am being replaced by chocolate milk. :)
    But I think I'm ready and I know he is too. It's hard to talk about in the "mainstream", so it's nice that you opened up a safe place.
    Thank you.

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