breastfeeding, boobs, weaning and other motherly woes
i have been lucky with breastfeeding. things have gone smoothly since the beginning when lucinda latched right on as soon as i got her in my arms, and we've never looked back. it did hurt at first, they told me the tenderness might last for ten days or so, but my nipples were in pain for the first several weeks of nursing. but only for that first moment when she would latch on, i'd take a deep breath and relax myself and feel the milk start to flow and everything would be comfy then. it seemed like i was nursing round the clock for months. she was a very frequent eater and i just kept it coming. to me it was cozy to have my spot on the couch or the hammock, quiet time with a big glass jar of water, my book and journal, ipod, perhaps a snack nearby, and my sweet content baby nursing away snuggled in my arms.
lucy's nursing time has flown and i've tried to enjoy it fully.
now it is getting very near weaning time for my sweet toot. she only nurses once a day now, at bedtime, and that is on its way out for one reason: my milk is drying (has dried?) up.
i think this drying-up process has been frustrating for her and it began to change her nursing patterns a couple months ago. we were down to once or twice a day plus a night nursing or two. i had to cut out the night nursings completely when i got a horrible case of food poisoning on top of being sick in my first trimester. pure misery (on memorial day when i was supposed to meet up with these lovely gals. boo.) i was too dehydrated and exhausted to nurse that night, and she was used to needing a few feedings during the night at that point to help her get back to sleep. so around 2 a.m. darin and i just comforted her as she cried. it was heartbreaking but we were there for her, too sick and tired to move so we just held her close. she cried herself back to sleep and we have never nursed in the middle of the night again since then. so i consider that bout of food poisoning somewhat of a blessing in disguise as i don't know how we would have given up the frequent night nursings if it weren't for that night. i am hoping that eliminating this last final nursing session goes smoothly. i worry because she is very attached to it for bedtime, though it does not get her to sleep anymore. in fact, when i slip my boob away she often wakes up fully to either cry or play and crawl around on the bed. after that, bedtime may take up to three hours sometimes and is usually grueling. i am often alone as darin works until 11 pm or has band practice. and if he is here to help it's sometimes even harder because he has to take her away from me and put her in the Ergo to walk her to sleep and she struggles against that. she does sleep through the night now which is wonderful, but it's getting her there that is rough. i think all these sleep woes started as my milk began to dry up. nursing to sleep was just so utterly relaxing for her, she is having a really hard time with that change. she still sleeps between us too. horizontally. we've got a lot to work on around here.
nursing in the new year:
bf'ing break while my sis was in labor:
interestingly, my boobs are right now the smallest they've been in over a year. they hurt like hell and the nipples are dark, but they're back to my normal B cup size. it's just so fascinating to me the way our bodies change with birth and pregnancy and the physical ways that we adjust to motherhood. the ways that we share so many experiences while we are also each so unique. many women's breasts grow during the beginning of pregnancy; not mine. neither time so far. instead, mine expanded enormously at the very end.
and then stayed big all through the heavy nursing months...case in point below (a picture i was too embarrassed to post at the time, but hell, this is officially a boobs post)
i had dreams of nursing a baby for years. right before i got pregnant with lucy i dreamt that i nursed my friend elsie's babe. i did indeed end up nursing my sister's babe. i find breastfeeding to be one of the most sweet, poignant, empowering and yes, i'll say it, magical activities that i've ever had the chance to experience. i thought i would nurse lucy until about 18 months or even beyond, but i am content with the way things have gone and pray for a smooth transition for her as we cut out her sweet bedtime treat. i very much look forward to the chance to breastfeed another baby this winter. and i thank the universe, my stars, life, god, mother goddess and love every day for the wondrous fact that this happened to me at all. that i have become a mother like i always hoped i would.