In The Beginning
|Photo credit: Audria Abney Photography|
|First plane trip around 3 months|
Adventures Nursing in PublicOne of my earliest vivid nursing memories is the first time I tried to nurse in public. I was averse to the idea of using a cover, as normalizing breastfeeding was very important to me. But Perrin was only about 6 days old, I was engorged and leaking, and it took a lot of work to get him on the breast. So when I sat down on the bench at the mall to nurse, I threw a blanket over my shoulder. He wouldn't latch. I was spraying milk everywhere, I couldn't get him positioned right, random employees from a nail salon were asking questions about his name and age and whatnot. And I couldn't deal. So I cried, and I went to the nursing room. And there I sat, under bright fluorescent lights, in an uncomfortable chair, in a tiny closet sized room all by myself. And I cried. This was supposed to be a village. This knowledge was supposed to be passed down through generations, perfected by women all around me who had done it all before. And I was in a room by myself. That was the one and only time I used a cover or a nursing room.
|Upside down yoga snack|
|Watching Godsmack at KFMA Day|
|Nursing Goten at Tucson Comicon|
|Waiting to meet Corey Taylor with all the other metal heads.|
Reaping the Rewards
My other favorite thing about nursing was the health and comfort benefits it afforded us. For me, nursing lowers my risks of different types of cancers and some later chronic illness. It also delayed my cycle for 17 months, which I consider a hella win! For Perrin, it gave him an awesome immune boost, provided tons of excellent nutrients that he needed, got him through illness and oral surgery and numerous bumps and scrapes. It was an instant comfort for him in times of fear and stress. He has a lower risk of obesity, asthma, gastro-intestinal illness, some childhood cancers, and food allergies because he was breastfeed. He's only been sick twice in his three years- one upper respiratory infection and one stomach bug. And of course, it was amazing to see that I could feed all 9lb 14 oz of him and watch him gain so well. He was in the 90th percentiles for his entire first year.
It's damn near crucial. I'm sure some people can make it work on their own, but I know I couldn't have. Joey is the sole reason I was able to successfully nurse. He was on the phone calling doctors and lactation counselors, he was on the computer reading articles and watching videos. He stayed up with me for every feeding. He went to the baby groups and La Leche Leagues. He shooed people off when they mentioned giving up, and he never for one second seemed to doubt that we were going to do this. I joke that he would make a wonderful IBCLC because he has so much knowledge and can troubleshoot a latch with the best of them!
It was my goal to make until at least 2 years old (the recommended age by the AAP) and then allow Perrin to decide when he was done. I ended up being a little more hands on with the weaning process than I intended to be, but overall we met our goals. After a one year, he was still nursing much more than I had expected, but I knew that it was still within the realm of normal and I really didn't want to make any adjustments. While some kids handle limits on nursing fine, for others it initiates weaning and I didn't want to compromise our two year goal. But after two years, I developed a nursing aversion- where you have a negative physiological and/or psychological reaction to nursing. I'm not sure if it was because I had reached my goal and felt "done" or if it was just coincidence, but around 26 months we began toying around with some adjustments to our nursing.
I was hoping to reduce frequency and night wean (no longer nurse him during the night), but he wasn't very receptive to either. However, I found reducing the length of our nursing sessions went over well, so we went with that. I'd allow him to nurse whenever he wanted, but we generally nursed for less than a minute, except at nap and before bed. Then around 28 months, he slept though the night for the first time. He didn't do it consistently, but I used that as a cue to move on with the weaning process.
By 30 months, he was more receptive to me reducing the number of nursing sessions. We began nursing only before and after nap and before and after night sleep, making exceptions for boo-boos or other stressful situations. He still asked to nurse during the night, but less often and it was about 50/50 whether or not I could get him to go to back to sleep without. From then on, he completely took over the weaning process.
|The last nursing picture ever taken, his second to last nursing session.|