Because this is World Breastfeeding Week it's an excuse for me to share a little about how I feel about nursing my babies.
When I was 4 my baby brother joined our family. My Mom nursed him. She nursed him frequently and for several years. Therefore, to me, that was just how you fed babies. I nursed my baby dolls and thought nothing of it. Until I shared that in some random conversation w/ a group of friends in college. The looks I got made me realize that maybe nursing your baby dolls wasn't necessarily what every little girl did! :) Nevertheless, that was my point of reference and I've always planned on nursing. The option of formula never even entered my mind.
Nursing is such an amazing and beautiful thing. I love it and am so thankful that I've been able to nurse all four of my babies. I am glad that there seem to be more mothers nursing. It's such a good thing, for mommies and for babies!! God is so smart! There are so many emotional blessings that come from nursing and so many physical blessings as well.
With Suzannah it was one of the most challenging things I'd ever done. It was worse than child birth and boy did I want to quit! I thought that breastfeeding was something so beautiful and would just come natural to her and to me. I figured I'd be a little sore but knew it wouldn't be anything that looking lovingly at my new baby wouldn't be able distract me from. WRONG!!! I had every problem under the sun!!! Seriously, you name it, we went through it! I remember sitting on the couch w/ Billy on one side and my Mom on the other trying to encourage me as I tried to let Suzannah nurse. I cried and said that I wanted to quit. It seemed like every time we got over one hurdle another one would come up. I wanted to be able to sit and gaze tenderly at this precious new life that had been entrusted to me and bond like I had envisioned. You won't believe this, but she was almost 6 months old b/f I was able to do that. I know, it sounds crazy, but that's the truth! She was a very "take care of business" nurser. She didn't nurse to sleep and she didn't nurse for comfort. It was purely for nourishment. I continued to nurse her until she was 13 months old. She wasn't really nursing much except when she woke up in the morning and at bedtime. I had lost so much weight that I lost my wedding ring b/c it fell off somewhere! I felt like I should wean her. Like I said, she wasn't nursing much and took the paci well so it was really easy. Looking back, I would have done things differently. I wish I had nursed her longer, but we do what we think is best in the moment.
With Molly Beth I was worried that we would have trouble again. It started off rough, but got better in a couple of weeks and there were no problems from then on. Molly B loved to nurse. We co slept w/ Suzannah, but I just don't really remember her nursing very much at night. Again, she took the paci so I'm sure that was part of it (Molly Beth would not take a pacifier). I loved nursing her. It was a beautiful thing and b/c she loved it so much it fulfilled me in a way I hadn't really experienced w/ Suz. I got pregnant w/ Jack and knew I didn't want to tandem nurse (though I see nothing wrong w/ it, I just knew my body wouldn't be able to handle it) so I began to formulate a plan. I was so tired the first trimester that it was more convenient to nurse so I didn't try to wean her then. I lost so much weigh from nursing that Billy was getting worried about the baby I was carrying so I finally took the plunge. Luckily she was willing to take a sippy cup of warm milk b/f she went to sleep. A strange thing happened though. When she weaned she found a pacifier and became a paci baby (@ 18 mo.) for the first time in her life. I was relieved as I was experiencing guilt over weaning her b/f she was ready. Then when she turned two we snipped the paci and that was the end of that.
Then came Jack. I just thought Molly Beth loved to nurse. No. JACK loved to nurse!!!! The boy wanted to nurse all night and all day long. For the first time I comfort nursed...and I loved it. I don't know if it was b/c he was my little boy or b/c he loved it so much but I can't tell you how wonderful nursing Jack was. I had a little soreness at the beginning, but that was it and it only lasted for like a week. The rest of the time it was just pure love. We bonded and I so enjoyed nursing him. Again I got pregnant and was already too thin so he needed to wean (again, 18 mo.). This. Broke. My. Heart. This little boy loved to nurse and was used to nursing all night long. How on earth do you wean that?! A paci? Nope. A sippy cup of warm milk? Nope. A wonderful husband that was willing to leave his bed and sleep with a baby that wanted his momma for several nights. I just knew it would be an absolute nightmare, but to my surprise, he did great!
Now there's Charley. Honestly, I don't know how this is going to go. She definitely doesn't love it like Jack did...at least not for now. She just sleeps so much that it's still hard to tell. I did have a rough first week w/ nursing, but since then no more problems. We don't know if she's our last, but if she is...I wonder how long I would nurse her. I'm working so hard to keep my weight up. If I don't get too thin or pregnant....and she continues to want to nurse.....how long will I go? Will I be one of those ladies nursing their 8 year old????? K, no, definitely not. But I can definitely see myself nursing a 2 year old. Time will tell, but I sure do love nursing. I love what it does for my babies and what it does for me. It is just one more way mothers must die to themselves. Ahhh, the never ending theme of motherhood. But it is so very worth it and again I am so grateful that I have been able to experience it.