Friday, August 31, 2012

Breastfeeding has been Downhill

Welcome to the August edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Breastfeeding.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. As August is Breastfeeding awareness month, our participants are writing about this exact subject! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I hadn't announced until the day my first was born that I planned to breastfeed her. My stepmother was a little annoyed that she hadn't been informed. The funny thing was that she and my dad each picked out a t-shirt for me that afternoon... not thinking about the breastfeeding factor. (You just wore button up shirts to breastfeed back then.)

I had absolutely smooth sailing with that breastfeeding relationship. She nursed for 6 months before I decided I wanted to stop. I called the doctor to get some pills to dry me up and was told to just quit cold turkey and "take Tylenol for the pain." Pain? What? Yeah, that part sucked. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. No problems.

Eight years later I was ready to try again. Ronni nursed for half an hour in the delivery room while my mother panicked in the hall because we'd been in for so long. But then we got thrush. It was so horribly awful. We persevered. Then I had a possible case of food poisoning and had to give him formula for one night. It turned out to be bad heartburn. Ronni went on to nurse until he self-weaned at 3½ years old.

Fast forward eleven more years to Sasha. For the first time ever, I had some trouble with supply. There were nights when she kept trying to nurse and then crying. I was at my wit's end. Then my husband figured it out. I was pumping so much at work I was dry! I didn't have anything left for her. I reduced my pumping and started eating oatmeal every day. Problem solved.

However, when we conceived Spencer a new set of problems arose. Nursing aversion is a horrible thing. I had no idea there were so many ways to hate nursing. It was a serious struggle to get through pregnancy and dry nursing.

I struggled to find the proper balance nursing both children once Spencer came home. I believe this may have messed up my milk supply. Oatmeal wasn't enough this time. Eventually I tried cookies from Making Mama's Milk and More. I swear they changed my life. I still eat them every day!

Unfortunately, my nursing aversion with Sasha did not disappear. I slowly weaned her to 5 short minutes of "Mommy Milk" before bed. I even used it as leverage with getting ready for bed. She could do her checklist (potty, teeth, and hair) and have Mommy Milk. Alternatively, she could go straight to bed. No checklist = No Mommy Milk.

I noticed that she wasn't even nursing for 5 minutes any more. In fact... she wasn't nursing at all. She would literally hold her open mouth around my nipple for about 2 minutes. (I had minimal aversion issues with this behavior!) I would continue to hold her for the full time before tucking her into bed. I was determined that our nursing relationship would last to her third birthday.

Finally, one night I offered her a choice. She could "have Mommy Milk" or I would sing her lullabies. She was perfectly happy to opt for lullabies. At first, I would hold her for 2 rounds of Rock-a-Bye Baby, then tuck her in and sing it 1 more time. Nowadays, I read 1 book and sing 1 lullaby. It is working for us. She doesn't turn 3 for 3 more weeks. I am totally claiming I nursed her to age 3, though! (See all my proud ribbons in my sidebar?)


I was so relieved when Spencer was born with good muscle tone and was able to nurse. He even nursed immediately after delivery! However, being in the NICU, they gave him formula. It took them about 12 hours before they even asked me to pump!

He did have some mild tongue-thrusting issues (common for babies with Down syndrome due to small mouths), but a Speech Therapist worked with him daily in the NICU. He would also tire out before he could finish breastfeeding. So when I brought him home I had to top off each feeding with a bottle.

Breastfeeding in NICUBreastfeeding on someone else's schedule, not to mention times when NICU is closed so our baby isn't available at all.

Breastfeeding has, therefore, been a lot more work this time around. He is a nursing champ now and actually nurses a lot faster than any of his sisters ever did! I swear he is done in 5-10 minutes!

The biggest breastfeeding "issue" on my mind lately, though, has been Sasha's actual weaning. I pushed her toward it, but I guess she really took the final steps on her own. I had really wanted to nurse her until she decided she was done. I've harbored some guilt about it. I hope for a very long nursing relationship with my son. My husband also expects it to be long, if only due to delays associated with Down syndrome (despite the lack of delays so far). Whatever the excuse, I hope Spencer is afforded the opportunity to wean in his own time.

How have your nursing relationships differed?
Has breastfeeding gotten easier?


APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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