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Thursday, April 26, 2012

my nursing chronicles...

Kellan and I, December 2011, by www.JessicaDowneyPhoto.com- located in Chandler AZ

I know I'm pretty random with my topics on my blog, but that's me lately, I'm all over the place with everything we've got going on over here...there is truly NEVER a dull moment.

Not last night but the night before, I was on my own putting all the kids to bed.  Mike was in Denver for work which meant I was in single mom mode, which always makes me think of all the truly single moms out there.  If ever there was a group of people I am in awe of, it's the single moms out there doing this whole parenting thing alone.  I have thought about all of you often lately, ever since my husband has started this new job.  His new job comes with a LOT of responsibility and a LOT of time commitment.  I have been on my own in the parent department a little more then usual these last few months while he plays the role of *new guy* at his new job...anyway, let's not get off topic.

I was in the middle of putting all four to bed on my own, oh, and one of the main parts of this story...I was putting the kids to bed after a very long day while also dealing with mastitis.  Long story short, if you haven't ever had the pleasure of having mastitis, count yourself lucky- it's brutally painful and makes for a not so patient mommy, enough said.  Finally all but Kellan were tucked in and tuckered out.  I had fed Kellan, changed his diaper, gotten him a clean onesie (bc let's be honest, it's already so darn hot out here in the AZ that that's all he wears), and after rocking him and patting him and burping him and nursing him Kellan was not having any part of going to sleep.  In fact, he got so worked up that he was literally screaming and could not be consoled. 

A couple weeks ago I had picked up a can of formula with the intention of starting to supplement him because I made the mistake with Chloe and didn't supplement her with formula soon enough and she would not take a bottle of any sort until she was 9 months old...I didn't want to go down that long road again.  Anyway- due to extreme exhaustion and not really knowing what else to do for Kellan to help him calm down, for some reason I thought to grab the formula and whip him up his first bottle of formula.  I gingerly placed the bottle in his mouth assuming he would spit it out, just like my previous 3 babies had done after being used to nursing.  Imagine my amazement, shock and elation when he gobbled that bottle right up!  Honestly, maybe I was a tad delirious from lack of sleep, but I seriously looked at him as if some sort of miracle was bestowed on me in my time of need!  Not only did he gobble that thing right up but he fell fast asleep and seemed totally soothed and happy about the bottle of goodness I had just provided him.

Now, normally, in the past, weaning each baby has been a pretty emotional, bittersweet experience.  Us moms that nurse secretly like to think that our babies would always prefer our milk as opposed to formula...I think that's just how it is for most of us, and I do think that most babies when they are used to nursing do in fact have a hard time switching over.  I am guessing that if this is how things would have gone for more previous babies, I might have been a tad bit sad that my baby was so willing to take a formula bottle after all the months of nursing him/her...maybe I would have felt a little let down as if my milk was nothing special or something along those lines?  However, with the situation that transpired a couple nights ago...only pure elation came over me!!  A feeling of relief that my baby was more then happy to take a formula bottle...I think this is due to my complete exhaustion (have I mentioned that already) and the fact that mastitis plus motherhood equals ROUGH!!  I was instantly excited about the idea that although my goal is always to nurse for 6 months, Kellan is just about 5 months and having been through mastitis before, I made an executive decision to stop nursing 1 month early because I felt it wasn't worth a nightmare of a month trying to nurse through excruciating pain and be a not-so-patient mommy just to make it to my 6 month goal if Kellan was just as happy with his formula!  In my house/my life, THIS, is big news!  This is what miracles are made of!

Now that I have officially decided my time of nursing has come to an end, I am starting to have little bittersweet moments here and there, like when I am holding a bottle and rocking him, thinking about the fact that I may never ever nurse one of my babies again in this life, cheesy I know, but this is a big deal for a nursing mom.  I remember when I had my first babe, Kaitlyn.  I remember thinking Holy Cow, this nursing thing is HARD!!!  Why did nobody tell me how hard this gig is?  I was in shock about how often I had to nurse and how much it hurt for the first two weeks!  I know everyone (lactation consultants) want to say that it doesn't hurt if they are "latched on" correctly, but in my world, even if they are latched on correctly, it freakin hurts for the first 2 weeks, end of story.  It gets WAY WAY WAY easier after that, but the first two weeks are rough with all your hormones being out of whack, exhaustion, and just pure pain from getting used to the nursing itself.

So...I am here to say, as a mommy who chose to nurse and a mommy who supports EVERY mom's choice to choose to nurse or not to nurse, if you do choose to nurse, just know this...it's tough in the beginning, it can be somewhat tough or it can even be really tough, but it DOES get easier, way easier.  The end of week two always marks the point at which I say, "OK, I can do this!"  I nursed Kaitlyn for 6 months, Carson for 7 months, Chloe for 9 months, and sweet Kellan got 5 months from me.  I do feel I gained a very special bond with them through nursing.  Since nursing is my only experience, I am sure you can get special bonds through bottle feeding as well, but I am so glad that for me I chose to nurse.  It forced me to slow down and just sit and hold my babies for the first months of their lives.  It is a sacrifice, but one I would whole heartily choose again with each one of them.  I had mastitis early on with Carson when he was only 2 months and wasn't ready to quit nursing.  I had to nurse through the pain with him, one of the absolute most painful experiences of my life, but again, I wouldn't change anything.  The bond I gained through nursing them is hard to describe, but something I am so grateful for.  I know many friends who have a hard time nursing for one reason or another and it makes it hard for them to nurse...I am grateful that other then the regular pains of nursing, nursing has always come pretty easy for me, I realize that is not everybody's situation.

So...that's what's going on in the Banner house...time to go replace my cabbage leaves ;) ;)


Anonymous said...

Such a bittersweet moment! Been there done that with all 5 of my children. Nursed them all for 1 yr (some a little shy of 1, some a little longer than 1). I don't think there's a set time to stop. It all depends on what works for you and your baby. So happy to hear he was content after being all worked up! Seeing our babies with a full tummy makes for a happy mommy<3


Lindsay Banner said...

So true Tanya!! Thanks for your comment!