The Day My Daughter Stopped And Our Relationship Changed

I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was a few weeks ago.
It was a Monday.
I went to put my sweet baby girl to bed. I got us all nice and cozy like I have every other single night since the day she was born. We have a spot, only the two of us can sit there. But something was different. Instead of our nightly ritual of me breastfeeding my daughter, she got up and went to get a book instead. Just like that!

I have been trying to get my daughter to take a bottle since before she was a year old, she always refused. I’ve talked about stopping breastfeeding for months. More often than not I ending up crying from the pain, infection after infection, having a teething baby biting me. It was painful, very painful. But just like that for her to stop! I wasn’t ready! How dare she! With no warning!

I wish I had known that earlier that day at nap time would have been our last time. I would have stayed a bit longer in our spot. I would have memorized her face for the millionth time. I would have savoured the moment, burning forever into my memory.

I was ready for the pain to end, but I wasn’t prepared for her to stop just like that. I cried that night after I laid her sweet sleeping body into bed and put her favourite blanket on her. I cried tears of sadness that just like she didn’t want me or need me. I cried tears of relief that the pain was over. I cried that my baby girl, my last baby was growing up. I cried at how independent she was becoming. I cried at how proud I was of her. I cried at how much in that moment this painful breastfeeding journey truly meant to me.

We no longer sit in our spot. She won’t cuddle with me there anymore. Instead we sit in her rocking chair, and we read books together at nap time and bed time. She still cuddles me, she still lays her sweet little head on my chest to sleep, but its different now. The bonding is different now. She isn’t with me because I’m the only that can provide for her, she is with me because she wants to be, because she loves me.

She has changed so much. She went from my little baby girl who needed and wanted to breastfeed ALL the time around the clock, and when she wasn’t breastfeeding she was sucking on her thumb, and in one afternoon changed into a big girl who doesn’t need mommy in that way and hasn’t sucked her thumb once since that day.

I love putting her to bed at night, maybe even more so now. I love watching her excitement and she helps me book out a book or two at bed time. I love as she eagerly climbs into my nap. I love how she snuggles into me and falls asleep in my arms with her sweet head on my chest. She isn’t there because I provide her with food, she is there because I provide her with comfort, love, a safe place, and a cozy place to sleep.

I never would have imagined I would breastfeed my daughter past 2 months. When I got to 6 months and she started teething I thought that was the end. When we celebrated her first birthday I thought that was it for sure. When we made it past a year I was amazed.

This breastfeeding journey has not been easy or glamorous. It has been hard, tiring, painful, and oh so tiring. It is amazing the physical and emotional toll it took on me. Many nights I silently cried as my sweet girl feed. And now its over. Just like that. In a single afternoon my daughter decided on her own that she was done, that she didn’t need me in that way anymore. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need me in so many other ways. Just not this way anymore.

It was a bitter sweet ending for me, but I am glad it was my daughter that ended it and not me. I’m glad she was able to do this on her own. I love my sweet independent baby girl.

I wouldn’t have traded this journey for anything, pain and all, it was worth it, it was all worth it for my baby.

On the bright side I can now send my husband in there when she wakes up in the night!

breastfeeding1

Breastfeeding. Image found on Google.

~ Michelle

Some Things People Really Shouldn’t Say To Breastfeeding Moms

I love my husband. He is my best friend. He is the best. I am so lucky to have him.
But as a breastfeeding mom, sometimes when he says stupid stuff I hate him. When it is really extremely stupid, sometimes I even have the urge to stab him in the knee with a fork. Nothing causing severe pain or trauma, but if you are an exclusively breastfeeding mom, you may understand. Don’t get me wrong, I still love him, but yeah, sometimes a fork to the knee sounds good.

Let me explain before you freak out.

There are few things that test a marriage, house renovations, buying a house, planning a vacation, or when you are highly sleep deprived and exclusively breastfeeding and you are up every 1-2 hours while he sleeps soundly for 8-10 hours every. single. night.
Now don’t go hating on him. He tries to help. He offers to help. He will get up and change her if she needs it. He will get up and rock her back to sleep sometimes. But when your baby is a boob addict, there isn’t much left for him to do. We have tried giving her a bottle, which clearly warrants screaming so bad you think the world is coming to an end. Even a bottle with breast milk will not do. She will not go for the fake stuff. She likes it straight up.

So here are some things a husband (and maybe other people) should never say to an over-tired, hormonal, breastfeeding mom.

1. “She was only up three times. That doesn’t sound too bad!” Um… what?!?! Yes total improvement over 6 times, but still yeah. I guess if you didn’t get up with her then yes it doesn’t sound too bad!

2. “I am so tired”. Really? Sorry I didn’t see you in the hallway as I went back and forth between my room and my daughter’s room. 8 hours of sleep must be hard work.

3. “Have you thought about letting her cry it out?” Yes totally, because I want her to wake up everyone in the house. And I want to be up even longer before I have to go in and feed her.

4. “I know how you feel.” Yes, you totally do, because you have boobs and you breastfeed out daughter almost 24/7. Ok. Thanks for the sympathy, but no…just no.

5. “Just try a bottle. It is no big deal to give her one” (My husband did not say this, someone else did) Trust me if it was that simple it would be done by now. I have tried. My husband has tried. She is a boob addict. She won’t take it. At all. If you want to know what is like to have your ears bleed, come over and listen to her scream when someone tries to give her a bottle.

6. “You’re still breastfeeding?! Why?” (Again, my husband did not say this to me, but someone else did) Because I want to. Because I can. And because she won’t stop.

7. “And?…” Half asleep, my husband once said this to me after complaining about my night. After I threw a pillow at him he quickly changed his tone.

8. “How much more are you really going to eat?” Thankfully it wasn’t my husband that said this. But when you are feeding another human being from your own body, it is hard work, and you get hungry. Back off.

Sometimes when someone says something stupid I just want to say…

photo from ecards

photo from ecards found on Pinterest

To recap, I love my husband, he’s amazing, helpful, and super awesome. But sometimes people just say stupid stuff. At least after 3 kids, and more than a year of breastfeeding my daughter, my husband has learned a few things, like be supportive, and give me chocolate.

~ Michelle

My Breastfeeding Journey. What I have learned so far.

Here is what I have learned during my journey with breastfeeding, especially this past year.

Breastfeeding.
The most natural unnatural thing.

My history with breastfeeding has not been all rainbows and glitter.
I love the bond and connection it gave me with my babies. But for the actually act of breastfeeding… well I have a love-hate relationship with it.

It all started when I got pregnant at 16. Knowing I was going to place my baby for adoption I didn’t want to do any research about child-birth or breastfeeding, besides talking to doctors, because… well I just couldn’t bear it, it hurt too much. I asked about breastfeeding, I was reassured by several medical “professionals” that if I did not try to breastfeed that my milk would not come in. So being that my son was placed with his parents I never tired. Those “professionals” could not be more wrong, I had 5, FIVE, days of agony, giant, leaky boobs to prove them wrong.

Fast forward to when my husband and I had our son. I gave birth in one of the busiest hospitals around. I never saw the same nurse twice. They wouldn’t even let my husband stay with me at night to help while I recovered from my c-section. So what does all that mean? It means no one helped me learn how to breastfeed. And at night, because I couldn’t get up, the nurses took my baby for the entire night and gave him a bottle! I left the hospital with a 3 day old and bleeding nipples. I cried out in pain every time I tried to feed. My son and I had a very rough start to breastfeeding, and at the age of 4 months he stopped completely when I got pregnant again.
To me, the whole 4 months was a failed attempt at breastfeeding. It never went well or easy.

Now onto my youngest son. It wasn’t that easy. Even though I *knew* what I was doing, it still was not easy. It wasn’t painful, but it still wasn’t easy. He only nursed till 4 months as well. He preferred the bottle. I felt like a failure again. I would comfort myself by saying at least I tried. But that didn’t ease the mom guilt I felt. Mom guilt which was now multiplied by 2 failed attempts. It took me years to come to terms with this and get over it.

My daughter. Third times a charm. Right? Wrong.
I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 1 year and counting.
Like I said, I love the bond. I love the way she reaches up and rests her hand on my face while she feeds.
But I hate the pain. I have had issue after issue with blocked milk ducts. Pain all the time. And whenever it happens, my daughter doesn’t feed well. She bites, she tries to rip off my nipples, she pinches me. I have spent more time crying and getting sick from pain, than enjoying the bonding.
The bad days I get so much anxiety over it that I actually get sick. And bonus. Walking around with painful, almost raw, nipples that my daughter tried to rip off.

breastfeeding

Photo from E-cards found on Pinterest.

Now can we talk about the fact that my daughter is one and still sleeps like a new-born? I can’t express enough how awesome it is to be the only one getting up with her every couple of hours. Every. Single. Night! Bless my husband, he tries to help, but when she only wants to feed and refuses a bottle, there is not much he can do.
If she would only take a bottle once in a blue moon, that would be such a help!

But then there are the nights it goes well, it doesn’t hurt. Its easy. Its natural. Its peaceful. It’s all worth it.

Here is what I have learned. There is no right amount of time to breastfeed, despite what people say. I’ve also learned that it isn’t always right for you. I’ve learned that natural doesn’t always mean it will be easy. I have also learned I have a strength in me that I never knew I had. I’ve learned that the pain, as much as it hurts, is worth it. I’ve learned that sometimes as mothers we do crazy things that we otherwise wouldn’t do, like continue to do something that causes pain.
Probably most importantly I learned how to function on very little sleep.

~ Michelle