Mamahood Styled


// mamahood: world breastfeeding week //

Today concludes world breastfeeding week! I am amazed at the fact that this is the second week of its kind that I have been proud to celebrate. I have been wanting to write about our breastfeeding journey and this seems like the appropriate time, as we are currently and officially weaning at 18 months.

Our nursing journey has been one of the biggest rollercoasters as a mama and woman I have ever embarked upon. I knew from the moment I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed, primarily and solely because I had done so much research on how beneficial it would be for our baby. It helps decrease the chances of diabetes and cancer, among other risk diminutives, both of which my husband has or has had. If I can do anything to decrease my baby's risk of attaining or developing either (or other) diseases, you bet your ass, I am going to.

My midwife and nurses knew that I wanted nothing to do with bottles, pacifiers of formula and I didn't want any pain meds or interventions all with the primary purpose to be able to nurse as soon as our baby wanted to. I even requested for him not to get cleaned up right away so that I could have some skin-to-skin time and let him nurse if he wanted. Not because I'm a strong martyr, but because I wanted what was best for my baby. Not best for anyone else's baby or family- but simply for mine. Because if there's one thing I quickly learned as my girlfriends were having babies, it's that what is best for one mama and her family, is not necessarily best for another. and that is MORE than OKAY! I also quickly learned that everything I ever said I would NOT do...well, I should just shut my mouth because I would do it, and did! *cough*co-sleeping*ahem! Anyway, I was able to follow my birth plan (holy shit, that was the most physically painful experience of my life)!

The first latch, I was praised, was perfect. It hurt like hell, though. It was recommended that I start pumping to bring in my milk faster, since I was so adamant about nursing exclusively. So, I did! Long story as short as it can be, I ended up overproducing....


You know, I have spent a week trying to write this post. & I can't find a way to shorten it because my journey has been SO long, SO hard and SO amazing, simultaneously.

So let's break it down:

Think of all the issues one can have with breastfeeding and pumping: I had them! From oversupply, to under, to only one boob, to my baby having both a lip tie and a tongue tie and no one believing me (multiple doctors, lactation consultants, and finally a specialist who was our saving grace); followed by everyone telling me to just quit; craniosacral therapy; baby chiropractors; pumping while working; lipase (an enzyme) in my frozen milk; my baby not sleeping and being heavily attached; etc; etc; etc!

But we made it! 18 months strong as can be!

We started the weaning process at 11 months, haha! It took me SEVEN months to wean him! Ahh! But we went slow and steady. I started by substituting one session with (unsweetened almond) milk per week or two until we simply felt ready to replace another feeding. Oliver was extremely attached to me and would NOT take naps or go to sleep at night without nursing to sleep. So that, naturally, became the last feeding that we worked on. I practiced the "don't offer, but don't refuse" approach and that worked well for us. But I started noticing that no matter how much I tried to distract him in hopes of him realizing he didn't need it, he still did. My baby boy was extremely comforted by nursing. It was our time. Only ours. His little eyes would roll back and he would take a deep sigh of comfort. His little body would relax, his toes would uncurl. He would play with my face, or hair, or practice his gymnurstics. It was simply our time. There were other times, when I just felt like a human pacifier. Times I didn't feel that sweet connection, and instead felt that it was a habit. I wondered what it would be like to be a mama who didn't nurse; whose baby or toddler didn't depend on her in such a way.

For months I knew I would be going out of town for a weekend and my anxiety of leaving him for the first time was enormous. I cried at the idea of him calling out for me and not finding me. Of me not being able to comfort him and meet his every moment need, in his times of need. But I did. And so did he. And I came back and realized I hadn't nursed him in two days. TWO WHOLE DAYS and NIGHTS! As soon as he saw me and we settled in, he wanted to nurse. But between G and I, we decided there was no turning back if this was something we really wanted to move forward with. Because TWO WHOLE DAYS AND NIGHTS are too hard to do all over again. So slowly, and painfully, I moved into more and more days. And now, it's been two weeks. The first being the hardest. With my body wanting to continue producing and the pain and discomfort that comes with that. With my baby wanting to nurse and the pain that comes for both of us. But something magical has happened: my baby boy has discovered his Daddy. All of a sudden, there are two parents and he favors, finally. & to see the love and excitement in my husband's eyes every single time he walks in through the door and hears "DAHD!" from his 18 month old boy, I mean...seriously!

I am a bit sad. I am melancholy. I feel like Oliver is growing and changing and I am no longer his number one. Growing pains, I guess. His personality and attitude are adjusting and I am just...there, at times. I know that this transition will smooth out. I thought I would be jumping up for joy, feeling liberated and free. And yet, I feel a bit sad and unsure.

So I am making a conscience effort to turn my attention to my husband, per Oliver's cues. Because our relationship has been put on hold for the last 18 months as I nurtured and fed our baby boy. And now that our baby is a toddler and requires less of me, my husband requires more. So here's to my baby boy and my Babe.


So last night, after finishing up this blog post during the day, I couldn't get our nursing relationship out of our mind. So I texted Geoff and told him I needed closure and needed to nurse Oliver one more time. His initial reaction was concern for setbacks but immediately told me he would support me in whatever I decided. I have been working 13+ hour days this week so I was so excited and anxious to get home. We did our typical bedtime routine with Oliver choosing a few books to read before bed. This time, he wanted to read in his teepee. We read a couple of books but my heart was racing with nervousness- what if he didn't need me anymore. I asked him if he wanted to nurse- he smiled and nodded and got into position. He latched on hesitantly, a bit unsure about what to do and while he figured it out, he looked up at me, touched my face with his chubby little hand and smiled- first with his eyes, and then with his whole face, lighting up my heart and making tears stream down my face. He repeatedly would drink, look up at me, caress my face or hair, hike up his leg, settle in, smile, chuckle, and exude all the love I needed. It was truly a euphoric experience. It was as if he knew and understood eeeeevery single struggle we went through; every tear of pain, happiness, frustration...each emotional rollercoaster we went on. He understood and was letting his mama know how loved I am and appreciative he is. It may sound silly but I swear it's true. Geoff was with us and we both talked to him a lot...he kept nodding his little head and chuckling and breathing in deep sighs of comfort. His little fingers curled around different parts of my face and hair....and then he started signing for "more" while still latched on. I guess this meant that there wasn't much milk left in there. I told him there was no more and he closed his little eyes, smiled and nodded as if he understood. He started to squeeze with both hands trying to express the little that he could, and because I didn't want him (or I) to get frustrated or ruin this extremely special moment, I asked him if he was all done. He shook his head no, but still latched off. With tears streaming down my face, I asked him for a kiss..He grabbed my face as he usually does, and gave me a dozen kisses. It was the PERFECT seal to our experience. Sigh. These words cannot even convey how this felt. I took him to his bed and laid him down. He grabbed his cup, his Lobo, and then for the first time, grabbed his comfort blankies (that he has never used but we keep in his crib, juuust in case) and snuggled it all...He stuck his little chubby baby hand through the railings of his crib, said "hi," grabbed my hand and after some tossing, turning, conversation, and snuggling, drifted off to sleep...

I am so grateful for this experience. It has changed me in more ways than I never imagined. I am stronger, more determined, more capable. I believe in myself, in my body, in my mamahood experience. I have had the most amazing support and have been able to share this experience. I have been motivated and inspired. I don't know where this leaves my nursing relationship. But I am not looking to label it. If last night was our final session, then so be it. If today, we nurse again, then so be it. All I know is that I needed that and I truly believe my baby boy did, too.

Forever in love. 

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