Friday, April 23, 2010

11 Months and 15 Days

That is approximately how many days I breastfed Whitney. Let's just say that was a lot more days than I had planned on, but am so glad that we made it that far. I usually only post pictures, but I thought this was such a significant experience for me and Whitney that I would talk about it. If you're interested, continue reading, if you think it's a little on the ick factor, then stop now.

Monday was the last day she nursed and I think it's safe to say that we are offically done. When I began nursing Whitney, no, even before I began nursing Whitney, I had planned on stopping at six months. I thought that was definitely long enough and that once they got teeth and started crawling then they weren't really babies any more and it became creepy. We made it to six months and it wasn't weird to me so we kept going. At 7 months or so, I needed to supplement because my supply was too low for her growing body so I tried formula. She hated it. I was also looking forward to the possibility of weaning at that time but was forced to stick with it since she refused formula. Oh well, at least we saved a lot of money!

We continued nursing, and she was and still is a good eater, but she liked to nurse, a lot! She started waking up during the night for it and was nursing around the clock. A lot of it was my fault because that is how I got her accustomed to falling back asleep, but it was a catch 22. She needed the extra liquid to help with pooping and she wasn't great at drinking out of a sippy yet, and the only way for me to produce more was for her to drink more. I didn't like pumping so I let her nurse. It was an exhausting period for us. The amount of calories I burned and the pounds I lost was tremendous! I ate about every hour and I ate whatever and however much I wanted. It was awesome! I have to watch what I eat a little bit now, but it's easier than I thought it would be because I don't have that insane appetite.

We got past the insane nursing, she started drinking more out of a cup (water and juice) and I introduced milk at 9 months to get her accustomed to the taste. She has had no allergies to other foods, including cheese, so I was not concerned about her getting milk early, and she only started out drinking an ounce or two a day. It very slowly increased until she was drinking an entire sippy cup a day of milk along with nursing. My new plan was to be completely done by 11 months. A week before she turned 11 months I really started working on cutting down feedings. She was not happy that she couldn't nurse on demand any more. It was especially challenging for us because she very seldom drank out of a bottle, she doesn't suck a pacifier or her thumb, and she doesn't have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. I was her lovey. Trust me, I tried to get her hooked on something so she wasn't dependent on me, but she would have none of it. Which in hindsight has turned out to be okay. She was doing great with weaning and had adjusted and was taking in more milk until she got sick. I felt bad for her and thought my milk would comfort her and maybe help her fight her cold faster... bad idea. I started nursing her whenever she wanted and at night again. We were back to square one after the illness. She was sick for two weeks, but I nursed her frequently for about four days, enough to confuse her. So, we battled with weaning again until she found comfort in taking milk from a bottle. She did just fine once we got down to twice a day and then once a day and even every other day for a while. And now we are done. I put milk in a bottle, thinking if she can take comfort in sucking on a bottle instead of me, then we can handle anything. She drinks really well out of a sippy, so I don't anticipate having a problem taking away the bottle. In fact, she just drank out of sippy for her nap instead of a bottle. I think she just wants something to drink, she doesn't care where it comes from any more.

I'm really happy that I nursed her that long. I didn't expect to get so attatched to it as well. It was really hard for me to stop too. I had it in my head that the time was near to end it, but my first day of really withholding it from her, I cried. I wasn't sure if I was making the right decision and if I was doing it right. I cried that first day and that was it. I did get sappy when we got to the end, I was never sure when our last time was, if I would fill up enough to the point of pain to let her empty me. She still likes to cuddle, so that helps. I was afraid our quiet moments on the couch were gone. Now that we are done I can't imagine still nursing her, she is just so much a toddler now, but at the time of weaning I could imagine myself nursing her for a few more months, if that makes any sense. My hormones didn't make me crazy or emotional, but they are making my face break out like crazy, thank you hormones!! I guess that sums up my breastfeeding experience, it was so sweet and such a bonding experience and I am so glad we made it this long. But I will enjoy having my body back. No more wondering if I will have a private place to nurse in public or to hide her under a blanket. I don't have to feel guilty if I don't eat well or miss my vitamin. I also can't wait to enjoy more than one glass of wine!

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