My little nursling, an update

30 Jan

My goal for breast feeding Benjamin was to make it three months — finish out my maternity leave and get him all stockpiled up with the immunities and IQ boosting properties that breast milk is supposed to offer. But here we are, six months later and still going.

Nursing Lucas was an incredible chore — his tongue tie, my vasospam, awful latch, over supply turned into poor supply, we had more check marks in the “reasons to quit” column than I could have imagined existed.  And, for those reasons, we had wrapped up our chapter on nursing/breast milk by the time he turned six months.

Nursing Benjamin has been a very different experience.  He took to it quickly, shocking all of us in the delivery room with a quick and easy latch.  The pain was so much more manageable.  He was efficient and we were usually wrapped up in twenty minutes or less.  But then, at nearly three months old, he was done.  With 10 weeks of untreated reflux, eating while laying down in the nursing position was just too painful.  He refused.  He cried.  I cried. We went to the doctor and they encouraged me to nurse him as much as possible, something that just wasn’t going to happen with me heading back to work.  We established our new normal — exclusive pumping throughout the day, breast feeding at night when he was too sleepy and unaware to fight.

I never, ever dreamed of exclusively pumping — even with all the pain of feeding Lucas, I refused to abandon it in favor of exclusive pumping.  It’s twice the work, twice the dishes, double the time.  You have to pump, wash, bottle feed, wash. But, we’ve been okay.  Heck, it’s been better than I expected, and “the new normal” felt exactly that – normal.  It’s just what we did day-in and day-out.

But I sense another shift in our normal.  I think our nursing days are over.  As much as I am a-okay without having to feed Benny in the middle of the night, it’s strange to not be actively nursing him any longer.  It wrapped up without me realizing it.  We skipped a few nights two weeks ago.  He survived without crying more than normal or seeming hungry.  Then he got sick and was too stuffed up to show any interest in nursing… and now it’s been about a week and it seems things are over.  I think it’s better that way — I didn’t get overly sentimental or weepy about “it’s our last time” or “oh my little baby is getting bigger” (although I’m certainly having those feelings while writing this).

It’s amazing how quickly the lack of actual nursing has impacted my supply.  In a matter of days, I’m barely pumping enough to fill his bottles.  I imagine within the next couple days I’ll be needing to dip into my supply of frozen milk (which is plentiful!), and shortly after that I’ll need to make some decisions about wrapping it all up.



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