What I Did Not Know About Breastfeeding – Wished Somebody Told Me
I have been breastfeeding my youngest daughter who is 21 months almost EBF all her life. What I mean by EBF is that she still nurses 3-4 times a night and feeds on demand throughout the day. She may nibble food here and there and eats a normal meal with us 9/10 times for dinner, but mostly she loves her breastmilk for her main source of nourishment.
Exclusively breastfeeding is something totally new to me. Out of my four kids she is the only one that I did not supplement my breastfeed with formula. It was a very hard struggle since birth because I was so nervous that I was not going to have the time or the patience to give her what I thought she needed the most. My family and my friends supported me for the first year of her life. We overcame many obstacles such as month-to-month breast irritations, yeast infections in her mouth and on me, and figuring out that co-sleeping and comfort nursing really worked out well during her sick days or teething moments. Her and I have a very special bond and I know it is because I chose to breastfeed feed her.
However, after the first year went by the support of my family and friends have reduced to many negative comments. Battling a schedule of trying to manage four children, three in which had school and after school activities, I became very frusterated as I wanted to wean her but finding it very difficult to do so. She will scream, kick, and cry herself into a coughing rampage when I refuse to nurse as my schedule was not allowing me to stop what I was doing to feed her. At night time it has gotten so bad that she will wake everyone in the house up – leaving many tired and cranky children the next day; thinking of them I always give in and nurse her. Let me not forget what she does to me when I nurse her. When she wants to nurse, no matter where I am, she will attempt to pull my shirt down or up trying to get to my breast. Sometimes when she is not able to she will grab me and pinch then smile at me to hint that she is ready to eat. She gets rough when she is laying in position trying to find a comfortable spot to drift off to sleep as she nurses. When I try to move her when she latches off she will start to scream and grab me trying to place my breast back into her mouth – this frusterates me as I know I need to get stuff done but can not.
Many times in my head I wonder if all the fussing and negativity that I get for feeding an almost two year is worth it. She is a very healthy and happy 21 month old and is growing at a steady pace. The bond I have with her is amazing. But nobody told me how hard it would be to wean her off. The agony you feel when she looks you in your eyes as she pleas to be fed but you are subjecting her to not being fed when she is demanding it. Since she has been breastfeeding for so long she is attached to me at almost all times. Dropping her to a sitters more then a couple of hours is devistating to her – including the sitters. Even going into another room sometimes freaks her out. If I would have known maybe I would have done things different, but then again maybe I wouldn’t.
As a mother of four I know they grow-up faster then what you want your children to grow-up. I know that breastfeeding is so healthy for your child and having a special bond with a child does not come easily in a world where everyone is rushed and breastfeeding is becoming more and more “in the trend.” I know this will not last forever, so I guess I just have to wait.