My daughter and I got off to kind of a rough start. I had an emergency c-section after 22 hours of labor. She went on a nursing strike at 2 1/2 months old. I was a brand new mom and had no idea what I was in for, with a crazy hormone cocktail to top it off.
We had to work at our bond. It took months for me to be comfortable caring for this little lady, and even longer to remember to start caring for myself. Now, I am happy to say, that we are extremely tight. I get to hang out with her every day, and literally watch her grow into an amazing young lady.
Every child is different. Every birthing experience is different.
My son and I have been smitten for each other the second he was placed on my chest after my VBAC. He nursed like a champ the first time he tried. I never experienced a disconnect with him like I did with my daughter. I was able to handle the hormones better this time around.
Now he’s 11 months old and still nursing.
I’m thrilled we’ve made it this far. My ultimate goal is a year and we are so close! It has been an amazing experience. One that I had to learn from on my own, because there are things nobody tells you about nursing.
Sure, we hear that it may hurt the first few weeks. Maybe your nipples will crack, and there may be blood.
It didn’t just hurt. My son gave me a little glimpse of hell those first six weeks. Both nipples had OPEN WOUNDS, and I STILL had to feed him. This little thing just HAD to eat every two hours.
Anytime he cried, someone in the room would say, “I think he’s hungry.” My immediate response in my head each time was, “Fuck off, he just ate.”
But out loud, I would cringe and say, “Come here little Buddy.” I remember that part well because it was very deliberate. It was always in a sickeningly sweet voice too, “Come here Buddy, are you hungry?”
My eyes are watering just remembering the first latch of each feed. The pain went all way down to my toes like an electric shock.
After six weeks, my nipples were completely healed. Minus a scar on each that will never go away. No matter, these suckers are for babies only anyhow.
A few months of pain-free nursing bliss followed. Of course there were the cluster feeds with the sleepless nights, but who sleeps during the infant phase anyway?
Then there’s the new pain.
Baby gets grabby. Not just your precious milk-filled breasts (which are super sensitive, by the way), but grabby at your face, hair and clothes. I’ve had my hair up in a bun since my daughter was born, but somehow, the boy reaches around my head and grabs a chunk of hair and pulls it out of my protective bun. All while nursing.
He also has nails. I have scratch marks on my chest, face and arms. Cut his nails, you say? I file them. All the time.
And lets not forget the teeth. At 11 months, he has eight. I know I am very fortunate on this part. He has bitten me plenty of times, but I know it could certainly be worse. He only does it once here and there and he always stops right away. But, that one time still hurts enough to keep me on edge for the next feed.
As an 11 month old, he is very curious about EVERYTHING. And he does not want to miss out. He will eat for a second, then swing his head around. Then eat another second, and try to flip over. At least I get a good arm workout while I avoid dropping him.
When he’s playing, he’ll occasionally make his way to me, tug on my shirt and expect to eat for a second, then off he goes to play again. Sure, my friend, help yourself. I am here for you.
He isn’t one to comfort nurse very often. He doesn’t usually fall asleep nursing, but when he does it makes everything worth it. That and when he looks into my eyes when he’s eating. He’s so happy and admiring. Motherhood is a thankless job, but sometimes we get these moments where we can actually see their appreciation.
His newest thing while nursing is pulling away and pushing my boob at the same time. When the milk starts flowing….and you push…breast milk is going everywhere in a steady stream. All over me, his face, the couch. It always seems to happen in slow motion, too. All I can think is, “Nooooo!! You’re wasting it!!”
What are your favorite, and not so favorite things about breastfeeding?