July 31, 2011

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother


I just added it up in my head- I've nursed my children a combined time of 5 1/2 years*. And of course I don't plan on Ivy weaning any time soon so I could make it into the seven year mark. I only took a very short break between nursing Gray (he breastfed 2 1/2 years) and having Ivy. He weaned a few months before I had her. (He even stopped for a while when I had really bad morning sickness and then started up again.) I admit that I know he would have nursed longer, but I found it to be difficult and too uncomfortable for me late in pregnancy. And as wonderful as I've heard tandem nursing can be, I also confess that I was ready to only nurse a newborn by that time. (And I also confess we did try it tandem once or twice and that's it.)

One thing that I've always felt cheated about with breastfeeding is the "promise" that it uses up extra calories and the baby weight falls right off. I always keep on extra padding all over when I'm still breastfeeding. Especially in my arms and face. And then it's like right when they wean I finally lose those final clinging pounds. But I'm not really complaining because it is so so worth it.

I have never used a breast pump. I have never left my nursing child long enough that they needed a bottle. The thought of it makes my heart race and my knees shake. This is just me.

While I'm confessing, here's an embarrassing breastfeeding moment from a while back:

When Gray was just a newborn, hubby and I were at a wedding in a very large, old Catholic church. During the ceremony I needed to feed the baby, and since you could hear every little rustle or shoe click in that place, I thought I should take him in the back just in case he made too much noise. I walked into the first open room I found with a chair, sat down, and began nursing right away. I looked up, and to my horror- I was in the confessional! Now, I am not Catholic and have only seen these things in the movies, but I knew what it was and was afraid I would get thrown out of there if someone found out! I hopped up so quickly and searched for a less sacrilegious nursing area. When I got back to my seat I tried to whisper to hubby what had happened, but I got the church giggles and was laughing too hard! (This story originally published June 29, 2006)


Ivy has started to crawl up to me and ask to nurse and I love this age. She'll be busy and come seek me, and slow down and get in my arms. Sometimes I just sit there on the floor with her. Her eyes roll back. She plays with my hair, my necklace. She is comforted and so am I. So am I.


It's World Breastfeeding Week. Read more of my breastfeeding posts here.


*Originally posted August 2009. I breastfed a total of 7 1/2 years.

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24 comments:

  1. What a great post! I'm always glad to hear that I'm not the only one who refuses the breast pump (I've tried it, but hated it) and stays close enough to their kids to breastfeed when they need/want to. I love the church story; I had to breastfeed my son in a church too. Thanks for the beautiful post & happy breastfeeding week!

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  2. I loved breastfeeding. Such a special time. But I found out that in some women it actually makes losing weight harder. Because our bodies know we have to nurture our babies so keeps a little bit of weight on just in case of emergency.

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  3. I loved breastfeeding. Such a special time. But I found out that in some women it actually makes losing weight harder. Because our bodies know we have to nurture our babies so keeps a little bit of weight on just in case of emergency.

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  4. Your story is my story exactly. I'm so happy to hear that someone else has a physical reaction to the thought of missing a feeding and that someone else keeps some pregnancy pounds on during breastfeeding! As I read this, I'm breastfeeding my third child who is 8 months old. Thank you for your glorious post.

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  5. i never used a breast pump either...and never left my kids long enough to use a bottle...so they never used bottles. i love nursing..and next time we have a baby i'd like to nurse longer than i have in the past (14 months).

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  6. Count me in, never left my kiddos long enough to use a bottle, although my Ever is almost eight months and uses a bottle for water with Daddy now and then, just for something to 'do', I guess :)Lovely post, loved the Catholic church story

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  7. LOVE this. I'll be sad when my youngest weans. I'm so glad I chose to breastfeed.

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  8. I'm a Catholic and can tell you that nursing in church is not a big deal! I've done it with the last two and will do it with number 3 starting in November. And one of our staff members actually told me, while pregnant, that if I wanted a more private place to nurse I should use the confessional as it had a chair, I could see out (but no one could see in) and I'd be able to hear everything because of how ours is situated.

    So, really you'd have been in the place that is suggested in our church for new moms that are not totally comfortable nursing in the middle of the congregation! But church giggles is great, even though at the time they seem mortifying, don't they? Love the story!

    I have pumped (worked part time to have benefits) and Daddy has given them bottles at times, but I'm so grateful to have nursed the first two and hope it goes even better with number 3!

    Heather

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  9. I'll be honest, Steph. This breastfeeding stuff is all foreign to me. Didn't even consider it with my first. Tried with my 2nd, but my milk just wouldn't come in. Always had to supplement with formula and finally gave up. Was so frustrating. Perhaps if I had had an "expert" who was actually helpful or who gave a damn...but, alas, I did not. I applaud your choice, although it is not one I would have even considered at the time. How we change, how we grow...

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  10. Glad to hear I am not the only one who the whole "breastfeeding makes you lose weight" isn't true for. Why do people even tell you that?

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  11. I have 2 adult children who were EBF well into toddlerhood, never had bottles, never pumped, never parted from them for more than an hour or two. Now I have 15 week old twins who were 6 weeks early, had a lot of difficulty learning to nurse and in addition to that I have substantial supply issues. I only recently dumped the pump and my confession is that sometimes it's such a relief to be able to allow someone else to feed one of them. I hate myself for it. At the same time, I feel angry and resentful toward my body for failing me.

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  13. I love breastfeeding. Maybe it sounds selfish, but there's just nothing like knowing that YOU are the one who can sustain life, fix boo-boos, and comfort to sleep. No one else can do those things like I can.

    My first self-weaned at 18 months when I was pregnant with my second, and I mourned a little during those last few months of pregnancy. I still miss that bonding time with him, probably much more than he does.

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  14. I didn't love pumping either (who does?!), but it was better than the alternative, which was no breastmilk for baby at all. I was not/am not fortunate enough to get to spend 24-7 with my baby to nurse her and tend to her needs, so pumping was necessary. It's very difficult to do and in my opinion diminishes the nursing relationship somewhat. I tried nursing when we were home together at nights and in the mornings, but by month 11, she was done. I hold no regrets about the amount of time I nursed or pumped because it is not easy to do, especially with a full-time job. You have to do the best job you can and know that not everyone's story is going to be the same...

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  15. I love this! I'm breastfeeding my two-year-old and although she's slowing down, I think she probably won't wean for quite awhile.

    I think it's a beautiful thing, nursing a child. I hope that when Charlotte is older and she weans, I will never forget how sweet it was to hold her close to me and slow down and fall in love again every day.

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  16. love this... i live in Chicago and an incredible number of moms i've met here have described breast feeding as "gross.." i feel badly for them bc they are definitely missing out.. nothing quite like those quiet moments... i ebf'd both of my daughters for over a year... my 2nd daughter wouldn't even take a bottle of pumped milk so i was happy to abandon the pump the 2nd time around...

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  17. Luna has been clearly saying with words, "I want milk" and even "I want Mama milk" for a while. You know what she said today? "Nurse me!" I'm not kidding.

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  18. I 100% loved breastfeeding. I do work part-time but I was able to pump so my son never had formula. Most of the time he was breast-fed though. It was definitely the right choice and much more convenient than bottle feeding (for our lifestyle). He weaned himself early (at 12 months) and I was really sad at the time, but I realize that I did the best I could!

    PS - I never lost a ton of weight either, but I did get to my pre-pregnancy weight.

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  19. catholics can be pretty welcoming when it comes to breastfeeding at church. i posted today about a friend nursing her babe right up at the baptismal font:)

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  20. Breastfeeding is the best, I have never regret to breastfeed my boys. I used breast pump only at the first one week.

    www.mylifeismyrainbow.wordpress.com

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  21. Glad I am not the only one that never loses any weight when nursing. I always nursed in the confessional. Perfect spot!

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  23. Such a beautiful post. I remember when I read it the first time. :)

    I'm the same way about my itty bitty babes. I prefer to not pump and just bring my little ones with me.

    Also? I'm with you on the weight thing. I think breastfeeding does help with the initial weight loss, but then there are always extra pounds that just "hang on" until after weaning.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  24. I never got to enjoy breastfeeding with my first two. It just didn't happen no matter how hard I tried.

    But now with my 12 week old? Heaven. We would give her formula a little in the beginning as well. But now? We are only breastfeeding and I love it.

    The weight isn't melting off here, either. But how I see it? I'm just even more comfortable for Brynlie. I dread the day when she'll stop breastfeeding.

    Great post and so real!

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