I was breastfed as a baby and just always assumed that unless I was actually unable to, I would choose to breastfeed my own children. I understand that this isn’t a choice everyone makes and I’ll admit, sometimes I do feel frustrated when I see a mom choosing formula because she’s afraid breastfeeding will make her nipples weird (or something to that affect) because to me that’s not a strong enough reason to deprive your child of something that is SO SO good for them! Still, ever since becoming a mom I have become far less judgemental and so I let it go. There are of course many reasons to not breastfeed, many of which I think are perfectly acceptable! Sometimes I even see moms try SO hard for SO long to the point where it just causes too much stress- that’s not good either! How you feed your child is ultimately a very personal choice but I do believe it needs to put both YOUR health and baby’s first.
It’s odd to me that breastfeeding has become a controversial topic when it’s such a natural thing, but I see women on “both sides” shaming one another. I think what the focus needs to be on is education and support, whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, exclusively pump, use donor milk… whatever! We are lucky to live in a society where we have multiple options. Instead of tearing one another down, let’s just help each other be the best mamas we can be (and that will look different for each person!). We all just want happy healthy baby’s anyway right? Sure breastmilk is the most nutrient dense options (formula simply has not been able to replicate it exactly; it’s impossible to) but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for every parent or baby. We also need to demand that we have access to high quality formula!!
I had a healthy pregnancy and delivered baby Beckett just shy of 42 weeks after 5 hours of labour. No meds. I had him in a birth tub at Babies in Bloom birth center with an amazing midwife, my husband and my mom by my side. It was honestly beautiful! I did try to breastfeed B right away but honestly, it took us both a bit to figure it out. In hindsight, I probably allowed us to struggle more than I should have- I should have reached out to a lactation expert for help! It took us 10 days of uncomfortable (ok, sometimes painful. my nipples bled.) breastfeeding but then we were golden! The issue we had was a shallow latch and I found certain positions helped with that a lot.
That was just over 2 years ago and I’m still breastfeeding although very little at this time.
I should add that I did try pumping here and there during the first 4 months but never had much luck with it. So B has mostly always just known my boobs, not a bottle. With this second baby, I plan on giving pumping more of an effort just because I know it’ll make things easier overall.
It’s recommended that mom’s breastfeed for at least 1 year (in the US) but many other countries recommend up to 3 years! Personally, I never set a deadline. My plan was to breastfeed B for as long as we were both happy doing so (or as long as I was able to). Ideally I wanted him to self-wean and I figured that’d probably be around 2-2 1/2 (based on what I’d heard and read online haha).
As a newborn Beckett breastfed every hour! But he was efficient about it, hehe. He’d feed for about 10min on one side and be done until an hour later. At night he would go 2-3 hours. Eventually that stretch out to longer periods but even at 18 months he was still breastfeeding 4-5 times a day (including at night since we cosleep). But I enjoyed it. Sure there were times where it was inconvenient but I always felt so deeply connected to my son while he was breasatfeeding and honoured that I could provide that for him.
When B was around 21 months he started breastfeeding more at night and for really long periods. It made it difficult for me to sleep where as before it hardly even woke me up! I was also feeling less “connected” to breastfeeding, like it had stopped bringing me any joy and felt a bit like a chore. I decided to see if I could wean him from nursing in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to do it suddenly and make it really hard on him so I did it gradually. The first two weeks were hard. First week I’d let him breastfeed when I first went to bed and then once more but then not again until around 5am. Week two I’d let him breastfeed when I went to bed but then not again until 5. He wasn’t used to being told no when it came to that, so he’d get quite upset. But even during that two weeks, I could tell we were making progress so I kept at it. By the end of the month he would breastfeed when we went to bed and just before getting up in the morning but slept soundly inbetween! Yay! At some point he stopped breastfeeding when we went to bed so his last “milk meal” was around 8pm and then not again until at around 6am.
A month later, I realized I was pregnant and quickly learned firsthand that breastfeeding while pregnant can be very uncomfortable. At first I felt like it made my nausea worse and then it became actually painful. You also have to eat quite a lot while breastfeeding and while I was used to that, I wasn’t used to that PLUS being pregnant. I felt really hungry! Again, I didn’t want to necessarily fully wean him but knew I needed to cut back on how often he was doing it. Basically I started saying “no” a bit more often and eventually he was fine with that. I’m 6 months pregnant now and he nurses first thing in the morning (around 7:30am), every other day, but that’s it! He doesn’t breastfeed at all during the day anymore which kind of still amazes me. haha For a while he was nursing before his naps but he stopped that a month or so ago. I do still seem to be producing some milk but I don’t imagine there’s much. The taste of a woman’s milk also changes during pregnancy so it’s possible that made him want to breastfeed less.
At this point I could see B being fully weaned by the time baby F arrives in November but I am curious to see if he’ll decide to want it again once he sees baby sister doing it! I don’t necessarily “want” to tandem nurse (breastfeed two children) but if it’s comfortable and it’s what they want, I might. I have heard from many mom’s that it helped their kids bond so that’s pretty cool! By then B will be 2 1/2. I know a lot of our society frowns upon breastfeeding toddlers but I see nothing wrong with it. It’s full of vitamins and minerals for them! It’s really great for their immune system. There’s nothing sexual about it. It’s kind of sad that breasts have been SO sexualized that many people associate them with that over their original intention (feeding babies!)! I’m thankful I’ve been able to breastfeed for as long as I have and will happily do it again with the next babe. To me, it’s just part of being a mom (if you’re able and choose to, obviously)
So that’s our breastfeeding journey so far! I’ll have to update you all when baby F arrives on whether or not I’m breastfeeding two little ones. hehe