The Saturday Question: Was breastfeeding worth it?

There’s no doubt that breastfeeding is best for everyone involved, but many moms aren’t sure they can stick with it in those early sleep-deprived days.  Since breastfeeding is so healthy for mom, baby, and the environment, we’d love to gather up a few of your stories about breastfeeding your baby.   What were the highlights?  What were the challenges?  How did your friends and family react?  Did you manage to breastfeed despite obstacles like working full time or having to pump all your milk and bottle feed?  Your stories will help so many of our readers as they struggle to nourish their babies, save the planet, and get a few hours of sleep now and then.  Thanks so much for sharing!

Comments

  1. I breastfed my older daughter for 1 1/2 years, even though I went back to full time working at 6 mos. It was exhausting. She wanted to eat all night. Sometimes I would barely have 2 hours of sleep. I cried a lot. I pumped at work even though I had to pass through a security gate everyday with new security guards who would always ask me what the black bag was for.

    BUT…when my daughter would get sick, I would love the feeling that I could DO SOMETHING to help her get better. When she would cry, I loved the feeling that I could instantly comfort her no matter what the issue. And even though I was a new mother, and would feel insecure often with what I didn’t know, I was always comforted myself by the one thing I knew she loved most in all the world, because it made her so happy. It felt like that wonderful feeling you have when you’ve just made the world’s best Thanksgiving dinner and everyone raves about it, and it’s always there and ready no matter when it’s needed.

    SO…I am on baby #2, and it’s not even a question that despite the hassles, I am going to breastfeed this child, too. This time around, I got my priorities right, and saved enough money, so that I don’t have to go back to work right away. And this seems to be the answer since most of my stress the first time around dealt more not with the breastfeeding, but the additional activities, work, and obligations that were competing for my time with my baby.

  2. The other night, we grabbed a quick bite out for dinner and it was time for my son (5 months) to eat. So as I put him to my breast, using my jacket for a little cover, my husband said to me, “I’m so proud of you for sticking with breast feeding.” We talked about how it really is a commitment…I’m very careful about what I eat because I don’t want him to get bombarded with too many of the chemicals in foods. We couldn’t share the middle of the night feedings, so early on, it was rough, because it was me always getting up to feed. but those every two hours turned to three hours, which turned to four, which eventually became all night. I got through it. I went back to work briefly and had to pump, which I hated, but it’s what was best for my son, so I did it.

    But to be honest, I LOVE breast feeding. I am amazed that my body is able to completely nourish and sustain my son. I love holding him as he eats. I love our special time before bed as he settles himself nursing. I love knowing that I can provide such great comfort to him. And I love knowing that I am providing him with optimal nutrition for him to thrive now and down the road. When my husband and I both got colds early on, my son stayed healthy.

    I hope to continue breast feeding him until he’s at least one. Maybe longer. At this rate, I will breast feed as long as possible. It’s one of the most amazing gifts I can give to my son, and the returns are definitely worth it!

  3. Even though I was dead-set on breastfeeding, I almost gave up in the first week. My daughter was little (under 6 pounds) and jaundiced and so the hospital insisted on us supplementing with formula for the first few days until my milk came in. They gave her a bottle for her first feeding in the nursery while she was gettting her bath because her blood sugar was low.

    I pumped for the first week while we fed her by finger feeding, tube assisted feeding, and upright bottle feeding. She would not latch on. I think it was due to the fact that she was young and used to getting fed regardless.

    My mother (who breastfed 3 kids) knew how much I wanted to breastfeed but could see that I was about to give up – I said I would pump, but that was still my second choice.

    A week after my daughter was born my mom brought me some nipple shields. The really look like fake nipples. Since my daughter was used to bottle nipples, I though that might help. But I was still scared to try, because this was the last resort. Lo and behold, they worked. She latched right on. Now, they were annoying to use – they didn’t stick very well, I had to hold them on at first, and I had to wash them out and take them everywhere with me – but they worked. I was breastfeeding. I couln’t do it as discreetly when out, because I had to see what I was doing, but that was ok. I used them exclusively for two months (I was at home that whole time).

    Then, after two months, at the suggestion of a friend, I tried breastfeeding without them, and it was a go! Freedom!

    I continued breastfeeding until my daughter was 13 months old. I guess a bonus of all the trouble at the beginning was that she took bottles with no problem, too. I found pumping and bottles very handy for road trips!

    My daugher went to work with me (childcare) where I was able to breastfeed her. I really think this helped keep her healthy that first year of life – she didn’t have to go to the pediatrician for an extra visit once!

  4. I’m nursing right now *wink* so I’ll have to type out a longer response when I have two hands free, but a most definite YES! It’s challenging at times, but soooo worth it!

    (And FTR, I get lots more sleep by breastfeeding and co-sleeping, instead of having to fool with bottles at 2am!)

  5. I’m nursing right now, too! My baby is two weeks old and I’m proud that we’ve made it this far and that he’s gaining weight as he should. It is challenging, but I do think it’s getting easier.

    We’re able to get latched on properly much faster, and I’m getting better at picking up on his feeding cues.

    It’s not easy sleeping in spurts, but I know this is temporary.

    Most of the time, I love that I’m the only person who can offer him nutrition and this form of comfort. Sometimes though, I wish my husband had boobs, hehe.

    I hope that we’ll be able to make it to the six-month mark and beyond.

  6. I breastfed my daughter for 14 months. She pretty much self-weaned and I let it go. It was harder on me than her I think!

    Once we got the hang of it it was a piece of cake (but so frustrating in the beginning!) My daughter was incredibly healthy and got her first high fever at one year.

    I love the moments when nursing and your baby looks up at you with those big trusting eyes and smiles, letting milk dribble out of her mouth. Those moments alone make it worth EVERYTHING. I was a big fan of nursing on my side with us both lying down. We each got lots more sleep that way!

    I did go back to work part time and pumped while I was there. That was SO annoying and I’m glad I won’t have to do that with my second baby.

  7. My son (our first) is 6 weeks old. He was born 3 weeks early and was 5 lbs 12 oz and we had a very difficult time getting him to latch on in the hospital. Because he was so small we gave him formula bottles and I pumped and gave him whatever I could pump either by finger or in a bottle.

    When we got home from the hospital I kept attempting to nurse him and also continued to pump and bottle feed. One day he latched on immediately and we’ve had no problems since. I continue to pump a couple of times a day and more frequently on weekends so that my husband can give him a bottle in the evenings. Our son is perfectly happy with either the breast or the bottle, as long as he’s being fed!

    I go back to work 3 days a week in March after 3 months at home and will pump at work to give him bottles while he’s at daycare. I plan to continue until maybe 8 months or so but we’ll see how it goes!

    I love that I’m giving him everything he needs and that I can comfort him so easily. I also love that we’re saving a ton of money by not using formula! I have to admit though that I’m happy he’ll take a bottle now and then so that I can get a bit of a break once in a while!

  8. Shortly after my daughter came home from the hospital there was a tornado warning in our town. Tornado sirens were going off all over the city so my husband and I decided it would be best to visit the basement for awhile. As I nursed my newborn next to the washer and dryer I realized that, even if a tornado destroyed our home or even our entire neighborhood at least I would not have to worry about where my daughter’s next meal was coming from. As long as I could put a little bit of food in my own stomach, she would be fine. What a relief!

  9. I wrote a long thing but lost it, accidentally hit a button and page refreshed. 🙁

    I’m nursing at keyboard right now actually. My daughter will be 2 in four days and we are going strong. Plan on self weaning. I love the bonding, snuggling, and the benefits to both of us. Being a co-sleeper, night feedings were easier too! I was lucky, never had to pump and my daughters never seen a bottle or tasted formula and I’m a sahm. Biggest struggle was being comfortable with nursing in public in the beginning and now because she’s older and people don’t always approve of extended breastfeeding. Family and riends, some find it gross, weird or whatever but manage to bite their tongue at least. My mom, approve or not, hasn’t judged. Excuse any typos, nursing at keyboard. 🙂

  10. Emily, my experience with my firstborn sounds so much like yours – except that I *did* end up exclusively pumping. It was exhausting – basically every feeding was doubled because I had to prepare a bottle, feed the baby THEN pump. I was miserable and had trouble keeping my milk supply up. By six months, Freddie was on formula.

    With my second breastfeeding has gone smoothly for these three months and it is SO much easier. I took classes in advance and spent time with the lactation consultant at the hospital. It’s still tiring, but it is nothing compared to the bone crushing fatigue I felt with #1.

    And I’m glad our budget doesn’t have to stretch to cover the costs of formula! So far, it is completely worth it – and with every passing month, I think I can easily make it to the next milestone.

  11. My older son BF for 13 months. I went back to work 3 days a week at 10 weeks and then full time at 6 months. It was hard in the beginning feeding every two hours, but it really is a special close time together. It is also wonderful to have something that can make your little one happy no matter what is wrong (teething, ear infection, etc.). I pumped at work until 11 months and then we just nursed when we were home. I was obsessive about pumping at night once he started sleeping through the night and he always had plenty for daycare. We weaned when I had a trip to Europe for work. It broke my heart, but he was totally fine. My second son is now 6 months old and we are still going strong. It was much easier the second time around and being less stressed has made pumping easier too. It’s a big commitment being someone’s sole source of nutrition, but that look in their eyes when they are nursing is so precious. This time around I have the perspective that it won’t last forever and all these moments should be cherished.

  12. Absolutely! I’m still breastfeeding my daughter (7 months old) and if either of us is having a bad day, we just crawl into bed and nursing our worries away. I don’t know how I would do that if she were taking formula.

  13. It is 100% worth it! I’m still breastfeeding my son who will be 15 months old in just a few days. I love nursing him, but it wasn’t always so. He was born prematurely at 34 weeks and several weeks in the NICU. He wasn’t strong enough to latch until after he came home, so I had to pump like mad to keep my supply up. It was a few more weeks before he was able to nurse well enough to start weaning the bottle. We weren’t breastfeeding full time until he was around 3 months old. In the beginning, I really, truly hated it. It was hard and I was tired and stressed, but I was so committed to doing the right thing for my son. There were times that I really didn’t think it would ever work out – either he wouldn’t get the hang of it, or I’d go crazy from all the pumping. I’m so glad we stuck with it, as hard and seemingly impossible as it was at the time. I chronicled our experiences in my son’s blog, http://www.ethanhead.com, and I hope that it might help someone in a similar situation to read about what we went through. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything and consider nursing my son to be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.

  14. It is absolutely worth it!
    I had a rough start with my daughter…. didn’t get to see her (except in pictures) until she was 15 hours old, didn’t get to hold her for almost two days, and couldn’t start to nurse her until she was 4 days old. I had been pumping, and she was only taking it through the dropper/syringe things, so she was used to the milk just falling into her mouth… she was MAD when she found out she had to work for it! It was rough and it took a few weeks before she got the hang of it, but we were able to surprise friends and family and succeed!
    But then we got another curveball… we started solids at 6 months, and even though it was only a couple of tablespoons of rice cereal and breastmilk a day, my milk supply disappeared and my daughter lost weight. She wouldn’t take a bottle, so after trying to pump and pump and pump and trying to get her to take a bottle, I almost gave up. She started taking a sippy cup at 8 1/2 months, and it had formula in it because I couldn’t pump more than 1/4 of an ounce each time, no matter when it was. She was still nursing but wasn’t enthusiastic enough about it to help my milk supply. She fully weaned herself at 9 1/2 months, and my milk dried up completely (not that there was much left to dry up!), and she got back onto the charts at a healthy weight (she’s still small, but now she’s not actually losing weight….. at 6 months she weighed almost 15 lbs, and at 8 1/2 months she weighed 13 lbs). I cried and cried (and still do), because I wanted to nurse until she was 1 and a half or 2, but now she is healthy and happy and doesn’t look as sick as before. She’s 18 months now, and as much as I would love to be nursing her now, I thank God every day that I was able to nurse her for the 9 1/2 months I did. I’m now pregnant with my second, and I don’t even plan to have formula in the house for “backup” or “just in case”, because I WILL be nursing this baby, hopefully for longer than my first!
    It was absolutely worth it, no matter how much pain and heartbreak it entailed in the beginning and the end, and my daughter and I are very close, and we wouldn’t be such great buddies if I hadn’t breastfed!!

  15. The first 3 weeks of bfing my first were the hardest learning curve I’ve had to cope with… but once we had it sorted it worked like a dream. SO convenient to be able to feed your baby anywhere, anytime. My kids have been fed in some unusual places – beside a water fall, on the beach, in the park…

    I fed my son until he was 2 and a half, and looks like my daughter will be a similar time since she turns this week. She feeds in the mornings now, mostly as a comfort thing I think. I’m going to miss the connection between us.

    I always amazes me that our body can do the things it does.

    It amuses me that my son and daughter think that bfing is totally the norm. (DS talks about cow’s boobies and how baby cows drink from them – LOL!)

  16. Absolutely worth it!! I nursed my 1st son until 10 months – he self-weaned after we tried everything (we = me+LC) to get him to continue…to then find out I was pregnant, lol…

    son #2 is almost 5 months and we’re going strong 🙂

    I love those sweet moments when it’s just me and him and we’re all snuggled 🙂

  17. My daughter had a hard time latching on and I was very tense, so the first few weeks of breastfeeding were AWFUL. I had nurses at the hospital giving me a million different directions, and then after getting home my daughter was very fussy and continued to struggle. One of the nurses had me using a nipple shield (don’t do it!) which was supposed to help us but only made matters worse. Your milk supply is built up as your nipples are stimulated by more feedings. Since I was using a shield, and not getting the direct stimulation, I had to pump to keep up milk supply. So, while nursing a newborn every 2 hours day and night, I was also pumping for 10 minutes after each daytime feeding. It was terrible. I wanted to quit every day for weeks, but I knew it was better for my daughter and financially for us. I kept giving myself little goals like, “I’ll just make it to Friday.” and then it became, “I’ll just make it to her 2 month birthday.” Then, such an answer to prayer, at 5 weeks old she just figured it out! I was more relaxed, I’m sure, and she just went for it without the nipple shield! No more pumping! We were both so much happier. She began to go every 3 hours during the day and sleeping through the night only a couple of weeks after that! It was amazing! She is 8 1/2 months old and I am still nursing her and loving it! We are so glad we worked through that tough time!

  18. I am still nursing my 9 month old daughter. I guess I am one of the lucky ones, because I never really had any problems. She latched right away, even though she had been given a couple bottles in the very beginning before my milk came in. I had an infection in my amniotic fluid, which thankfully didn’t pass to her, but that, combined with the fact that she was becoming jaundice, losing too much weight, and my milk was taking forever to come in lead me to grudgingly agree to a bottle for her (plus being severely sleep deprived 😉 ) I guess there are times when it can or has been a bit of a pain, especially getting up every two hours in the beginning. And the fact that it is always me having to get up. Or the fact that she just loves to nurse and sometimes I know she doesn’t need to eat. But really, all the benefits out weigh any negatives. I plan to continue bf until at least one. My goal is to never buy formula. And it is so handy when you are out and about not having to worry about having a bottle or whatever!

  19. Yes, it was worth it! But there are challenges, as there are with any part of parenting. I learned a lot and if I were to have another child, would definitely bf again, but would use what I’ve learned this time around to make it a little easier on myself.

    My highlights: Knowing I was giving my baby excellent nutrition and building his immune system. Having that close contact together every day. Not having to spend money on formula. Being able to nurse him back to sleep right in my bed (not having to get up and get a bottle). A great excuse to be able to sit down and hold my baby rather than “getting things done around the house.” Also provides a good excuse to go find a quiet, private space at party or event when you need some downtime or want to stop playing “pass the baby” with every relative in the room 🙂

    My challenges:
    At the very beginning nursing HURTS!
    It takes a lot of time.
    Getting conflicting information from different sources. As a result, not knowing how long or how often he “should” be nursing. He seemed to do a lot of “comfort sucking” but I had a hard time identifying when that was versus nutritional sucking, so I think I ended up with him at the breast a lot more often than he needed to be.

    We had to bottle-feed when I went back to work full-time at age 4 months and had lots of problems:
    1. we introduced the bottle too late and he wouldn’t take it. So over the course of the first two weeks of day care, the caregiver had to teach him how to use a bottle, and he ate very little during the day.
    2. I couldn’t get any milk when pumping. I never was able to solve this problem, and had to switch to formula for day care feedings, while bf-ing at night.
    3. Since I had to switch to formula for day care, my milk supply dropped dramatically and we also had to supplement with formula at home. My milk supply gradually dried up and at 10 or 11 months I decided that he wasn’t getting enough milk from me to make it worth it to continue bf-ing. I had hoped to nurse until at least age 1.

    Friends and family were extremely supportive. My husband is very pro-breastfeeding and I got a ton of support and encouragement from him. Many other women in my family have breast-fed and were very encouraging. I also attended La Leche meetings which were helpful.

  20. I’m happy to announce I just retired! I “breastfed electronically” (pumped) for a year for both of my children. Is it an extra step? Yes. Was it worth it? Unequivocally. I really encourage women who are either going back to work or who can’t succeed in the “traditional” way to consider pumping a try. It still provides the same health benefits for your little ones.

  21. i’m still nursing my 13 month old. she had some digestive problems when she was younger, and i was so thankful that even when she couldn’t eat solid food, i knew she was getting all she needed.

    i know one day soon i won’t be able to fix my child’s every problem, but for right now, nursing pretty much can. nothing beats the closeness, and during hectic days, i cherish those times when we can be still together.

  22. I didn’t breastfeed as long as some because I had to go back to work early on and didn’t get enough chance to pump on the job. But if I had another baby, I would definitely breastfeed again.

    I had some trouble with the first, was easy with the second. But it wasn’t that big of a deal and I can’t imagine, CANNOT imagine, in those first couple of months when you are sleep deprived and having to hold your baby all the time anyway, having to be constantly mixing and heating and sterilizing bottles! having to get up in the middle of the night – I mean actually get out of bed and go make a bottle! Yuck. I loved just being able to scoop up the little bundle from the cradle next to my bed, attach him to my boob and fall back asleep. And then in the day when you are so exhausted from just keeping up with diapers and trying to load the dishwasher with a fussy baby in arms, you have this great excuse to sit down and cuddle with your baby.

  23. I traveled for work when we had our first daughter. I spent the first 10 months after maternity leave pumping. I have pumped in every place you can imagine. I’ve pumped at rest areas, airports, hotels, restaurants, apartment office bathrooms (thousand’s of them), and countless other places. I flew almost every week and would have to fight with the security check people every week when it came to carrying on my pump and bag full of milk in a cooler. They would always take my bags completely apart exposing the world to very private and personal secret.

    Most people thought that I was nuts for continuing to breastfeed my daughter. However, I felt like even if I was away from home for a couples days she always had a little bit of me with her to comfort her. When she was sick she had my health milk to help her heal. In the end I think that it was a much for me as it was for her.

    I would fight airport security every day all over again if I had too. It was worth it for both of us.

  24. Absolutely worth it. I’ve breastfed my first two, and plan on doing it with baby #3, due soon. I just can’t imagine going any other route, despite the challenges in getting started.

  25. It’s funny, until I got pregnant I had no idea that breastfeeding was this big controversy–I just took it for granted that I would breastfeed and thought everyone did. The first couple of weeks were hard and the post-partum nurse at the hospital was awful and basically told me I should give up on day 3 because my son was losing so much weight. He was jaundiced and the nurses who came to our house later to set him up with light therapy were also lactation consultants and gave me back the confidence I needed.

    Once we both got the hang of it, I would read during those middle-of-the-night feedings. I’m a big reader anyway, but that helped motivate me to get up every few hours because I would get to find out what happened next in whatever story I was reading.

    My son is now two and a half and still loves his mom-milk. I pumped at work from 4 months to 10 months and hated it, although at least there was a comfortable, private room to do it in. But when I finally had to travel for business a few months ago I took a manual pump to keep up my supply. It ain’t much these days but I love the snuggle time we get together and don’t want to end that until he’s ready. (However, I did stop breastfeeding him in public after he turned 1. Before then, it wasn’t difficult as I live in Seattle and most people here are pretty open-minded about that.)

    Totally worth it!

  26. Reading these posts sort of makes me tear up a bit. They’re all so sweet. My little man is six months old, and breastfeeding is more of a challenge, or maybe I should say more of a commitment, than I had imagined. Especially since my son is pretty anti-bottle, which means I can never leave him for very long. But I do find some satisfaction in knowing that I can comfort him in a way nobody else can. My favorite thing right now is the way he plays with my hair, necklace, shirt, etc. while he nurses. And then he’ll often pull off mid-feed and smile SO big at me, and then latch back on and keep eating. I love it! So worth it!

  27. What a treat to hear your happy grateful stories about breastfeeding. I was lucky with family and community that strongly supported breastfeeding. I regretted following the directions of my pediatrician and supplementing when I went back to work, because that reduced the vigor of his suck and thus my milk supply — that vicious cycle one other mom mentioned.

    It was so great to be the automatic, no prep, no wash, no fuss food source for my little ones. And that look, that snapping of the mouth off the titty, to smile at mommie, or the smile with gums latched on, milk dripping out – what a treasure to remember.

    I remember my husband and I thought maybe the older generation was right and that it was better to have a child in his crib…but that lasted only two tries. We all found that sleeping together kept everyone a lot happier.

    That skin to skin contact is incredibly important to the little ones — and us big ones!

  28. Absolutely. Even in the Wee Hours of the Hungry Every Two Hours early days when every thing that she did was annoying I never considered quitting. When the BPA scare came up, I didn’t have to worry about it, I lost weight in a ridiculous amount of time, get to hug her for hours a day (The new thing is for her to wedge her foot in my armpit. I have no idea what the benefit of this position is.), and know that I am giving her the absolute best start possible.

    Remember in the Wee Hours that the first month is only a month, but the benefits last a lifetime.

  29. Yes absolutely there is no doubt that breastfeeding is basic need of baby child and mom. But many times it does happen particularly when you are in public place or you are involved with your friends or relatives and baby ask for the privacy, it becomes little uncomfortable to breastfeed the baby. I really had this type of problem and due to which there was little discomfort ness between me and my baby. I realized at some point of time that I need some kind of breastfeeding shield of baby shield which can give privacy to me and my baby, and fortunately a friend suggested me a Baby Shield from http://www.BabyBoo.com. I bought that Baby Shield and my baby and I just love it. The fabric is really nice and breathable and I like the satin trim. It is great for when I have to breastfeed at church or at the mall, no one even know what I am doing.”

  30. I am still nursing my 4 year old little girl. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Our breastfeeding bond even grew stronger after her little sister died at birth. When my milk came in, she was excited to have an abundant flow of milk, yet again.

  31. Ellie from Toronto says

    When I became pregnant I started to do research on everything out there that could give me knowledge to help my soon to be born baby girl. I found odd people saying things about BF and wonderful people who offered wisdom. I took breastfeeding classes and worried and wondered how that would go. The day came, my baby was born and she came straight to my breast, she latched on and today, 2 years later she is still BF! I love it, love every min and even though I sometimes complain that is too much, I love it.

  32. FiannaHeather says

    I had read about the benefits of breastfeeding while pregnant with my first child, but I already knew that is what I wanted to do. But, the reading told me that it was important for me to go for one year. I had a bit of a snag in the first few days, but learned about the “nipple sandwich” and we were off and running.

    I wasn’t sure what I would do when I got to one year, but sadly I never found out. Around six months or so, illness and a coincidental decision to reduce pumping (our freezer was overflowing) caused severe supply problems. I cried, took horrible medication, got even worse advice, and had a frustrated baby and husband. So, at 10 1/2 months my son got his first bottle of formula. If it had occurred to me, I’d have kept nursing, but I didn’t know you could combine the two. He nursed one more time after that at his request and we were done. I was very upset that we didn’t reach our goal and felt I’d let him down.

    When I became pregnant again, I felt confidence that I would achieve success. I read everything I could get my hands on and knew I could avoid the pitfalls that had led to difficulty the first time. Then, I found out I was having twins. I had to go back to work, so that scared me a bit. The beginning was very rough with one twin unable to latch well and my milk didn’t come in until the 7th day. I dealt with bleeding nipples, thrush that wouldn’t die, and so little sleep that when my husband saw me looking at the crying babies and just crying myself one morning thought for sure I needed some antidepressants quick.

    Again, I sought help. My nipples healed, the thrush went away, I mastered double feeding thanks to a twin pillow, and my husband became the nighttime diaper man. I had a few other obstacles like a painful blister where one of the twins chomped on me with his surprisingly hard little gums, a clogged milk duct, and mastitis. But somehow those seemed minor and we just did what we had to do and they were over.

    I was pumping three times a day at work. Pumping was time-consuming and a general pain. Sitting in the shower room on a bench was making my butt sore. Rude people would peak in to see what that sound was. Washing pump parts and hauling that enormous bag everywhere was tiring. But, going home everyday and getting to nurse my happy, healthy little guys made it worth every second. Surprisingly, I liked the feeling of packing up bag after bag of pumped milk into my cooler on the few short trips I had to take away from home. Knowing that was all going to nourish my boys made me smile my biggest smile, even as it was being rifled through at airport security.

    At around a year I was able to stop pumping and begin coming home to nurse my boys at lunch. Yay! There was a short nursing strike around 15 months when they didn’t want to nurse much, but we kept at it because the more I read the more I knew that two years was the healthiest minimum time for them to have breastmilk. At about 18 months shortly after I stopped coming home at lunch, the toll of night feedings was getting to me. In our new house, they slept in their own beds upstairs and my bedroom was downstairs. One night as I woke to the sounds of them stirring on the monitor, I started to question my motives and resolve in the fog of my exhaustion. I found myself crying as I climbed the stairs and remembered that early day where we were all crying together because I was so tired.

    Again, it was just a phase and it passed quickly. Less than two months went by from that night and I was enjoying a full night’s sleep every night. The twins self-weaned at 3 1/2 years. That was far beyond my original goal and what I thought I would be comfortable with, but each day they nursed they were just one day older than the last and I could never come up with a good reason why they shouldn’t nurse if they wanted to. Of course, over time we developed limits and rules of courtesy. No nursing because you don’t want to eat. Please wait until Mommy is done with cooking. No kicking your brother. And so on.

    I can’t go back and fix what happened with my first child, but the amazing way my second, very different, experience worked out was very healing for me. It didn’t make all of the disappointment go away, but it restored my confidence in my body and my older son was then able to get a very good perspective on why it is so very important for mommies to nurse their babies. He is now a proud advocate of breastfeeding at age 7. And, we are all very happy and healthy!

  33. We tried and tried to get my son to latch on… met with a lactation consultant, etc. but he just would not do it. He would just scream whenever placed at the breast. Even if he did latch on, it would only be for a few seconds and then he’d break the seal and start screaming. After lots of hard work, I decided it just wasn’t working. I now pump exclusively (well, almost exclusively) and feed him bottled breast milk. He about 12 weeks old and is doing very well 🙂

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