i remember the days (NOT the good ol’ days) when keaton and i could not for the life of us find a rhythm in nursing. the first 2 months of keaton’s life i was SO in love with him, but SO hated the fact that he would get hungry, just like any other sweet living thing, and that he needed me in order to nourish him. it’s a sweet sentiment and i love how perfectly we were designed to nurse our little nurslings, but we just got off to a rough start- and the roughness lasted until keaton was about 2 months and my bleeding, cracked, blistered milk dispensaries could take no more. i cried just about every.single.time i had to nurse (which is a lot with a husky babe like keaton!), and i couldn’t find any relief. giving him MY milk was important to me. i’m sure it was the only thing that got me through that, honestly. i knew my body was making it, and i knew he was gaining weight and thriving off of it- so i just grinned (grimaced) and bore it. i honestly don’t know how i did it without succumbing to supplementing with formula. i pumped certainly to get some relief…but it always freaked me out because my milk would be pinkish in color- tinged with blood. there were a couple times where i looked down at my sweet little baby and saw blood coming out the side of his mouth. my blood. yikes.
nursing at the beginning was heinous, honestly. it was so painful and so excruciating that i thought to myself “if i could make it to one month of breastfeeding i would feel really proud of myself.” i made it, barely walking my crippled self across that line, thinking to myself- “okay, okay, 3 months. that would be miraculous.” as i limped through our nursing relationship, it finally dawned on me- just because everyone SAYS it’s “supposed” to hurt doesn’t mean it actually SHOULD hurt. i thought that everyone saying that i would get over the hump should’ve happened by then (ummm, DUH!), and i just decided to make a change. i didn’t talk to many people about how much pain i was in, i wanted to tough it out and basically, and to be painfully honest,
i wanted it to seem like i had it all together.
i finally got help via a lactation consultant and some amazing healing cream from a compounding pharmacy.
it made ALL the difference.
suddenly i was able to nurse my son without welling up with tears. suddenly i didn’t wait for him to cry and fuss to finally succumb to giving him milk. i wanted to nurse him. i loved the extra cuddle time. i was in awe of my body and how it was created.
what a 180. my husband noticed right away. he immediately said things like: keaton seems a lot more calm. you seem a lot more calm. you seem to love being a mom more and more.
the results were in. i was a better person, wife, and mother for finally admitting that i needed help.
and now i sit here. at 22 months postpartum. wondering where the time went, and how we made it this far. i scratched and clawed day by day to feed keaton. and now, we lazily nurse in the mornings and before naptimes, and before bed as he drifts off into his little milk induced sleep. how did we get here?
we just did. and we love it. his little hands playing with my hair and rubbing my face or my arms sweetly. what’s not to love about this very special time we have together? i know the time is fleeting, and i know how hard we worked to get here.
i know a lot of people aren’t too keen on nursing past a year, and as keaton is quickly turning into a 2 year old i see more and more surprised looks when others find out that i’m “still” nursing. but guess what? we FOUGHT our way here. and here we are. teetering on 2 years old, only with the occasional yet fleeting signs of self-weaning, i will stay here in it with him for however long it works. we are here. and i am thankful.
and i wouldn’t give it up for anything.
whenever keaton is ready to stop i know i’ll be ready. i know i will miss it dearly, but i know i’ll be ready. because that’s what our journey together has been…i’ll know. and we’ll get there.