today? i am opening a bottle of wine and celebrating.
why do you ask? because one year and 3 weeks ago, bella and i started on a very roller coaster like journey. and now? it's over.
i'm talking about boobs here, people. specifically, ones used to nourish my baby.
i thought i would be sad when bella stopped nursing. truth be told? if it had been earlier, i might have been sad. i may have even shed a tear. but we have been in this nursing relationship for one year and 3 weeks. that far surpassed my original goal of 6 months.
bella latched with no trouble 30 minutes after being born. we never dealt with thrush, or infections, or clogged ducts. we never dealt with a bad latch or her refusing to nurse. bella was quite the boobie monster.
it was painful at first. very intensely painful at times. i remember when she was about 2 weeks old, every time it was time to feed her, i would start to cry in anticipation. and when she would latch, it would cause me to scream.
that's the thing no one really prepares you for. the lactation consultant told me, "if it hurts, you're doing it wrong". and after the initial few weeks, that may be true. but at first? it hurts. bad. looking back, the painful period didn't last long. but while recovering from birth and not sleeping much and nursing every 3 hours, it seemed to last a lot longer.
but after the pain? it was gloriously wonderfully simple. once bella and i got into a routine, once we hit our stride, nursing became my most favorite thing as a mother. for one, it allowed me to be lazy. and i am lazy. and i like it. there was no warming bottles. no getting up to prepare formula. no testing to see if the temperature was right, then waiting another 2 minutes only to have heated it up TOO much. it was, plop. done. i even got to where i could lay down while nursing. that made it even greater. also, it was extremely portable. i didn't have to carry a cooler and then look for a source for hot water everywhere i went. i just found a comfy spot and started feeding her.
it wasn't all glorious. there was that time i was nursing her in target and a man followed me all over the store, peering over my shoulder. true story.
and i had people blaming bella's sleep problems on my choice to nurse. and cloth diaper. because those are bad parenting choices. apparently.
and there was that one time that i was asked to go sit in a room where the door could be shut while dining at a restaurant. another true story.
sadly, there are people who are ignorant when it comes to breastfeeding. but there are an increasing amount of people who are incredibly aware of the benefits and naturalness of it. it's not for everyone. i get that. but, no one should ever feel shame for choosing to feed their child. whatever way that may be.
to new momma's (or soon to be new momma's) who may be reading this, if you are on the fence, if your deciding factor is wrapped up in being embarrassed? take heart in knowing you are not alone. it's a struggle at first. as is everything child related. but i have never met anyone who said they REGRETTED breast feeding. true statement.
weaning wasn't nearly as difficult as i imagined it would be either. bella has a lovey that she sleeps with, and i am certain that made all the difference. i started doing a little research when she was almost one, and decided to do baby led weaning. i was CERTAIN that she would continue to nurse until she was 5. it would be my luck. slowly, we cut back. i wouldn't deny her, but we played a lot more. i kept her pretty distracted. after about a week, we were only nursing first thing in the morning and right before bed. then one day, she didn't nurse before bed. i didn't offer it, but i didn't refuse her either. she just didn't ask. the next night, same thing.
now we were only nursing in the morning. that lasted for about 3 days. and then a few days ago, she stopped. completely. on. her. own. we haven't nursed again since.
over all, i loved nursing, and i will do it again with every child i am blessed with, for as long as i can and for as long as they want it. i know i'm lucky to have had such a great experience.