I breastfed Leto for 15 months (the day I stopped was the day I found out I was newly pregnant with Micah). I breastfed Micah for 12 months.
Each child is different.
When I got pregnant my mom told me to toughen up my nipples by scrubbing them hard for 30-60 seconds with a washcloth every day. I did that. It hurt. I didn’t realize why I had to do that until I gave birth to Leto and tried my best to get him to latch on (which was no easy task). A lactician (is that a word?) nurse at the hospital spent 10 minutes helping Leto latch onto my breast the first time and gave me advice (I was so nervous and embarrassed about having someone see or touch my breast who was not Rob and it took me a minute before I let the very kind lady help me out). It was so helpful. I seriously had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that my mom breastfed all her children and that it was the most natural and most healthy choice of nutrition my baby could get.
I was given nursing pads and nursing ointment for my nipples by my now late God-mother, and am so thankful she gave me the best thing a nursing mom could have! My milk did not come in right away. They said it would take up to 4 days before I noticed milk coming into my breasts. I was frustrated that Leto wouldn’t latch on and tried to be more patient with him. Because I had no milk yet, Leto was not getting the right nutrition he needed (and for a 9 lb, 14 oz. baby, he was in desperate need of it). He ended up getting jaundice and having to stay at the hospital overnight on the day that I was sent home from the hospital (I was so devastated and cried the entire day because they wouldn’t let me stay with him as they would give him formula).
The following day Leto was home with us and my milk came in. It came in so much that this A cupped girl grew to a DD. It hurt a lot and felt like rocks were in my bosom. The milk started to leak out as I ballooned up. I feel that memory of that pain just typing this up. Leto would drink for 90 minutes! The boy was hungry all the time. I’d cry all the time because he’d give me a 30 minute break, only to spend another 90 minutes back on. My brother called me “Milky” because I nursed all the time. I could never pump ever. I would try but would only get an ounce out, so I only nursed directly from the breast.
Due to how often Leto was drinking my milk, I started to bleed out of one of my nipples really badly, and the other would bleed every so often. A nurse said it was okay for him to “drink my blood” with his milk, but I was so scared and nervous about that. My mom told me that I had to “air out” my breasts because having them covered all the time with cracked bleeding nipples was making it worse. I was at home most of the time, so air them out I did.
Nursing in public is not my thing. I do think my breasts are still for the attention of my husband alone even when nursing. While some proclaimed “a breast is something to feed your child so too bad for the other people out there;” I still wanted to remember that a breast is arousing as well, no matter how many times I have heard angry mothers exclaim their love for public nursing. I wore a cover whenever in front of people.
After the first month and a half of nursing, I became a pro. The bleeding and pain went away. The only time I ever had pain was when Leto would bite me (when his teeth were coming through) while he’d drink his milk and laugh about it. Not so funny, little fuzzy-head child! When I hear of mothers who have the ability to feed their children but decide not to and give them formula, I get a little sad. I had a very healthy child because he had my milk, and my abdomen muscles were tightening as he’d drink which was good because by the time I was done nursing, I finally was back down to my normal weight (only to grow again from being pregnant again). I know some of my friends had to stop nursing because no milk even came out of them for some reason, which makes sense to need to give formula if you have no milk to give, but if you have milk but choose not to give it, that just sounds odd to me. I talked to a few moms who would give up nursing because it was too painful. Endure! Endure! It is worth it! It gets so much easier after only a few weeks! Don’t give up!
When Micah was born he latched right on and I hadn’t any pain at all (and he wasn’t a biter). He was my “snacker” baby. He would drink milk for 5-15 minutes and be full and content. He would nurse every two hours or so. He didn’t have jaundice because I gave him formula in his first 4 days before my milk came in. On his 1st birthday I gave him organic whole milk and he loved it and I was done nursing. That is how I got Leto off too; no weening off of it like I have heard other moms have to do, which I am sure is frustrating as well.
Now that Micah is 4 years old, and I haven’t nursed for 3 years; it is kinda of sad in a way. My mom always tells me she has dreams of herself nursing her babies again because it was such a loving thing and she adored doing it. I just did it because it was the natural thing to do, but not because it was wonderful. If anything, it made me sleepy (I don’t know if that is because I am anemic in general and so I was affected more than normal with dizzy spells and tiredness or what-not). I am glad I’m not engorged or dealing with back pains from huge breasts being in the way and that I don’t smell like dried breast milk anymore (it really is a nasty smell). I never really wore nursing bras after the first few months with Leto, because nursing bras are ugly to me and I love pretty undergarments (so no nursing bras were ever worn during Micah’s nursing time).
Waking up in the middle of the night and putting one of our babies next to me or between Rob & I in bed as I’d nurse, and I’d fall back asleep and wake up when they were done (which is a strange thing that happened all the time, and Rob and I don’t move in our bed so I never feared smothering them, and they were good) was so easy and didn’t wear me out compared to the idea of having to get a bottle ready with formula and have to stay up to feed them. I had a co-sleeper attached to my side of the bed. I would often put the boys on their boppy and nurse while writing people letters. It was nice.
I don’t miss having to stop to nurse on long car rides.
I don’t miss having to get out the boppy and cover all the time.
I don’t miss having baby’s & my own sweat all over us after or during nursing (poor boys would be soaked).
I just want to encourage that if any of you ladies reading this ever have a baby; consider nursing. It is a great way to bond with your child as you watch them fall asleep with this cute expression on their faces as they drink. It is really nice to know that you don’t have to spend any money trying to feed your child for the first few months of their life. It is nice to know that they are helping you get skinny again (I’m vain). It is totally worth it. I was reminded of all this as I watched Rachel nurse Amelie (she wore a cover too, so I didn’t actually see her nurse, but I knew what was happening and smiled at the memory of my own boys nursing). I thought I’d share. Thanks for reading.