11 Months of Boobs

It’s official, Gregory no longer nurses. Not even that, but he doesn’t even want to nurse. I’ve heard of pregnancy changing the consistency/taste of the milk, so that could be it, but Gregory is probably the world’s least picky eater, with one exception– he has a BIG PROBLEM when there isn’t enough of something. After multiple tries, multiple times, with him still refusing to latch on for more than 10 seconds, I think it’s clear that there just wasn’t enough for Mr. 2 Eyes and a Stomach.

I’m surprisingly okay with this development. He never spits up, so we haven’t had to deal with any yucky formula-related stains. He hasn’t had any gas or discomfort either– just a happy, full tummy. His “smell” changed long ago anyways, when he started getting incredibly dirty from all his escapades.

But I do want to take a moment and be a bit nostalgic about all 11 months of breastfeeding. Lest you roll your eyes, think about it this way– I nursed Gregory for a total of around 4 hours a day, for 11 months. That’s a little over 1300 hours of my life, which equals 55 days worth of breastfeeding!

Back before Gregory was born, I told Jesse that I would give breastfeeding “6 months max” before I would want my life back. Anything after that, I said, was bonus. I was also ADAMANT about not breastfeeding in public. Boy, did both of those desires change!

Those first few days of feeding Gregory were some of the roughest of this “parenting” experience thus far. I HATED nursing Gregory. It hurt SO F***ING BAD. I had to call my midwife daily for moral support. Even when it was the middle of the night, I woke Jesse up so that he could hold my hand through it all. Sometimes, I even had him pray for me.

But after 2 weeks? Just like the midwife said, it was no longer something I dreaded with every ounce of my being. In fact, it was something I actually enjoyed! Relaxing snuggle time with my baby– what’s not to like? Also, we realized that half of the time, Gregory didn’t really need to nurse, just wanted to suck on something (some babies are just born this way!). Once we introduced the pacifier, I no longer had to nurse Gregory every hour, freeing me up to do things like eat, use the bathroom, etc. 🙂 Plus, by this time, I had already lost ALL of my pregnancy weight (9 months on, 9 days off!). I was having a hard time seeing any sort of downside to nursing.

I grew to love it so much that when Gregory’s 5 month appt. happened and he was so underweight, I freaked out a bit. I realized, all of a sudden, that I would be heartbroken to let things end here. As I wrote about here on this blog, I fought TOOTH AND NAIL to regain my milk supply, eating 3,500 calories, taking 3 Fenugreek pills and putting 2-3 servings of Brewer’s Yeast in my food, every single day. I pumped in between nursing sessions, meaning that I was either pumping or nursing every 45 minutes. Nursing Gregory became my life. My sacrifice. And I was totally willing to give it.

As a result, after 3 weeks I not only had enough milk for G’s daily needs, but I was also able to pump an extra 2 bottles a day! I decided to freeze one of them each day and use the other for things like G’s oatmeal, extra afternoon snack, whatever.

Also, nursing in public? For around 5 months in there, it was a breeze. I had a whole system down. I even did something I never thought I’d do– nurse in church! Once, I nursed on a plane, sandwiched between 2 men! Another time, one of my first “in public” experiences, I had to nurse G across the table from a monk…that could’ve ended poorly, let me tell you!

Really, nursing in public comes down to two things– take-off and landing. 🙂 Once those are accomplished, it’s pretty simple. Later on, G’s “wiggles” became an issue, as he loved to throw himself around and expose me, whenever possible…grr..

Anyways, from months 5-10, things went great. I had to use all of my stored milk before we left Texas, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. In retrospect, I really could’ve used that milk to extend G’s breastmilk time to a full year (yes, I had enough for around 2-3 weeks of feedings!). But there was no way to get it to CA, so it couldn’t be helped.

I think that it would be wrong for me to bemoan and mourn only getting to breastfeed G for 11 months. Sure, I wanted a year, if not more, but to complain seems very ungrateful. Some people are not able to breastfeed for that long! I know that there are mothers out there who would have LOVED to give their children 11 months of almost perfect immunity and balanced nutrition. And I have been able to delay several of his vaccinations. We will also only be using formula for around 5 weeks total of G’s life, so it won’t be a huge monetary expense.

So, instead of complaining that I only got 11 months, I am going to rejoice that God gave us this time together. I am going to be grateful that God gave me the ability to defy my genetics (the longest my mom ever nursed was for me, for 6 months, and not because she didn’t want to keep going!). I am going to be thankful for the fact that G has only had one cold and one runny nose this entire year, despite tons of illness going on all around him. I am going to marvel at the fact that God created such a wonderful first food for babies to keep them healthy and to give Moms all the right happy hormones those first crazy, sleep deprived weeks.

There are a few things I’d like to remember for Baby SnowCone, however:

1. Start pumping and storing milk as soon as possible. Back-up supply never goes to waste!

2. Remember that I am not one of those moms who will retain an extra 5-10 pounds while nursing. Instead, my body goes into starvation mode and cuts off the milk production. I need to be eating TONS OF FOOD from the get-go.

3. Carry around a huge jug of water at all times and never stop drinking.

4. Any working out HAS to be kept to a minimum. Again, I am just not one of those moms who can breastfeed and be active. I need to make my peace with it and move on. Here that, Kelly? MOVE ON! NO TRAINING FOR A MARATHON!

5. Buy lots of nursing camis. So versatile, so important! I didn’t realize that these would become “the” staple of my entire wardrobe!

6. Have lots of Fenugreek on hand. Brewer’s Yeast works, but not as well. Also, LOTS of hoppy beers (oooo, can’t wait for beer again!!!).

7. Re-introduce G to nursing and see if he’ll go for it! This one will totally be an experiment, but I want to at least give tandem nursing a try!

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