It seems to me that weaning, potty training, and switching to a big kid bed happen about the same time, for two of my four it did! I’ll share a bit of my experience with breastfeeding and how it was different for all four of my boys.
Back in the day, when I had Marcus, I knew I wanted to breastfeed and took for granted that it just happens. It’s natural, right? All mammals do it, right? I just will do it too! Ummm, nope. It was excruciatingly painful. I’m talking blood, people. The 40 year old me is so sad and angry for the 20 year old me. I had no idea about tongue tie and improper latch. So, I powered through. It took 6 months of pain and cringing every time I had to put him on. I did pump, but that was to supplement when I was gone, not for him to just have. Which is a whole other story! It never occurred to me to just give him breastmilk in a bottle instead of nursing. It never occurred to me that something could be wrong and was never brought up by my lactation consultant.
By 6 months though, I was a pro! We could do it anywhere, anytime, for as long as needed. No pain and so simple! Looking back I’m sure that his underbite was an issue and maybe a tongue tie, but that has never been confirmed. He nursed for 12 months and stopped altogether on his first birthday. He just wasn’t interested and I didn’t offer it again. Now, here I am wondering if I had offered again if he’d have continued longer. It also never occurred to me to go longer than a year.
I could cry knowing what I know now about breastfeeding and how it all played out with Autzen. He stopped at 3 months. I offered and he began screaming. It is still hard to think about because at the time a lot, and I mean A LOT, was happening in my life, and being rejected by my infant was adding salt to the wound. I fully believe that there was a tongue tie involved and perhaps even a level of stress on my part, that contributed to him stopping. Don’t get me wrong; I have no issue with formula at all and I’m so grateful that we had that as an option for him. I was not in a place to continue to offer once he rejected me a couple of times. I just moved on to formula.
A beautiful thing happened with breastfeeding Barrett and Grayson. I had so much lactation support, at the hospital, at mom groups, with my friends, online searches, online communities, and my years of experience that these two were night and day from their big brothers.
Although I did have some blisters and pain with Barrett, it was nothing compared to the blood and scars with Marcus. With all the new-fangled nursing supplies I felt even more prepared! Some of the things that got me through are listed with the links below. As I created the list from memory and looking at my previous purchases (we’re going back a couple of years, people) I remembered using each of these things and the immediate relief it brought me.
Roll over the BOLD title to go directly to the Amazon purchasing link to check each item out!*
- Hot/Cold Breastfeeding Gel Pads I used these as cold compresses when I was engorged or needing relief. I also used them warm to help with milk letdown while pumping at work.
- Lanolin Cream This was more of an ointment than a cream. I used it for sore or cracked nipples. It was a lifesaver!
- Nipple Shields These were recommended to me by a lactation consultant to help improve my baby’s latch but to also give my nipples a break. The goal is to move away from using these while nursing.
- Breast Shells A little odd and not my favorite things to use but definitely had their place and helped with healing. They are also for collecting any accidental milk leaking.
- Soothing Gel Pads This is it, right here! Get these and put them in the fridge! The relief and cooling can still be felt today. They are magic little things!
If you are breastfeeding and getting close to weaning I’d love to be here to support you. Feel free to post a comment or send me an email directly.
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