Breastfeeding. It’s been hard from the beginning. We dealt with latching problems, nursing strikes, and even weight-gain issues. Then, supplementing with formula brought its own set of problems, and Nathan developed an allergy to the cow’s milk protein found in all brands of infant formula, so we had to switch to soy. It’s been such a long, and at times tedious but all-in-all rewarding process, but that process has finally come to a close.
Paul and I are both avid supporters of child-led weaning, which is what it sounds like; the child pretty much lets the mom know when he or she is ready to quit nursing, and Nathan has decided he was ready to stop nursing. We lasted 14 months! That is a heck of a lot longer than I anticipated. I had always said I would try to make it for at least a year, which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics urges. Even though I was determined to go at least the minimum recommended time, there were many times where I thought we wouldn’t be able to hold out.
But I refused to just give up. And Paul was such a stong, loving supporter who wouldn’t let me just quit. Breastfeeding was too important, too vital to Nathan’s development for me to just give up at the first sign of hardship.
It was a struggle to work through some of the problems we had, and I think the worst of all was when Nathan wasn’t gaining enough weight. We switched pediatricians to one who was more knowledgeable about breastfeeding, and I even met with two different lactation consultants. Fortunately, the last lactation consultant I met with was able to help me tremendously, resolving most of the problems we were having.
Nathan was not an easy baby to nurse, but patience and perseverance saw us through, and I am so glad and even grateful to have had to opportunity to provide him with the best possible nourishment he could have. I have given him a jump-start in life with the building blocks for a healthy and strong immune system, given him proteins and antibodies not found in formula, reduced his risk of developing childhood obesity, and it also helped his eye and brain development, to name just a few of the many benefits.
We cut our nursing sessions down gradually. When Nathan started showing a lack of interest during the afternoon feeding, for instance, I stopped that particular nursing session. This went on until we were down to just once a day, and when he started losing interest in that last feeding, that was it. That was the end of our breastfeeding relationship.
Weaning is very bittersweet. On the one hand, I will really miss the bond that we shared and having that time together. But on the other hand, it feels great to not be on-demand anymore.
I am so glad to have had this experience.
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