With SoJo closing in upon his first year on this earth, my thoughts have turned to breastfeeding, specifically whether or not I'll be continuing to nurse him after his first birthday. I've had my ups and downs with breastfeeding, especially in the beginning. I was thrilled when he latched on like a pro an hour after his birth. He wanted to be on the boob constantly, and I remember sobbing my first night in the hospital after the nurse brought him in yet again to my room because they couldn't soothe him (without a bottle, of course). I thought, my god, what am I in for? I won't sleep more than an hour at a time for the next few months.
He was voracious in his nursing, often wanting it every hour and staying on the boob for an hour at a time. At his 1 month visit, we found out that he wasn't gaining as he should be and that I needed to think about supplementing with a bottle. Of course this made me so upset, that I wasn't providing enough for him. Despite all the nursing we were doing, I still had a low milk supply. I started giving him a bottle of formula in the evenings after a nursing session, and he seemed so much happier. The poor little guy was hungry! I found a great article on BlogHer called "What if Breast Isn't Best?" that really made me think differently about this whole issue.
My low milk supply made me crazed over the first 6 months. I kept worrying that SoJo wasn't getting enough to eat, and also if I hadn't nursed or pumped in 3 hours that my supply would go down even more. These were the times when I hated nursing (well, to be honest, those first few months were bad at times too, having to be the sole provider of nourshment, no matter what time of day or night). I hated not being able to go out for a few hours for fear of damaging my milk supply. And having to get up at 4am to pump because the baby was sleeping through the night and I didn't want my supply to go down. Ugh!
Those times I kept saying to myself, if I can just make it to the 3 month point, then the 6 month point, then a year, I'll be ok about stopping. Well here it is nearly a year and I can't believe how much I enjoy it! I think when SoJo started eating solids, I was more relaxed about nursing, knowing he was getting calories elsewhere in addition to my milk. I think not having so much pressure about my milk supply actually made it go up. Weird, huh?
When I was pregnant, I planned on nursing for at least a year, but now I'm thinking I might go beyond, assuming SoJo still wants to "nursey-nurse" (he actually knows what that means now, and jumps up and down when I ask him if he wants to do it). Some of it is that I have some misgivings about giving SoJo cow's milk, since in my mind it's a little weird to be drinking milk from another animal (even though I occassionally eat cheese and dairy), especially since I can give him my milk. But often pediatricians and "experts" frown upon nursing beyond a year (not that I care what they think).
So that's my breastfeeding story. What about you? Did you nurse your child? Why/why not (of course this is not meant as a judgment)? Did you have challenges or doubts? How long did you nurse for? Would you nurse again if you had the chance? I really want to hear your stories!