Almost 7 months into my breastfeeding journey I am so happy and relieved I could get here. In the first few months, maybe 5, I wanted to quit almost every day. I didn’t hate breastfeeding, I’m not sure how I could hate quality time of the purest form with my baby. At least that is what the time feels like when I am feeding her. It was just hard. It took up a lot of my time and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it just anywhere. I still don’t. I still cover up in public. PrincessIce doesn’t love it, but it has become even more necessary now that she is so easily distracted.
I was feeding at the in laws one day, where I don’t cover up at all, when my sister in law walked in with one of her friends who I had never met. I was feeding PrincessIce and at the sound of a voice behind her she promptly let go of the breast and flipped herself over, swinging her top arm behind her to see what was going on, leaving me completely exposed. Nipple and all. Luckily this friend was a woman and I have started to “get over” the fact that my breasts are no longer the most private affair, so I didn’t bat an eye and I’m not sure anyone else did either. Maybe it really is all about confidence (something I usually have a short supply of anyway). With her being so easily distracted sometimes she doesn’t feed well at all, but I know she will make up for it if she wants/needs to at another time, possibly at night when everything is dark, quiet and nothing else interesting is going on.
The other day someone saw colic drops on a colleague’s desk. I had used these almost as fast as nappies when Babyice was little. Since he was bottle (formula) fed we struggled with winds and the colic drops really seemed to help. Since they are quite expensive, I stocked up while I was pregnant with PrincessIce (not confident I would get the hang of breastfeeding), but ended up never using them and decided to re-gift them to another expecting mom who plans to bottle feed. She commented that the colic drops were a lifesaver for her with her son too. I told her that I had no need for them this time around, despite using them a lot with my son as well and she said ‘Yes, but you breastfeed’ and carried on talking about her experience with the drops. It was a passing comment, made so quickly and probably without much thought, but at that very moment I felt so very proud of myself. Amazingly proud. Feeling this great sense of accomplishment really means a lot to me. Come to think of it, it probably wasn’t even meant to be a compliment. Just an observation on her part. Being identified and recognized as a breastfeeding mother made my heart swell.
PrincessIce is doing very well. She is growing wonderfully and suddenly putting on a bit of weight. The mixed feeding has probably contributed to this. She is a beautifully plump little baby now. Simply perfect! She is so much healthier than Babyice ever was. At her age Babyice had been on antibiotics every month for a few months and in a week or two she’ll be the same age he was when he got the Adenovirus, had to be hospitalized and had his grommets put in. We were regularly nebulizing him and feeding him antibiotics. It is no wonder yoghurt was one of his favourite foods. He had to have a lot of it! I would like to think that my perseverance in breastfeeding her has contributed to her staying healthy. Yes, babies are different, but I am supplying her wonderful antibodies through my milk that she would not be getting elsewhere. I see so many poor moms struggling with their sick babies that were born around the same time as her and I feel so sorry for them. Having a sick baby is horrible. I know what that feels like 🙁 Of course, Babyice is fine now and is also happy and healthy.
After the weekend PrincessIce seemed constipated and I decided to send some breastmilk to the day mother to replace her formula feeds. Since I have built up a stash in my freezer I was happy to part with some to help her tummy problems. She was making little marble poos in her nappy, which definitely indicates there is a problem. The day mother replaced her formula feeds with the breastmilk I sent and that very night her tummy went and she was fine again! In case you didn’t know, breastmilk is a natural laxative and I knew this would help her. I will do the same if she gets sick to give her extra antibodies to help her fight off whatever she has. She will also get probiotics through the breastmilk. I have learnt so much about breastfeeding and the amazing properties of breastmilk through La Leche League. The information they supply is well researched, evidence based and has never let me down. The milk I sent the day mother was everything I had pumped between 18 June and 30 June. She blew through it in 2 days.
I am quite comfortable now with my decision to practice mixed feeding. I know that I could never pump enough milk to send for her from day to day. At first I was terrified that she would start preferring the bottle/formula/flow and reject the breast. I harassed the day mother about paced bottle feeding to ensure she doesn’t try to wean. I am so grateful that she still happily drinks from me. My favourite time of the day is that first feed after we are reunited (or our “Hello” feed), just reconnecting with her. She doesn’t always drink, but sometimes suckles. I cannot imagine refusing her or trying to force her to wean. I’ll respect her when she wants to. Yes, I’m considering self weaning! 9 months ago I’m sure I said there was no way I was going to be like some colleagues of mine that breastfed their children till they were 2 and beyond. At the time I didn’t understand the bond it creates and sustains like I do now. Also, it is the BEST mothering tool I have ever had! No matter what the problem is, I can fix it with a quick feed. I also never struggle to get her to sleep, although I must add here that we co-sleep and that helps a lot. It just couldn’t be easier. I find myself packing her food now, but it is still more convenient than packing formula AND food. I remember requesting boiling water from restaurants to warm up bottles and then having to wait to get them warm enough to feed to Babyice. It didn’t happen often, but sometimes it was a major schlep. I also remember outings sometimes running longer than expected and running out of packed supplies. I do think that I will face a lot of adversity feeding PrincessIce after she has reached a certain age that people perceive as being ‘long enough’ and I’ll have to learn to deal with the comments and assvice that will come my way. It really isn’t anyone else’s business. I might even get resistance from Rudi, but I think he likes the fact that PrincessIce is in some way dependent on me. He is practically joined at the hip with Babyice and I think he is afraid that he is going to end up with two attachments!
So that is where we are at now and I hope that I will be able to celebrate more milestone months of feeding my baby!