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How long did you breastfeed?

By July 15, 2008 - 10:14pm
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How long did you breastfeed your child(ren)? What influenced the timing of weaning? Did you have an idea of how long you'd nurse when you were pregnant and what influenced this idea?

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Thanks for your kind words! Even (almost) 2 years later, it still is very much appreciated. I felt great having made it as long as I did for those 7 weeks, and it is wonderful to hear from the "long-term breastfeeders", like yourself, that "any little bit helps"! Some of the more "die hard" breastfeeding advocates have a tendency to make those of us who breastfeed for a few months...or even just a few days...feel that it is an "all or nothing" enterprise to breastfeed your child. So, again, hearing some positive and encouraging words of my 7 weeks from someone who was highly successful, and enjoyed, breastfeeding is absolutely wonderful!!! thanks!!!

July 20, 2008 - 7:14am

What a good question---I'm curious about what other moms say!

In my case, my son was born 2 months early, without much of a sucking reflex. We fed him through a syringe, and he had a feeding tube for a few days. I tried to breastfeed him in the NICU, with a tube running down my breast (to get him used to feeding at my breast without having to nurse). My son had all kinds of IV's, wires and tubes that it was so stressful trying to learn breastfeeding, while he is hooked up to machines, he was only 4.5 lb.s and the NICU is not quiet--there are constant alarms going off (I can still hear the distinct sounds, 20 months later!). My milk was not cooperating, either, as my body never really "caught up" with the idea that I needed to produce milk, and then when I did start producing, I could not produce enough to keep up with his demand. So...long story short, I saw numerous lactation consultants, had an awful schedule of every two hours, round-the-clock: breastfeed (or attempt), then bottle feed any pumped milk, then bottle feed formula, then pump. I was barely making enough to breastfeed, so the pumping was not very productive. And, as you know, the process of feeding a newborn takes a while, so my process described above took about 45 minutes. oh...the kicker...one consultant said I was not producing enough because I was not resting or eating enough (when did I have the time?!) and was stressed.

Because of all of this, I hated breastfeeding! I barely lasted 7 weeks, different consultants made me feel OK or made me feel guilty. But, when I finally made the decision to 100% formula feed, life was so much better! I will definitely give breastfeeding another chance for any future children, but this first-time was not pleasant. I have some mom friends who are successfully breastfeeding their infants and it seems so easy...they are an inspiration to me!

How about you...how long did you breastfeed?

July 17, 2008 - 1:26pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

dear alison,
that makes me so sad that you had such a tough time breastfeeding. i admire your dedication a lot. no wonder you were tired and stressed! just having a tiny baby, come so unexpectedly is stress enough, let alone doing something brand new, that can be really hard, and having not a ton of support. those 7 weeks of milk that you gave your child mean a lot, just in terms of immunities and health benefits, and also all of the love you gave too. i truly hope your next experience is much calmer (a full term baby!!!) and an easy time with nursing. you really deserve that.

i was very lucky with breastfeeding. even though my mom, mom-in-law, and sisters-in-law didn't breastfeed, i had some great support. i had my birth doula, my husband was very supportive, i had taken a Bradley Method class which gave good information about breastfeeding and i started going to La Leche League (a non-profit, private breastfeeding support group) when i was still pregnant. my baby was early too, about 5 weeks, but she was very healthy, 6 1/2 lbs. and took to nursing with a perfect latch soon after her birth. i am very small and worried a little that i might not make enough milk, but i always had plenty. i loved nursing. i feel so blessed to have that experience. i feel like it was one of the great joys of my life and i miss it now.

when i got pregnant with my second daughter (first was 14 months old) i kept nursing. i was very tired and a bit underweight, but even so i made plenty of milk and my midwife felt like it was fine. i was so happy to not have to wean so early. my daughter truly loved nursies. at 8 months pregnant i had some pre-term labor and made the really hard decision to wean (nipple stimulation can bring on contractions) and i was also on medication to stop the labor which i didn't want to go through to my milk. that was really tough. but she took it well and we just cuddled a ton instead. by this time my belly was a bit in the way.

i was lucky with nursing my second baby too. she loved it and was a great nurser. i made a ton of milk because she spit up a lot. i think i fed twice what she actually kept! i had hoped to tandem nurse (nurse both children) but my older had forgotten how! she would ask and i'd let her try, but she'd just start laughing.

my younger daughter nursed until 3 1/2 when she completely lost interest and my milk dried up. it was a wonderful experience and i highly recommend nursing your toddler. it helped so much with those tantrums! and the nutrition doesn't stop at a year. we know there are so many benefits for mom and baby, and they just continue as long as you nurse.

i know it's a bit unusual to nurse a 3 yr old in our culture, but i never felt weird. i nursed in public, usually with a big smile on my face. no one ever said boo or gave a look. it kept us so connected. i wouldn't trade it for anything.

check out la leche league if you are pregnant and interested in breastfeeding. they'll give you lots of loving support and answers to all kinds of questions. they'll tell you a mountain of benefits you'll experience too, and if you have problems, they can be a huge help.

July 18, 2008 - 7:19am
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