Well, I sit here with a sad little heart. My sweet baby, Haven has stopped nursing. She just up and stopped 2 days ago, and this mama’s heart was not ready for it. But here we sit. I’m praying it’s not over yet. I’ve heard of the lovely ‘nursing strike’, but I just really wonder if this is the end. Before I continue with Haven, I need to write out some back ground and history. Therapy for me. Feel free to join in on my session.
|sweet sleep after nursing|
When I first thought about breastfeeding my children, it kind of freaked me out. I thought it was sweet, but it also embarrassed me. Shouldn’t ‘those things’ be kept private? And I ‘just knew’ that my baby would never be nursing after a year old! That’s was waaaaaayyy too old (in my naive mind). (My goal for Haven is to nurse until she is 18 months- we’ll see!) I remember someone saying to me – ‘If a baby nurses after he/she is one, then it is for the mother’s pleasure only.’ Well, that statement, my friends, just ain’t true. There is no ‘sexual pleasure’ in it. Just a very sweet and special bond (that is if there isn’t problems – which I know many women have. I never experienced any major ones, so i can’t really speak to that). Anyway, I’m not trying to cover all bases of nursing- just pouring out my heart on my own experience.
After I had Harper, I learned a little bit more about breastfeeding. Definitely learned how sweet it was! I remember calling my mom after Harper’s 4 month doctor visit and saying how big she was, and that I couldn’t believe she was growing on what my body produced alone! It was such a miracle! I truly was in awe! At this point, I had stopped reading/ being educated about breastfeeding and just did my thing. Harper wasn’t sleeping well (which is ok for a breastfed baby & happens when they go through a growth spurt), but I thought formula would help her. So, around 6 months old I started supplementing with formula. She hated it at first, but then slowly became accustomed to it. I would breastfeed her through the day, then feed her a bottle of formula before bed. (I realize now, all of this totally affected my milk supply. Not to mention it totally didn’t help her sleep.). Anyway, around 7 1/2 months, Harper just up and quit nursing – much like Haven is doing now. (Most sources say babies do not just wean themselves before a year old. When they stop abruptly, it is called a nursing strike) But, I didn’t even know where to look/ research. I just kept upping her formula intake & decreasing nursing sessions – until she just went on strike and would have it no more!
|Harper nursing her baby while I nursed mine|
When I found out I was expecting #2 (before I knew it was #3 & #4) I started reading about breastfeeding, and how I could conquer this! I knew how good it was for baby & wanted to provide the best beginning for my little one. Plus, I did miss the bond that came with it! Well, you can imagine how perplexed I was when I found out there were three babies in my tummy! My sweet aunt, who was a La Leche League counselor, sent me a great book on how to breastfeed multiples. In hindsight, I wish I had found someone to help me figure out how to breastfeed the boys in person. I was truly overwhelmed. While I did nurse them for 2 months, I was completely worn out and had to throw in the towel just so I could have more time for Harper, who was 17 months old, and Chris! It was soooo heart-wrenching to make that decision, but I was thoroughly overwhelmed. I just did what I thought was best. The boys are so affectionate and loving, and I don’t see that they lack any love or affection. I found an awesome article on how positive formula feeding can be (since I think the breast feeding advocates voice is a teensy bit louder on the internets), and it was refreshing for this desperate mama. I will see if I can find it.
|criss-crossed ankles- a little lady!|
Well, when I found out I was expecting Haven, I knew I would breastfeed successfully this time. When Haven was born, she came out ravenous. She nursed like a pro right after she was born. The nurse let her be with me for about 2 hours right after she was born, and then she took her to get all her measurements & bath. After they brought her back to me, Haven nursed for 3 hours straight! If she had of been my first baby, I think I would have freaked out a little bit. She never took a pacifier, never had a blanket, it was always just me. And that delighted my heart. I provided for her most important needs, and she knew it. She would just light up whenever she saw me. (My other children did this same thing, even though they weren’t all breastfed, by the way). There was just a very strong bond between Haven and I.
So, when she just up and refused (think screaming fit) when I would lay her back in my arms to nurse, I was kind of taken a back. She did it at bedtime one night. I rocked her for a bit – no soothing her at all- then laid her in her crib. I would give her 5ish minutes to cry and then would go try again. She cried hard for about 2 minutes, then fell asleep.
She nursed like a pro the next morning! Yay! Then at nap time, she did a little repeat of the night before. Same thing at bedtime again. Same thing this morning, same thing at 2 nap times today, and at bed tonight. Refuse! Refuse! Refuse!
Tonight I actually tried to trick her into nursing. I rocked her a little with her head on my shirt. As she relaxed more and more, I would lay her back little bit by little bit. She did great until she got to the point where her cheek touched skin, and then she started whimpering, so I sat her back up and just cuddled more. What in the world?!
So, I’m to the point tonight of just wondering if I let it go and say goodbye. Or do I keep offering to see if this is a ‘strike.’ Kellymom says that most babies this age aren’t ready to wean yet, that it is most likely a strike, but if you are ready to wean, this would be an easy way to do it. Well, I’m not ready to wean! She is my last baby! I don’t want her to grow up, but if this is what is best & what she wants, then I just have to let it go. I mean, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!
Never would have thought that my sweet, almost 14 month old baby would break my heart!! I’m going to keep offering & pumping for the next week or so, and if its a no go, I will just say good bye and think about the great start we had!
I love that little girl so much, and just can’t believe she is growing up! I have enjoyed her being a baby soooo much, but babies grow up, and that is what I want her to do. She becoming such a sweet little toddler, and is such a sweet little addition to our family. Definitely our Haven ‘Joy’!!
Okay, well, this sick Mama needs to go to bed. We have a busy week ahead of us! I can’t wait to tell you about our surprise we have for Harper! I will give you a few hints:
1. He’s a mouse with big ears.
2. We have to ride in an airplane
3. Harper is turning 5!!!
4. She is going to flip out on Tuesday!
Pray for us over this next week, please? I’ll let you know how Haven is doing. and how I’m doing.