Hi. I've been wanting to write this post for. ever. I just never have time to get my thoughts all together. At 3 years old Maximiliano is still being nursed, although only during the night. He will wake about 3-4 times during the night which has mostly been the cause of our co-sleeping and also the cause of some major pain in the butt, at times. I tried to wean him at about two but he was clearly not ready and I didn't mind much. I tried again some time after and he made it through two whole days and one night because my breast were so full that it was becoming very extremely painful and I just had to offer it to him. If I hadn't offered I'm sure that would have been the end of it. Now I'm just kind of going with the flow, but my goal is to definitely stop nursing before he turns four. Nursing is not only a feeding, the word says it all. Nursing a child is also offering them comfort, security and love.
When I was younger, breastfeeding was never something I considered. In any case, I would have never thought that I would be nursing my child past the year. Once I learned I was pregnant it kind of just clicked to me that that's what I was going to do and even more so after having my new born baby in my arms. It just comes so naturally. HERE IS THE THING. What comes naturally is the instinct, what could be better to offer your child other than something that your body is producing just for their well being BUT what doesn't come naturally is the breastfeeding itself. And here we begin with the five things no one tells you about breastfeeding. (Keep in mind that breastfeeding is different for everyone.)
1. No one tells you how hard and many times painful it will be for your new born baby to actually latch on to your nipple. Like you think that it's just going to be easy and common sense for both of you but umm no. And it totally makes perfect sense that it wouldn't be, after all this is both of your first times doing this. It will take some practice. For some it will be a week, two, three. And this is when I feel that a lot of woman decide to quit because they think that maybe they are not producing enough milk, or the baby doesn't want to be breastfed or they simply just get frustrated with it.
2. No one tells you about plugged milk ducts or Mastitis. This is something that I learned about, the hard and extremely excruciating way. This usually happens when your producing more milk than what your baby is in taking and it most likely could be avoided if informed. Apparently one in every ten woman go through this but no one that ever talked to me about breastfeeding informed me of. My advice would be to wake up your baby every two hours no matter how asleep they are and how tired you are. You could also pump the milk out. This is something a new mom who plans on breastfeeding should definitely read up on. My side effects were those of the flu and I thought I was going to die of pain. I cried so much that night. I definitely do not want to scare you, like I said it could have totally been prevented if I was informed about it. This is another reason why woman stop breastfeeding, I'm surprised it didn't stop me... I would definitely recommend to not stop breastfeeding at this point to, the contrary although it will be painful you should have your baby nurse even more, to clear the plugged duct.
3. Offer your baby both breasts. This one sounds like common sense but my baby would not nurse from my right breast! Like at all, like no matter how hard I tried. ( I should have tried harder!) We just couldn't get the hang of it and slowly but surely it started drying out and then it wouldn't produce any milk at all and I was stuck with one breast larger than the other. This really affected my self esteem and it made me very self conscious. Still today although my breasts are almost even now, since the breastfeeding is only during the night and for a short amount of time.
4. Wear your baby to get things done. Sometimes I felt stuck. Having to breastfeed very often I was kind of just confined to the couch or the bed... This at times frustrated me because I wanted to get things done and I couldn't. The first few weeks might not be that bad because your body is recovering and you get to spend so much quality and snuggle time with your sweet new baby and you get to really just sit and enjoy and take in that brand new baby smell. As time goes by though you really want to get moving and doing things and I wish I would of had a nice baby carrier to do just that. I had one but it wasn't new born friendly and didn't seem that comfortable and Maximiliano hated it. Now there are so many options to choose from, that even let you discreetly breastfeed and all. It's definitely one of the first things on my list for the next baby.
5. Give dad a chance. I highly recommend pumping milk and letting dad do some bottle feeding. I think it makes for amazing bonding time. Or if not that then have him really be involved in other ways. Bath time, story time, rocking to sleep. The experience that I had was that I was the one spending more time with baby because well I'm the one with the food supply and Maximiliano grew way more attached to me. For baby number two I am definitely pumping and letting my husband have a bigger/ equal parenting role.
Hope this is of some help for you new moms thinking about breastfeeding. Maximiliano was the happiest of babies and not once did he get sick and I really believe that breastfeeding had a lot to do with it! If you have any questions or thoughts, I would be glad to to help. XOXO