I honestly can't remember the last post I made about breastfeeding, except an occasional mention in Jake's monthly updates. Why blog about boobs, you may ask? Well, it's partly for journaling purposes (for my sorry-ass scrapbooking self) but also for any new mamas, mamas to be, and even mamas-going-through-this-right-now. We are a group that likes to talk about boobs and breastfeeding. Common vocab words in most conversations among these ladies: lacatation, latch, production, wean, supply, suck, pump, let-down, and yes, the ever-popular, nipple.
So, on the 51st week of precious Jake's life, I will do a post about one of the hardest things you will ever do. Period.
Breastfeeding is HARD. Super hard. And sucks sometimes (pardon the pun). And HURTS. Like a mo-fo. It's time consuming. It takes away your modesty (whatever modesty you had left after childbirth). And it's HARD. Super hard. Did I mention that already?
Some people forget to tell you that. Some people don't want to scare you. I say "Scare me, people!" I would rather be scared than caught off guard. I don't like surprises. :-)
Before I had Brooklyn, I had two people tell me that "breastfeeding was challenging" and "give it two weeks before it starts to feel comfortable." I'm glad I got that much advice, because I am telling you, people, if I hadn't heard that "two week" part, I would have been done about Day 6. Sure enough, after about 2 weeks, several painful feedings, and a transition to a bottle for a short time, things came around, and I successfully breastfed Brooklyn for a few months. But, I was a new mom...a working full-time mom...and a modest mom. And I wasn't ready to do the whole "pump at work" thing. I went home everyday for lunch and pumped...but since that wasn't enough, I had to supplement formula at about 3 months. I then made the decision to completely wean Brooklyn to formula at about 4.5 months. And she was a great baby- perfectly happy, healthy, and brilliant! I was happy, she was happy, but our bank account was not happy. Holy Similac, Batman! Formula is EXPENSIVE! But, we survived financially, and she is a happy, healthy, and brilliant 5.5 year old today.
So...fast forward 4 years later. I had decided that I would try breastfeeding again with Jake and just see how long I could last. My first goal was 2 weeks. Because I was a second time mom and knew what to be looking for and what to expect, those 2 weeks were (though still painful and challenging) MUCH easier than the first time around. Then, I gave myself a goal of 6 weeks...then 2 months...then 6 months (when I returned to work full-time in the office). Well, by then, things were moving right along. I was producing plenty of milk, pumping three times during the day, and freezing extra bags. And I have been much less modest this time around. My breastpump is just another accessory that I carry around with me to staff meetings. I rinse everything out in the work sink. I put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door. And I have pumped in the strangest places- including a Girl Scout camp bathroom, several churches, and various bedrooms in people's homes. It just worked for me, so I embraced it.
I never expected to be able to exclusively breastfeed Jake for 12 months- especially working a full-time job. Around 9-10 months, I saw my supply diminish...but I just supplemented Jake with more solid food and kept right on going. He transitioned great to a cup for water and juice, and I plan to start introducing whole milk this week. In a cup. Bottles are gone soon, too. Oh, happy day! (We did "cold turkey" with Brooklyn at one year, and it worked for her, so I am hoping Jake will be just as easy. HOPING.)
It's been a sacrifice. I've basically given up my body (and somewhat freedom) to my precious baby for now- not just 40 weeks- but another 52 weeks. Almost 2 years. But, as any of you new mamas, mamas-going-through-this-right-now, and soon, you mamas-to-be, know, they are totally worth it. I may not have the highest paid job in the world, or have the time to make extra money for the family, but this sacrifice did save us roughly $2,025.00. And you know I am all about the savings, people. :-)
I'll never say "breast is best" because I have two beautiful, healthy children who were raised completely differently as far as their liquid diet goes. Whether you choose Similac, Enfamil, or mother nature's milk, as long as you are feeding with love, it doesn't matter. Everyone is different. We all have different situations...and we have all been dealt different hands in life. Some people don't have a choice in the matter, because their bodies tell them otherwise. We can't always control this decision. I have been so blessed to have been given the opportunity to make that choice with both my kids. And I am happy to say that, because of my different choices, they are both thriving in their own little worlds.
And now...I am going to sit back and enjoy this last week of breastfeeding my child. Of breastfeeding period. Yes, we are DONE with babies and breastmilk. (Please God, don't make me eat those words!) And I will REALLY enjoy watching that breastpump and all its many attachments leave the house for good!
So...who wants to invite Jake to his first sleepover? :-)