Wednesday, August 25, 2010

booby talk

Theodore is almost six months old and I am still nursing him.  This has not been an easy choice or an easy road and I'm proud of myself for making it as long as I have.  Especially considering that my job requires me to be away from him for 20 hours at a time, 3-4 days a week, which means A LOT of pumping.

I.  Hate.  Pumping.  (on the floor in the corner of a conference room ... you get the picture).

I have noticed a decrease in my supply recently but so far, I am still able to make enough milk for him.  I pump exactly what he is eating now, give or take an ounce here and there.  It has been stressful to see my supply decline, but since our freezer is halfway full of frozen milk, I guess it's good that I'm not producing so much excess now.

Initially my goal was to nurse until I went back to work.  Once I made it 12 weeks, I decided to aim for 6 months.  Now that I am close to making it 6 months, I want make it to the 1 year mark.  I am skeptical that my milk supply will last, but that's the goal.

Some days I think I've made it this far, why not just give it up?  It would certainly make life easier in some ways.  I wouldn't have to lug this HEAVY bag back and forth every day and be held hostage to the annoying plastic apparatus and whiny motor for 20 minutes at a time.  I wouldn't have to worry about what people are going to think if I have to (or choose to) nurse my baby in public.  But then, when it's not so stressful, I can't see giving this up while it is still an option.  I feel like I would be robbing my baby of something he loves.  Not to mention the cost savings, which has been a big motivator.

On the whole choosing to breastfeed or not to breastfeed note ... I'll apologize in advance if this is offensive.  I'm annoyed by the idea of people saying they couldn't breastfeed if they didn't really try.  If you choose not to breastfeed, fine.  I can understand that.  It's not easy.  Say you chose not to breastfeed.  I don't judge anyone for that.  If you have a medical reason why you cannot do it, fine.  I understand that too.  Before I had Theodore, I always said I was going to "try" to breastfeed because I knew so few mothers that had successfully nursed their babies for a substantial length of time.  I just assumed that he wouldn't latch on or I wouldn't have enough milk.  In general, I was pretty pessimistic about breastfeeding.

As I learned more about it, I realized that very few women "can't" breastfeed.  After Theodore was born, I learned why so many women don't breastfeed.  No pun intended, it SUCKS.  At first anyway.  I have said and continue to believe that learning to breastfeed, at least for me and Theodore, was more painful and difficult than childbirth.  Why?  Not because childbirth was easy or painless by any stretch, but the worst of it lasted seconds to minutes.  The pain of a baby that isn't latching correctly over and over and over and over 8 to 10 times a day for 3-4 weeks was simply torture.  I cried.  He cried.  I wanted to give up so many nights.

I know for a fact that if I'd had a baby 10 years ago, I would not have stuck with breastfeeding.  Being a little older and more mature has certainly made a difference in my determination.

I used nipple shields, breast shelves (or is it shells?), hydrogel pads, ointments, creams, and everything else out there until we got it right.

Now? Now it's effortless.  Painless.  I'd go as far as to say that I *gasp* enjoy it.  No, that's not true...I love it.

I will be really sad if my milk supply dries up before I'm ready to stop nursing.  I made the choice to do it and stuck with it when I hated (yes, I know hate is a strong word...I mean it) feeding my son.  I felt so guilty for dreading meal times.  It makes perfect sense why so many people don't follow through with it, but it is so worth it when you get past the hump.

It might be more bearable if you weren't trying to go over that hump at the same time as the crashing hormones hump (night sweats, anyone?), postpartum recovery hump (2nd degree tears, anyone?), and the sleepless nights (and days) hump.  It's enough to make anyone quit breastfeeding, but saying that it was impossible when it was just too hard somehow takes something away from the few that fight through the misery to make it work.

Just sayin'...



  1. Formula is easier plain and simple. Lots of people like easy. As someone who has done both I can understand either sides. But I can’t forget that Isabella was never sick until age two, Malachi was sick every six weeks from age six months until about 2 years. That might be a coincidence, but then again maybe not.

  2. Breastfeeding IS hard, Ella won't latch for anything, so we used nipple shields and then I switched to just pumping, which is doubly time consuming because after you spend the time pumping, then you spend the time feeding! After I started pumping my supply decreased and I was really upset, but then she started getting tummy troubles and we think it's milk related because she's taking to the soy formula really well. Kudos to you for making it 6 months and good luck going for a year!

  3. I am so proud of you, Candice! I love that you tried breatfeeding, and I also love that you hung in there. It is bitter-sweet to say I nursed Addi Rae for the last time on July 25th of this year. She was 13 1/2 months. I simply put her down in her pack and play (we were on vacation) and came out of her room with tears streaming down my face. My husband came over to me, hugged me and said "She still needs you, sweetheart." He said the best thing he could have said in that moment. She didn't cry, and had no issues at all, so I guess she was ready too. I am so proud of making it to at least a year with both of my children, but I would have been proud even if I had stopped at 6 months. I do believe that some tend to give up too easily- but I also say it would be "easy" to give up- especially in the beginning when it was very painful, and tiring. The second time around was much easier, so you have that to look forward to! You write very well...I have a feeling I will be reading often. You might even inspire me to do some blogging. I have never tried it, but I have heard great things about it. I don't think I am very good with words, though. Your words flow...very easy to read, and enjoy. I appreciate your transparency in describing your experience. By the way, it is annoying to carry the pump to work all the time, but once you stop carrying it, it will feel like you are always missing something. Best wishes!

  4. Awww...I LOVE your blog Candice! And I love even more that you stuck it out and you continue to breastfeed Theo. Amen to your comments about so many women being "unable" to breastfeed, it's a bunch of crap...and it angers me that they take so much from their sweet baby that will benefit them so immensely(and of course love it) too!!! I often wonder why the savings alone don't push women to try harder(for more than a day, or a few hours)
    Makenzie is fully weened but has moved on to grasping my nipple/breast now as she goes down for naps..I said just the other day to Chad that I wondered when she would be over this phase(thinking I would just let her ween herself from it as I did with the nursing) and he bluntly said "When you stop letting her." I laughed, duh! Why didn't I think of that?, but it's her little way of being soothed and I can't lie, it's weird but I don't mind it, so of course I continue to let her shove her arm down my shirt as we lay in the bed for naptime! :)

    Anyway, love to all three of you...I don't follow any blogs(well Amy used to post things) so yours will be my first, wahoo! :D

  5. Thank you for all the breastfeeding comments, girls! It's definitely one of the hardest things I've done, but also one of the most rewarding. Having a child will whip you into a selfless creature like nothing else!