Today I am officially posting that we are now finished with our adventure of breastfeeding. It pains me to type that sentence, but at the same time I am so proud of both Mckinlee and myself for the adventure we had. Nursing her this past 14 1/2 months was such an amazing experience. There is really no way to explain the bond that a mother gains from nursing her child. I am so so so upset, and I kick myself daily for not making it work with Caleb. I know that breastfeeding is not for all, but it was definitely for me, and I wish I could have fed Caleb longer. However, I am proud of making it work with Mckinlee. I am proud of sticking it out the first few months, fighting off the urges to quit, and making it through the hard times.
Nursing is not easy. I honestly thought with Caleb that breastfeeding would be a natural experience for both he and I. I truly thought he would make his way up to my boob on his own and just know how to feed. When he did not latch on the first try I became so frustrated. Sure I had just birthed him, I was tired, and I had been pushing for 2 1/2 hours, but I made the immediate decision right then and there to exclusively pump. Pumping unfortunately did not work for my body, and my milk dried up a month later. I still kick myself over and over again for not trying harder to get him to latch.
I knew with Mckinlee that I would make it work. I was determined. She was a great latcher from the start, and I worked with her constantly in the hospital. The lactation consultants would come in, and I would ask them to teach me everything I needed to know. I would cry tears of joy and pain when she would nurse and I was so happy.
The first week was rough, she literally drew blood multiple times. I almost stopped. I couldn't take the pain. I visited the lactation consultants and they gave me a little piece of heaven known as a nipple shield, and I never turned back. The first three months continued to be very unpredictable which was hard with a 18 year old son, but we made it work. We even lasted through the annoyance of acid reflux.
Mckinlee has always had trouble gaining weight and so at 10 months the doctor suggested I try 3 bottles of formula a day to see if that would help pack on some pounds. I hated this idea, but I tried, and she went on a small nursing strike due to it. She literally would only nurse one time a day from 10-11 months, and was taking bottles of formula or breast milk the remainder of the day. She gained zero extra pounds, which proved what I knew "mamas milk is always best!" I knew I was providing what my baby needed all along (whole other topic). I almost hung up nursing at that time. It did not seem as though she was interested anymore. However at around 11 months, she threw down the bottle, came back to me and never looked back.
I always said I would stop nursing her at 12 months, but she was allergic to whole milk, so I wanted to wait until we found a milk that would work for her. Once she was on soy, I decided I wanted to continue nursing her through flu season, and then I decided that I would nurse until she was done because I was doing nothing but good for her.
So, here we are. 14 1/2 months and we are done. She had been down to only a morning nursing session for over a month now, and she really is just uninterested now. It is more of a game for her now than actually nursing. The other night I took her in my room, snuggled her up before bed, and nursed her one last time. I cried over her as I watched he little mouth move, and I couldn't help but smile with all that we have been through. Nursing was hard to give up because that meant that my baby was gone, but I am so proud of our accomplishment over this past 14 1/2 months, and the bond it has formed between us.