Thursday, June 30, 2005

Nursing Forever

I made my decision to nurse my daughter long before she was born. She came into this world screaming after 3 hours of pushing. Little did I know that was her true personality - stubborn and loud. It took a few days for us to get the hang of nursing. Finally it all came together for 4 months and then I had to go back to work. Nursing took a turn for the worse with working too much, pumping too little, and an over-zealous formula-loving caregiver. At 6 months old my daughter decided nursing was too much work and she would much rather be exploring her world.

When I became pregnant with my son I was excited to nurse again. But this time would be different since I am a stay-at-home mom. I knew all the pros: easy access, less expensive, no preparation and no sterilization. I also knew all the cons: discretion in public, only I could do the feedings, and the pain. But it was all worth it. I would be doing something great for my son.

When he was born we established nursing within hours. He was a pro at latching on and sucking. Boy could he suck! He really loved nursing and plumped up to the 90th percentile in no time. When he was 3 months old I was a cow. Most of the freezer was devoted to expressed breast milk just waiting. Since I didn't work all it did was wait.

At 6 months he was eating a regular diet of solid foods, but still nursed at bedtime. I realized one day he was holding his sippy cup and therefore could hold a bottle. Think of all the time I could save by handing him a bottle of milk. I could do dishes, chores, read a book with my toddler. What a time saver!

Well he disagreed. He would have nothing to do with it. He would push the bottle away. I decided there was no reason to force the issue. Until I got the stomach flu then I sent my husband in with a bottle of milk. Wails turned to screams and 30 minutes later I found our son in our bed wanting to nurse. A few weeks later as we prepared for a mini-vacation without children we once again decided he needed to use a bottle. After all, the breasts were coming with me on vacation. I sent my husband in every night for a week and 30 minutes later I would get up and nurse. I was truly afraid his screams would wake his older sister.

Our trip went as planned and we discovered he would take a bottle from anyone but his parents. Babysitters and grandparents were welcome to give him a bottle. But if mom was anywhere within screaming distance she was summoned to nurse.

Now at 9 months old I am again faced with this dilemma to wean. We have just found out that we are pregnant. But this little boy just loves to nurse and I am faced with the conundrum of nursing a stubborn 18 month old and fragile new baby. So we have begun the process again, this time with formula. The wails are gone. Now he takes a sip of the bottle and scowls at me! Then tosses the bottle out of the crib. I may give up, especially in the wee hours of the morning when fighting is just too hard.

Oh well, he can't nurse forever . . . . can he?

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