Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Nursing Journey...

...I did it! I was able to breastfeed AR for a whole entire year. I'm doing a little happy dance because I'm pretty dang proud of myself. When I was pregnant, my original goal was just to make it the 12 weeks I was home on maternity leave. By the time I went back to work, I couldn't imagine not nursing but I'd heard from my co-workers how hard it was to pump and keep up with it when they returned to work. I set a new goal to make it to 6 months. Once I got back to work and realized I could do it, my new goal was a year and I made it! I can't say how flippin' excited and happy I am!!!

I can't complain though, AR and I have had a pretty easy breastfeeding relationship. She latched on right away at the hospital, the LC squirted colostrum across the room from my boob, AR will take bottle, sippy cup or boob, she doesn't care so long as she gets milk. That's not to say we didn't have a few obstacles but compared to some other stories, ours were minor. We had the situation when I returned to work and she went on a nursing strike and I had my one day of post-partum depression because my baby wouldn't nurse. That's when my mom told me to suck it up, either make it work with breastfeeding or throw in the towel, just stop feeling sorry for myself. I'm so glad we persevered through that. Then I constantly worried about my milk supply when in actuality, I was probably always fine but I just never wanted to dip into my frozen stash.

My husband didn't understand that. He just saw it as breast milk was taking over the deep freeze so let's use it up. In my mind though, if I had to use a bag of frozen then I had failed, I wasn't producing enough milk and this was the one and only thing I could give her from me only. Occasionally, I think this clicked with him but not for too long because the next week, we'd have the same discussion.

Speaking of the frozen stash, not only was I able to breastfeed my own child but I was also able to help out at least 5 other babies including one all the way in Florida when we were on vacay!

There have been pros and cons to breastfeeding. Most of the cons brought on by myself. I really haven't had any social engagements without her this past year. Mainly because if I wasn't at work, I wanted to nurse her, I didn't want to "waste" a bottle of milk when I could just nurse her myself. Not to mention I'd have to take the pump, find some place to pump, store the milk, etc...or rush home before my boobs burst. At the same time though, I feel like we're a lot closer because I take her with me everywhere and I get to spend each morning and most evenings cuddling with my sweet baby. Another con, which there's no way around it, is pumping! It wasn't bad but when I was at work, I'd always be right in the middle of something and have to stop to go pump or schedule meetings around 10a and 2p but I had to do it so there was no way around it. I really don't think I need to list the pros: cost, relationship, etc...not to downplay it but I think I've discussed it before.

I keep saying I'm going to stop at a year but my mind really hasn't grasped that we're coming to a close with this chapter. I have to stop pumping at work because my space will be gone for the summer. Jenelle gave me hope today that I could drop my work pumps and still nurse in the am, pm and weekends. I have a huge freezer supply so I plan to try that and still have some fresh milk for her. I'm just not ready to say we're done. We all know AR will be our only child and when I'm done breastfeeding her, I won't ever get to do it again.

The funny thing is, when I was pregnant, I wasn't all gung-ho about breastfeeding but I guess in the back of my mind, I knew it would work because I never really thought about any other option. I never thought I'd be one to nurse until she's one but we did it; AR and I together with the support of her daddy, our family, co-workers and mommy friends!


Kristal said...

I am so proud of you, Alyssa!!! Breastfeeding for a year (while working, no less!) is a huge accomplishment and I'm glad you are shouting it from the rooftops. Woohoo!!

I can relate so much to your last paragraph. I wasn't all that gungho about breastfeeding when I was pregnant with Isaac either, but I also didn't ever think there was an alternative so we just pushed through the hard bits and I could not be more thankful for that time with him. :)

Congrats girlie!!

PS - I've run into Butchie several times in the past few weeks. Every time, he digs out his phone and shows me a new pic of AR. He's so proud of his grand babies. :)

Meg said...

So proud of you, and yes, you can drop the pumping and still nurse her! It's all supply and demand, your body makes it when you need it! I keep thinking about how long I will go. I've started a post too, but not sure where to go with it.

Either way, congrats on making it a year. What an amazing gift to give Miss AR!

Jenni-Bee said...

So glad you were able to meet your goal and then some!

Joanna said...

You've done such a great job & to think that you've helped out other babies too! That is amazing. AR definitely has a terrific, giving mommy!

I wouldn't worry too much about dropping the nursing...I nursed until 18 months & I have cousins that did it WAY after that (PM me & I'll give you the details if you want).

Hooray for reaching your goals. I knew you could do it :)