I can't tell you how proud I am to be writing this post! Mine & Aubrey's breastfeeding journey did not start of easy but, as mentioned in a previous post, we were thankfully able to overcome the hurdles and successfully establish breastfeeding. It was a huge deal for me and I wanted to create realistic goals for myself as we went along in this process. At first, I was just praying to God that we'd get in at least a month lol! Then once that passed I said "Ok, let's try to make it six months". After that I was very confident in setting a one year goal of breastfeeding and here we are PAST the twelve month mark!
A twelve month old nursling..
At one year old, nursing Aubrey has definitely been different! Out with the tiny newborn that would just lay in the crook of my arm and in with the squirmy, wiggly nursing toddler! Honestly, I have to just laugh it off ;) Aubrey has become very vocal and demanding when it comes to nursing and yes it is very obvious in public what she wants lol! She does quirky things these days that we've jokingly labeled. Like when she thrusts her face back & forth on my chest while I'm holding her we'll say (to ourselves) "Ugh, there she goes with the motor-boating" Haha, classy right?! And YES, she will try to pull my shirt down O_o .. If I'm changing infront of her and she sees "the goods", she does this hilarious "geek" laugh. Its a cross between the ever cliche TV sitcom nerd laugh & a hyperventilating sound. The newest one is the grabbing/pulling/pinching thing we've simply labeled as her trying to give me a "purple nurple" lol! Oh the things no one tells you..
All joking aside, there are still many moments where it's just simple & beautiful. My favorite time is the early morning feeding. The sun's not up yet, the house is still & I'll scoop her up into my arms, lay her next to me in bed, she'll begin to nurse and she just seemingly melts into me. With my arm wrapped around her warm little body, we both eventually drift off to sleep. It's absolutely precious. I know there will come a time where that'll be a distant memory so I cherish those moments.
I'll admit we are actively trying to night wean. I just can't handle the sleep deprivation anymore. It has been very challenging and so far Aubrey's winning the battle! We'll get there though ;) As for Actual weaning, at this point I don't have a set plan for when we'll wean. I've just decided that we'll do what works best for us. If she stops tomorrow, I've already surpassed my own expectations so I would be at peace with it. If we go another six months, that's okay too. We're just going with the flow.
What I learned along the way..
*Gosh where do I begin?! At first, I figured out to my own amazement that NO the whole world was not looking at me breastfeeding! *Note sarcasm* In the 1st three to four weeks of breastfeeding I would hide in a room WITH a nursing cover on & if I couldn't run off somewhere, I felt as everyone just knew I was breastfeeding. I felt very naked. Stupid I know.. Well that's definitely changed lol! I still consider myself to be a somewhat "modest nurser" if you will but, I often times don't even use a cover anymore. Usually I'll tuck myself in a corner somewhere & try to be aloof but, that's about it. If you happen to see too much, well, it's cause you were trying to! That's the motto I live by now ;)
*I learned that deciding on new clothes will be different. Since having Aubrey, I will pick something out based on how easily I can nurse in it ;)
*I learned that when somebody warns you not to let baby get into the habit of falling asleep only at the breast, YOU LISTEN! (This does not apply in the newborn stage) but, believe me when I tell you it will become an issue later on!
*I discovered that tanks with built-in shelf bras will become essential to my wardrobe. No need to buy expensive nursing bras here!
*I learned that once you pass the six month mark (well meaning) people will start asking every other week when you plan on weaning. This led to the true understanding that there is most definitely NOT enough education, support & normalization of breastfeeding. The fact that I'm still nursing leaves many people surprised.. And I think it really shouldn't be surprising.. It should be considered normal..
*I learned that you will not bond any more with a breastfed baby than with a formula fed baby. As a mother whose experienced both, I can tell you that the love and the bonding was the same. I think the difference for me was that pride that comes with knowing that your giving baby the absolute best when you breastfeed. It is a very special thing but, I certainly didn't love Aubrey more than Aizlynn..
*Now this is my own opinion but, I learned that breastfeeding can be tough. Once again, as a mom whose done both, I feel that (wait for it) formula feeding is easier. (Ducks for cover)). There is something very self-sacrificing about breastfeeding. VERY. In our case, Aubrey quickly began to hate bottles so there was no handing baby off so someone else can feed baby. However (and that's a big however) I would do it again & again because it's also been amazing, special & extremely rewarding.
*Most importantly, and this has to do with my failed attempt to breastfeed my first, I learned that I am not broken, my body does work, I am not a failure, I can sustain my babies and I am capable of breastfeeding. For so many years I labeled myself with the complete oposites of the latter statements. Getting to nurse Aubrey has been extremely redeeming and has filled all those holes I placed into myself... Into my self-worth & my self-esteem as a woman and mother. I will never pretend that it's always been something out of a Lifetime movie but, I am SO SO thankful for this experience. Not only has it been good for my baby but, it's been good for my soul..