Things I wish I’d known the first time around…

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Well, the time has come.  This sweet little face is 9 ½ months old and I’ve made the decision to start weaning him.  This is a decision I’ve come by very thoughtfully and I know it’s the right time and the right decision for both of us.  That being said, it’s also a decision that hurts my heart every time the reality of it sets in.  It’s so hard to explain to someone who’s never been through it… and those who have been through it assure me it’s normal for that heartache to hang around for years to come whenever you see another momma nursing their baby… but one thing is for sure, nursing is a precious and irreplaceable bonding time with your little ones and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to do so with both of my babies.  It’s funny though… thinking through weaning my son brings back memories of the very different circumstances under which I weaned his big sister, and the things I wish now that I’d known then.

I only nursed Sweet Pea for 6 months, and to be honest that was as long as I could possibly muster.  I was basically a ball of nerves that entire time.  I was so unsure of myself and afraid that if I missed one feeding I would ruin everything.  I wouldn’t nurse in public, even with a good cover, because I was so self-conscious I couldn’t relax.   I was so afraid she wasn’t getting enough milk and gaining enough weight that when I went to her 6 month well baby visit and was told she was in the 25th percentile in weight, that was all I needed to hear to push me over the edge.

It didn’t take long after weaning her to regret my decision.  It was too soon and I lamented it for months (this decision, consequently, is also where her brother came from, if you remember that story… you can check out the story here on my old blog if you’re interested), but I was silly and didn’t know that there were solutions to almost any problem that you encounter in nursing!

SIDE NOTE:  My childhood friend Claire wrote an amazing blog post recently about the things she wished she’d known about breastfeeding.  It plays in perfectly to what I’m saying here and they are all things I, too, wish I had known beforehand.  So go on over and read her post now then come on back.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you here……

Great post, isn’t it?  Such wisdom… and I went through almost all of these the first time around.  I would actually add two things to her list that I learned from my own experience.  The first is:  even if you feel like your supply has gone down to the point that it’s affecting your baby’s nutrition level, there are things you can do to boost your supply right back up with no problem!  Everything from eating foods that are known to boost milk supply (like these cookies!) to taking fenugreek to get your milk back faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Seriously, if you are making any milk at all, you absolutely don’t have to be done nursing unless you want to be!   The second is:  I figured out that a great deal of my self-consciousness in nursing had to do with potentially exposing my big nasty post-partum belly… it had nothing to do with my boobs at all!  Quite a revelation for me.  So the second time around, I invested in some good nursing tanks (these undercover mama tanks are THE.BEST!) and suddenly I was self-assured and relaxed to nurse whenever and wherever I was at mealtime.  And guess what?  Me being relaxed makes my son relaxed!  And as a result it has been the precious bonding time that it was supposed to be the first time.  Don’t give up!  Relax and enjoy the precious months you are given to bond with your little one.  Take it from someone who’s now on the other end of it, the months go by way too quickly.

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About mbaily

wife, momma, follower of Jesus
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