Good Evening, Friends, and Happy Hump Day!
Yesterday, I was at a dentist’s appointment with Amber when Richi decided he was extremely tired (we had missed his 10 AM nap due to the dentist appointment and nap scheduling conflict – now, mind you, I normally schedule things outside of naptime hours, but this was all that was available for an emergency appointment – and she was in a lot of pain) and hungry, and wanted his milk. I don’t pump and bring bottles anywhere because A.) he won’t take a bottle and B.) he’d much rather have his milk ‘on tap’ rather than in a sippy, so that’s what we do.
I exited the cozy little dentist’s room and made my way out to the car, which I parked directly in front of the building. I needed to change him anyway, and the car provides him with a quiet, somewhat comfy, relateable space that he is used to. I have learned that my child can and will not nurse anywhere new or different to him. He is extremely intelligent and intuitive, and if he knows he’s in a place that’s unfamiliar, it just won’t happen. Also, he is very preoccupied with all of his surroundings and keeping him focused at home is an incredibly tiring task these days. Like, most days I can get him to take a few sips, if you will, and then he will pull off and point to the ceiling fan and say, ‘ahh’ and smile and want me to babble on about the fan with him. Most times I smile and humor him, and we will go on about the ceiling fan together. But sometimes, I try not to say anything and allow him to relatch and drink. Lately, it’s proving to be an increasingly difficult feat to get him to just simply latch, or stay latched, and drink enough for me to feel at least a little content. I digress.
So, we get to the car, I change him, I pull out the Boppy that I can’t leave home without (he’s also a very picky nurser, he must have his Boppy to nurse – and at all times – and I move the front seat back, climb in, and crank the AC, now that Florida feels like Florida again. We get cozy in the chair and I begin trying to feed him, and he pulls off, looking at the clouds moving by in the sky and points, laughing, smiling, and talking about everything he sees out the window. While it melts my heart, my boobs are now killing me since he last decided to nurse at 7 AM and here it was 12 PM, and he didn’t even empty them the first time and I also didn’t have time for a pump session, either. So, he refused, and I tried and tried everything. Switched sides, nope – didn’t want it. Switched positions, nope, didn’t want that, either. Sang to him and tried, he just looked in my face and watched and listened to me sing but feeding was a no go. Ugh, the struggle is real.
It seems like every day it’s getting more and more difficult to nurse this little man. If he’s not fighting it, we are having a fantastic day. Some days, he nurses 5 or 6 times. Not usually more than 3 full feedings in one day, though, but still. And some days, it’s all I can do to get him to nuse 3 times with 2 full feedings, if I’m lucky. His nightly feedings have slowed way down, as well. He was waking 4 or 5 times a night to nurse, now he wakes 1 or 2 times to nurse and usually, he will only take a few sips and be back off to sleep after a diaper change. I try my best to keep him occupied long enough to at least eat half a feeding, or at least just nurse on one side, but it doesn’t always work. He seems to really love his first morning feeding and his last feeding of the day, though. However; I can’t help but wonder: is our journey really starting to come to an end? I’m not ready, little man.
I’m just not ready.
Breastfeeding for me is so much more than just a simple food source for my son. It’s an incredible bond that is completely inexplicable to anyone who has never experienced what it’s like to be able to nurture your child and feed them with your own body – even after birth. It’s that last tether between pregnancy and birth that really ties us to our child, and it’s the last thread of really being all your child needs. Eventually, they begin solids, they wean from the breast, and they grow up. Breastfeeding, for me, only lasts such a short time and I am trying to make the most of it and do it for as long as he will have it. In 5 short days, Richi will be 11 months old. Breastfeeding is only ‘necessary’ until he is 12 months, by medical standards. But, I am praying and hoping our journey will last longer. I’m just not ready for that to end. When he is ready, of course we will stop. But, hopefully time is kind to me. At least, just this once.
I plan on having some breast milk jewelry made very soon to commemorate our journey of breastfeeding together in the most beautiful way I know how. It will be a constant reminder and beautiful memoir to look back on, all the years of my life. Even when he grows up, and has babies of his own, I will still have that jewelry to hold on to on those nights where I remenisce on the days when he was just a tiny baby, and cry happy tears in memory of days gone by.
Even through all the feedings where he rips chunks (and I do mean literal chunks) of hair out of my head, or slaps my chest hard as he feeds, or scratches mt face so bad I bleed, I still love every single minute. Does that make me crazy? Maybe. But it’s worth it. It means everything to me. Everything.
So, while breastfeeding is still a struggle, it’s also a huge blessing to me – and to him. He has only been sick with a mild cold one time in his almost year of life. No ear infections, fevers, nothing. No allergies, no asthma, no antibiotics ever. I am so proud of us. I’m proud of him, and I am proud of myself for coming so far. I’ve come too far to ever quit now!
I can’t wait to see what our breastfeeding journey looks like for the future. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m ready to take on whatever comes our way.