Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Ever-Changing Nature of Breastfeeding, Or, Nursing a 6-Month-Old

I haven't posted for a few days because we got a new puppy and I've been busy learning all about dog training. Life with a puppy and a baby will be a future post topic. Also, I had already written 3/4 of a post on this topic (changing nature of breastfeeding) but somehow erased it when I came in to edit. Unfortunately this version probably isn't as good.



If you read my breastfeeding story, you'll see that we had a rough go of it to start. However, when Sweet Pea was about four months old, we seemed to achieve a peak in terms of ease of all aspects of mommyhood. My baby was sleeping through the night, was content to hang out and watch me do work around the house, sitting on her own for 20-60 minutes at a time, and best of all for me, nursing was finally what I had always hoped: relaxing, bonding time with my baby that took very little effort. We began to nurse in public with confidence, and I was pleased to find we could finally do it without too much awkwardness. I had a happy, chubby, sleeping-at-night baby: this baby thing seemed like it was getting pretty easy!

Then, she got older. She became more interested in the world around her, more interactive, and learned to roll over. Holding her started to become more difficult as she realized that she had some control over her movement, and she became much more squirmy, reaching and grabbing for things and wanting to stand in our laps. Similarly, nursing also got more difficult again because she was often too distracted to nurse in public and would frequently expose my breast by suddenly turning her head and arching her body to look at something she'd heard, sometimes letting milk leak or spray all over whatever we both were wearing. Sweet Pea also just became less interested in nursing during the day in general, and I would have to offer the breast, then hold her in position for upwards of 10-15 seconds while she squirmed before finally settling in. Sometimes even then I couldn't convince her that it was worth it to stop playing to eat.  So, logically, she started waking up again at night, probably partly due to the decrease in daytime nursing, partly due to increased nutritional demands. Yet she still has been mostly pushing back out any food that goes in her mouth, so I have continued to be her main source of nutrition and hydration. In sum, my easy baby became more difficult, and nursing was once again an effort, particularly if we were anywhere besides a dark, quiet room. Luckily, it has remained satisfying to me through this and I'm still confident we'll keep going for a long while.

I know that the pendulum will swing again, and things that are easy now could become difficult, and our struggles now could soon become total non-issues. Such is parenting, I am learning. As soon as I feel like I have one aspect figured out, my baby goes and changes her ways.

3 comments:

  1. Good for you for sticking with it! A lot of women don't want to put in the effort to figure out how to change and adapt with the growing needs and wants of baby. I love to hear a success story of someone who didn't have it easy and is still with it and still enjoying it. Thanks!

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  2. Yup, that about sums it up! Just when you feel like you're getting it, they go and change entirely. I've learned not to use definitive statements, like "Oh yeah, he's a great eater," or "He never bites me while nursing." Because the next week, I will invariably have to eat it.

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  3. I just wanted to thank you for your comment on mommy lite! That's the best thing I can hear from anyone! Following you too now. Best, Sarah

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