Posts tagged - nursing

No more Night Nurse

Thursday 5 July was the last time I nursed Mushroom. For all my worrying about how to night wean him, in the end he kind of did it himself.

Had I known that night would be the last time, I’d have done something different. What, I don’t know. It’s not as if we’d have had a ‘Mummy Milk’ (or ‘Nee’ as he liked to call it) party with a breast shaped cake to mark the occasion but I do feel as though the moment just kind of passed us by. On that Thursday night, he asked and I nursed. Friday night he didn’t ask – he didn’t even lift my t-shirt. This was a first. I put him down in his cot and he just turned over and went to sleep. I high fived the Mr and made us dinner. The next night Mushroom did ask. ‘Nee?’ he said hopefully. I thought ‘it’s now or never.’ So I said no. And he just went to sleep again. Just like that, no arguments. He did have a few biting episodes around this time so I introduced a dummy into the bedtime routine which seemed to solve this, however, I now think the biting had more to do with his teething than my refusal to nurse him.

At first I did get a little uncomfortable overnight but that settles down within a week and as it did, I realised what a massive milestone this was. Along with walking (check), talking (not quite) and sleeping through the night (Only once so far and that was recent. More on that to come in a later post!), I now feel that night weaning is a sign of emotional development that needs to be reached when both mother and baby are ready. I was ready months ago. Mushroom wasn’t. When he first caught up with me I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. A week after his last night feeding I looked down at his contended little face and wondered if he even remembered… He certainly doesn’t now. But I do. It’s funny, most breastfeeding mums can tell you roughly when they last nursed their child, but it’s not something we write in the baby books along with their other milestones. I guess that’s why I’m writing this post. As Mushroom becomes more and more of a little boy (well, toddler – we’ve had the first few tantrums already) I’m feeling that his babyhood is slipping away almost unnoticed and I wanted to record this, which I feel is one of the biggest milestones for both of us.

Did you/Do you continue to nurse your child past  12 months? What kind of reactions do you get when you tell people? When did you/do you plan to wean? If you already have, how do you feel about it now, looking back? Please leave a comment below and share your stories!

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My breastfeeding journey

Breastfeeding saved my life. That was going to be the title of this post but I thought it might put people off, making me look like one of the ‘breast is best’ brigade who judge other Mums for their choices. That’s not me. I think everyone should feed their baby on the way that’s right for them. When I say breastfeeding save my life, I mean it literally.

I haven’t yet written about the birth, which in itself, wasn’t so bad (Yes of course it hurt. I’ll write about that another time. Maybe). Even the first couple of days after the birth were ok. I was on a high, and was very lucky in that mine and Mushroom’s breastfeeding journey started well. He latched on well the first time and I felt no pain. If anything, I found it very relaxing. Apparently that’s the release of prolactin. Well, it’s the prolactin that saved me.

I went home two days after the birth and all seemed well. However, within a matter of days I collapsed while changing Mushroom’s nappy in the middle of the night. I couldn’t move my arms or legs and was terrified I was going to die and leave this helpless little baby behind… Well, with his Dad, but still. An ambulance was called and they said I was suffering from exhaustion. My blood pressure was sky high but this was attributed to the scare I’d had and once it went down a little, I was told not to worry and just to let the midwife know when she came the next day.

Well, the next day the midwife came. She checked my blood pressure again and I was immediately readmitted to hospital with postnatal preeclampsia. Yes, you can get it after the birth and no, I didn’t know that either. As I was exclusively breastfeeding Mushroom at the time he came back with me. Just as well, as being parted from him so soon certainly wouldn’t have helped me to relax. I was kept in hospital for a further ten days while an appropriate course of medication was determined. During these ten days, my blood pressure reached dangerously high levels, almost landing me in resus on at least one occasion. There were times when I could feel the eclampsia itself coming on – they had told me the warning signs – and knew I needed my medication earlier than I would get it. Most of these times seemed to coincide with Mushroom crying for a feed. Perhaps it was a coincidence but maybe he sensed something was wrong and just wanted to be held. Either way, those times I nursed him saved me, the prolactin bringing my blood pressure down to safer levels until I could take my medication. The times I almost ended up in resus were when he was sleeping. But we got through it. By the end of the ten days in hospital the medication was working and I was more than ready to go home. In fact, in the last few days I am convinced it was staying in hospital that kept my blood pressure up. I managed to persuade a doctor of this and I was set free sent home. I weaned myself off the medication two weeks earlier than advised and felt much better for it.

So. That was the beginning of my breastfeeding story… Like I said, I was lucky. I wouldn’t go so far as to say breastfeeding was a breeze – the pain kicked in when Mushroom hit Wonder Week 5/his first growth spurt and recurred every ‘Wonder Week’/growth spurt without fail, but it always passed just as I was almost ready to give up. I also had the usual issues with leaking and engorgement (I recommend Johnsons baby or Asda breast pads. The plastic backed ones are always a bad idea) but in the end, 90% of Mushroom’s milk intake for the first nine months was my milk. Nothing against formula, he’d take it if I wasn’t around and there was no expressed milk for him but most of the time he was with me. In a way, it’s laziness/convenience that kept me breastfeeding. Bottles have to be made up, washed and sterlised, and transported around. Breasts are… Well, they’re just there aren’t they? It was just easier (most of the time).

I have talked before about weaning Mushroom in the daytime so won’t repeat that here. Since then, we have also got rid of his bedtime bottle and he doesn’t actually drink much milk anymore. He does still nurse once in the night. I don’t tell many people this as, unfortunately, it tends to get a negative reaction and I’m tired of having to justify myself. For the record – He’s still just a baby, yes I know it’s probably just for comfort, no its not different cause he’s a boy (this one really annoys me) and yes I will do something about it if he doesn’t grow out of it in the next six months.

So that’s my breastfeeding story. I’ve read a few over the past week and they have all been different but one common thread I’ve been happy to see is that there has been no judgement – everyone has been supportive of each mother’s individual journey whether it was breast or bottle, or both. I know that when I started, I never expected to still be on this journey now but here we are… and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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