This post is a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding Project sharing mother’s unique experiences, successes and struggles with Breastfeeding. This post is by Nicole. Here’s what she had to share:
Hi, My name is Nicole Lennon and I have just started blogging my life with my crazy, big family at sunnylife75.blogspot.com.au. I am here to share my breastfeeding adventures with you. 🙂
My first baby was born 1 month before my 21st birthday, in April 1996. And although it was all new and scary, I had no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed my baby. However, those first 6 weeks were hell! Due to a lack of experience and knowledge, I just didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. So, my baby spent hour after hour using my nipple as his very own personal dummy. Of course it wasn’t long before my nipples became cracked, sore and were causing me excruciating pain. I would grit my teeth as I attached my wee, little Bailey and cry as his suckling created what felt like an electric shock of pain in my back behind whichever breast he had attached to. I was using cracked nipple creams and trying the ‘sun them out’ approach as much as a modest woman can! It was at this point, a month in, that I really considered giving up. Formula was looking like a mighty fine option. But I held out a little longer, with the help of a family friend who was a midwife, who helped to educate me and support my decision to breastfeed my child.
The 6 week mark came along, and like a lightbulb, everything just switched on and finally it was working just how I imagined it should! People kept telling me to push through the first 6 weeks and although I had my doubts, for me personally it was true. I happily breastfed Bailey until he was 12 months old. Being a first time mum, I followed the textbooks to a tee and as the medical advice at the time was to breastfeed until baby turned 1 year old, I weaned Bailey 2 days after his first birthday. I didn’t want to be a meanie and deprive the birthday boy on his big day. Also, I was 3 months pregnant with baby number 2 and experienced cramps whenever I breastfed.
Baby number 2 came along in September 1997, before Bailey was 18 months old. And immediately took to breastfeeding like a champ. It was such a wonderful experience to enter the newborn and breastfeeding realm once again, but as an experienced mama. Plus, I felt my nipples had been ‘broken in’ well and didn’t suffer any issues. My fears of following experts, professionals and textbooks advice had subsided and I felt totally comfortable parenting in my own manner. Exactly how my husband and I wanted to. Cassidy happily breastfed until she was 3 and a half years old.
In 2003, we added another baby boy to our family. We had decided to wait until Bailey and Cassidy were at school before we had any more children and we knew we could afford the time to wait as we were so young when we had started our family. Zeke is actually our longest breastfed child to date, finishing up at 5 ½ years old. I know many people would gasp in horror at his age. But as he was my third baby, I didn’t feel intimidated by people’s prejudices and needs to press their opinions on us at all. I didn’t feed him in public as he got older. He usually only fed for a few minutes to fall asleep or to be comforted when hurt. Extended breastfeeding hadn’t been something I set out toachieve. I never belonged to a ‘breastfeeding group’ or anything like that. It was just right for my child and our family.
Now, when Zeke was 2 years old, we welcomed little Malachi into our family. So yes, my two boys happily tandem fed for 3 years. (And, I hadn’t suffered any issues whilst breastfeeding when pregnant this time around.) Again, not something we set out to do, but when I came home from the hospital with my newborn and tucked him into bed that night, my little 2 year old climbed out of bed and heading into mummy and daddy’s bed to be snuggle and be soothed. Although I had my apprehensions and was concerned with the rod I would be making for my own back, with my husband’s support I decided not stop worrying about when Zeke would stop feeding and just let our routine fall into a natural pattern. That pattern included tandem feeding my little boys.
Although, it wasn’t always easy, (Malachi was usually unable to have a feed without Zeke deciding to jump on the other boob for a quick feed…just because he could!) this time progressed nicely. Zeke weaned at 5 ½ yrs old. His feeds had backed right off to the occasional nurse at bedtime.Malachi continued for another year until he was 4 ½. Then he was ready to give away his booby time.
In 2011 we welcomed our little Mila into our family. Malachi had only weaned a few months before I fell pregnant. So at 36, I had my last (yes, the last one!) baby. A long way off the mere 20 I was with baby number one. Mila is almost 2 years old now and still happily ‘booby fed’. She has been such a joy for our whole family. She is such a beautiful, little girl. I don’t have any thoughts on how long she will breastfeed for. It’s completely up to her. I have finally began to participate in a small breastfeeding mothers group and sat in at my first ever Big Latch on this year. I feel so blessed to have been able to breastfeed my children. It has been the most bonding and nurturing experience. And although it has always been something personal and private for me, as a mum who has breastfeeding experience spanning over 17 years now (man, I feel old!) I feel proud and confident and feel it’s important for me to stand up for the rights of breastfeeding mothers everywhere. That as nurturers and carers we have the right to nurse our children wherever and whenever we choose without discrimination and prejudice. There is nothing more natural in the whole world. 🙂