Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Bingo

15 Sep

Ok, it’s official I am awarding myself a prize for winning “Breastfeeding in Public Bingo”. I may not have conquered the supermarket or Walmart yet, but yesterday’s adventure was a rocket launch, so I’m pretty sure that gets bonus points. (It was a singularly underwhelming event, on the Hubby’s advice we drove up close to the launch pad, right into the fog so we saw NOTHING. If we had gone where I said we would have at least seen it come out of the fog. But no. Ahem. A slept/fed through the whole thing anyway. T woke up just before it and got to hear it. Awesome.)

But yes, rocket launch, pretty cool! That goes on the list with parks (a myriad), restaurants (more than one), a farm, the zoo, the aquarium, museums (more than one), the mall, beaches, a campground and a Mission.

I doubt I could have managed it without my wrap. I certainly wouldn’t be going all of these places. And I couldn’t be so discreet. Because boob out, you do feel a bit vulnerable. Especially when you have a small girl who pops on and off willy nilly. But a large hat and no one knows what’s going on. And I don’t have to use one of those mad cover things. It’s brilliant.

My prize will have to be a new wrap. I need to justify the expenditure to myself. I’m a bit mad like that.

Breastfeeding, take II – or – My leaky left boob!

30 Jun

I breastfed the Turtle successfully for 14 months. When he was born there was no question that I would try to feed him myself. None. That had something to do with the 5 foot long flow chart I was given in my antenatal class about how to prepare a bottle. It all looked very complicated – boiling water, waiting a half an hour, utter madness. Breastfeeding just looked easier. And it was. Although I never thought I would feed him for “that long”. I set myself small goals. 1 week. 6 weeks. Until he got teeth. 6 months. Until we got to the States. 1 year. As long as I could. He stopped one day, all of a sudden. It left me perplexed. I didn’t know what to do. How would I get him to sleep? Comfort him? Make sure he ate enough? That was the most nightmarish part of breastfeeding him. (Not that it was all rosy. There was mastitis, engorgement and all sorts to deal with, but he was “a good feeder” so it felt easier than it was.)

This little lady is a different kettle of fish. The Turtle was a gannet from the start. Mouth wide open. Perfect latch. He would feed. Sleep. Wake up. Feed. Sleep. He had no problems with wind (gas). He didn’t spit up. He was the child a first time breastfeeding mother wants/needs. As I said, his sister is different. She won’t open her mouth quite wide enough. There’s a lot of licking. She pops on and off quite frequently (leading me to dread feeding her in public). When she does latch, she takes such big gulps that she almost drowns herself (another reason why I won’t be using a nursing cover – the other being that I want to be able to see her). And she suffers from “wind” (gas) and roars like a banshee.

On the plus side, I have absolutely no doubts about whether I am producing enough milk. My letdown reflex (like the valve that releases milk when the baby starts to suck) seems to be broken. If she grunts I start to leak. If I feed her on one side, the other starts to leak. If she feeds and pops off I leak. The left boob leaks more than the right, just in case you’re interested.
If I lived in a different time I could be a wet nurse for all of the children in the neighbourhood.

I’m sure things will settle down (I hope). For the moment, it’s a good reminder that they may both be my children, but they are different people. No matter how alike they look.


2 Oct

I miss it! I may be looking forward to buying new bras (I wonder when I can do that?) and enjoying reading in the bath; as well as quite liking the fact that now the little turtle comes to check in with me, just to see how I’m doing, and maybe give me a hug if he’s not too busy. Still though. I miss his “satiated with milk” look, the one where he looked like a little drunken man; the closeness; the co-dependency of it (neither of us were happy when feeds were missed!); his soft little hands, busy all of the time; and most importantly, the knowledge that he was getting a good chunk of all of the vitamins and minerals he needed. Now I can’t be sure. Nor can I justify that extra piece of chocolate with the old “I’m breastfeeding” line.

My baby is growing up. A confident, headstrong, independent little boy is emerging. One with a love for music, animals, trains, water and of course, turtles. A chatterbox in the making. Sometimes I want to shout “Look what I made!” One of these days I will. Just as soon as he stops eating muck and stones. We’re civilized people, you know 😉

Eating muck

Edited to add: How jealous am I of this woman. Indeed it seems I should be jealous of ALL Mongolian women too. Jealous of women allowed to do what comes naturally to them, without being pestered about how often their child feeds, for how long, how much, or worrying about where to feed when you leave the house. No worries about them settling themselves or sleeping through the night. Imagine a world like that? Where no one would bat an eyelid at the fact that your son had turned a year and you were still breastfeeding him. Not just breastfeeding him, but feeding him to sleep, for comfort (and sometimes even, for a peaceful life).  Now, I have to find new ways of comforting him. He likes being rocked to sleep while I sing “Twinkle Twinkle” a million times, well as many times as it will fit into ten minutes, as that’s how long it takes him to nod off. I’m waiting now for the comments about the new rod I’m making for my own back. As if he’ll be 16 and driving around trying to impress girls, yet still coming home to climb into Mammy’s lap to be rocked to sleep!

Doing what comes naturally to us should be celebrated. You can bet your bottom dollar that if men breastfed there’d be a parade and a marching band every time one of them managed to latch an infant successfully.

I successfully breastfed my son for fourteen months, stopping only when he was ready and I’m beating myself up a bit that I didn’t keep going that bit longer. “The WHO recommends you keep feeding them until they are two years old” that was my standard response when people asked me if I was STILL breastfeeding. Now that’s what’s going around in my head when he cries or is tired, when my breasts vaguely ache producing milk that my son refuses to take. Yet we did well. 47% of Irish women breastfeed their newborn babies, according to a recent national paper by Roslyn Tarrant. However, in the weeks after birth, that rate falls off precipitously to a miserable 24%. About 3% of women in Ireland are meeting the minimum health standard of breastfeeding exclusively for six months. I don’t know how I did it. My aim was to go for a few weeks. Here I am 14 months after our breastfeeding journey began, wailing that I can’t go on because of an unwilling cohort rather than pain, discomfort or time constraints on my part. I was sure I’d give up first. It would seem that the little turtle didn’t lick his bull headedness off of the wall!

Hurray for bull headedness!

Sick? Growing up?

28 Sep

It would seem the little turtle has a penchant for getting sick every time the hubby has a three day weekend. This time it was, the doctor said, some kind of strep throat – the kind not picked up by the swab I felt they should do before prescribing antibiotics. So even though he wasn’t 100% sure that it was strep he prescribed antibiotics because the little turtle’s throat was “red enough” to justify it, even though doctors “go on about the over-prescribing of antibiotics”. Sound, I thought. He knows what he is talking about. The little turtle had stopped breastfeeding the day before, so I was more worried than I normally would be. Antibiotics will sort him out. Brilliant!

Then we got home and tried to give him the antibiotics. He got one dose. He would not take another. By that I mean he fought, kicked and screamed like a banshee. There was no getting it into him, even with the hubby and I both trying. You would have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. A “sick” fourteen month old boy getting the best of two grown adults, determined to try and give him his medicine. There was no way. (Even if my mother insists that if she were here she’d “get it into him”.)

We rang the pharmacy. Tried to find out if there was another flavour. No joy. Illuminous pink bubble gum flavour would seem to be it. And no other form. No suppositories.  Nothing.

In the end, we made the executive decision to give up on the antibiotics altogether. Any boy who can fight like that and somehow make medicine squirt out of his nose can get better on his own. And that is what he seems to have done.

He also seems to have given up breastfeeding. Cold turkey. He fed all morning and most of the afternoon on Thursday, so much so that I thought he would never stop and sat in the chair dreaming up ways to get him off me, so that I could at least go to the toilet.  Then he just stopped.  Now I know it must have had something to do with his sore throat, but he’s over that now. I think that’s it for the breastfeeding. He’s done. He did the same thing with his dummy, when he turned 6 months. Just stopped. Give him one now and he looks at it bemusedly but won’t put it in his mouth for love or money. It’s the same now with the boob.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one had I’m excited. My body is mine again. And I’ll be able to buy proper bras again. Not the boulder holsters I’ve become resigned to over the last year and a half. On the other hand, my baby is growing up! He’s walking, talking, and feeding himself (even going so far as to forage in the cupboards when Mammy isn’t paying attention to the time). I’m also a little scared. Breastfeeding isn’t just about food. It’s also about comfort, security and love. It has given us a closeness that I’m not sure we’d have had if I’d bottle fed him. My dilemma now is how to continue to parent my little boy so that he continues to be the sweet and happy soul he has always been. Breastfeeding has been such a huge part of our relationship, I’m not sure what to replace it with. Sloppy kisses and hugs are what he’s been giving me to ‘replace’ (?) our milky connection.

Maybe it’s premature worrying about this now. Maybe he’ll wake up in the morning, mad for Mammy’s milk. And my dreams of bras will have to be shelved for another while. Maybe. But probably not.

A mother and her son. A relationship constantly in motion.


20 Aug

I have a thirteen month old boy and I’m still breastfeeding him! I never ever ever thought that would happen.

When I was pregnant and idealistic, as most first-time mothers are, I thought “I’ll do it for as long as I can. Six weeks at the most. He’ll be grand then.” We had a very down-to-earth ante-natal teacher who said it would be hard, but that generations of women did it, so we could too. She also said not to bother with pumping (at least at the start) as it was an awful lot of effort for very little return. I’m not sure how true that is, having never tried it.

Anyway, when we got to six weeks, very sore nipples and a bout of mastitis behind us, I thought “Six months, I can do this until he’s six months. I’m not going to start faffing around with bottles now.” The ante-natal teacher had given us a five foot long flow chart on how to prepare a bottle. It looked like an awful amount of work. Especially in the middle of the night. (I do wonder if all of the ‘rules’ on preparing bottles are a conspiracy to ‘encourage’ more women to breastfeed?)

Six months came and I said “I’ll keep going until he gets teeth. No way I’m feeding him when he has teeth. No Way!” He got teeth a week later. It didn’t make the difference I thought it would. Feeding him when he had teeth was not really very different to feeding him before he had any. And so we continued.

And still we continue today. My deadline now? Maybe Christmas. Or whenever he’s ready. I’m not sure I need deadlines anymore. The hard part is behind us.

I’ve found that the journey through breastfeeding has been pretty hard (rewarding, yes, but definitely hard). And that the journey was easier when taken in baby steps. If we get the chance to add to our family, I hope I will be able to take this journey again. And yes, we will be taking baby steps.

Eyes Wide Open by ~no-existence87 at deviantART

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