A Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas

May 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas  //  intrepidmonkeys.com

This post is a tribute to all the mummas who breastfeed or have breastfed. Even if only for a couple of times in your babies’ lives. I wanted to write about this so I will always remember the special bond I felt with Ollie, my first breastfed baby.

Life is good when your baby sleeps. Life is even better when you put them to bed and they go to sleep without a fuss and don’t wake up until the morning!

I read a fantastic manifesto by The Smile Collective and Mrs Woog late last year about parenting. After a number of witty truths like:

“Children can detect weakness like a shark 

detects blood in the water. Big nights on long

weekends equal a lot of blood in the water!”

and

“Being a parent is wonderful, but sometimes it fully sucks.”

if finishes by saying:

Mrs Woog & The Smile Collective's Manifesto on Parenting featured in Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas  //  intrepidmonkeys.com

Why is it that we try to get it ‘right’ all the time as parents? Numerous times I catch myself trying to force what I think is the right thing to do. Over analysing things. Trying this and that. So often the answer (if there is such a thing as the ‘right’ answer) is trusting your gut.

The Signs Were There

About 6 weeks ago Ollie was very wakeful during the night. Out of character compared to the wakefulness in weeks leading up to that particular week. The symptoms were similar to teething, but then just about all symptoms are branded as ‘teething’ these days!

Something didn’t feel right with our feeding though.

Ollie had become more and more distracted during milk feeds (even in a quiet room) and was eating like a horse. We tried everything in the book. More protein during the day. More carbs. Making sure day sleeps were conducive to good sleep at night. Staying home for the bedtime routine every night. Plenty of water during the day. Acute focus on bedclothes and temperature during the night. Panadol before bed. Spending time re-settling during the night. Then resorting to self-re-settling when rocking became a game and something Ollie began to look forward to in the wee hours of the night.

One day I gave him a bottle during the day after a milk feed…

210mL was gone in the blink of an eye! This was after a sandwich, half a yoghurt, half a banana and a whole nectarine for lunch, plus the milk feed from me!!

Perhaps the angst I was feeling about milk feeds was warranted after all. Not just another hiccup that was par for the course when it came to breastfeeding for me.

From the bottle at lunchtime, we then went to a bottle after breakfast also. Ollie has been having a bottle before bed since he was about 4 months old, now bringing the total to 3 bottles a day.

My Feelings About Weaning

I thought I may have had feelings of withdrawal or inadequacy when this time came. But instead it felt natural. Ollie was developing in so many ways. His independence from me was just another milestone – either by his choice, or my body not keeping up, I’m still not sure.

With so much information (and encouragement) to breastfeed, it was hard not to feel a little bit guilty. But then I reflected on the 9 months that I carried my child, followed by 9 months of dedicated breastfeeding and instead,

I felt proud. And damn happy now that my child is finally ‘sleeping through’ the night, wahoo!

On occasion Ollie had ‘slept through’ before (i.e. we didn’t have to get out of bed to re-settle him) up to 3-4 nights in a row. But this was usually followed by some developmental milestone (or menacing teeth moving about) that threw a spanner in the works.

A Peaceful Nights Sleep at Long Last… Ha! Yeah Right.

About a week went by and I started to get excited by the prospect of sleep-ful nights. Ollie was stirring less and less, meaning not only did we not have to get out of bed, we didn’t even get woken up! By Ollie at least. Then I had the task of recalibrating my own body clock (and bladder control) so I could last a night of solid sleep myself!

A couple of weeks after going to 3 bottles a day, Ollie started waking again during the night. No idea why. I was still doing a feed in the morning before his bottle to reduce my milk supply slowly, so he was definitely getting adequate milk and he was eating well during the day. He was becoming more mobile at that stage and using the furniture a lot more to ‘cruise’ rather than crawl everywhere. So perhaps it was another approaching milestone that was inducing zombie like behaviour.

That hurdle lasted a couple of weeks, but included a nasty cold Ollie got a few days after arriving in Bariloche. From then it has been roughly a month and Ollie has ‘slept through’ more often than not. It took me a good couple of weeks to go to bed at night feeling like I wouldn’t have to get out of bed before sunrise. But I eventually got there. Now when Ollie wakes in the night it’s a shock to the system and takes a moment to throw myself out of bed when I realise the calling out is not going to give way to a self-settling baby. Once up though, it is much easier to reassure him and get him back to sleep knowing that this is now the exception rather than the rule in our house (i.e. current accommodation).

A Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas

So here’s to breastfeeding! It’s not as easy as it looks. But so so rewarding when you do master it, both initially and after each setback along the journey. There will always be tough times. But when you trust your gut and stop over-analysing, things always seem to work themselves out. If you have to go to bottle feeding, don’t forget to celebrate that amazing bond you had with your baby – and getting your body back ; )

Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas // intrepidmonkeys.com

Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas // intrepidmonkeys.com

Tribute to Breastfeeding Mummas // intrepidmonkeys.com

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I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories about weaning from breastfeeding, so leave a comment below 🙂