In the midst of my unemployment journey something else happened. Something very big. A couple of big things, actually.
My sweet baby Raelynn turned 1 year old, I made it to 1 year of breastfeeding, and I was also able to successfully wean her off the breast.
But first….how did this happen??? The first picture was taken about an hour after birth. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of her. Even looking back at this picture now brings tears to my eyes. I have a perfectly healthy little girl and I am forever grateful for that. I am so beyond blessed. When I took the second picture a couple of days ago, I realized I have a diva. A very spoiled little diva.
I am also so grateful that I was able to provide breastmilk for her for a year, and now beyond. It was not easy. At all. I wanted to quit so many times. Too many times to count. It was the epitome of a love/hate relationship. If I had to do it all over again, I would a million times over. We struggled in the beginning, as I’m sure most mom’s and babies do. It’s just something that neither of us had ever done before and it took a long time to get it down pat.
Things I wish someone had told me about: CLUSTER FEEDING. That shit sucked. I thought I was so prepared for breastfeeding, but there is no book that can mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare you for breastfeeding, the problems that can occur, and OMG the CLUSTER FEEDING. She was like clock work; every Friday for the first 8 weeks of life, she cluster fed from 5pm – 10pm. Nonstop. Switching back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Then questioning your supply after cluster feeding events. “Why is she doing this?” “Surely she isn’t getting enough…” “Is all of this even worth is?”
Bottom line, 1000% worth it. I didn’t really start to enjoy breastfeeding until she was about 6 months old. By then, it was quick and easy, and best of all, FREE. I am a mom that was determined to do this for the health benefits and because it was free. I have several friends that breastfed only for a couple of months and then they switched to formula and now regret that decision because formula is so costly. Their babies thrived on formula and hit all milestones, but it was just the price of formula that made them regret quitting.
Something else I wish someone had told me about breastfeeding, PUMPING FUCKING SUCKS. In all caps with a million exclamation points!!! Once we got the hang of breastfeeding, which took a lot of time and practice, it was seriously so easy. You just pop a boob out, baby latches on, food at babies disposal. How nice is that? No warming up a bottle, etc.Returning to work was awful because that means you are away from the baby which means you have to pump to keep up your supply which means pumping around every 3 hours that you are away from baby. I dreaded my pump. I felt like I was constantly attached to it. Then I would stress too much about not pumping enough causing my supply to take a temporary dip and I would stress some more. I would drink 200+ ounces of water to try and make up for my dip in supply….blah blah blah blah….It’s just a never ending worrisome cycle.
When Raelynn was about 11 months old, I counted my frozen stash and realized that I could slowly start weaning some pumps away. When she was just shy of a year, I was able to pump for the last time. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!! I feel like I have my life and my body back for the first time since I was pregnant with her. My life also no longer revolves in 3 hour increments, which is also amazing! I still have about a couple of weeks worth of frozen stash so she is still able to get the benefits of breastmilk which I’m super excited about. In my next post, I will elaborate further on the weaning process and how I was able to do it.
Until next time…
–The Kentucky Momma