Friday, March 22, 2013

Weaning Eve

Evie doesn't know it yet. But tonight is gonna be the last time she gets to nurse. It's breaking my heart. I know it seems silly. She's over 2 years old and some feelings have strong feelings for and against nursing past one year much less over two. But we've had such a wonderful nursing relationship. And I'm going to hate to see it end.

I tried nursing with Claire but had many obstacles we couldn't overcome. She was born 7 weeks early and I was seriously ill with HELLP the days following her birth. They say the earlier you attempt to nurse the better the results but they also say that 33-34 week preemies physically don't know hot to breath/suck/swallow at the same time, which is what is required for drinking out if a bottle or Breastfeeding. She never really got the hang of it in the hospital and didn't successfully latch until she was about 7 weeks old (near her due date in fact). I did a LOT of pumping and Claire got half and half milk to formula. We did that for about 6 months and once I went back to work my milk dried up. I knew I wouldn't be able to be pregnant for a long time due to my hyperemesis and preeclampsia which was a nightmare. See posts from 2010 fore more details on that nightmare. But the one thing I was really looking forward to was trying to nurse again.

And Evies been amazing at it! She was also born 7 weeks early but had the doctors and nurses are convinced that my due date was wrong because she was doing so amazingly well! I wasn't as sick during this delivery and I think that helped. I was able to try to get her to nurse the day after she was born. She would tire out pretty easily but would go at it like a full term newborn.

The weeks after we took her home from the NICU after her super short 10-day stay we dealt with really bad GI problems which are common for preemies. She would scream and wail every time she had to poop. Which was fairly often. I had to massage her tummy and help her do all these stretches to get it to come out more easily.

Eventually the stools became bloody. We took her to numerous doctors and everyone recommend that I stop nursing because it was probably a dairy allergy. I cut all dairy out of my diet -which is HARD due to my love affair with cheese and ice cream. But I did it! Unfortunately it didn't help her at all. Some doctors still frowned on our nursing. That it wasn't impossible to filter all potentially allergic stuff out of my milk. But I thought, it's got to be better for her than formula and there are so many antibodies and healthy bacteria etc. my milk is probably making her tummy feel better!

We finally saw a pediatric GI specialist who confirmed my instincts. She said "good job for sticking with the nursing. It was the best thing you could have done."

Turns out it was just a premature international tract and the problem eventually went away. But it could have been the end of nursing.

Right before I went back to work I started having intense sharp nipple pain making it unbearable to nurse. Tears in my eyes, teeth gritting stuff. I visited Kangaroo Kids and Sierra helped me with my latch but also noticed that Eve had a tongue tie. She recommended a family physician who specialized in newborn tongue tied and how it can negatively affect nursing. I took her to our pediatrician and she suggested to do nothing. Basically put up with the pain or quit nursing because it wasnt worth doing major surgery. Several days passed with no relief so i took her to Dr Grawey and she fixes it right then and there! I was able to nurse pain free immediately!

Another boob -block dodged.

I pumped for several months after returning to work. HATED it. With a passion. But I did it. I'd come home from work and Eve would literally want to nurse on the couch from the time I walked in the door around 6 to the time it was time to out her down around 10-11pm.

Anyone that has been through cluster feeding and pumping a work can relate. Nursing hoop - jumped through it baby!

I really just wanted to get to the 6 month mark. To nurse her for as long as I nursed her sister. But there was no way Eve was ready to wean. She would have figured out how to walk and runaway from home at 4 months adjusted age if I took the mommy milk away. So we just kept on going.

Reached the year milestone. Then 18-months. Still doing it at 2 years.

She's a good nurser. I've been able to wean her in stages. She's done great with eating solids and drinking out of a sippy cup. I nursed her on demand as long as I was with her for at least the first 18 months while working full time. Then I only offered during morning and bedtime. After 2 I only offered at bedtime, in her room, in the rocking chair after story time. And by that time Mike and I took turns putting each I the girls to bed so for the last 4 months or so she's only been nursing at night every other evening.

Since I know the end is coming I've been letting her nurse whenever she wants. She's always asked even after we started weaning. But I would always just say " no, we can't have mommy milk right now, were at the grocery store. Do you want your cup of juice?" And she would just laugh and happily accept her juice cup. Last week I was changing clothes and she waddled into the room. She saw my naked breasts (which I've also been hiding since we started bedtime only feedings). The loon on her face when she saw my boobs was like she had just seen a pink sparkle unicorn with Dora the Explorer on it carrying a basket full of fruit snacks!! She was elated! "I have mommy milk?@. Well crap OK.

So to ugh I'm all packed for my weeklong trip into Ireland. I nursed her for as long a she wanted and smelled the top of her head and stroked her fluffy cheeks.

I'm really going to miss it. But I'm so proud we were able to do it for so long.

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