Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

A mother’s thoughts

25th January 2006

You’ve probably heard me mention that my little one is not a baby anymore. She’s much more of a little girl than the baby it seems she was just yesterday. One defining aspect of that has come up just this week, as I think she’s finally stopped nursing. Yes, she is 18 months old. If that seems “too old” to be nursing to you, I’ll understand. I thought that before she was born, too. But a number of factors allowed us to continue this long, most of all that it’s just easy to quiet her before bed by snuggling her close to me.

Back before Analise was born, we were determined that she would be breastfed. Cheaper, better for her in the long run, easier… the benefits are countless. But it almost didn’t happen. In the first couple days before my milk came in, she latched on like a champ. But when my milk came in, she couldn’t get the hang of it. It was painful… physically and emotionally. There were many tears on both of our parts. She was a hungry baby, I was a desperate mom, and let me tell ya… that first week was pure misery. We finally called in the expertise of a lactation consultant (for a 3 digit price that has been worth EVERY penny, believe it or not) to help us find the problem. We ended up with me pumping and Brian feeding her through a syringe (this is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them, when she was just 5 days old).

He had to train her to suck correctly, and when she did, he’d give her more milk. It was tedious, but she slowly caught on. She still didn’t want to latch onto me, though, and it was wearying and discouraging. I debated just pumping/bottlefeeding her indefinitely. Someone asked me, “Won’t you miss that bonding experience of nursing her?” At that point, I had no idea WHAT that bonding experience was like, because trying to breastfeed her every 2 hours was a stressful and tear-filled experience. When she was 9 days old, we had to fly to Wisconsin for my sister’s wedding. I was armed with a breastpump, several bottles of milk, and all the paraphenalia we’d need to pump, bottle and syringe feed her. On the plane, she had a fussy period during which we couldn’t reach a bottle. So, desperate to quiet her, I decided I’d try to nurse her… and lo and behold, she latched on and nursed like a champ. That was the slow beginning of our long, sweet nursing relationship.

So here we are, 18 months later. That’s more than 550 nights of snuggling her into my lap, watching her relax and be comforted to be sucking and close to me, holding my finger tightly with her soft tiny hand. It’s amazing how a squirming restless child can melt into your arms. I didn’t know back then what the “bonding experience” was, but I do now, and I’m glad we hung in there. These quiet moments are some of my sweetest memories of being a mom. Yes, we do have another one on the way, so it’s not like I’m going to have much of a break from breastfeeding. It’s just that this is the end of “babyhood” for Analise, and it’s pulled at my heartstrings this week. The price of a breastpump ($200) + other paraphenalia to teach my little girl to latch on ($50) + $$$ to lactation consultant + pain of early days and teething = priceless moments with my baby girl.

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