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Lives in: Ventura, California
Breastfeeding experience: Some ups and downs, but nothing she couldn't handle
Main challenges: Baby refused the bottle
Breastfed for: 22 months
Before Maya was born I studied up on breastfeeding. I'd arranged for a public nurse to visit me during pregnancy, and she'd given me tons of breastfeeding information. I also watched nursing videos on YouTube.
In one video, there's a baby who finds her way up to her mother's breast right after birth. The same thing happened with us. Maya made her way to my nipple from my stomach and nursed for an hour. The nurses were joking that they'd never seen a newborn with a milk mustache. (It was actually colostrum.)
I had sore, cracked nipples in the beginning. My nurse told me to take a shower and then hand-express the milk and apply it to my cracked nipples since breast milk is full of antibodies and has healing properties. The next day, my nipples were completely better.
Then when I was six weeks postpartum I got mastitis. I saw a red mark under my breast one day when I was getting out of the shower. Later, when I went to the doctor, he diagnosed mastitis. I never developed flu-like symptoms and, after I took antibiotics, it just went away.
I tried pumping but Maya refused to take a bottle, which made it so difficult to go out at night. We had to plan around her feedings. I don't think we had our first date until she was about 8 months old!
In spite of that, breastfeeding has been great. We never had to buy formula. There's the weight loss that has come with it. And Maya and I are extremely close, which I think is due in part to nursing.
She's almost 2 and I recently weaned her because I'm pregnant. I didn't want to tandem nurse and I didn't want to wait until the baby arrives to stop breastfeeding her, in case she blames the new baby.
It took about two weeks to wean, and it wasn't easy. We cut out the comfort feeding first, and then the snacking. The nursing during naptime was the last one to go. We just switched to rocking her. And now it's fine.
My biggest lesson learned
Have patience and accept whatever way breastfeeding is going to turn out. I had it in my head that I'd be able to pump and give her a bottle, but that went out the window when she refused.
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