When I was pregnant, I was asked the same three questions over and over again: "When are you due," "Is it a boy or a girl," and "Do you plan on breastfeeding." I was always very surprised by this question because it seemed so personal. The idea of breastfeeding always made me feel...well...uncomfortable for some reason. I mean...I couldn't even look at the breastfeeding pamphlet my O.B. gave me because it was so graphic. It just looked SO painful! And then when I read the section on how to soothe sore, cracked, bleeding nipples...I was like "Heeeelllll no!" But all breastfeeding mothers always say the same thing...that breastfeeding is a rewarding, wonderful bonding experience and I should at least give it a try. Plus, I honestly wasn't ready to deal with all the lectures on why I should breastfeed so anytime I was asked if I was going to nurse, I would simply say "I am going to try!" This response usually pacified people. I figured if Addie nursed well...I would keep going. But if she didn't, I would switch right to formula and not feel guilty about it for one second.
So when the day finally came for Addie to make her appearance, I was overwhelmed with all kinds of new mommy feelings and emotions. I instantly changed. I use to be the most modest person...always self conscious about my body. But as most mothers would agree, once you have a baby, you lose ALL modesty. I was just letting stuff hang out all over the place and Eric would have to be like "here honey, let me throw a blanket over you." I just didn't care. Motherly instinct kicked in and I didn't care about anything else but Addie. I remember the nurse coming in for the first time to show me how to breastfeed. I thought it would hurt so much more than it did. I think it was just all the adrenaline and hormones running through my body. I was determined to make it work and after a week of figuring things out...we were in a groove. I was breastfeeding! I couldn't believe it! And it was as special as everyone said it would be. I really feel like Addie and I bonded a lot that first month, since newborns have to nurse every two hours. And since it was going so well, I didn't want to do anything to mess it up. So, I refused to give her a bottle for the first 6 weeks. I didn't want her to get confused and have to start all over again so I just nursed her when she was hungry. This of course made Daddy exempt from all night feedings (which I know he was secretly happy about). And actually...I was happy too. I never really minded waking up to cuddle with her. It was our time together and I just kept thinking that in another couple of weeks, when she was sleeping the night and/or taking a bottle, we wouldn't have these moments together as often. Little did I know :-)
You see...by not giving Addie a bottle for the first month and a half of her life, she decided she didn't want a bottle at all. She only wanted the boob. Eric said he couldn't blame her. Sick man. But anyway, this left me with quite a dilemma. So I went to Babies R Us and bought literally every bottle they made. I tried different brands, different nipples, different temperatures of milk...you name it. She just wasn't having it. And by this time, I had made the decision to become a SAHM so I figured I would just keep nursing and figure it out later. Well here we are, a month and a half away from her first birthday, and I am still breastfeeding.
Yes...I am STILL breastfeeding. Now I know what you are thinking. You are either thinking "Wow Jen...it is fantastic that you are still nursing and giving your baby such a healthy start to life" or "Way to follow The American Academy of Pediatrics advice on breastfeeding for a year. Go you!". Or you may be on the other side of the fence thinking "Holy s*%t Jen...you are still breastfeeding!! Why????" My friends and family have always been very supportive of me through my first year of motherhood and even though no one has ever said anything to me about being a freak for nursing so long, my mom did call me the other day to tell me to watch 20/20 because it was "about motherhood". So I watched the show like she suggested and it was about a mother who was still breastfeeding her 7 year old son! Umm...thanks for the "advice" mom...but I have no intention of breastfeeding Addison until she is 7. In fact, I didn't even plan on breastfeeding until she was 1...but here I am. Still going. And honestly, I think it is a pretty amazing accomplishment, considering I didn't even know if I wanted to breastfeed in the first place. Addie and I have a wonderful bond, I saved about a million dollars by not having to buy formula AND I lost some weight in the process. And even though I have really enjoyed breastfeeding, I feel like I am ready to get my body back. I want to be able to leave Addie for a whole day and not have to worry about pumping. I want to be able to drink a glass (or bottle) of wine with dinner. And most of all, I want a little me-time before we decide to try for number 2. I think I have earned it. Plus, if I am ever going to join that competitive bowling league...I can't do it with a baby hanging off my boob.