June 11, 2004

Nursing a Toddler

As of today, I am officially nursing a toddler. I must say, I am very proud of myself for sticking with it this long. I don't think I would be quite so proud if I weren't working full time, but pumping at work has been quite a challenge.

Still, it is so worth it. In his first year, Alex had only the most minor of colds, and never ran a fever. We medicated only for teething a few times, and one minor eye infection that may not even have been an eye infection. Even when the other kids at day care got sick, he didn't, or at least didn't get it bad enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. He hardly ever got congested enough to need me to break out the nasal aspirator. He has met all developmental milestones right on time, if not early (mostly early). He is a happy and loving little man. He is a great eater of solid foods, too, and not dependent on a bottle. All of these things I credit in part to the liquid gold of mama's milk.

We've had our issues. I was too distraught to post about it at the time, but in those first weeks we really struggled, and I had to go on a 24-7 boot camp regime of breastfeeding, syringe feeding expressed milk or formula, pumping, and then starting whole shebang over again an hour later. Breastfeeding means that others can't help with feedings, in the beginning, and so that meant that so much of his care could only be handled by me and me alone. It was hell (a hell I could NOT have gotten through withtout the support of Mike and my Mom!). Once he figured out nursing and put some weight on him, there was no stopping him. The little man likes to nurse, especially at night since we are apart during the day. I've gotten used to feeding him in my sleep, but that doesn't mean I've gotten a full night's sleep ever in the past year, far from it. I've struggled with maintaining my daytime supply, at times taking herbal supplements, recently resorting to prescription meds, often wishing I could hook up to IV fluids to ensure I was totally hydrated so I could make more milk. I have a total love-hate relationship with the pump: I love providing for my child, I hate being hooked up like a cow. I've even had two bottles of milk disappear from the fridge at work, resulting in a massive change in milk storage routine part of the way through. It's been a challenge.

I'd do every bit of it again in an instant just for that milky grin. That sated look when he has a full tummy. The fact that he now makes the sign for milk when he is thirsty or needs comfort from me. The ease of always being able to feed him when we are together, even if I forgot to plan ahead and bring something else. Even the way he bops on and off distractedly now that he is older. Our physical connection is so strong it's just wonderous, really.

My son is one year old, and I am nursing a toddler. He is so grown up already, but he still needs his mommy. And I will be here for him, helping him fight off germies and fill his tummy until he is ready to move on.

Posted by Dineen at June 11, 2004 11:30 PM

So sweet...you give me hope that I can keep pumping for my twins and make it to the year mark...thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Tara on August 12, 2004 09:02 PM
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