Archive for the 'breastfeeding' Category

Protected: The end of breastfeeding

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Protected: Breastfeeding twin at 2 1/2 years

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Protected: Nursing mothers’ room

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Protected: Breastfeeding twins at almost 26 months

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Protected: One night off

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Protected: Public service announcement #2

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Breastfeeding twins at 21 ½ months

I wanted to write this post at 18 months and obviously didn’t. My notes at 18 months say “not much has changed” so maybe I did not have much to say. It always feels larger than life to write about breastfeeding. I just realized that in 2007, I have written only 4 posts with the breastfeeding tag (out of 58 total with that tag). Clearly it has become like many other things in our life, eating and dressing and bathing and snuggling, something in the background, whereas play and talking and singing are in the foreground.

At 15 ½ months I nursed four times a day, and Sarah about twice at night. Around March I dropped the pre-dinner nursing session. In the beginning it worked great when we were busy and out of the house, and was challenging if we were home (and hungry and tired). Sarah would start begging to “urse” and pull on my shirt, sometimes cry. I would occasionally do it when she was very upset (and then Jordan because he must have what she has), but now it has tailored off completely. Dropping that session was freeing for the whole family. Previously, if we made an evening plan, we would have to work around nursing (do we go home? Do we find a quiet spot there?). Now, we have much more freedom.

In May when the semester ended, I dropped the pre-nap nursing session. Kind of. I now do not go to daycare pre-nap. But on the weekends, Sarah almost always nurses before nap. Why deny her if we’re all home? Jordan did not ask to for the first two weeks, but now sometimes does if he’s with me pre-crib. I had worried about not visiting the babes mid-day, and I do miss it. I try to stop by and watch them from the booth (I think going in would be disruptive for them). I enjoy observing them and getting a glimpse of their daily activities.

When I do not nurse Jordan at nap, I ask Sarah to nurse on both sides, which she thinks is funny. The first time, she freaked out when I tried to pull her off early. But I explained, I need you to nurse on Jordan’s side, and she grinned and went for it. Now at naptime she will say “Dew dide, Dadan dide.” Sometimes at bedtime she will ask to nurse on “Dadan dide” with a huge grin. Jordan also knows his side, though never nurses on Sarah’s. At bedtime if I am holding Jordan with his head on my left, he will say “Mama urse” and then say “turn around” and flip himself around to the right. When he still nursed in the middle of the night, if I picked him up with his head to the left, he would automatically maneuver around as though from motor memory.

Perhaps the hugest, most life changing development is that Sarah does not nurse between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM (okay, sometimes 5:00). I wish I could better describe how we got here. I had all types of rules for when she could first nurse, and whether I would soothe her in her crib or nurse her. I kept moving the time to nurse her later. Now if she wakes up before 6:00 I (occasionally Eric) will listen to the type of cry. If it’s mild, I wait her out and she usually puts herself back to sleep. If it sounds like true distress I go to her. She usually is standing and asks to nurse. I do not pick her up, but tell her to lie back down and I’ll put her blanket on. Last night around 4:30 I told her that Baby Dew needed a hug and she grabbed her and settled back down. In contrast, last Thursday night Sarah woke up quite hysterical at midnight. Eric and I took turns trying to comfort her in her crib with no success. Eric tried cuddling her but she screamed for Mama. I held her for an hour, and she kept trying to nurse, but I did not let her. That sounds cruel as I write it, but I want her to know that there are other ways to get back to sleep than nursing. I can still comfort her without nursing if she’s in distress. Around 1:30 I put her back in her crib. I probably could have calmly put her back in her crib at 12:10 if I had nursed her, but then I would risk returning to that pattern. I will not relinquish my longer nights.

Sometimes no one nurses before 7:00. Other times, Sarah wakes up in the 5:30 to 6:30 range and I nurse her. Often Jordan is silent and lying in wait, and when I walk in to get Sarah he springs up and starts begging, “Mama urse.” When I put them back down, they might go back to sleep (this morning until 8:00 AM, unprecedented), or they might be up for the day. But I usually have them hang out in their cribs even if awake until about 7:00.

At bedtime I always nurse one at a time. Jordan can be playful. Sometimes he comes off to say “Mama more urse” or to answer a question or once even “I wuv you Mama.” Sarah likes to interact, have me sing, or we play little games while she nurses. In the morning I sometimes nurse separately. The child getting dressed with Daddy may feel fine, or may act distressed waiting. Sometimes one babe waits patiently in their crib, dancing to music. Sometimes waiting in his crib Jordan will make demands, like “Wawah all done.” Sometimes when I pick up one the other one will request “Mama two babies.” At times I find tandem nursing very sweet, but if I am exhausted, I somehow find it more draining than one at a time (even if the other whines the whole time). The moments of setting up tandem can be frantic, with both kiddos getting worked up as though this time, I will make them lie in my arms and watch their sibling nurse rather than nurse them both. I now always use double cradle, with Sarah’s legs on top of Jordan’s. Once we settle in, it can be very sweet. They might trade toys, touch each others’ faces, or make each other laugh. At times I wonder if it is at all reminiscent of being in utero together, getting nourishment and comfort from Mama while snuggled in together.

Sarah shows no interest in weaning. I cannot distract her from nursing at the regular times. Jordan, I believe, would wean quite easily without Sarah around. I have had moments of thinking Jordan was weaning, and then he returns with gusto. I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that he ended breastfeeding cold turkey. We will see what he does over time.

They clearly consume less than they used to. By 12 months, I weighed less than my pre-pregnancy weight (very close to what I like to call “wedding weight.”). In January, when I started dropping daytime feeds, my weight went up a couple of times then plateaued. I had another weight jump in the past 2 months when Sarah stopped night nursing and I dropped lunch nursing. I need to cut back my calorie intake, but it is way easier to increase than decrease. On the plus side, I can now wear normal clothes (if any fit) because I do not nurse in public.

Sometimes I realize I have become that woman who makes people say “ew.” You know the whole, breastfeeding is great, but I knew someone whose kids actually asked for it, and if you can ask for it, you’re too old. And now my children have the words for nurse and breast, and Sarah pulls up my shirt (sometimes in public), and talks about opening my shirt, or sometimes kisses my breast in public (the night I did not let her nurse she started trying to nurse through my shirt). When I started nursing people even asked me, “You won’t do it that long, will you?” What I said then was that I would try nursing and hoped it would work. Once it worked I said my goal was to last a year. After a year I said I would love to make it through the second daycare winter. I have no new goal. I am proud of what we have done. When it ends, I expect to experience some wistfulness, in part because they are my first and last babies. But as with other lasts I will remember the sweetest moments, become fuzzy on some of the tougher ones, and always feel good about how things turned out for us.

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