This is definitely something I didn’t expect two years back.
The Third Year of Breastfeeding
Two years back, during World Breastfeeding Week, hubby and I brought our precious little darling, Alicia, to Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) for a free baby massage lesson, specially organised for breastfeeding mothers. Back then, she was just a month old, grappling with, amongst other things, mastering the latch. Then, I never thought that I would breastfeed beyond six months and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of breastfeeding up to two years and beyond was just beyond my imagination.
The Early Days
Looking back at my breastfeeding journey, I recall how I almost gave up breastfeeding because of the problems I faced in the first month: very sore and cracked nipples (I could barely recognise them!), blocked milk ducts, and blistered nipples after Alicia bit them (more than once) during the ‘latching wars’. If you think having blistered nipples are bad, having the lactation consultant clear my blocked ducts was far worse. It was definitely one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences of my life, comparable to labour pains.
Breastfeeding in the first month was terribly painful and tiring. I had to pump every 2 – 2½hours for 30minutes (because Alicia couldn’t latch well in the first month), bottle feed her, then wait for her to settle into sleep and hold her up for awhile just in case she regurgitates everything out, wash and sterilise the pump and bottle… and this cycle just repeats throughout the day.
I hardly got a two-hour stretch of sleep and was literally a walking zombie. I always looked forward to the weekends, when my hubby would help with the night feed after I pump milk so that I could get that little bit more rest. The fatigue was killing me and with the very painful nipples I had to tolerate 24/7 (they hurt just by being in contact with the air, not even fabric!), I really felt like ending breastfeeding.
This wasn’t what I thought breastfeeding was supposed to be. Nobody said that it’d be so painful and tiring. Everyone only said how good breast milk is and how it seemed so natural to just place baby at the breast and voila, the baby knows how to nurse.
I was so tempted to give up breastfeeding because the pain was really getting to me. I tried alternating between formula milk and breast milk for a few times to let my nipples heal and to monitor how Alicia took to formula. In the end, she didn’t take well to formula milk and always regurgitated most of it out. Even then, I was still in two minds about whether or not to make the switch.
Eventually, it was the guilt of giving up breastfeeding that kept me on the course: for that few days that I pondered over the matter, I cried uncontrollably whenever I picked Alicia up, thinking what a terrible mother I was to even think about giving up the best milk in the world for her. I could never do such a thing to my daughter. One day, I just decided that I would persevere no matter how difficult it was going to be. I really couldn’t imagine how much worse things could get anyway.
There has been no looking back since.
Nursing My Toddler
Time truly flies as honestly, it feels like not too long ago that I faced all those problems.
And now, my little baby has become a happy, contented, cheerful toddler – still little though, but she was very small to begin with, even in the womb.
Nursing a toddler feels… different. It’s become more fulfilling, more so with every passing day.
Imagine your toddler telling you ‘thanks’ after a milk feed and that your milk’s ‘nice nice!’. If that doesn’t tug at your heart strings, I’m not sure what would.
This ability to show her appreciation for mummy’s milk is something that I’ve been so looking forward to – after all, it is a little boring to feed an infant who hardly knows how to appreciate your milk, except to show you that contented look after she finishes nursing… not that I didn’t enjoy those moments with her though. It’s just a different phase I guess.
So here comes the question, which I get asked ever so often: when am I gonna ever stop breastfeeding?
My answer is simple.
When she wants to stop.
And when will that be? Who knows?
One thing you can be sure though, I’ll be happily nursing her till then.
About The Writer:
Angie is currently a stay-at-home-mum to her wonderful two-year-old girl. She loves to write, cook and tries ever so hard to squeeze in time to play the piano. She blogs regularly at Simply Mommie about learning activities she does with her girl, recipes for tots and adults and reviews products bought on an adhoc basis.
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