Before Ally was born, I made the commitment to give breastfeeding a try. As it turned out, her cleft prevented her from being breastfed. In the end I fed her breastmilk from a bottle till she was about 21 months. With her various medical issues, I felt it was the least I could do to help her.
When Max was born, he didn’t take to nursing straight away. I remember the first week of excruciating pain as my body got used to his nursing. I rang my doula in tears, thinking that there was something seriously wrong. How could something so natural seem so difficult!? I still recall her calmly telling me that it gets a lot easier as the baby grows older.
Turns out she was absolutely right, by the first month I started to get the hang of it. I set myself small goals, first was to be able to nurse him for 6 months. Once we reached 6 months, I told myself, let’s see if we can make it to 1 year. And here we are now, 18 months and still going.
Now that he’s older, I treasure our nursing sessions together, he’s such a busy toddler, always on the go that it’s one of the few times he’s actually sitting still and letting me cuddle him. Not only that, I’ve found that his immunity is a lot stronger. In the last week, he has been nursing every 2-3 hours and not eating much solids. Initially I thought he was teething, but then yesterday Ally came down with the stomach flu. Max seems to be hanging on and I hope he’ll stay well. I’ve noticed a common pattern whenever he feels slightly under the weather, he’ll stop eating solid food and all he wants is milk. It’s comforting to know that I can provide him with the antibodies and nourishment that he needs.
Besides the boosted immunity, Max is very good at regulating his food intake. I’ve always followed his cues and never forced him to finish his food. You can’t force a breastfed baby to nurse, when they’re full , they tell you. That’s the beauty about it. It prevents them from overeating and hopefully this good habit stays with them as they grow up as well.
I understand and respect why some moms choose to give their babies formula but for us, breast was just best.