Six months ago my son was born. 7 lbs, 3 oz, 19.5 inches long, and cute as a button. I didn’t get my dream birth experience since I was high risk, but I did deliver my dream son. I remember when I was pregnant, passerbys, friends, and family alike used to tell me “Appreciate every day because it passes so quickly.” That it does. Thankfully, we did as we were told and took a million and one pictures.
It took 20 hours after they started pitocin to labor and deliver my son. I pushed for 3 hours. Once his shoulders were out, I pulled him the rest of the way out and put him on my chest. We allowed his cord to stay on until it stopped pulsating. I was given a good amount of time to bond with him before he was taken to be cleaned and examined. I wasn’t allowed to nurse until the NICU doctors examined him due to the “grunting” way he was breathing. This was devastating to me. I had envisioned delivering my son and putting him to the breast right away.
Once we were in the recovery room we tried nursing for the first time. Apparently, nursing is not a natural instinct for mother or baby. My son was a terrible latcher. He has a recessed chin so his bottom gums rubbed my nipple raw. To help regulate his blood sugar my colostrum was manually expressed (I was milked) by the lactation consultant. He took this tiny amount of precious fluid and it did wonders. We kept this up, and I also used the hospital pump to get colostrum for him.
My entire stay in the hospital was dedicated to learning how to nurse. I slept less than 10 hours in the three days I was there. It was a blur of nurses and lactation consultants coming in to attach my son to my breast, pumping, and doctor examinations. I didn’t get to enjoy my son. In some ways I was miserable. Nursing seemed hopeless. I felt defeated. I was exhausted, sore from giving birth, and blistered from nursing. Every time the nurse would come in to help me nurse, I cringed.
Finally, after little success, the lactation consultant suggested that I use a nipple shield. Hallelujah. He latched on! In a few sessions we were nursing. I left the hospital mildly confident about nursing, and armed with a pump “just in case.”
In 5 weeks we were completely weaned from the shield after 2 visits with a lactation consultant. In 3 months, I felt 99% confident with nursing. By 5 months I was a pro.
Although I wouldn’t call it a goal, my expectation was to nurse until his teeth made an appearance. Since then, I have changed my goal. I want to make it to a year. And from then, I will let Fletcher decide. I am extremely proud of myself for reaching 6 months. If you had told me in the hospital that I would make it to 6 months I wouldn’t have believed you. Breastfeeding has taken more work than I expected, but it has brought me more joy than I thought possible. Some of my favorite memories of the past 6 months have involved nursing my son. He makes contented gulps and sighs, he clutches at my bra strap or top, he opens and closes his fists, he looks up at me with such love and trust, he drifts off in my arms, he is just amazing.
Now, he is no longer my little baby. He is over 15 pounds and 26.5 inches long. He has been eating solids since Mother’s Day.
His first two teeth have cut, one 2 days ago, and one yesterday. Thankfully, they are his bottom teeth so I have bought some more time before teeth become an issue. He has such a personality; I consider him a watcher of the world. He is a very serious child, he likes to take in his surroundings and study them If he can take them in his hand and examine them with his mouth, he will. I am constantly amazed by him, and how much I love him.