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Here is this week's Monday Mommy! You may recognize her as one of the sponsors from our Facebook 1500/500 Fan giveaway a few months back! Thank you Harmony for contributing to the Monday Mommy series!
My name is Harmony, and I am mom to 1 boy named Seth who is 3, and 1 girl named Abby who will be 1 on June 17 (*sigh*--they grow SO fast!). I have been married to my husband, Dave, for 6 years. We live in Western MA (right where all the nasty tornados hit last week--but thankfully we are all ok), and in addition to being a mom, I work a full-time job as a dental hygienist and also own Bobbles& Peanuts. It is a very busy day, but I love every minute of it!
Oddly enough I write this on my last day of nursing Abby. She is almost 1, and she has led the way in letting me know when it was time to stop breastfeeding. It is bittersweet, but over-all I am happy that we were able to get in a whole year formula-free. I wish I could say the same for the experience with my son.
Seth was born on May 21, 2008. My husband and I could not have been any happier to be first-time parents. I had made up my mind a long time before Seth was born that I wanted to breastfeed, but the reality of it and the thoughts about it are very different! I did have some support, but none of my friends had nursed their babies, and the only other person who had a baby at the time was my sister-in-law who lives in California. Everyone thought it was great, but no one really had any practical advice to be able to share with me. What started off as me wanting to give my son the best nutrition I could and have a special bond with him turned into the most difficult thing I have ever been through.
Seth had acid reflux and a little bit of colic. He would cry from sun up to sun down (thankfully he slept great, but it was a very long day) and was often in pain. It took months to get him the right medication so he could be comfortable. He never took to nursing. We tried everything we could think of, read about, or were recommended by the lactation consultants. What I know now and did not know then, is that some babies just do not take to breastfeeding--Seth was that baby. To make things more difficult, I did experience some post-partum depression after he was born, and there were many nights that I just burst into tears for no reason. The first few months are a haze to me, and that is still hard for me to digest. I feel like so much of his early days are lost in my mind.
We spent many nights with both of us in tears. I was so upset that my best intentions of having him on only breastmilk were failing, and he was upset because he was hungry and sick almost all the time. He would not stay latched on, he fell asleep all the time, he always choked because I had so much milk it was shooting down his throat...it was awful for both of us. After 4 long months I decided to stop nursing. It was best for both of us. I did pump for 3 more months, until I had so little milk left that I knew it was time to stop. He was fed exclusively breastmilk for 5 months, a combination of breastmilk and formula for 2 more months, and formula only for 5 months. My original goal was to get to 6 months of nursing, and after all the battles we had, I was happy that for 7 months he had at least some breastmilk--but as I fed him his last bottle of mommy's milk, I cried my heart out---I felt like I failed...now I realize that is not true, it is just how some babies are. We still have an incredible mother-son bond, even if breastfeeding was not our "thing"!
We had our second child, Abby, on June 17, 2010, and again I made up my mind to breastfeed. I had the same goal of wanting at least 6 months of nursing, but I had far less pressure on myself this time around. I had a lot more information, a lot more support, and I knew that if she did not nurse, she would still be just fine (and so would I!). I took the pressure off myself, and that made all the difference. I also think that contributed to not having the same post-partum issues (at least that is what I tell myself!).
This was a whole different experience for me! Abby took to nursing like she was an old pro!! I was so relieved and a little thrown at how easy it was this time around vs. with Seth. We never struggled! She breastfed, she took the bottle when I returned to work, she never choked or had problems latching on---we never even had to think about going to a lactation consultant! It was a wonderful thing to experience being able to feed my baby and have that different bond with her!
She started cutting back on nursing at 10 months, when we cut down to 3 times a day. She quickly dropped to only nursing at night, before bedtime. The last 3 weeks she has been taking in next to nothing and just more cuddling than anything. I think it was her way of telling me it was time to end our breastfeeding journey. I am very happy to throw out my nursing bras, and I am thrilled that I can have a glass of wine with my dinner if I want, but I will miss that special time we had, and that look in her eye. She always had a special smile while she nursed--she was so content to be there with me. I know we will find something to replace that time in our own special way, and I hope I can find something to bring out that same content and peaceful smile.
~I hope that you have enjoyed this week's Monday Mommy! If you have questions for Harmony or any comments, please leave them below! Remember, Monday Mommy is an outlet for Mamas to speak freely about their experience as a mama. Questions and comments are encouraged, but please do not post negative comments as they will be deleted immediately.~