I don’t know how it happened but Elliott turned 6 months old last week. Yes, SIX MONTH OLD. Already. I wrote my usual note to him but realised a few days later that I left out an important milestone.
It hit me that I have successfully breastfed him for 6 whole months.
Check out the entry I wrote back in March. We were such noobs when it came to breastfeeding then. When we first started out, I told myself that I’d give it 3 months. If this breastfeeding business doesn’t work out in 3 months, we’d switch to formula milk. No one wants their own kid to starve, right? Besides, like a wise girlfriend reminded me: Formula milk is NOT poison.
1 month flew by.
Then 3 months.
I told myself, Ok, let’s try for 6 months. That’s the recommended timeline from WHO anyway. Every mother who breastfed told me that it will get “easier” over time and honestly, I did not quite believe them at first. Not with sore nipples, engorged boobs, milk blisters, blah blah blah. Those were not fun times.
But somehow, we made it through. And you know what? THEY WERE RIGHT.
Breastfeeding did get easier. A lot easier. We – Elliott and I – both learnt each other’s rhythm and I can now recognise his cries for milk. I guess it also helped that my little man is a milk monster. He loves his milk and takes every opportunity to nurse.
The night feeds have also gotten easier because I have finally learnt how to nurse lying down. This allows me to continue to half snooze while he gets his milk too. Win-win!
To top it off, I recently discovered that I can nurse him on the go in the baby carrier. That was definitely an “Achievement Unlocked” moment for me as Elliott enjoys being nursed to sleep. No one can tell that there’s a baby being nursed below that cover so once he’s done, I simply whip off the cover and continue shopping/eating. Woot!
Heading back to work and pumping will have its fair share of challenges. For a start, my workplace does not have a nursing room and I’d have to use a conference room. Being an educator also means that on some days, I will have lessons that are in stretches of 4-hour blocks. Not sure how I’d be able to pump on those days. Break time is really precious to decompress from teaching so I’m not sure if trying to pump in that short amount of time is going to leave me more frazzled.
I’m still not sure how much he’s drinking each time. I also nurse on demand which means that as long as he yells for milk, he gets milk. This might not work very well when I head back to work in October (gulp) but I am sure we will all adapt. The husband asked how long I am going to continue to breastfeed and I said: For as long as he still wants milk. He may just decide that he doesn’t want milk any more next month! I do enjoy nursing him but dread (DREAD) pumping. I don’t how mummies do pump exclusively do it. Kudos to you!
Unfortunately, I have also noticed that my supply has slowed down considerably. Them boobies no longer feel as “full” and when I try and pump to store as a back-up when I head back to work, I barely manage 60ml ON A VERY GOOD DAY. Apparently, this means that milk supply has regulated itself but this lack of milk to store is also causing me a bit of stress.
After one particularly bad night where Elliott woke up every hour, I thought that perhaps, it is timely to start introducing formula milk. My instincts tell me that breast milk is not filling him up sufficiently anymore which explains why he’s constantly asking to be nursed. Sought the advice of the BFF who suggested goat’s milk as it is apparently easier to digest for little tummies as compared to cow’s milk. I have a can of it now and will be introducing it to the little man soon.
Breastfeeding literature states that it bonds mother and child and I must say that I now thoroughly enjoy the process. Elliott has a habit of placing his little open palm on my chest while nursing and no matter how many times he does it, my heart still goes a little gooey. Sometimes, I make a funny face while he’s nursing and he’d giggle uncontrollably. I treasure these moments because this nursing business will not last forever and the (sad) day will come when he doesn’t want milk from Mummy anymore. Darn. Just typing that got me a little teary.
I do, however, miss wearing my usual clothes. Clothes that don’t require nursing access. This means that these days, I am often seen in the same set of clothes, over and over again. I find myself looking out for clothes that are v-necked or have buttons down the middle. As shallow as that sounds, I guess being able to wear “normal” clothes again when I finally stop nursing is something to look forward to.
In the meantime, I shall continue to nurse my growing-up-too-fast nursling 🙂