I nursed both of my babies. For two years. Not two years total, two years a piece. Four years total.

Now is the time to judge me. Think disparaging thoughts, get that icky feeling and make a face. Go for it.

I'll wait.

whistling, polishing my nails, finding some schmutz under one nail, scraping it out with the ...

Oh, OK. We're back. Here we go.

Why do I even mention this, you ask? Well, this lady is hosting a little web event about the boob stories. And I thought - "Hey, my story might be as interesting as any other story about boobs. I should share!"

Where to begin? Well, at the beginning, I guess.

Madigan, my first born, was huge. Eleven pounds, one ounce. And following her birth (which finally came by C-section eleven days and endless hours of labor after her due date, thank the lord) she had a small heart duct closure problem which caused her to have a heart murmur. The treatment for this ailment was a course of medication that tended to constrict the intestines and so NO FOOD FOR HER. I nursed my baby exactly once before they took her 5 floors below me to the NICU and started sticking IVs into her head and starving her.

I always wanted to nurse (plus I was hopped-up on drugs), so I strapped on the double-turbo hospital pump and went to town. My milk came in. Sweet. Bags of milk collected in the freezer of the NICU over the next few days. I was waiting for the go ahead from the doctors to feed my baby and we would be off!

Funny thing - the doctors released her to eat one night while I was at home sleeping. And the nurses fed her a bottle. A couple of them, actually. In the 7 hours I was away from the hospital Madigan ate 2 times. From a bottle.

I had no idea what that was to mean in my life. Honestly, when I heard the news I was fine with it. My poor baby had been starved by those mean doctors and I was just so grateful that she'd eaten and that she was keeping it down. And then I tried to feed her myself. Holy shit.

Imagine this, you have an ice cold bottle of Coca Cola on a very hot day. You tilt your head back and lift that thing up and the soda slides right down. It is so delicious and satisfying. The perfect beverage for that moment. Now imagine that your mother walks up to you with that same soda goodness (maybe even better, like Cherry Coke!) but she is serving it to you in a beach ball. Seriously, a beach ball. You have to open your mouth super wide and squeeze it out of one tiny, stupid hole and it's running all over your face and you can't seem to get a mouth full. That would suck, huh? Cherry Coke would maybe not be your favorite, right?

This was my daughter's experience with breast milk from my breast. The nurses had brought her this perfect, fast and convenient milk delivery system. She sucked that shit right down. I, on the other hand, came at her with two "E" cup sized rock-hard torpedoes. And she was pissed. Not having it, I tell you. And I was so guilt ridden about my hospitalized, starving, HUGE baby that I caved. I gave in and gave her the bottle.

The next few weeks were a blur of feeding nightmares. Of me sticking Maddy on my breast for as long as I could tolerate the writhing and screaming, and then caving in and giving her the bottle, followed by me pumping all of that milk out for the next feeding, and then changing my clothes (which were now sopping wet from all the milk that sprayed out of my chest during the festivities). Midnight feedings took two hours for these reasons. I wanted to be a good mom, but this feeding bullshit, nipple-confusion thing wasn't helping. But when it came down to it I really wanted to nurse, so I wasn't giving up. Or I was fucking mental. One of those.

Madigan eventually latched on and I had a very successful nursing career with both kids. And I really must interject that at no time did I plan on nursing for two years. I just kept hitting the regular weaning milestones (3, 6, 9 months, etc...) and asking myself, "Am I done? I don't think so."

When it was all said and done I weaned my kids when they could talk. When they both had mouths full of teeth and could eat corn on the cob and steak dinners. When they could (at least partially) dress themselves and go for walks and were whole people. I am not saying it is the right thing for all families. I am saying it was the right thing for mine.

And I'm so glad I was able to figure that out for myself.


TX Poppet said...

As a fellow later weaner (that sounds bad, doesn't it?),I love this story!
You can read mine here.

daysgoby said...

This was a great story!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

OMG! You are so right about the whole fast-food delivery nipple versus mommy's boob. That was a turning point for us--getting the slow-flow nipple. The look on my dd's face was priceless. I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head when she tried to suck on THAT. LOL

Erica said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm glad we could share some special time together talking about the boobage!

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

It is excellent that you nursed them for that long! Those kiddies are full of good stuff now. :-)

Rebecca said...

Yay! I love you story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Chantal said...

Love your writing style:)

Kate said...

i have a friend who nursed her kids to 3 and 5 years old... the kids are only 2 years apart in age... she eventually made them stop when they would start wrestling and kicking each other while they were both nursing!!! both of my kids weaned themselves by a year ( my son, really more like 10 months, but i couldn't let go... ) child led weaning is a great idea...