Getting Real With Veronica Ibarra
I am nearing the end of the weaning process with my son who is now 2 and ¾ years old. I breastfed his older sister till she was about the same age, give or take a month. It is a bittersweet time for me as I think about the bonding magic that breastfeeding granted me with both of my children. Considering how the process started with each of them, I am glad I was able to nurse at all.
With my daughter I got off to a rough start due to having flat nipples, and suspected feeding apnea that resulted in a three day hospitalization for her. During those three days, in between bouts of crying and visiting her as much as possible, I followed the advice of the lactation consultant pumping every three to four hours I wasn’t with my daughter. I set the alarm throughout the night. I would bring my pathetic half ounce with me to the hospital to supplement the formula they gave her, and attempted to breastfeed her every chance I got. There was nothing natural about those first days.
However, nature did take its course. My daughter was pronounced healthy, my milk finally came in, and my nipples did what they were designed by nature to do, popping out, allowing the magic that is bonding through breastfeeding to fill my heart. I became adamant from then on about nursing my daughter. At work I pumped while others took smoking breaks, and every lunch break I drove the 15 minutes to her daycare to breastfeed her. Any bottle she had was full of mommy’s milk.
I heard all kinds of comments during that time, everything from praising my dedication to questioning my sanity. Sometimes I was stung by the callous comments, and definitely sensitive to the jokes made that had any hint of negativity. But when I was with my daughter none of that mattered. Weaning happened gradually and naturally, coinciding with her transitioning from baby food to toddler food.
With my son things got off to another rough start, this time because of a close call with hemorrhaging for me and his developing jaundice, which required phototherapy in the box of light. We were hospitalized together in the same room, for which I cannot be grateful enough, and so I was able to breastfeed along with the formula I was required to give him. After another three days we were both pronounced well enough to go home. Again, nature took its course.
As my husband and I are set on having just our two children, I am weaning for the last time. It isn’t going as smoothly as it did with my daughter. My son just can’t seem to go down easily in the evenings without that bedtime breastfeeding, which has resulted in some late nights of me waiting him out. I have also given in a few times in a desperate vie for some sleep and peace. The end of mommy’s milk is inevitably near.
Yes, I am a little sad about that, but I knew this time would come. I know that there are some people who think it’s about time. People can be very opinionated on this issue. But when asked about breastfeeding, I say only this: It isn’t for everyone, but for those who make the choice, and are able, it is worth any of the difficulties that may arise.