I breastfed Evan for 18 months: 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding, 5 months of breastfeeding with some formula, and 6 months of extended breastfeeding as we slowly weaned after his first birthday. 18 months seems long to most, but in my circle 18 months is actually on the early side for weaning, and I struggled with letting it go at the end. I am no longer a nursing mom and it has taken me a little while to come to terms with that.
I often tell people that I am going to formula feed my next kid and see which one is smarter. Most people laugh at the joke, but when I said this to my best friend back home, she dismissively stated, “Shut up. You will not.” And she’s right. As hard as it was at times, as much as I just wanted my body and some freedom back, as much sleep as I lost, I would do it all again. And probably will.
Much like pregnancy, breastfeeding is an amazing experience despite the difficulties. With pregnancy, it’s the morning sickness, the back pain, the exhaustion. With nursing, it’s the latch on pain, the supply concerns, the EXHAUSTION. But I gave my son the best food on Earth. I am all for supporting mothers who choose to formula feed (I am formula fed and I seem to be a well-adjusted adult). But, when deciding how to feed my own child, I could’t ignore the plethora of benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk. So I sobbed in pain for 6 weeks, pumped diligently for six months, sobbed some more when I realized I couldn’t pump enough and had to mix that first bottle of formula. But I also smiled at my newborn rooting around, watched with joy as he thrived, and watched in amazement the first time he brought me the boppy and asked for “ilk.”
I had some hurdles which I won’t go into detail here. I already wrote about the latch on pain and a bit about my supply issues in my six month post and I wrote a guest post about my supply issues over at Liberating Working Moms. It’s not easy. The people who tell you breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you are doing it right are lying to you. There will be tears. But there will also be milk drunk baby smiles. And the sweetest bonding. And a lifetime of benefits.
And I would absolutely do it again. Stay strong, mamas. We got this.
I have decided to share with you just a few of the most-helpful baby prep books I’ve read/browsed in the last few months. There won’t be very many posts on this topic, so bear with me if you have no interest at all. However, I think noting which books have been helpful (and possibly, which ones were not) could be helpful to others out there.
I am going to start with the book that helped me tackle the overwhelming baby registry processes. When I first started to think about registering, I had no clue where to start. The stores will lead you to believe you need 1800 receiving blankets and things like diaper stackers that even I know aren’t necessary, so you can’t only use their lists. Friends are helpful to an extent, but everyone likes different products. The internet has the same problem.
My boss recommended Baby Bargains to me. He sold it to me as a good guide for which products you should spend money on versus the products where you can save by getting a less expensive version. However, while I did find it was helpful for that, I ended up using it to research the safety and utility of the various products. It was nice to have one source to go to when I wanted to research. And this book makes it easy by “grading” the manufacturers. When I was picking out a crib or a stroller or a pack and play, I could quickly differentiate the “A” products from the “F” products.
When I was at Babies R Us one day, a woman – clutching her own copy of Baby Bargains – told me the book was amazing. I pulled mine out from my purse and we had a little laugh.
If you are looking for a good source on the quality of the MANY baby products out there or if you are looking for ways to save money, I highly recommend Baby Bargains.
(Of course, I haven’t actually used any of the products recommended by this book yet, so keep that in mind).