Sunday, April 26, 2009

Post-sabbatical life

Several of my readers have asked me how things are going after my nursing sabbatical. I had two sabbaticals within one week: one one-day sabbatical, and one three-day sabbatical. On these days, I put all of my housework and other obligations on hold in order to re-establish a nursing relationship with my son. The idea of it is, to nurse the entire time, increasing milk production as well as interest from the baby. 

The sabbatical definitely increased my milk supply. For about two weeks after, I produced plenty of milk for nursing as well as for cooking Jonah's food. Jonah's interest, however, petered out shortly after our normal routine set back in. It seems that he turns to nursing for comfort, or for bonding time with me, but when he is really hungry he will have nothing to do with it. I am coming to peace with this. Our nursing schedule has become sort of what I thought it would be once he hit toddlerhood. He nurses when he is upset, has had a scare or after shots at the doctor. He nurses before bed, and at naptime. He likes to nurse at least once a night. It seems to be a comfort to him; something that tells him "it's okay; Mommy's here." I take peace in knowing that he still nurses throughout the day, and that I do still produce milk to offer him. I do not cry any more every time I make him a bottle that is 100% formula.

But just because I have made my peace with the bottle does not mean that I have lost my obsession with the function of the breast. I still think that it is one of the most miraculous organs that women have. I still attend La Leche League meetings to discuss breastfeeding with other mothers. They are, surprisingly, accepting of my choices, and have been very supportive of me throughout this whole process. I still plan on nursing my son through the second year if that is possible, and only stopping when he feels he is ready. I will do the same with any future children as well.

I had hoped that the sabbatical would be the first step in getting Jonah back to full time breastfeeding. Unfortunately, Jonah's mind is already made up. It took me a while to be okay with this. Sometimes it still upsets me, but I try to only think about the healthy boy looking back at me with the big goofy grin on his face. He is happy, and he is healthy, and that is all that I need to confirm my choices.

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