My little boy turns one tomorrow and I’m still breastfeeding.
He has been a struggle to breastfeed from day one: he slept the first 24 hours, waking to feed only briefly 3 times. However, he gained weight after the third day and fulfilled the minimum feeding requirements. I was told not to worry, your body is on automatic second time round, and that there is very little you can do wrong; “all will be fine”.
My daughter just fed and fed from the word go. She would latch on and stay put. E woke every two hours for a feed till she was 4 months. It was a miracle when at 6 months she slept 6 hours straight! M was already basically sleeping a full night by then. He never woke to feed and while my initial milk supply was great it soon started to dwindle.
When we weaned at 6 months we did baby led weaning (BLW). This meant we went at his rhythm giving him the same as us minus any salt. M didn’t start slow like his sister but tried to eat full meals immediately. He has always had great hand eye coordination and so it wasn’t much of an issue apart from the fact M decided he didn’t really want the milk anymore.
I felt like I was forcing the milk on him and then he decided to make things even more difficult: he would only eat in a lying down position in a darkened room. Ok, I know I shouldn’t have put up with it but I was so worried about him not feeding I didn’t want to push my luck.
The paediatrician seemed happy with him at his 9 month check and just told me to make sure he was getting his calcium through other sources. Up to then I had been pumping like crazy to maintain supply and also to give him some milk for his time at crèche.
Both my kids do some time in daycare despite me being a stay at home mum. We have a few good reasons for this:
- This is how we fought the jealousy aspect with my daughter. Giving her a day with mummy suddenly stopped the tantrums and nasty behaviour towards her brother. I also love having the one on one time with both kids.
- It gives our children the opportunity to play with their peers. There aren’t really that many activities you can do with your children where they can play with other kids here. Being a stay at home mum is pretty rare (most mums work at least part time) meaning most kids are in crèche so there isn’t a big enough demand for lots of play groups.
- Crèche is where our children speak French. We have a strict English only house as is often the case with those trying to keep their mother tongue pure in a foreign speaking country. Establishing these zones will hopefully mean that our children will muddle their languages less and get a real foot in anglophone culture before they start full time school and get froggied.
So, to up his calcium, I started introducing baby yoghurts and then some formula.
Tomorrow as he turns one M is in theory fully weaned and can have cows’ milk. I should be proud of getting to a year but actually I feel sad and disappointed. I fed E up to 16 months and it felt natural to stop. With M I feel like I’ve been probably forcing it for a while but I haven’t done the same for him that I did for his sister (like with so many other things). Its like I’ve let him down and thus let myself down.
Doubts enter my head: maybe it’s because he took a bottle straight away (E only took one at 10 months); maybe it’s because we offered a bottle too early; maybe I didn’t feed him enough in the first few days… On the other hand my logical side is telling me that I’ve done great. I don’t frown on anyone who has stopped after two weeks deciding its not for them so why am I giving myself a tough time?
I’m totally ready to stop and yet not. I’d love to see out the winter but then I’m really not producing enough anymore for my growing boy. I put him down tonight with yet another struggle to give him any breast milk with the intention that that was my last feed.
Have any of you had such different children leading to similar parenting dilemmas?