When time that came that my daughter was more interested in solid food, she started refusing to nurse – it broke my heart. She was just 9 months old, and for the past 19 months I had nourished her from my own body. Soon it was just once a day she would nurse, and I could tell by my supply, that at this point it was just comfort nursing.
In the beginning, even in the hospital, it hurt me too much to nurse, so I would pump. Before my milk came in I could only pump enough to fill the tiniest eye dropper and I fed her like a baby bird.
I continued pumping over nursing for some time. Her latch was like a little baby barracuda. We just couldn’t find a rhythm. She would urge a let down, and the pain would delay it. I can still remember how it felt as the pain that shot all the way to my toes every time we tried.
Because of the pumping, my body over produced for so long. I had to purchase waterproof pads to put under my sheets because it was such a chore when my breasts leaked in pools onto the mattress protector.
The first time I got mastitis I felt like I ran straight into a brick wall. I was find one minute, and less than an hour later I was down for the count. My doctor had warned me about this, even told me to text him at the first signs, but it was far more intense than I had expected. In total, I had to be treated 3 times over those 9 months.
Somewhere along the way my body had changed and my pump didn’t fit my body well anymore. I couldn’t figure out what size what I needed quickly enough so I resorted to nursing to relive my body. And just like that, nursing worked for us! It made it so much easier to nurse her on demand. Parking lots, department stores, parks, my in laws – no cleaning pumps and bottles..
And then -I was ecstatic to start solids! I had heard so many positive stories about babies sleeping through the night! I was excited for the next stage! In fact, I was so excited I didn’t notice her nursing less, my supply dropping, and my baby losing interest.
Once I did, I just wept. I couldn’t imagine my child not needing me anymore.
In my (incredibly hormonal) mind – she was just around the corner from packing her things and leaving for college. I knew I wanted to savor the moments and find a way to hold on to them. I reached out to a friend to have a Motherhood and Breastfeeding photo session. She hadn’t even left my house yet to edit the images and I already felt relief. I knew now, that I would never lose those moments. It was by far one of the most important photo sessions I have ever had! These images are so close to my heart!