(Part 1 of this journey can be found HERE.)
On with the story…
I was now pregnant with my 5th child; this being the second time I had become pregnant while practicing ecological breastfeeding (breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, etc). I nursed through the pregnancy until my 5th month when my father died. With preparations and time spent at his bedside, I found myself spending long stretches of time away from my 4th child. When we were reunited, he no longer wanted to nurse. Emotionally run down and physically exhausted, I allowed him to wean. He was 13 months old. 4 months later, his little sister Emily was born.
My nursing relationship with Emily was publicly chronicled in my award-winning post entitled Breastfeeding: The Memory of Emily. You will have to excuse me if I do not recount that story here. This chapter is painfully short, as was my precious daughter’s life.
As with my other babies, I had already been cycling regularly while nursing Emily. 6 weeks after her death, I found out I was pregnant with who would become our New Year’s baby, little Micah. However, his birth did not go as I had expected, and a tramatic emergency c-section put wrenches in our breastfeeding relationship from the get-go. I was too weak and tired to nurse him in a way that would boost my milk production for my “little” 10# 6 ounce baby boy. He required supplementation, which led to nipple confusion, which led to frustration. A month later, after I was finally healed from the surgery, I took him to bed with me for the day and walked away from the bottles forever.
For the first time EVER, my cycles did not return until my newest baby was 9 months old! I was overjoyed! What was different? The only thing I can even remotely attribute this to was the fact that our diet now consisted of entirely organic meat. It’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it.
The day Micah turned 1, I got a positive pregnancy test. He was weaned shortly thereafter…for personal reasons.
In case you are counting, that is now 5 babies in just at 6 years, with Garin being born 19 days after my 3rd child’s 6th birthday. Of my 7 children, ONLY the ones born less than 2 years apart were conceived while I was breastfeeding. Sometimes you do everything “right” and God still bless! 😉
Garin is nearly 4 months old, is exclusively breastfed, and nurses whenever he pleases. By his own choice, he does not take a pacifier and has yet to figure out that his thumb can be peeled away from the rest of his fist so as to make only his thumb sopping wet, rather than his entire body.
He was not an easy baby to nurse in the beginning. Let’s just say the word PIRANHA is what comes to mind when I think of those early weeks. In addition to that, he was colicky until about a month ago. Add to that postpartum depression for the first time ever and you get a little bit of a nightmare, but we stayed the course. He nurses fantastically now, he’s a happy little guy most days, and my hormones are beginning to level.
The rest of this chapter has yet to be written. I don’t have a breastfeeding philosophy because I’ve never managed to have two children exactly alike. All I know is breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience, but not always an easy one. I cherish these years, and I am sure when I am an old woman, I will dearly miss having a nursling in my arms.