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Welcome to Dupage Mamas! This blog is a place for Mamas to connect, share their experiences, and recommend great finds and ideas (or let us learn from your mistakes!) If you are raising kids in Dupage County, then we'd love to have you along for the adventure!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Nursing Journey

Today's guest blogger is Elizabeth from Wheaton.

If five years ago you would tell me that I would be nursing a 30 month old boy and a 13 month old daughter at the same time, I would have looked at you like you had grown a second head. At that time I was still deciding if I wanted to nurse at all….let alone extended or tandem. But life has a funny way of working out.

When my oldest was in the NICU, nursing and pumping seemed to be the only tangible thing that I could do to help her aside from to hold her and snuggle her. But I could nurse her—I could express milk and that would help both her and I. And so, I began down the journey of nursing. Sadly, my milk dried up quickly due to stress and returning to work despite non-FDA approved drugs and herbs. But when I was expecting my second child, I knew that I would nurse again. There was no ‘maybe…we’ll see’ ambivalence. When my son too arrived premature, we again had a difficult time starting. His mouth was too small and he would tire quickly. However, through the help and support of friends, lactation counselors, my husband…pretty much anyone…we were able to establish a nursing relationship that we still treasure. It is his time. His time to snuggle and be close. His time to be held. It is also my time- my time to hold him, to touch his hair, to keep him close to me.


This time I did not have the drying up issue…quite the opposite. I had too much milk. Neighbors, friends, and milk banks were the lucky recipients of literally gallons of milk when my freezer filled up and I couldn't store anymore.

Then enter the baby…and yep, another preemie. This one so small and weak that she could not nurse for a while. Again the pump and I bonded. She was fed milk through a tube until she was strong enough to eat. During the baby’s NICU stint, my son did not stop nursing. He clamored for it. He needed the reassurance and comfort that even though his life was upside down, mama was still a safe place to fall. He needed to know that I was still there to catch him and cuddle.

So here I am. Nursing two when I never thought I’d nurse one. To be honest, it is very convenient. When my nurslings need it, their milk is right there. No bottles, no warming….right there. Lets face it. With three kids, if I had to remember bottles and formula also I very well may forget a child. My brain only has room for so much.

Aside from the convenience, there are many benefits to extended breastfeeding. You can look at the World Health Organization to find more out about all that. I am not here to reiterate what they say so well. Suffice it to say there are vast benefits for mom, baby, and the environment.

Now the not so cool parts:

My husband, who was so very supportive and encouraging me to try nursing in the beginning, would now like to have his wife back. Milk is not so sexy.

I would like to have a bit longer of a leash. It is all mama…all the time. No one else will do. And I would like to stop feeling like a twenty four hour diner.

And secretly, I am starting to resent nursing my son. I am ashamed of that. I would like to say I am selfless and giving, but I want some of me back. The big question: How to balance both their needs with mine without losing either one of us?

Despite all of that, I am glad I have nursed this long. In fact, I am proud of it. Proud of being able to do it even when things were rough. Proud of my husband for being supportive, and of all of us for not giving up.

Extended and tandem nursing isn't for everyone and certainly had it's pluses and minuses. But it is what has worked for us. At least so far.

Do you have a story to share? Dupage Mamas is all about giving you a voice within a safe and supportive community. We welcome you to share part of your motherhood journey with us so we can all learn from each other and walk this parenting road together. E-mail us your story. We would love to hear from you!

Photo Credit:


Atwood-Family of 4 May 2, 2009 at 5:10 PM  

The other day as I was running late, trying to get shoes on Kiddo, putting screaming Buddy Boy in the car seat, running through the list in my head of what I needed to take with us for the morning outing, it hit me with extreme gratitude that I didn't have to worry about milk or bottles for Buddy Boy because his food always comes with me.

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