I really hope that I'm not posting this too early, but I believe that Jackson and I survived a 7 day nursing strike brought on by the flu last week. For those of you who don't know what a nursing strike is- it's pure Hell. Starting on Saturday when Jackson started to feel sick, he stopped nursing. It moved to where whenever I started to move him into position to nurse, he would arch his back and scream. He was hungry, but still refused to nurse. It was very frustrating. After reading story after story on LLLI and Kellymom- I felt confident it would last only a couple of days. As soon as he feels better I kept telling myself. But day after day he was more and more frustrated and I was feeling more and more hopeless. Don't worry- in this time I gave him milk via a cup, water and pedilyte in a bottle. I felt like he was so stubborn, this was never going to end. However, today- something changed. The third time I tried to feed him, he ate for 1/2 and hour. Then slowly he was less and less resistant every time. By the end of the night it was like nothing ever happened. No tears, no screaming, no stress, no panic.
I didn't realize how important breastfeeding was going to become when I made the commitment to myself to do it until 6 months. After the pain of the first two months learning to get the latch just perfect, I realized that I definitely wanted to go until at least a year. As a year grows closer and I've read more- it will be 2 years or when he self-weans. There are many, many benefits, but this strike taught me that one of the biggest is the special bond that only he and I share. Not that mothers who chose (or life has chosen for them) to formula feed don't have a special bond, but I feel exclusive breastfeeding creates a very special tie.
Looking back over the past 8 1/2 months I have learned so much. It always seemed to me that breastfeeding was natural, so therefore it was easy. Boy oh boy was I wrong! First, since I had a c-section, I was already at a disadvantage, missing the prime time to learn a good latch. Secondly, no matter how many books you read- there is nothing that will teach more more than a good nurse and lots of practice. Third, if you don't get it right the first time- it will hurt for a good while. You have to heal, yet there is no time. Fourth, it's time consuming, but in the end- you won't mind it. Fifth, every new tooth bring new pain as he has to learn a whole new latch, again it's worth it. There is a lot more, but I just can't pin point it today.
I have learned over this last week that I will not complain about the pain, bites, or occasional inconvenience that breastfeeding has caused because I wouldn't give them up for anything. The thought that our relationship was over was way more devastating than I thought it would be. I think a big part was I felt like I had failed him. I will appreciate each and every time that I feed him, because I will never know when something like this might happen again. It's crazy how much this has effected me- but it definitely made me recommit to breastfeeding for his first two years and made me appreciate that I've been able to do it successfully for 8 1/2 months.
The reason I wrote all of this out today was because when Jackson began his strike, I read and I read and I read. Most of the posts that I read that had nursing strikes over a couple of days ended up in premature weaning. A lot were from stay at home moms and a lot were easy to see why they stopped and why the started back up. I just wanted to share in case any other moms needed a positive story about a strike that was a little longer than average and ended in success.
Oh and any mom's that are breastfeeding or want to breastfeed in the future you need to bookmark these two sites- they are beyond helpful! I also recommend you find a support group. My August mom's group has been beyond helpful in keeping moe committed to cloth diapering, baby led weaning, and especially this week, breastfeeding. http://www.llli.org/ http://kellymom.com/
So in addition to all of that here are some pictures from our much happier day!
The only way to get tummy time- he rolled from back to tummy and moved a little!
Who needs toys when you have ads to tear to shreds?
Hanging out with the Bern dog
Mom, he's messing up my blankets!
Protecting his egg
Yum, he had 2 eggs with dinner tonight!