Adventures in Breastfeeding Part Two

If you haven't already read part one, you can read it here. :) 

My pregnancy with Maple was rough but the ease of her birth and first latch made up for it. I literally laughed her out and she latched on flawlessly from the first try. In the hospital, she nursed for hours at a time. I was so relieved with how smooth everything had gone, I was happy to oblige.

At five weeks old, I noticed some blood in Maple's diaper. The pediatrician suggested that I cut out dairy from my diet. I learned all about milk protein allergy and when a persistent rash that Maple had had cleared up almost immediately after I stopped eating dairy, it was clear that Maple was allergic. It was sad to give up cheese, very sad. Anyone who knows me or read my old blog, knows that I used to love all things cheese. Warm bread dipped in brie, fondue and cheese plates were just a few of my favorite ways to indulge in le fromage. And Queso, I lived for queso. I even had a rating system for the nachos based mainly on their cheese to chip ratio. But I wanted to nurse Maple for as long as I had nursed Judah so I was willing to try.

I had already begun pumping and stashing some milk for back to work. The thought of dumping out all that hard work was nearly devastating so I looked into donating. I was able to donate to a lovely pre-adoptive couple with a little guy who couldn't tolerate formula. I ended up having way too big of a stash and donated to two more families, one with a pre-adoptive premie. And I even helped out two friends who were traveling and away from their babies. Donating milk is another amazing thing I've done. Hearing how grateful the families were brought me to tears.

Nursing Maple continues to be dairy free, but mostly easy and always cozy. At nearly 22 months, we have gone far past the AAP's recommendations of six months to a year yet it all feels very natural. It's far from the norm but I can't think of many things that feel more normal. I'm not sure when one of us will want this thing we have going to end. But I am starting to get a lot of questions about it. Some people think because she can ask for it, she should be done. But don't all babies ask for it by crying? Judah could ask for milk in sign language by eight months. I've gotten comments masked as jokes about her nursing in college or kindergarten. My husband is supportive and that's really all that matters, but honestly even if he didn't support us, it wouldn't be his decision.

Maple takes so much comfort in nursing. She loves her "boobie" as she has come to call it and sometimes will giggle as I get her set up to nurse. Right now, her canine teeth are coming in and she is in pain. I am so thankful I can nurse her through it.

Nursing an almost two-year-old  is new territory. It's funny and draining all at once, especially when that little toddler wants to spend the afternoon doing gymnurstics or thinks that every time I sit down its an invitation to nurse, but my house sure does get clean when I'm trying to avoid that! Not only can Maple say "boobie" when she wants to nurse, she has been known to demand "boobie now!" And also "more boobie" and "other boobie." But then she'll say "I love love love boobie" and it's all worth it.

I know that I will look back on these moments with my babies and miss them terribly. And I am so lucky to have had this time with them. It's not always been easy,  but I am so thankful that we've been able to make it work.