I was blessed enough to be able to breastfeed Rosalie for 17 months, and for that I am so grateful. For Rose and for me, this was perfect. Since everyone's experience with breastfeeding is different, I wanted to share mine. I will just share some of my thoughts and what worked best for me and for Rosalie.
I listened to her cues in the beginning
For me personally, it was best to listen to Rosalie's cues, and feed her whenever she was hungry. Some days this was every 3 hours, and others it was every 1.5 hours. She was an incredible eater, and would always nurse really well so I knew that she was hungry each and every time that she wanted to nurse. At night she started off by nursing every 1.5-2 hours, and then gradually went to 3, and then to 4, and so on. I never did sleep training or anything like that with her though, so to each their own. Do what works best for you! That is the key :)
A boppy pillow was my best friend
I absolutely loved using a boppy pillow. My arms would get so tried while I was holding her during nursing, and this pillow saved me. It gave my arms all of the support that they needed, and made nursing so comfortable. I used it day and night, and the only time I was without it was when I was nursing Rosalie away from home, and even then I wished I had it!
I always nursed sitting up at night
I can't even tell you how exhausted I was in the beginning! I'm sure most of you moms understand though and can totally relate. I remember waking up at night in a bit of a panic multiple times because I couldn't remember laying Rosalie back in her little bed. Nursing sitting up really helped me to stay awake while I was nursing her, which was important to me. I also liked that if I did doze off for a minute or two, I would simply lay my head back against the wall, so I wouldn't harm Rose in any way. It just felt safer to me :)
I generally only nursed her on one side per feeding
Rosalie was an incredible nurser, but she didn't do super well when I switched sides in the middle of a nursing session. She simply wanted to nurse on one side until she was done, and that was perfectly fine with me. I always had more than enough milk for her in each side per time, so she could nurse for as long as she wanted. I did get a bit engorged in one side or the other sometimes, but for the most part they stayed pretty well regulated. That being said, she was occasionally so hungry that she wanted to nurse both sides, so we did that as well :)
Nursing her when she was sick and/or teething was a lifesaver
Right before Christmas Rosalie got sick for the very first time. She was running a high fever, throwing up over and over again, and she refused to eat or drink anything. I was worried out of my mind because I didn't want her to get dehydrated. Thankfully she still wanted to nurse, so nurse she did. I would nurse her as often as she wanted, and I was so thankful because I knew that she was getting the nutrition that her body needed so badly. In fact, when we went to Belize right after Christmas Rosalie was teething and was just getting over the flu, and all she ever wanted to do was nurse. I probably nursed her multiple times a day for over 2 hours each time. It was craaazy, but I can honestly say I was happy to do it. :)
I liked to be doing something while nursing
This may just be me, but I really liked doing something while I was nursing. In the beginning I would just watch Rose and make sure she was latched on well, but overtime I would whip out my phone and read, text, call, check social media, or whatever else. I also liked watching movies or a tv series too :) And then when Rose was a bit older, I was able to prop her up with a pillow on either end of her boppy, and this freed my hands up to type for work. I loved watching Rose each time that she nursed and just snuggling her, but doing other things at the same time was great for me personally as well.
I gradually weaned her
I started thinking about weaning Rosalie at about 12 months, but didn't even start until about 14 months. To be honest I wasn't ready and neither was Rose, so I just listened to her cues and went from there. Around 14 months I gradually started taking away nursing sessions during the day, so she was just nursing at night around 15 months. Then I started cutting out night nursings little by little until she stopped completely. I won't lie, it was so HARD for me. I felt like I was losing my baby and our special time together each night, but I knew she was ready so it worked out really well. I also loved that I weaned her gradually because I didn't have to worry about getting engorged with milk and going through that pain all over again.
Sorry that was super wordy, but I hope it may have helped someone out there. :) If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.
Photo credit: Courtography (her work is seriously amazing!)
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