Tuesday, July 28, 2009

it was a day like any other day

sunday dawned, as it does; the day unfolded, as days do.

but this wasn't any ordinary sunday: sunday 26 July 2009 is the day I last nursed baby-Lo.

breastfeeding's been a trial at times. from the early days when baby-Lo struggled to feed because she had a sore neck (osteo fixed that) and "tiny mouth", and I struggled to feed her with cracked nipples and aching breasts.

3 weeks in we'd faced our first 2 bouts of mastitis and a breast abscess. 5 or so more bouts of mastitis, oversupply, nipple thrush, overactive letdown - we had our share of difficult times.

there were plenty of feeds where I cringed, cried, and just wanted it to be over. there were a lot of times I just wanted to make it to the next milestone - 3, 6, 9 months.

by 10 months in we were in a great rhythm - my body was finally making only to meet demand, the engorgement had settled, it was all good.

by 12 months it was going well, and we seemed to have had such a short time of success that I wasn't ready for it to end. we supported one another when times were tough with gentle touches and seemingly boundless patience when it seemed so hard. I for one didn't think we'd make it that far.

we've nursed on planes and in cars; in public but mostly in private.

and we've not done it alone. early on we had the support of a lactation consultant who came to home, I've spoken to ABA counsellors on the phone and in person.

and throughout it all there's been the strong influence of superdad. SD has stood by us (literally and metaphorically) through it all. he's poured water down my throat, propped pillows, delivered a freshly changed sleepy babe to even sleepier mumma. he's always said "you're doing the best job, babe". he's never once questioned why I wanted to keep going, never made a disparaging comment about why we're still feeding.

but the line? I've drawn it in the sand.

baby-Lo's ear infections have settled (thanks grommets!), but her silent reflux is only being managed with a huge dose of meds.

milk exclusion hasn't worked. the next step is a strict elimination diet. a strict diet we both need to adhere to while we're still nursing. it may seem odd that despite pain and pus, and blood and plenty of tears, that it's food that's finally made me call it quits.

it's not quite that simple of course. the prospect of me potentially screwing up a strict elimination diet by accepting a proffered biscuit is not a risk I'm willing to take when it means risking finding an answer for baby-Lo. she needs my help, and I'll be better able to help her without extra mummy guilt making me worry about every mouthful I eat.

I'm so happy we've made it this far - a few days shy of 18 months. a real achievement I never thought we would have.

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