Monday, May 18, 2009

Extended Breastfeeding

I never thought I would be "one of THOSE moms". You know, the kind that is still nursing a toddler. I thought it was weird. Honestly, I didn't even know if I would ever be able to nurse a baby nor was I too worried if I wasn't able to.

Why? A lumpectomy started it all. I decided to go & get the boobs fixed afterwards & am glad I had the opportunity to be able to enjoy beautiful breasts before I had my trio. It wasn't the augmentation that I was worried about, it was the breast lift/reconstruction that I knew would probably "X out" my chances of nursing.

To my surprise, the morning after the kids were born, I was able to pump the slightest bit of colostrum, enough to send down to the NICU. So I forged on. The next day was even better, I was getting the slightest amounts of milk! I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I was producing milk. This milk could sustain a baby's life. This milk would sustain my THREE babies' lives.

That was the beginning. I wasn't able to nurse right away. I finally got Gabi to the breast & there are no words in the world to describe how I felt in that instance. To think of it today brings tears to my eyes. It was an instant connection. Amazing.

By the end of the kids' NICU stay, I had gotten them all to the breast, Ian & Sofi w/ the aid of a nipple shield. Going home w/ the 3 of them changed things. I didn't have the nurses around to feed the other 2 while I nursed one at a time. Feeding management didn't allow for me to work w/ Sofi & Ian so Gabi was the one to go to the breast those first few months.

It dawned on me, we were in the middle of hurricane season & if we got hit, I wouldn't be able to pump. I felt the need to make sure I could nurse all 3, no nipple shield. I would take turns & make sure each of them got to the breast every day, at least once. I was on a mission.

I was most worried about Sofi. She just didn't seem in the least bit interested but in due time, she latched on. Not only was it important for them to nurse, it became important that they nursed daily. They were 4 months old & I accomplished my goal. Each was going to the breast once a day.

Thank God I was persistent b/c at the beginning of September our worst nightmare came true. We were going to get hit & hard. Breastfeeding became a necessity in the week following the hurricane. If the kids hadn't been able to nurse, I would have become engorged, uncomfortable & b/c I could only pump twice a day (thankfully Todd bought a good generator) I would have lost much of my supply.

I tandem nursed during that week. I knew it was possible to exclusively nurse triplets. It was my proudest moment since becoming a mom. It was then that I decided to get to a year. I dropped my 2am pumping session for good when we got electricity back & nursed each baby at 5am, for 30 min each. It was our quiet time. I was able to nurse them while still in bed. The cuddling was priceless & will always be one of my fondest memories of the first year.

Eventually the girls became disinterested, fighting to nurse during the day. By the time they were 7.5 months old, they were no longer nursing. My heart hurt b/c I missed our morning sessions. To think I would never nurse them again was painful but I knew they would still get my milk via bottle.

Ian, on the other hand, in typical male fashion, is still nursing like a champ & I don't see it stopping anytime soon. I can't see weaning him b/c of selfish reasons. He nurses 3/day & if he had it his way, it would probably be 4 but I needed the afternoon off. I will continue until he weans himself or possibly when he reaches 2 yrs old.

It is the most rewarding experience ever. Really. To think that I was on the other side of the fence not too long ago. What I don't understand now that I have breeched the one year mark is why it is such a big deal to others to keep going? Why does society have such issues w/ it? Why is it weird to continue to give your child the best? Most importantly, why do people think they have the right to tell you that you should stop?

I'm not an advocate of extended nursing, as we call it here in the USA. Shoot, I'm not even an advocate of breastfeeding period. I think every mom has the right to decide what is best for them & their situation. Just like I respect their decision to choose formula over breastmilk, I want others to respect my decision to continue nursing. It is all about respect.

If you are interested in finding out about extended nursing & the benefits, I have provided a link below.

Extended Breastfeeding

My boob, my child, OUR decision.

PS ~ Please do not leave anonymous comments. I would love the opportunity to respond to anyone that chooses to comment.


The Wright Trips said...

Amazing & wonderful! Good for you, Astrid. I would have liked to breastfeed my trio, but I never had enough milk. I pumped what I could while they were in the NICU. Follow your heart and go for it!


sarah said...

Awesome! I am almost at the one year point (11 months 2 weeks) and I have no intention of stopping breast feeding. We love our time together and I want her to continue getting the best. So what if I have to get up in the middle of the night...the cuddles are worth it!

Jen said...

Way to go Astrid! Bottom line is it is your body and your it is your decision. Who doesn't want to provide the best for their children. You are doing an amazing job! I was not as lucky to nurse my trio much once we got home but I was a pumping fool-75 to 80 oz a day. It was the most rewarding feeling knowning I was providing for them. It was my job and I was very proud to do it. I sometimes thinking I stopped too early, but knowing that I gave them a great start was worth it. I would do it over again in a heartbeat! Again you are amazing!
proud mommy to Alex, Liz and Zach

Brittanie said...

I have been and continue to be impressed by you Astrid. I can't see myself going past a year, but Erin didn't give me the chance. Patrick may be like Ian. We'll see how I feel when we get to the year mark.

Anyway, I think you're a superwoman. You've done an amazing job.


* The Mom said...

I would still be nursing my daughter if she hadn't got sick at 8 1/2 months. I would have LOVED to keep going!!! I wasn't that way with my first or my second, I stopped early on. It's all a matter of choice, really. :)

I'm glad to hear that you were able to breastfeed them for so long! That is fantastic! And cheap, too!! LOL!!!!

Jaime said...

I am still in awe of you and what you've been able to do with breastfeeding and pumping! I was able to nurse for 4 months pretty exclusively and pumped for an additional 2 but that was all I was able to do because of supply issues due to my PCOS. You have done an amazing job. Keep goin', girl!

Texas Gal said...

This is a topic that I am technically not experienced enough to respond to... so forgive me if I say the wrong thing. Lizzie never latched -- we had little success with the nipple shield but she was given mostly expressed milk until the discovery of her milk allergy at around 5 weeks. (I often question that diagnosis too... but I digress) I think that the reason some people give their thoughts and opinions about bf'ing - especially negative - is because those who never experienced what you are talking about (like me) don't get it. I only somewhat understand the bonding and feelings you receive because I have LOADS of mommy friends. But that understanding is only on the surface. I could never understand the depth to it because I didn't rally live it, you know? Sadly I might actually be that mom saying, "I just don't get it..." -- but only because how could I get it? That would be like trying to get a man to experience labor pains. We can explain them but they will never fully understand! I think it is wonderful what you have done. Just know that some (or dare I say MANY) women who might shy away, question, or even not understand are doing so because they just don't get it. Granted - some stare and comment and are just rude. A TON of moms would give a lot (their right arm?) to experience what you have experienced with them . I am glad to hear you are keeping with it. You know I think you are a rock star! Again, please forgive me if I said anything out of line -- you know I mean no harm and I hope none of your readers take offense. None intended.

Allison said...

Awesome Astrid, keep going if he wants it! I stopped pumping at 3 months and my trio didn't mind at all. I do have a friend who's toddler now interrupts her to nurse if she is talking to me and then will tell her which boob she wants. That was crazy...I couldn't believe me! But I don't judge since I didn't go that far. :) So question, does he drink milk too from a sippy? Or is he not on milk yet? We stopped formula at a year so I didn't know if that is the same thing.

Tiff F. said...

WTG Astrid!!! I am so proud that you have made it this far and are planning on continuing on with Ian!

If you could, please post a link to your blog from today in the BFing past 1 year board so that other moms can be inspired by you too!

WTG Astrid & Ian!!!

Nicole Montgomery said...

This post right here is my inspiration to at least make it to 9 mos! I have never made it past 3.5 months. And I know I will with my Bailey. Because of you, I know *I* can beat most odds and make it at least until 9 months!

Adi said...

You amaze me with your feeding 3 babies on your milk. There were times when I had the hardest time feeding my one!

Marcus weaned himself at 16 months. I'm glad I was able to go past a year. I got lots of funny looks too but I just ignored them. We were happy and it was best for us and that's all that mattered.

You are supermom!

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Excellent post! I have nursed two of mine to almost 3 1/2 and am currently nursing my almost 3 year old and almost 1 year old. The older one nurses once a day most days, sometimes skipping days, the baby nurses, well, like an almost one year old baby. It works for us, just like keeping on nursing Ian is working for you guys. I really think those who knock extended nursing so much (or even care what we do with our boobs for that matter) either just plain don't understand nursing past a year or they jump right to thinking about 5-8 year olds nursing (and I'll admit that give ME the heebeejeebees, too). There's a lot of time between 1 and 5, though. And now that I have four I realize just how very little those one year olds really and truly are. My oldest is 9 now and it seems like her weaning at almost 3 1/2 was ages and ages ago! You will never ever regret the nursing moments with any of them, including the "extended" ones with Ian.

Surviving Triplets said...

Allison ~ Yes, he gets whole milk from a sippy at every meal. What can I say? The boy likes his milk whether it is from me or the jug in the fridge! I also had about 600 oz in the freezer which I finally ran out of yesterday so the girls were even getting 1-2 sippies of BM mixed w/ whole milk. Now the girls are on all whole milk.

Tiff ~ I will most definitely post a link!

A ~ You make total & complete sense & were not offensive in any way!


Desiree Fawn said...

This is such an amazing story -- I had a lot of struggles to feed my daughter and you did it with three!
I'm inspired!
My goal is to breastfeed for a year and beyond. I would love to do extended feeding til three if she's still interested!
Also, your children are simply gorgeous!

Amanda from IN said...

Astrid - you should be so proud of yourself! You are giving your babies the best gift a mother can give! I exclusively pumped for 4 mths for my son Luke & now I look at him and think "he's growing big & big, all because of me!" - our greatest accomplishment as a mom!!!

Karen said...

It's funny how experience changes your perspective. With my first, 6 months was my original goal, because that seemed to be the norm. We ended up going for 18 months. Our twins are 12 months and my goal is 2 years or when they want to quit.

I never thought I'd be nursing for this long either. I was one of those moms who would say - 'if they can ask for it, they are too old'. Though I'm glad I never expressed that thought to anyone.

Stopping at 12 months seems very arbitrary. There are my places in the world where no one would even give a second thought at nursing beyond a year.

Trish said...

Way to go on nursing them so long! I'm never one to say a parent should or should not do something like this, because its all up to parent and child whats best for them.
But I just wanted to say I know the moment you spoke of about the first time Ian nursed. That first moment or connection is a wonderful thing, and a moment I hope you continue to cherish.

Erin said...

First off....your babies are precious!! I don't have multiples but I did nurse 3 boys for one year, 9months, and one year! I couldn't imagine nursing three!! Props to you girl. My bff has twin 8 1/2 month old boys..she exclusively nurses them and people always want to say something about it....why the heck do they care anyways!? To each is own. She nursed her first for 17mo. and the only reason she stopped was because it was too painful since she was preg. with the twins. Keep it up as long as you can...It has soooo many benefits for you and you babes! Too bad we don't have 4 boobs huh!! You are an insperation to me!!

Surviving Triplets said...

Thank you all for your kind words. Being an inspiration to others is quite amazing. I didn't write this to inspire anyone, just to share how I once thought. An experience changes EVERYTHING. Motherhood is much more than I ever thought it would be. Rewarding every day.


Norina said...

Astrid- I too was like you before haivng my baby and realizing the bond and the desire to give your baby breast milk and breast feed. I never understood and was very ignorant really to why mother's choose this option. Now here I sit eating humble pie as I often have done since having Zech and nursing an almost 13 month old. So many people do comment negatively but I look into his little eyes, see he is not ready to stop, and know that what I am doing will only give him the best chance for his developmental and could I just stop for no other reason then "waht others might say" so today, I say wtf-ever to society and continue to do what I feel is best for my son! YOU GO GIRL! I love your statement at the end about it being "our decision"!!!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I have nursed all 5 of mine and I am still nursing my youngest (who is 14 months) but I have always wondered how you nurse multiples! Thanks for a litle glimpse into that!

Grayson's Mommy said...

First I know I am a little late to this party, but I just read your post on extended nursing and I want to commend you on doing this! It is awesome that you are able to do this! I am currently nursing my almost 11 month old son and do not plan on stopping any time soon! I LOVE nursing! I think the bond that my child and I share is second to none and no one else will have the same kind of bond as we have! We were connected for 9 months while he grew in me and now almost 11 months later he still receives his nutrients from me! I think it is the most awesome thing EVER! I always wanted to nurse and feared not being able to, I was lucky to never have any real issues more than a poor latch to begin with, but we are going strong! Never let someone look down on you just because you are doing something they are prob just jealous of! I know I have people already telling me I am crazy to think of going past a year, but I don't see any reason to stop till he decides he is done!

Carmen, Eli, and Emmanuel said...

Hi. I am new to your blog. Thanks for writing this post. My son will be one year in two days, and he is still nursing. Like you, I wasn't even sure that I would be able to nurse, but my child loves to nurse and has since he came out of the womb. I plan to nurse him at least through the second year. Thanks for the encouragement. You are an inspiration to many. I couldn't imagine having husband and I are just making it with our one! God knew that you could handle your three little ones...congrats.