Beyond My Expectations
Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
From New Beginnings, Vol. 25 No. 6, 2008-09, pp. 23-24
I found out about La Leche League from my mother-in-law, a long-standing member and LLL Leader. When I first went with my future husband to visit his parents in Ottawa, my future mother-in-law and I went for a walk and she mentioned that she hoped her son would choose a partner who would breastfeed her grandchildren. At the time, I thought that was a tall order, especially since my husband had been nursed until he was five! I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding but didn't want to commit to how long. I didn't even know whether I would be able to since my mother had tried to breastfeed my sister and had such troubles that she didn't try to breastfeed me.
Three years after we married our baby girl Lilliana was born. Breastfeeding wasn't easy at first. She was a small baby, five pounds seven ounces, and didn't seem to get enough of my breast into her mouth. By the end of the second week, nursing was a toe curling experience and I had damaged nipples from an incorrect latch. When my milk came in, it was very painful and I would sit with ice packs on my breasts. I went to a clinic and to LLL meetings and was reassured that the baby was getting enough milk and I learned how to correct the latch. With time, patience, and support, especially from my husband and mother-in-law, it got easier. My nipples healed and breastfeeding became pain free.
Before our baby was born, I was adamant that she would sleep down the hall in her own bed. However, at the hospital, on the second night, she wouldn't settle unless I picked her up. I asked one of the nurses what I should do and she suggested I take her to bed with me. When we got home, we tried putting her in a crib in our room but she would flip flop like a fish out of water. Only when held would she become still and settle down. So this is how we continue to sleep.
At the one-year mark, nursing seemed like a secret habit. I suppose it was partly due to the fact that most of my friends had returned to work and their babies were weaned from the breast well before that time and, of course, sleeping on their own, the whole night through. Most people from my workplace were surprised when I resigned to stay home and raise our daughter. Furthermore, when they learned that we were still nursing and co-sleeping, they were almost speechless. Once again I turned to my husband, mother-in-law, and LLL for support and acceptance. Without their encouragement and love, I'm sure Lilliana would have been weaned months ago and maybe she would not be quite so confident in her daily discoveries.
Now Lilliana is 18 months old and still nursing happily, mainly at naptime and bedtime. I can't imagine our lives without nursing. After all it is such a lovely cuddle time that seems to rejuvenate us both.