Monday, April 24, 2006

The End of an Era

As of today, I am done with nursing Ayaan. I had originally planned to continue the early morning feed till he turned a year. But what with his teeth sprouting and his gums being really tender, he has decided to put a spanner in the works by rejecting my attempts to feed him for the last three days. So as of today, I have officially thrown in the towel and Ayaan stands fully weaned.

This is a huge milestone in Ayaan’s independence from me. Breast-feeding was the one thing that I was completely indispensable for. I could never take a trip without him for this very reason. And now I can - since none of his meals are actually produced and delivered by my body…

Still, I am having mixed feeling about this. I thought I would be thrilled about it because feeding Ayaan comes out tops as the most difficult and frustrating experience of my entire life.

The first few days were really tough, as I got extremely sore from the whole experience and each of the 20,000 feeds a day was a lesson in managing toe-curling pain without screaming out loud to avoid startling the baby.

Followed by that, Ayaan decided that it was no fun just going with the flow. So every few minutes in a feed, he would cry and cry and cry. And then I would have to get up and walk him up and down till he calmed down before continuing the feed. And this would happen between 3 to 10 times at every nursing session depending on Ayaan’s mood. I talked to three paediatricians and two gynaecologists and they could see no reason why he should be doing this and advised me to keep at it. To add some tension to this already frustrating situation, his weight gain was less than ideal all the way till he started solids at 4 months and even then it was only after 6 months that he really started putting on weight in line with that dreaded growth chart. Oh thank God those days are over!

But somehow, in spite of many moments when I wanted to tear my hair out, I am actually going to miss feeding Ayaan. I am going to miss the physical and emotional closeness that I felt when his little body was nestled into mine. I will miss the steady eye contact, which almost never happens otherwise now that he is so mobile and restless. I will miss the way he played with my face with his little fingers while he was nursing and the toothless smile of satisfaction when he was done.

And most of all, I will miss being indispensable…

10 comments:

  1. As Ayaan grows older you will find that he will start becoming more and more independent. Being a boy his clinging stage would also go once he starts senior school. Ayaan will continue to snuggle upto to you for the warmth of your body comfort. Nodoubt you will miss this act of motherhood for sometime but in the days to come there will such fast developments of Ayaan's personality and you would be busy enjoying every moment of it.

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  2. Ironic--I was sitting nursing my third boy, Jabin, last night, and thinking that soon I will also be experiencing the end of that era for good. With my first two, my milk dried up on it's own at 4 1/2 months and 6 months, so now that Jabin is 5 months, I expect the same to start happening fairly soon. The first time, I felt like I had failed as a mother, that my body was not able to keep up with what my baby needed.

    However, as much as I will mourn the day when my nursing days are done, there are always advantages--such as finally being able to wear dresses and salwar kameezes again! And being able to go on a date with hubby, not worrying about whether the baby will decide he needs to eat while I'm gone.

    Sounds like you had an extremely rough go of it. Did you try using a nipple shield at all? Keep it in mind for next time. One of my nipples is inverted, and I just about went crazy for the first week with my oldest because he wouldn't stay latched, and when he did, it caused a cracked nipple, and I can totally relate to the toe-curling pain. (I got that kind of pain with my next two, as well, but that was from after-birth pains--they get worse the more you have, btw.) Then, the public health nurse (we get those in my province, which is kind of cool) brought me a nipple shield, and IMMEDIATELY it was much better. I just used it on the one side until he was about a month, then he was able to handle latching on on his own, and all my wounds had healed enough that I could handle it, too. The next two babies used it for about the same length of time.

    Also wondering if you supplemented at all with Ayaan? Especially in his "crying during feedings" stage? It might be one thing to try if it happens with another baby.

    Every baby is different, so hopefully, your next one will not be nearly so difficult!

    Also, read your post on CC's blog--I was positive my 2nd was a girl from the moment he was conceived, so did go through a bit of a mourning when I delivered a boy. He is so precious, but I thought I may not have any more, therefore no more chances. With number 3, I found out at the ultrasound and kept it secret from EVERYONE ELSE (my hubby didn't want to know, so he made me promise not to tell) until he was born. So glad I found out--I mourned the little girl I will never have before he was born, then was able to give him nothing but love and devotion once he came.

    Hopefully, you were joking about the postpartum depression, but I do know where you are coming from.

    T.

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  3. Yikes! Maybe I should get my own blog, or something! Sorry for the novel.

    T.

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  4. [Patti] I agree - but I guess the momentary nostalgia is unavoidable.

    [Scrap] Can I call you Scrap? So nice to hear from another mom. I had a very tough set of doctors who advised me against both the nipple shield and the bottle as they felt it would cause something called nipple confusion. Also, all three paediatricians I met with seemed pretty rabid about sticking to the breastfeeding no matter what and as a first-time mom, I was too scared to go my own way. Now that I am more confident, I think I will definitely try these options out the next time around...

    Three boys huh? Wow!!! I guess I am kidding about the postpartum depression but I do sooooooooo want a daughter...

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  5. aww!
    lovely to read all the experiences of ayan growing up...well who said babies were easy:-)...
    But I guess its still an experience u'll cherish forever!
    And though must say--nothing like regaining your independence back..phew!

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  6. I know--first time around, you just believe everything they tell you. However, by the second time around, you will do anything for a little extra sleep at night! I have this one friend that had to supplement all the way along, but she did it with this special tube dealy that let her breastfeed and supplement at the same time. Kind of cool.

    Of all the babies I've known that have used bottles and nipple shields, not one has actually developed nipple confusion. I wonder what the percentage of that happening is? Obviously, the bare boob is preferable, but sometimes its just not the best solution temporarily, ya know?

    Next time around, as you said, you'll have a better gut instinct about what to do. Do you have any other young mom friends?

    Btw, you can call me Scrap, or Talena, if you wish! ;-)

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  7. [Ekta] Independence is good but it also represents Ayaan growing away from me in small little ways. Before I know it, he'll be embarassed to be seen around me.

    [Talena] Welcome back. I have only one other young mom friend and she is also the wife of a friend. Will you be my young mom friend?? :)

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  8. 'Sokey... you will still be absolutely indispensible for feeding the boy till he acquires a wife/live in girlfriend to cater for his tummy. Even then, knowing Indian men, he will still rate you top. And I have a brother, a husband and a brother-in-law to prove this theory!

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  9. I agree with Sue totally. My 60 year old father still raves about his Mom's cooking !

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  10. [Sue] With my minimal (read non-existent) cooking skills, he'll probably miss the cook more than me.

    [Zen] Yes but I am sure on a scale of 1-10, you mom will rate a 10 on cooking - while I might just about manage a 1 and that too with a very detailed recipe!

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