Thursday, June 11, 2009

I can drink milk again!

Warning this post is about breastfeeding!

So if you don't want to read, I suggest skipping this post.

Well where do I begin? I guess I could start by saying Ayla is finally weaned. I am relieved in some ways but really sad in others. Breastfeeding has been a major challenge for me. I have had trial after trial. 

It all started in the hospital right after I had Ayla. The staff all left and I had no idea how to get a baby latched. I knew that within the first hour of being born the baby needs to start latching. I am grateful that my sister was there. She works in the baby unit at the U hospital. She doesn't know a whole lot about the breastfeeding thing but she new enough to help us get Ayla latched. It was tough the whole time we where at the hospital. Kurt and I would be up all night trying to get Ayla latched. It was a nightmare and anytime anyone came to help, they did it for me instead of explaining it. I cried a lot and had to stand up to some of the nurses who where trying to give Ayla a bottle. By the last day, the last lactation nurse came in and I thought, "Oh just someone else who is just going to do it for me!" I was pretty annoyed by that time. But that time was different. She really explained things to me and had me do it myself. I really learned from her. After that, I really didn't have a hard time getting her latched. I was so grateful for her. I even remember her name; it was Jeanie.

After, we went home from the hospital and my milk came in. It burned. It felt like my breasts where on fire and it killed to breastfeed. I saw 2 different doctors about it and they said I looked okay but that they would treat me for a yeast infection. So I was treated for that but nothing happened. It turned out that I have discomfort when the milk comes in and when it lets down. I'll tell you it hurt and I mean bad. It felt like little pieces of glass shooting through my breast. Why didn't I quit, you ask? I was asked that a lot. I didn't because I wanted to do it for Ayla and I had worked too hard up until that point to just quit. I am too stubborn when I put a lot of work into something. Anyway, it took some time, about 6 months, before I got used to the burning and even then it still hurt. 

Three months into it, I found out that Ayla had a milk allergy. I had found blood in her stool and found out it was from me drinking milk. So I had to give up dairy, which I never thought I would do for anything. I love dairy, especially milk. I can drink 3 gallons a week by myself and I am not exaggerating. So I have almost gone a whole year without dairy. I tried to introduce it back into my diet when Ayla turned one but she still had the allergy.

I went through many times where my milk supply would get low and I thought I would dry up. It's amazing that it didn't. 

When Ayla started to get teeth, she bit me a few times but she stopped. 

There was one point when Ayla did get thrush in her month, so there was yeast at one point  but it cleared up. 

I feel like I went through so much with breastfeeding and I thought I would be so happy when it was over. I have been looking forward to it for a long time. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do but I would do it again. It was so worth it for Ayla to get the nourishment she needed. She is so healthy and hasn't gotten sick much. 

I was so worried about weaning her because it was so hard to get her drinking some kind of other milk. She finally liked Soy Silk Vanilla. I was just going to wean her right after her first birthday but then I read a really good article on weaning naturally. So that is what I did. I slowly took the breast away a little at a time and Ayla did fine. She finally was okay not having the breast last Tuesday. So she has been weaned for a week now. I thought it would have taken her longer to wean, like a year or so, but it didn't.

I thought I would start drinking milk right away because I looked so forward to it. I had a hard time bringing myself to doing it because I was so sad that, if I drank the milk, it would be final and I felt guilty that my daughter might not ever be able to drink it. That breaks my heart. She might not ever be able to have ice cream, cheese, yogurt, pizza or anything else with dairy in it. I really hope she grows out of it. I finally started drinking milk on Sunday. It was nice but not as glorious as I thought it would be because I was sad. I didn't know how hard weaning would be for me. I only thought it would be hard for Ayla. I was wrong. I am not depressed about it. I am starting to get used to it. I'm just sad that I just shut a door in a stage of Ayla's life and Ayla is growing up.

I want to thank 6 very important people who helped me get through this challenging task. First, my husband, Kurt for all his support. My little girl, Ayla for seeing the benefits from breastfeeding. My close friend, Ann for always helping me every time I called her with a problem with breastfeeding and I called her a lot. My sister, Marion. I called her all the time too. And last but not least, my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I could not of done it with out them. I could not have done it without any of these people.  Thank you all so very much and I love you!

For some people, breastfeeding comes naturally but for me it didn't. I shed many tears over it.  I hear it is different with every kid. We will see when we have another. I think after Ayla, I can try to work through anything with breastfeeding. 


{Mo} said...

I know I've said it before, but you are such a good mommy!
There is hope for Ayla....Brock developed a milk alergy when he was 5 or 6 months old. We actually had to switch to soy formula (which stinks like no other) and I hated feeding it too him, but he grew out of it before he was 18 months old. So cross your fingers!

Nanette said...

You are wonderful!
My post-pardum depression flared the moment Murdock emerged. We tried breastfeeding for aprox. 3.5 minutes and then gave up. Murdy had formula from day one and let me tell you, it is expensive! And I am always a little sad that I had to find other ways to bond with my little boy.
Good for you sticking it out! I am sure it will bring you many more blessings!

Emily and beau.......ardie too said...

wow girl! thats crazy, im so sorry it was bad for you...i hear horor stories from friends and its so sad!you did it for over a year so pat yourself on the back. good job heather:)

Ann Marie said...

I'm glad you wrote about it!!
Congrats on weaning!

I seriously think their is a secret club about breast feeding. You just think it's going to be a piece of cake, and seriously.. I know only 2 people that have never had any problems..

Now.. take care of yourself! Drink LOTS of milk so your body can be strong for another baby..:)

Love you.. ( your older sister from another mother.. )

PS: Call me anytime.. You know I love you..

Amy said...

It's so great that you stuck with it, you'll probably never know how much it benefited Ayla. And don't feel sad about her not having cow's milk, that'll be healthier for her anyway:) I can show you how to make your own almond milk sometime if you want. What's the article you read about weaning naturally?

Me said...

Yeah! Milk party at my house! Just kidding.

I really enjoyed this post. I didn't have any problems other then when my milk came in and I was so hard that Traeden could not latch on. It was a simple solution though, nothing like what you had to go through.

Way to go though for sticking through it. You are such a great mother. Most people would have given up but you pressed on.

amber hawkins warren said...

The part I thought was the worst at first was the burning in my uterus when I was nursing. It felt like someone was sticking my insides with a hot poker. That's just the way it is, though but I think it's good to talk about it so other mother's don't think they're crazy for not loving every second of it.

But here's the thing about allergies. If Ayla has a milk allergy, then I've heard that kids just naturally stay away from things like that. I feel bad that Holden can't have anything with peanuts in it or peanut butter - that's a big one - but he doesn't know any different and doesn't care. And I tried Sunflower butter because I thought he was "missing out" and he didn't like it at all. It tastes just like peanut butter. Turns out he doesn't care about what he's missing. Ayla might be the same way. There are plenty of substitutes.

Nancy Face said...

I am quite a believer in breastfeeding and chose to do it for all 3 of my children, but I understand when it is too difficult for some moms to do. I think you are a super hero, because it was probably too difficult for you, and you did it anyway! Bravo! :)