Monday, July 15, 2013

Babywise is HELPING me reach my breastfeeding goals!

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I am the proud (albeit sometimes exhausted) mommy of three very little boys.  At the time of this writing, my oldest is 40 months (3.5ish), my middle is 21 months, and my baby is 7 months.  For a little over three months, just after #3 was born, all three were under three years old.  Additionally, thanks to the US Navy where my husband serves, all three boys were born in different states.  One in California, one in South Carolina, and one in Virginia.  And I mentioned that they're all boys, right?  If there ever was a home where madness and chaos could easily be the rule of the day, ours would be it.  Thanks to Babywise, though, it's (usually) really not.  Babywise has helped me maintain sanity and routine and at least semi-predictability in the midst of the days and years since we started our family.  Today, though, I want to focus on my breastfeeding journey.
 
When my first son was born, he was a slow nurser.  We're talking no less than forty-five minutes start to finish every single time.  When he was 3.5 months old, we took a three week cross-country trip/move from California to Virginia.  I couldn't really see myself nursing for forty-five minutes in a hot car on the side of the road in July, so I switched him to formula starting at around 2.5 months.  When #2 came along, I nursed a little longer, but around 4 months he started getting very distracted while nursing.  My husband was deployed at the time and there was a good deal of upheaval in some other areas of our lives.  I also fully believe that I could have been diagnosed with postpartum depression had I been honest with myself at that time.  Trying to get him to nurse instead of looking around at everything and watching his older brother was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.  Additionally, I found myself being very impatient with my older son for the slightest noise, as it distracted the baby and made him not nurse.  I came to the conclusion that a happy, sane mommy was better for the family than an exclusively breastfed baby.  Looking back, I don't know that I regret either of these decisions.  I still believe that they were the right calls for our family at the time.  However, when baby #3 came along, I wanted something different.  My husband is now on shore duty, which alleviates several hundred stressors.  And I have heard well-meaning people proclaim that you "can't successfully breastfeed" using Babywise, that you'll have an inadequate supply, etc., etc.  I went in with this baby determined to disprove the naysayers. 
 
Nathan (#3) has been an excellent nurser since birth.  As he got older, though, I started noticing the same distractive tendencies that I had in my middle son.  I began to fear that I would lose the breastfeeding battle again after all.  It didn't help that around this time, my middle son stopped taking his morning nap, which I had thought would continue a bit longer.  With TWO brothers to distract Nathan, whatever was I going to do?  Also, you can imagine what two otherwise angelic (ha!) little boys, ages barely three and 1.5, might get into when mommy has her hands tied nursing the newborn.  Most other feedings I could schedule around afternoon nap, etc., but the mid-morning feeding every day became a battle ground.  The boys were into all kinds of things, and I was constantly having to put myself back together, go check on them, latch baby again, etc., etc.  Formula was looking more appealing every day.  As a last resort, I decided that I would post on the CFH Babywise and Beyond facebook group to see if they had any suggestions for me.  In thinking of what responses I might get, I suddenly thought, "They're going to suggest roomtime!  Why didn't I think of that?!?!?!"  So the next day I decided to try it.  Wow!  What a difference!  Now, instead of mayhem during the mid-morning feed (I had literally come to DREAD 10:00 every morning!), I actually find it to be a time of rest, meditation, relaxation, and gearing up mentally for the rest of the morning.  It's like the whole house takes a big relaxing breath.  It's great for my older son since he has a chance to play with some big-kid (lots of pieces) toys unbothered by the middle one.  My middle, who tends to be quite temperamental, seems to be on a more even keel when he has that bit of downtime in his crib (side benefit:  I started putting simple puzzles in the crib with him for roomtime, and he's more than mastered several puzzles that are beyond his age's supposed abilities!).  And the baby gets to have a complete feeding in a quiet setting.
 
Without knowing when to expect a feeding for my youngest, along with tools (like roomtime and scheduled naps!) to occupy my older ones, I would have given up nursing #3 long ago.  So, as my title says, Babywise is not hindering me in my breastfeeding journey, it's actually making it possible.  We are currently at 7.5 months and still going strong.  I fully expect to make it to a year with no trouble!

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