Family · Food · Just my Thoughts

The Last Time

A friend told several of us that she was nursing her child for the last time and it was a bittersweet feeling.  Strangely, I remember the feeling and my “baby” is 15 years old.

My thoughts did not necessarily turn to the last time I nursed that baby but more to the twins.  With the twins, nursing was not all that I had experienced with my oldest.  It was totally different trying to nourish two little ones at a time, especially considering the vast difference in size of those two little people.  #2 had come into the world full-sized.  He weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces.  I realize that is still a little over a pound shy of my first baby’s weight but he was only half of what was delivered that day.  His twin sister joined the world outside the womb at 5 pounds, 11 ounces.  #2 managed to hog nourishment in utero and then again once the two of them were out in the real world.

I could not produce enough milk for both babies to nurse exclusively and both babies to thrive.  Unlike with my first, I was scheduled to go back to work when the twins were eight weeks old.  After all, I had been on disability since 26 weeks of the pregnancy – a common thing back in the late 80’s.  I did manage to carry those babies to 38.5 weeks so it was worth being disabled but it meant my employer wanted me back as soon as I could be medically released.

Going back to work with eight week old babies at home brought the first challenge to breastfeeding.  Was I going to stop breastfeeding then?  Did I want to give it up now that #3 was finally getting the hang of things?  I was already supplementing so I was sure #3 was getting enough nourishment.  Seems that #2 was being a hog outside the womb also so #3 was “failing to thrive.”  What was I going to do?

I went back to work with a breast pump in hand.  I would pump during lunch, at any break I got.  It was truly intriguing to be sitting at a break table with a blanket over my shoulder and a breast pump in hands.  Yes, back in those days, an electric breast pump was a true luxury.  Mine was just plastic and manually operated.  The men I worked with were a bit uncomfortable at first but it did not take long for them to get use to me and my pump.  No one ever drank breast milk from the fridge.  I can’t tell you how hard I laugh when I see a sit com where someone mistakenly drinks breast milk.

Then came May.  The twins were born the end of January with a due date of February 4.  Mid-May I was set to go out of town for a week for a training class.  I went back and forth on whether I should go.  There were two of us going.  Unfortunately, we were the only two that were married with children.  What was I going to do?  A slightly easier decision for my colleague as he didn’t have the new babies and breastfeeding to throw into the decision mix.  Off I went to Atlanta with my breast pump in hand.  Yes, I did the same thing at the week’s training sessions.  Unfortunately, there was no break table and we all went out to lunch together.  I would take every ten minute smoke break and head to the ladies’ room.  I would pump and dump.  That was hard to do – watch breast milk go down the drain.  There was nowhere to store it and I was never going to get it home so there was little choice.

Another month came and went and I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed.  I am so smart that I only had three but two of those three were pressing on my sinus cavities and causing great pain during allergy season.  That was it.  I could not stand to watch more breast milk be pumped and dumped.  I decided, even though I had breastfed my first until he was 15 months, that six months was it with the twins.  I would use the pain killers from the oral surgery to help reduce the pain as I let my milk supply dry up.  It was not an easy decision nor an easy time as it took longer than the convalescence to totally dry up but there is the story that came to mind as I heard my friend say she was done breastfeeding her youngest.

Do you have stories of breastfeeding that you would want to share?  What do you think of women who breastfeed in public?  What do you think of breastfeeding past a particular age?  I swear I won’t hold any responses against you all but realize that I have breastfed for 108 months – that is nine years – of my life.  LOL!!

12 thoughts on “The Last Time

  1. Hi Nicki:

    I found your website through Daily Mile – we were both signed up for the Skunk. We’re also on the Boilermaker.

    Funny – I was just thinking about when I nursed my youngest child. She is now 11 1/2 and I still miss the experience. I have four children and nursed all four. For my first two children I was a stay-at-home mom. For my second two children I was a working mom and did the breast pump routine while at work. I didn’t nurse either of my first two children more than 2 months. This was in 1976 and 1980 and I didn’t get a lot of support from family at the time. My third child was born in 1996 and I nursed him for a year – he practically weaned himself. My youngest was born in 1998 and she loved to nurse. She would linger for 45 minutes or more. I loved it – and every time she nursed I would think how this was my last child and my last experience with nursing. Unfortunately I didn’t have a whole lot of milk for her (stress of a new job) and I had to stop when she was around 9 months old.

    I have to say – I never felt like nursing restricted my lifestyle in anyway. I did nurse in public – but always discretely or off in a corner. More because I enjoyed the intimate time so much that I always looked at it as ‘our time’ between my youngest and I.

    1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I came in dead last at the Skunk but it was a half marathon PR for me. 🙂

      I loved nursing and still get very upset when people are rude to nursing moms.

  2. I have some breastfeeding/pumping stories but one I’m happy to share here is about how I breastfed my son at a political rally with 10,000 people. I remember how ironic it was that I felt I had more privacy there than anywhere else in public. All eyes were on the stage, not me and for those moments, it felt like all was well with the world.

    1. That is so cool, Belinda. I frequently share the story of being in a health club. The manager asked me to nurse my son in the bathroom as I was offending members. This health club had a child care center. I never set foot in there again!

  3. Whoa, nine years! I guess that makes sense given your kids, but, still, it really got me when I read it. I’ve been pregnant and/or nursing for the last 3 1/2 years, but your record puts me to shame. 🙂

  4. I was very sad both times I weaned my kids. The first time I had to do it because it was too difficult to pump while at work. It doesn’t bother me when I see people nursing in public, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

  5. Awww shucks Nicki, I assume this was about my tweet. Do you know what? I went away fully assuming that he would be weaned when I came back (we’ve been going strong for 16 months), but as soon as bedtime came, the little guy asked to nurse and I didn’t say no. So all this to say, no he’s not weaned, yet.

    Nursing both my boys has been the most amazing experience, and I count my blessings how fortunate I have been. Both were avid, happy nursers. And I have no inhibitions about nursing in public (though I don’t nurse my toddler in public). When they were little, I’d whip it out no matter where. I don’t call myself an advocate, just a very comfortable nursing mom.

    Loved this post, loved that you shared this with us! I’m only sorry I didn’t get here until now.

    1. Yes, Christine, this was inspired in some way by your tweet. I have a friend who just started a group called Breastfeeding Means Business. It is to encourage businesses to realize that being friendly to breastfeeding mothers is good for business.

  6. I really enjoyed nursing my kids, such a special time. I give you major credit for all that pumping! I pumped every morning to have bottles if I went out, especially for my voracious son. I nursed them each a year, and the youngest for 16 mos, cuz I knew she was last. They were all ready by then. I don’tmind if older kids nurse, but mine would not have been interested.

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