Bubs and I reached another milestone: we stopped breastfeeding! It has been a journey that lasted 2 years and at times, I'm surprised at how long we've kept it going for.
I wasn't too keen on the idea of breastfeeding initially. Kelly didn't give up on me and kept persuading me to give it a try, or at the very least, read about it and then make my own conclusions. Since I was already poring over baby books and websites, I decided it wouldn't hurt to learn more about breastfeeding. The more I read, the more I was gripped and convinced Hubs that we were going to give breastfeeding a go.
At the hospital, we insisted to the nurses not to give any bottles to Bubs. After delivering, my first view of Bubs, my precious, sweet newborn, was during breastfeeding. The midwife brought Bubs to our room and held Bubs for me as she gave Hubs and me pointers on what to do. I was shivering so badly from the painkillers that my whole body was trembling very hard. She was carrying Bubs for me while Hubs had to hold me still because Bubs was shaking along with me while latching on. I was alarmed at how frequent Bubs wanted to latch on from there on. It seemed to us that just after we managed to drift off to sleep, a nurse would rap the door, push Bubs in and announce that he needs more milk.
Things quickly went downhill when we were at home. Bubs demanded to latch on every 2 hours and growth spurts were absolute nightmares as the feeding periods would increase to nearly every 45 minutes. Since we were determined to avoid nipple confusion at the beginning, I expressed milk out to keep in the freezer but solely latched Bubs on for the first month.
This is what books tell you: breast milk digests very easily.
What they never tell you: Bubs getting hungry nearly all the time. We were feeding him non stop and each time he was hungry, he had a loud cry that woke all of us up. Days and nights became a hazy blur for us and I'd pray fervently that I'd get to sleep at least a couple of hours at a stretch before feeding him again.
This is what books tell you: breastfed newborns poop non stop.
This is what books tell you: babies love being swaddled to feel secure.
What they never tell you: Bubs, being very opinionated and feisty, HATED swaddling and was not shy about squawking out his displeasure at being wrapped up. When we got tired trying to swaddle him and just let him drift off to sleep, his Moro reflex kicked in and he startled himself awake, wailing loudly again.
It was not a fun period for us. From our uninterrupted 8 - 10 hour a night sleep, it dwindled down to short naps whenever we could sneak some time for ourselves. There came to a breaking point where we were convinced we couldn't keep this up, we were so close to buying a tin of formula just so we could get some precious sleep. At that point, I was well on my way to becoming a reclusive. I didn't want to go out because going out would mean emergency pit stops to feed him, carrying a heavy bag laden with fresh diapers, wet wipes, a nursing cover ... It got to the point where Hubs literally had to drag us out for a meal just to get us out from home.
When I got back to work, we had a sticky situation trying to introduce the bottle to Bubs. He turned his nose at the glass bottles I got and it took a lot of hunting around before we settled on Tommee Tippee. I was lucky that my company that had great facilities for expressing mums. There was a fridge, hot water, clean sink and soap, power points for electric pumps and of course, fantastic friends there. We'd chat while expressing, share tips and grouses, it was fun to have our own little world inside the Mothers' Room.
As cliche as it might sound, things got better by themselves after time passed. Bubs needed less frequent feeds and with less feeds came less poopy diapers. Then he slowly outgrew the startle reflex and we stopped swaddling him to move him to a sleeping bag. He gradually slept longer at nights which meant we could at least have 6 hours of sleep for ourselves. We were all starting to find breastfeeding extremely convenient - no hunting around for clean bottles at night, less stuff to bring around while traveling and what we think was a stronger immune system.
It has been a roller coaster ride and though the sleep deprivation got to us at times, we wouldn't trade it for the world :)