The bar is closing…

7 Jan

So, today was the day.  Cutting ties.  An end to an era.  A closing of a chapter.  Just 3 weeks shy of their first birthday, the boys and my working breasts have parted ways.  It has been a gradual progression.  I thought I would be sad.  Surprisingly, I’m not.  I will respect their decision: “Mama, I’m just not into your breast milk, anymore.”

My breastfeeding journey is filled with countless happy memories as well as interesting challenges.  Let’s start with the difficult stuff…

There is one incident that caused trauma and tears:  My terrible, agonizing bout of nipple thrush (Ahem, let me forewarn you that this post is not for the faint hearted…)

The boys were barely 4 weeks old when late one night, I started to feel a sharp shooting pain in my right breast.  The pain worsened as the night wore on.  Sitting on the couch, I howled and cried.  Hubby had no idea what to do with me.

With limited resources at midnight, we made a desperate phone call to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).  Although the number we dialled was a “hot-line” I was certain that no one would be on the other end to pick up.  But thankfully, someone was.  After the midwife told me that my symptoms appeared to be nipple thrush, I was ordered to do 2 very important things:

1.  See a doctor first thing in the morning

2. At all costs, keep breastfeeding.

Keep breast feeding.

Are you friggin’ KIDDING me ???????

I felt like shouting down the phone.  I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.  Looking back, I know she was giving the standard advice that a midwife gave to all breast feeding mothers.  Yet, did she have ANY idea of the excruciating, toe-curling pain that I was going through ?  How could I tell her that the agony was so unbearable that each time I was breast feeding  it actually felt as though my babies had razor blades in their mouth – slicing into my nipple ?  (See, I told you reading this wasn’t for the weak).

In any case, I did see a doctor…and begrudgingly, I did continue to breast feed.  So, for almost 2 months, I endured numerous visits to the doctor’s, hours of “taking my gear off” to air out my precious puppies to give them some much needed Vitamin D (a.k.a sunshine), as well as continual usage and doses of anti-fungal creams, tablets and drops for the boys (The boys also needed to be treated otherwise mother and babies would just keep transferring the infection to each other.  Lovely).

Some would call me crazy, wondering why I didn’t give it all up.  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I don’t think I ever will.  Maybe it was just a mix of hazy after birth hormones clouding my ability to make rational decisions and the relentless, self-critical, blinding urge to be a good mum.  I know to stop breast feeding was an option.  I just made the personal choice to keep going.

To bring some yin and yang into this story and before me and my “personalities” completely shut shop, here is a list of some of my more gratifying breast feeding moments:

  • The boys’ tiny faces looking up at me, seeking eye contact, as if asking permission, before diving in for their meal of liquid gold.
  • The three of us falling asleep during a feed – waking up and all stretching simultaneously. Hubby thought it was hilarious.  I think he secretly wished he could’ve joined in.
  • The drunken, content look the boys had after a feast of boob juice.

    4 months old: The boys chillin' after a feed

  • Being able to breast feed them simultaneously in the “rugby hold” position.  It ended up being a popular party trick…

    The Early Days: Still learning how to get that "rugby hold' position just right

  • The interaction the boys would have with each other after a feed – the cooing, the giggling and the eye contact.

I will even happily admit that, albeit my run in with nipple thrush, breast feeding was “pleasurable”.  As far as learning curves go, it has been a motherhood experience that took me to the moon and back.  And no doubt, I will miss the bonding that breast feeding provided my boys and I.

These days, I’m getting to know the twins in other fun ways.  For instance, feeding them their bottles like little lambs is just as memorable and adorable.

Today

On another up-side, I can finally reclaim my beloved breasts as my own property.  (Yay !)  Although, Hubby is adamant that he’s got dibs.  He wishes.

So, my little munchkins, the bar is closing.  Last drinks have been served.  You have both been wonderful patrons.

4 Responses to “The bar is closing…”

  1. Christine January 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    WOW is all I can say.. I never knew nipple thrush could be such a horrible thing! Sounds like its a very good thing you’re past it.. Sorry you had to go through something so awful!

    So did you wean them off or was it something they did themselves? (I’ve heard babies do that sometimes). If it was weaning, was it hard? I’ve heard that some people have a really hard time of it..

  2. mamagrace71 January 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Yeah, I didn’t think it would be that painful either. And apparently mastitis is worse ! Ouch !

    The boys pretty much weaned themselves off. Like I said, it was a gradual progression. The more they started eating solids and started drinking water, the less interested they were in breast feeding.

    I think the key for us is that we got them interested in trying different, healthy foods when they were ready. And also, with twins, it’s all about routine. Unless they were really, really unsettled, I only gave them breast milk during their scheduled feeds. I know that sounds cruel, but we had to have a routine, otherwise they would be constantly attached to my breasts ! Gosh, I remember the bedtime feeds would take 90 minutes !!! Sometimes longer !

    Ah, all those memories…

  3. Tat January 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Such a special relationship and it is so much better when they make the decision themselves. I haven’t had the heart to wean either of my kids, so I ended up breastfeeding my son until he was 22 months, and my 20-month old daughter is stilll going. Found your blog on AMB.

    • mamagrace71 January 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

      Hi Tat,

      Thanks for dropping by ! It is indeed a special relationship. I was surprised that they made the decision themselves.
      Keep up the breast feeding ! In the end, it’s all for the best for your children.

      Cheers,
      Grace

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