Before I had kids, I knew I would breastfeed. Before I had kids, I had a general idea of how long it was “appropriate” to breastfeed (weren’t we all so judgmental pre-kids?!).
When it was a major struggle (for BOTH kids), breastfeeding became a lot more personal and important to me. I didn’t expect to be so emotionally tied to it. But I was. At first I told myself, “I’ll breastfeed until a year.” When both kids went through nursing strikes that threatened that cold, I persevered. When that year passed, I thought “Well, they can wean anytime, but 2 years old would be nice. They say that’s better for babies and for me too.”
Neither of my kids were ever interested in nursing outside of set times. I don’t have a huge milk supply, so it’s not immediately gratifying. Aiden gradually decreased his feeds to just once a day, and when I became pregnant with Damien, he didn’t like the change in how my milk tasted, so he weaned himself at 23 months.
Damien is now 2.5. That 2 year mark has obviously come and gone. I wonder when I’ll be “not ok” with nursing my growing toddler. So far that hasn’t happened. 1-3 times a day I enjoy that moment of peace and that baby smell that still lingers. There is almost no milk left, but neither of us care. At nap time, this invariably happens. And it is the best moment of my day.
For just that brief moment, I get to hold my baby as he sleeps. It is perfection in every way.
Once Damien was sleeping well, he gradually dropped all of his feeds on his own for the 12 hours of his night, keeping only the dreamfeed. By 4-5 months, Damien had dropped his remaining night feed at 3am all on his own, we only had to re-enforce the habit. Since then, I’ve held on to the dreamfeed and it has been my special time with him.
There have been times, for sure, when it would have been convenient to be able to stay out past 10:30, to go to bed early or to drink an extra glass of wine without having to worry about feeding a baby at a certain time. But, given all that, I couldn’t bear parting with my special time with my little baby – my last little baby.
Damien rarely wakes up early anticipating the feed, I almost always wake him up when I open the door or approach his crib. I hear him wake up and sometimes smack his lips waiting for his milk (he may also use his milk sign as well, as I get ready to feed him). I am always assaulted by the wonderful baby smell of his room and the warm perfection that it all is. It’s like my own little piece of paradise.
I pick up that sleepy baby and feed him for a few minutes – only 5-10 now, which isn’t very long. There’s no kicking, no fussing, no stretching or pulling of hair. No biting, no banging, no distractions, no preschooler to talk to. It’s just me and Damien and it’s perfect.
After I feed him, I put Damien right back in his crib and he’s oh so relaxed. From time to time, the feed actually wakes him up for a while, but he’s such a content little sleeper that he just chills out and eventually falls back to sleep. He never progresses to fussing in the same way that Aiden did! He rolls over asking to go right into his crib when he’s finished his milk – no cuddles necessary.
It’s an amazing experience, nursing a baby, and the dreamfeed has been my little oasis of calm before bed. I’m sure the oxytocin was a nice boost too!
Last night, I didn’t offer Damien milk at his usual time and he slept right through to morning, no problem. I’ve known for a while he probably wasn’t hungry, but he’s my baby and I was selfishly waking him up to spend time with him. I’m going to miss those special times.
At least I know that he’ll probably still have some night wakings when he has a cold or is teething or whatever. Then again, he popped a tooth out during those 12 hours and didn’t make a peep!
Now, if only there was a sniff detector in his room, since he sometimes dirties his diaper while falling asleep and doesn’t cry, so we don’t know. ;)
Zayden reads a book supported by his nursing pillow.
While every new baby needs a crib and clothes, there is one piece of essential equipment that gets left off the list: a nursing pillow. Even if you don’t intend to or are unable to breastfeed, a nursing pillow can be a great help to you, your partner, your baby and anyone else who happens to be around.
Obviously, I bought the pillow to help make breastfeeding more comfortable. In that respect, it did it’s job. It was especially handy in the early days when I was struggling to find comfortable positions to nurse in and when Zayden needed extra support for his head. When our family babysits, they use the pillow to help feed him his bottles. But if all you use your pillow for is feeding the baby, then you are missing out.
Zayden cheers on Team Canada from the comfort of his nursing pillow.
It is also useful for supporting your arms when you are simply holding the baby, especially for long periods. This was vitally important in the early months of Z’s life when he would only take a proper nap at home if someone was holding him. My arms would have fallen off without the pillow to support them. Sometimes, we would just prop him up in the pillow and he would fall asleep on his own. Before he could sit up, we often propped him up in the pillow in order to give our arms a break. In this position, he was first able to play with toys. Once he was able to sit up on his own for short periods, we used the pillow to help support him. My husband finds the pillow so comfortable that he sometimes uses it to take naps.
Zayden takes a nap in the pillow.
There are a few drawbacks to this particular pillow. It’s large size has made it comfortable to use, especially with my rapidly growing chunky monkey, but it also limits the places where I can use it. I have to nurse my son on our couch or in my bed; it does not fit if I try to nurse him in the rocking chair in his nursery. It also lacks a removable cover. Given the number of times he has drooled and spit up on the pillow, that would have been a really nice feature and for the life of me, I can’t think of why anyone would design anything for use with a baby that you couldn’t throw in the laundry.
If you can find a pillow with a similarly sturdy design that allows you to use it for multiple functions that has a washable cover, I believe you will have found one of your most indispensable pieces of baby gear.
We bought a less-known breastfeeding pillow while I was still pregnant. I went into a couple of stores to “try on” the pillows, sitting with them and imagining holding my baby. Of course, that’s rather a difficult thing to imagine. At the time, I ruled out any pillow that had a back attachment, as that just seemed darn uncomfortable. I also found some too snug about the body, making them uncomfortable in our chosen breastfeeding chair.
I chose the Bosom Baby nursing pillow because it was very pliable, large and soft. I’ve been very happy with the purchase. I would suggest that it is far easier to use in a chair than on a couch because the arms help you to keep the pillow in your chosen position. When Aiden was small, I had to prop a pillow under the corner when I used it in bed or on the couch.
The pillow served well as a place for Aiden to sleep while he hated his bassinet, and was very comfortable for me. It’s still great, particularly as I use it only in the rocking chair. You can, as the website suggests, also use it for tummy time. I didn’t try to use it for a maternity pillow – I had the Snoogle for that (downside of the Snoogle pillow is that it’s pretty squished now for pregnancy #2).
Purchased from Jack & Lola