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Dear Crissy - Life, blogged.

I breastfed for a year & all I got was…

I breastfed for a year, and all I got was this stinkin’… wait — scratch that.

What I got, was an incredible sense of gratification, a gorgeous healthy baby, and the chance to form an intensely-special bond with my daughter. Among other things.

On Breastfeeding for 1 Year

So happy that I breastfed for a year…

When I gave birth to Kara, I didn’t have any breastfeeding expectations. I had felt like I failed Evan when I wasn’t able to breastfeed him, and while I wanted to give it a second shot, I didn’t have my hopes up, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be able to say that I breastfed for a year.

I am living proof that just because breastfeeding doesn’t work out the first time doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t the second, or third, or fourth. If you have the desire in your heart to try it… do.

On Breastfeeding for 1 Year

I’m not saying that I didn’t have breastfeeding struggles with Kara, because I did. However, overall, the experience has been wonderful. It only got easier and easier as the weeks passed, and now I feel like it’s just a part of my existence.

In fact, as Kara celebrates her 1st birthday and begins to show signs of wanting to wean, I feel a bit sad to see this time pass.

I just feel really proud that I breastfed for a year. Really, really proud.

UPDATE… I ended up breastfeeding Kara for 15 months. :)

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46 Comments

  1. December 21, 2012 @ 1:33 pm
    Shannon S.

    I so agree with all you have said…did that to my other 3 boys and now on my 4th…it is a beautiful thin!!

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  2. December 21, 2012 @ 1:38 pm
    brianna dale

    You rock!!!

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  3. December 21, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    Congrats mama! Making it to a year really is an accomplishment.

    (And I thought you were going to say, “… all I got was saggier boobs.” LOL I’m on my 3rd baby and going on 3 1/2 years combined of breastfeeding. I definitely got the saggier boobs.)

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    • December 21, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

      Oh, I’ve got that too. Good thing I’m kind of like “whatevs” about my boobs at this point. lol. As long as they look OK in a bra, I don’t really care!!

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  4. December 21, 2012 @ 1:43 pm
    Jen

    I’m going on exclusively breastfeeding for 17 month. I’m tired! I love the bonding but I’m really over the fact that she depends on me breast feeding her to fall asleep or that she now uses me as a pacifier. She is a late teether and her molars are now cutting through. She needs me now so I won’t deny her the comfort she needs. But boy, oh boy, do I wish she’d take a bottle or a pacifier!!!

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  5. December 21, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
    Pam Parson

    I couldn’t make it work with my first one, but the second breastfed for 9 months. I still don’t really know what the difference was. Congratulations :)

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  6. December 21, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    You are so right! I only breastfed my oldest for 4 months and felt like a failure but I was able to breastfeed my youngest son for 13 months and counting! Congrats!

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  7. December 21, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    Awesome! I am currently tandem nursing my 20 month old and my 2 month old. It’s tough at times, but that special time with each of them is worth it. There are some days when I wish the older wasn’t still nursing, but then I cherish that special one on one time with him in the midst of life with a newborn. Congrats to your accomplishment!

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  8. December 21, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

    I breastfed for a year too and so happy I did :)

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  9. December 21, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Awesome mama! My boy turned one in November and breast milk is still the majority of his nourishment, though he eats everything. I weaned his sister when she was 2, I wonder how long he will want to go. Two is my limit, but I wouldn’t mind if he stopped earlier, in say half a year :)

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  10. December 21, 2012 @ 2:16 pm
    Jayme H.

    Congratulations!

    I have a two month old and feeding him has been very challenging and rewarding. My guy has sensitivities to many foods, so I have been on a bland diet for a month now. That in itself has challenges, but knowing that he feels better is the best meal plan enforcement ever!

    All the challenges are worth it. I have all this time cuddling and talking with my son. He laughs and lunges for me. He smiles at me. And he is working on hugs.

    I highly recommend a class or support group for anyone who is unsure or worried if she can handle it, or even completely clueless about breastfeeding (like I was!). And bring your partner–it was good for my husband to know what was going on as well.

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  11. December 21, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    Wow! Congrats! That’s a huge accomplishment that you should feel GREAT about.

    I, too, set a goal of a year, but I also felt like I should go past that if my son showed no signs of weaning. I had NO idea that would mean we’d still be nursing at over 3 years (and 31 weeks pregnant!) These little ones sure have their own plans, don’t they?

    Good job, mama!

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  12. December 21, 2012 @ 2:23 pm
    Luda

    I have 3, with first one i stopped at 6mo because introduced bottle too early, with second one at 8mo and i had to brake the habit myself because she was falling asleep with my boob and would not take pacifier. With third one she just turned 1 and she is so attached i don’t know what to do. I sure agree breastfeed babies are more healthier.

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  13. December 21, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    I’m glad it worked out for you. The longest I Was able to breast feed any of my four was 4 months. I just dried out over night with all of them, ugh. However, I can say that all I got out of breastfeeding was embarrassingly saggy boobs. I think my grandmother’s were perkier in her 80’s , sigh. I HATE what it did to my body :/

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  14. December 21, 2012 @ 2:30 pm
    Sandy C.

    I was SO into breastfeeding! I started “preparing” my nipples in the 5th month of pregnancy. I breast-fed my daughter until she was 2 1/2 years old. My mother asked, “Why don’t you give her some formula?”, and I reacted as though she had asked, “Why don’t you give her some rat poison?”

    Anyway….the whole point here being that my baby had CP, and was very tactily sensitive/defensive. She would not tolerate being held, and the only skin-to-skin contact we had was lying on the bed, facing each other, with my nipple in her mouth.

    Well, she’s now 33, and still has some gross motor problems – but still wants not to much to do with me. I was away for 10 years, and never heard from her once. Now that I’m back home, she only calls or e-mails if she wants to ask for money.

    Not sure why I’m sharing all this here, it’s probably not the right forum for it, and I apologize if anyone is offended or whatever…..it’s just that I so wanted to be a good mother (natural childbirth, nursing the baby)…it just didn’t work out. So much for my bonding experience. I just want to know, why, my friend who was pg the same time I was, why her bay was standing up, and trying to climb out of the crib at nine months, and Jill couldn’t even turn over. My friend had no prenatal care, lived on potato chips and beer, did weed and coke, and her baby turned out fine. I sat in the sun, did my Lamaze (through 30 hours of back labor!), ate fruits and veggies, everything…..I’m just so bitter, effing 33 YEARS LATER—-I just want to know WHY. WHY??

    Sorry for the rant, I needed to vent. :(

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  15. December 21, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    Great post, I don’t have kiddo’s yet, but I do know if we do I would breast feed, i think it is very beneficial!

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  16. December 21, 2012 @ 2:35 pm
    Amanda Wilson

    My first child was completely bottle fed. My second was breast fed for four and a half months. They are both incredibly smart, healthy (my second child actually had more issues than the bottle fed child) beautiful children. There is a very strong bond with both of them I will let never again let someone make me feel guilty for not breast feeding. Every parent that loves and nurtures their child should be proud of themselves regardless of how that infant was fed.

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  17. December 21, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    What a sweet, precious story! So glad you got to share that bond with your daughter.

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  18. December 21, 2012 @ 3:23 pm
    Ronnie

    And you should be proud! I breastfed my 2 older one until they no longer wanted “that”.. they both weened themselves off . I was hospitalized for heart problems 1 week after my little girl was born, and the meds I had to take to save my life were not compatible with baby… I felt like I was failing her and the close-knit bonds I expected with her didn’t come till much later. Again, congrats on 1 year!

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  19. December 21, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    Congrats, Chrissy! That is a HUGE accomplishment! :)

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  20. December 21, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    That is so wonderful!!! I had trouble with my first born and breast my second for 10 months.

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  21. December 21, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    That is so awesome! Congratulations on your accomplishment.

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  22. December 21, 2012 @ 4:56 pm
    Shawna Scott

    i had a few problems as well, but i pumped and tried again at 2 1/2 months and it worked! we worked so hard and i’m so proud that we figured it out :). shes 9 months now, i’m planning to wein 12 or 13 months.

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  23. December 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm
    Erika

    breastfeeding really is a wonderful feeling isn’t it!
    The exact same thing happened to me with my first, my son. I could only breast feed him for 2 months and it just wasn’t enough for him, he needed more than what I could give him so I ended up switching him to formula.
    Now my daughter Scarlett, is Almost 9 months old and I have been breast feeding her exclusively since day 1. I too feel really proud of myself! It sure has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, it’s such a good thing for both of us and definitely creates an amazing bond.
    I plan on continuing to breastfeed her for long as I possibly can!

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  24. December 21, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    Go you! I couldn’t BF the first time but I was successful the second time :)

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  25. December 21, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your breastfeeding story. My son is now 1 year old and we also made it to our first year goal. I know the end is near, and I am incredibly sad about it. Breastfeeding has been a life changing experience and it has meant the world to me. Congratulations mama! :)

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  26. December 21, 2012 @ 7:02 pm
    Jennifer T.

    Kudos to you! And, you should feel proud!

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  27. December 21, 2012 @ 7:03 pm
    Tara Taylor

    That’s great. I love hearing other success stories like yours and you should be proud too. My two boys nursed for 17 and 16 months. I was some concerned when I was pregnant with No. 2 and No. 1 was still nursing, but he weaned at the beginning of the second trimester. I started reading a book on tandem nursing and wasn’t overly excited about the idea I must say. In some ways, nursing was such a convenience and loved the closeness it brought; but there were times too when I felt resentful if hubby thought that was always the first choice to soothe a child, even if baby wasn’t hungry. Sometimes our bedroom became an all-night diner and by the end with No. 2, I was chronically sleep-deprived and just had to say enough already for my own sanity. Still, I wouldn’t change things if I could go back for a do-over. I did my best and the boys never even had so much as a sniffle in their first year (and, by the way, it was a great “diet” for me too).

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  28. December 21, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

    WTG! I also breastfed my baby for a year when I thought I couldn’t with my fist and second children. What are the signs that she wants to wean?

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  29. December 21, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

    I was devastated when I couldn’t breastfeed Zach, but am hoping that if I have another baby that I will be able to breastfeed him/her. I just want to go through that wonderful experience. I’m glad you were able to!

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  30. December 23, 2012 @ 2:35 am
    sara m ford

    I think most of us have a hard time to start but if you can stick it out then it is the best thing. I had to end up going to a bottle but not for lack of trying I did it for a month each time but it was soo hard. They tell you to do it for 2 weeks because the baby needs the colustrum. After that if you are still having a hard time then go to bottles but it is an amazing thing to breast feed your little one

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  31. December 23, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    I think I miss breastfeeding my babies more than anything else, the bond was so special. One child was almost 2 before he weaned, another almost 3, another was a difficult 8 months and we both gave up at the same time, lol, my 4th never got the hang of it after his open heart surgery and my 5th was done by the time she was 4 months. They all nursed for different amounts of time, but I am grateful for every moment I had alone with them. My goal for all of them was at least a year, but don’t regret the babies who breastfed for less time.

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  32. December 24, 2012 @ 3:12 am
    Eileen

    You should be proud! It’s a huge commitment, even though most or at least many moms say it is just a “given”, it still is a choice and a decision that changes you. You are on call much more. You even have to take better care of your body, make better food choices (not drink, restrict caffeine use, and of course cannot really “diet” to get back to pre baby size/weight ) while you are trying to provide the best nourishment to a baby.

    It can and often does change the appearance of your breasts and for some it might matter. For others…like ME, who the heck cares! Breasts were designed to feed young. So, for me was an easy choice in which I am quite sure I got WAY more out of the deal than they. Six times. Between 8 months and 18 months with each (the later due to milk/formula allergies that produced lots of painful eczema so I just pushed farther to help them get into it slowly.) A rather awesome investment in bonding and time, money saved, in my case a calmer mom…and too many etc.’s to mention. Women have a choice. They should. They should not feel badly if it doenst work out. But it is so ok to feel proud for making a go of it! Hooray for your mom and daughter team Crissy!

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  33. December 24, 2012 @ 9:54 pm
    donna harris

    I’m so proud of you that you got to breastfeed for a year! I did try to with my first son, but it didn’t work. He was losing a lot weight so the dr. said put him on the bottle. The second son I didn’t try, the dr. said I didn’t product enough milk. How did he know that without me trying, so I went along with him. I felt disappointed that I failed, I won’t the bond between a child and mother. Your Kara is so cute and looks like she is happy baby!

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  34. December 25, 2012 @ 4:08 am

    Good for you mama! I breastfed my 2nd son for two years 2 weeks…couldn’t wait to let it go really! It was sad yes but honestly I was relieved :D

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  35. December 28, 2012 @ 2:19 am

    Crissy, this is a huge accomplishment and I’m so thrilled for you that it worked out better this time. Your example will encourage other moms to not assume that it won’t work out the second time around either.

    As you know I breastfed for over five years (last 3 years he only nursed a few minutes to sleep), and I wouldn’t change a minute. We have an incredible bond and he is a very self-sufficient, independent little boy. I loved breastfeeding, being able to nourish him and comfort him. There were so many moments where I was happy to still be breastfeeding. It certainly gives you many advantages, including health advantages for child AND mom.

    You go, Mama!

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  36. February 15, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more!

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  37. February 15, 2013 @ 9:53 am
    Melanie S

    You are so right! I breastfed my first 2 for a yr and when I had my third I never thought that I would have problems breastfeeding her cause how good it went with my first 2. I struggled and cried and cried cause I couldn’t grasp WHY? why won’t she take? I ended up bottle feeding her and she is so healthy to this day. She is now 7yrs old! Each child is different in their own special way but we love each of them equally :-)

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  38. February 15, 2013 @ 9:56 am
    Shawna Scott

    my daughter will be 1 yr in less than a month and she also is showing signs of wanting to wean…it kinda makes me sad. we worked really hard, i refused to give up just a few short months ago. now soon there will be no more breastfeeding, but i feel pretty good about doing it! i’m helping my sister in law with bfing my newfew, she was unable to bf her first child its pretty cool that i can help her while shes working on it! i’ll never forget the best thing i’ve ever read while becoming a mom ” its hard, then its easy” everything starts off hard but then it gets easy! i hope to remember that when i potty trane!

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  39. February 15, 2013 @ 10:07 am
    Courtney W.

    I breastfed my daughter for about 13 months. It was the hardest thing, next to giving birth, that I’ve done. I never felt this’d amazing bond everyone talks about until after we gave up the boob. It was weird. I am so happy you made it a year. It is a beautiful thing to think that our children have been nourished and flourished with the food and nutrients our body produced for them! I just didn’t feel that it was a special time for us, on an individual feeding basis. I do have to say I was lucky to be able to breastfeed at all, let alone for 13 months!

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  40. February 15, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    Such wonderful, encouraging words! I know there are a lot of moms who need to hear this. I tried and didn’t succeed breastfeeding my first, so I didn’t even try with my second. Now I wish I had given it another try. I’m glad you had such a great experience with your daughter.

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  41. February 15, 2013 @ 10:09 am
    Angela Castle

    I did not breast fed my oldest, tried with my second and she would not take but my third i breast fed my third till he was 6 months I felt great that i went that far. i did feel a little guilty i had to stop with him but my body could not handle it anymore. Congrats to you.

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  42. February 15, 2013 @ 12:07 pm
    Kayla

    I remember feeling that sadness with my daughter too. My goal was to breastfeed for a year, and at times I was so looking forward to ending it so I could have total freedom back. But then, when a year came, and she weaned herself off, I cried the first night I didn’t nurse her to sleep!! You sometimes don’t realize how much of a bond it really is!

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  43. May 9, 2013 @ 3:33 pm
    Heather

    I’m seriously, seriously proud of you. You go, mama.

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  44. May 9, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

    I breastfed my one and only for 13 months before we started weaning. It ended up probably being around 15 to 16 months before we totally stopped. We had A LOT of struggles at first, but I wanted to so bad so didn’t give up. I’m so glad I didn’t. It was an amazing experience. :)

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  45. May 9, 2013 @ 5:28 pm
    Kim Harig

    It is sad to have it come to an end. It did get easier with each baby. I wish that I would have tried harder with the first one. They each got 6 weeks except with the last 2 each a full year. After I got a pump it was easier with working and I didn’t have to quit breastfeeding. What a blessing and much easier at night than going to make a bottle. No formula to buy either.

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