At first it was overwhelming and challenging, which I knew it would be to start. We got through those difficult first days, and it became a wonderful experience. The period of thrush were a painful time, but we fought through and I'm a better person for it. Everything since then has been, to use one word, beautiful. I love the bond that we have, and breast feeding makes me feel so connected to my role as his mother. Things have certainly changed though, and nursing a baby is definitely very different from nursing a toddler.
I would like to say that the fact that Max can sign for milk has really made life better. Knowing what he wants before he gets fussy is amazing, and I can tell that he loves the power of communicating that to me. This is definitely a huge change from his early days as a baby, as he can actively explain his needs. Watching for him to root around was easy as well, but this is just different. I love it.
So what do we know about toddlers? Well, they're toddling. Max does not want to just sit/lay there to eat. He's all about moving around and getting comfortable or just keeping himself moving. Here are some examples of new nursing positions:
- Side-lying in the crook of my arm, so I can act as a pillow as he falls asleep.
- Downward-facing-baby. Yup, you got it. He likes to nurse with his legs straight and his butt in the air (while I'm laying down). How does he manage to swallow? I have no idea.
- Sitting at the bar. Yup, I'll be on my side while he sits up and just bends over. Sometimes he will ONLY nurse in this position. This is sometimes accompanied by another typical bar activity. He fills his mouth with milk and then lets it all out on me. Why? I have no answer for that either. He thinks it's hysterical though, and goes back for more. Boot and rally, right?
- Laying perpendicular to me. Perpendicular? How does that work? Well, I'm laying down, he lays with his head next to me, but his feet are as far away from me as possible. Then... he tilts his head back as far as he can and latches. Really? Yes, really. He actually starts from a regular side-lying position and just wiggles his legs further and further from me, while never unlatching. Tricky kid.
- Laying ON me, belly down. Yes, he will be latched and pull his body over mine, and just lay there with one leg on either side of me. Lots of wiggling accompanies this, but he enjoys it.
- Laying on me, belly UP. What? Yes, that's right. BELLY UP. He starts with the laying on me face down and somehow manages to roll over. So he's laying on me, facing the ceiling, with his head turned so that he can still nurse. Weird duck.
- Baby rolls. No, not the cute rolls on their legs. Actually rolling. Nurse five seconds while turning slightly, until the neck won't turn anymore, unlatch and complete the turn and relatch. Repeat. Yes, this happens. He thinks it's funny! Silly kid.
Although it's not a position, he does another funny thing. He will pull his head back, look at the nipple, and go "ahhh!" as he opens his mouth, as wide as it will go, and leans his head in for more. It cracks us up!
All of this is hysterical to me. He actually nurses through me laughing at him. He's a little goof. He will stop sometimes and look up at me, with a huge smile, and just giggle with me. It's great. Sometimes Daddy is there to giggle with us. These fun memories are the best. I wouldn't take back a single moment of this awesome experience.