Hi. I'm new to the group, but I'm certainly not new to breastfeeding! I nursed my son until he was 2 1/2, as he decided one day he was done. My daughter, however, was born with a heart defect. She was diagnosed at 9 months, with open heart surgery scheduled for 6 months later. She became even more precious to me than before, and I had 6 months to worry, plan to spend 6 weeks in the hospital with her, make arrangements for my son with my husband and sister, and study all I could about heart surgery before her operation. I stopped seeing my friends and going out at all. I went to the intensive care pediatric cardiology wing of the hospital to see the babies that had had the surgery. All I could think about was her. I was scared to death. When we went in for her pre-hospitalization tests, including an echocardiogram, the doctor said, "This is not the same heart!" I swore up and down that I hadn't changed it. He asked me about her daily life, and I told him that she nursed constantly and I basically wore her like an accessory. She was happy and growing, albeit a little slower than normal. Her heart defect had shrunk in size by about half. He said that she is the first patient he had ever heard of that had a spontaneous closure of her defect and he was going to write a research paper on her for all of the medical journals. He immediately canceled the surgery. He atributed her healing to my mothering and nursing, as he could see no other reason for her to heal herself. At that moment I decided to nurse her for as long as she wanted and planned a trip to Disneyland! Instead of waking up at the hospital on the day her surgery was scheduled, we woke up at the Disneyland Hotel. I looked down into that little sweet face and burst into tears. When she was about 3 she had an incredible growth spurt, going from a size 3 to 5 in 3 months. I took her to the doctor and her heart defect had closed all the way. It truly was a miracle. She and I discussed stopping nursing on her 4th birthday. She would have nothing to do with it. We had the same discussion on her 5th birthday. She tried it for a day or two, but was miserable. On her 6th birthday I told her that I wanted to be done and she agreed. This may sound crazy to some people, but now she's 19 and 1,500 miles away in college. She remembers nursing and to this day will cuddle with me for hours in the nursing position. We built a bond between us that is so strong because of our years of holding each other while nursing. That bond will last the rest of our lives. I've posted a picture of her in on this group photo page entitled The Nursing Princess. I'd love to hear other stories of long-term nursing moms.
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