So this is one of those things that has been on my mind the last few months and have been waiting to sort through all my thoughts. I’m still sorting.
I think as a younger person I always thought I would breastfeed, but then quit when my baby had teeth. Then, especially when I became a nurse and learned of all the benefits of breastfeeding, I thought I’d do it forever. Now that I’ve been doing it for a year, I think I’m somewhere in the middle.
I’m pretty sure I read somewhere (though I can’t find it anywhere!) that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends (and recognizes health benefits) to breastfeeding (at least some) until age two. Obviously, starting at around 6 months babies will begin the weaning process with the introduction of “regular” food.
I’ve always been in the “Babywise” habit of not nursing C to sleep. Are their times when I’ve tried it, yup! Sometimes I nurse her down to achieve the dreaded car nap-to crib transition. But i do not do it on the regular. This, at least, affords me one less thing I have to worry about with weaning. She also has been fine with cups, so she hasn’t had a bottle at all, and If I am not home, she gets milk from a cup (not breastmilk in a bottle. Yay for hardly any pumping!) Now that we are in the process of going to one nap/per day, she is nursing about 3x a day (Down from 4). She has not gotten any overnight feedings in a very long time. 3 times a day is hardly an inconvenience for me. She is very fast and if I’m not home she does not seem to miss it.
In the annexes of my mind, I know there was a time where I was not pregnant or breastfeeding. But just as it seems that C has always been a part of our family, it seems that nursing (or pregnancy) has always been a part of me! I can’t remember what it was like to have my body be completely my own, and I am (in some ways) looking forward to it being mine for a time! However, I’m sure I will lose even MORE weight watchers points when I quit nursing completely, so I do not want to stop! 🙂 When she was a wee one and up sooooo many times and nursing sooo frequently I held it in my head that this day would come much too fast! and i was right 🙂 I’m glad I had that thought to help me get through those times, though!
But I also dread stopping because I know it will be yet another way my baby is no longer a baby, that she is growing up. But nursing her forever will in no way keep her a baby.
We had a very easy time breastfeeding over all. There were definitely difficult times, but in general we had it very easy. She loves to nurse, but took to eating “real ” food easily as well. She’s not too picky (YET!), and drinks cow’s milk from a cup, no problem.
In general, I think it will be an easy transition as all the other transitions (with food/nursing) have been. I wonder if she is ready even now. I’m certainly not. Growing up is all about starting the slow process of becoming your own person. It starts with birth and the clamping of the cord and it ends with… I’m not sure- I’m still asking my parents for advice! 🙂 I think part of why God makes it a slow process is for the sake of the mother’s poor heart! Babyhood goes way too fast.
Perhaps when she starts to walk I will become more ready. Somedays for sure I’m ready to stop (like when she wakes at 6 on saturday… if I wasn’t nursing B could take a turn!!! :)) but for now I will enjoy (as I have made it my habit, even at those 2, 3, and 4 am feedings) these moments as I am sure they are dwindling.
Anyway, those are all my deep thoughts on breastfeeding. Sorry for the rambling post. 🙂