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November 17, 2005 / allyo

The “b” word

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve written about my boobs. Imagine that! At some point in the last 8 months or so, i decided to try extended breastfeeding (EBF). While I don’t think child-led weaning is my bag, it was obvious to me that weaning at 12 months was too soon, for both Jamie and for me. So right now my goal is 24 months. It’s not an arbitrary number – a lot of the benefits of breastfeeding really kick in at the 2-year mark. Especially important to me is the possibility that EBF could lower my risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating disease that both my mom and my grandma suffer from.

When Jamie was about 10-11 months old breastfeeding was driving me NUTS. I was trying to wean from the pump and he was nursing every two hours on weekend days. I’ve always had an abundant, if not over-supply, and it was impossible for my body to adjust. We were working on nightweaning, and more than once I wondered if weaning alltogether would make me happier. There were a few week days that he nursed exactly twice, and I wondered if we were headed down that road, yet did nothing to stop us.

Well, I managed to push soymilk on the weekends and made a point to leave him with Mad Dog a few afternoons so the boobs weren’t there anyway, and my body was finally able to settle down and it’s been…wow, weeks, months maybe since I’ve pumped. Nightweaning was fun while it lasted, but it didn’t stick and at this point I’d rather cosleep than re-nightwean every time his teeth bug him, since that’s usually a weekly occurance.

Amazingly, breastfeeding a 13-month-old is suddenly an absolute joy. I was at a La Leche League meeting the other night talking to a woman who is nursing her 9-month-old and is experiencing a lot of the same frustrations I was at 10 months. Once I started talking about where we ended up after that incredibly trying period I actually had to reign myself in – the focus of the meeting wasn’t on EBF and I didn’t want to sound all evangelical and scare off some of the pregnant mamas there. But oh my goodness, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed any part of our nursing relationship as much as I’m enjoying this. Jamie is at such a delightful stage- part toddler, part baby – and the way nursing connects us, the way it gives him both the attachment the toddler needs to be happy and independent, as well as the comfort the baby needs…it’s just what we were designed to do. It’s such a part of who I am, as Jamie’s mother, I can’t imagine not going forward.

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2 Comments

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  1. Jody / Nov 17 2005 5:06 pm

    Oh, YEAH, that’s a great time to be nursing. I could be scary-enthused about nursing a toddler, myself. Now, maybe I enjoyed it because I went from nursing three to nursing two at 11.5 months, except that actually I felt enormous guilt and anxiety about the way that Gemma weaned. No, I think it was just that nursing a toddler WORKS. All through that year, I just kept thinking: what would I do without this tool in my arsenal?

    I miss my nursing relationships with all three kids at every stage, but I almost miss the toddler nursing stage the most, because it was pretty consistently easy.

    As someone who nursed until (cough, cough, blush, look away) three and a half years, I should warn you, age two didn’t stand out as a naturally easy time to wean. Lots of demanding and oppositional behavior around then, sometimes. Not that I minded, I was happy to keep nursing, but something to keep in mind. I’ve heard 18 months or 30 months can be easier for some kids. But I certainly wasn’t ready at 18 months (and they absolutely weren’t, especially Wilder, who drank no other fluids) so that decided that.

    Glad to read you feeling so good about it all!

  2. Monica / Nov 17 2005 5:30 pm

    Thanks for posting that – we’re at 11.5 months and I’m trying to figure out what to do. I’m not exactly enjoying breastfeeding simply because of the continuous biting, but I’m hoping he’ll stop doing that so we can continue for awhile longer.

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