Evolving Thoughts and Breastfeeding

 

Breastfeding

I plan on breastfeeding my daughter until she self-weans.

This really shouldn’t be earth shattering news considering the World Health Organization recommends nursing until at least two-years-old and considering the fact we are mammals, the minimum predicted age of weaning is about 2.5 years old.

But, it is a big deal to me.

It is an even bigger deal considering my attitude towards breastfeeding when my son was a nursling. I never questioned the fact of exclusively breastfeeding him. I knew a bottle of formula would never touch his lips as surely as I knew I would wean him promptly at 12 months old. It seemed as natural to me as walking into our local hospital as soon as labor pains were unbearable in order to request my epidural.

It was just what I was supposed to do and I didn’t really give it much thought.

It was a grand plan and it went off without a hitch. I was proud to have nursed for a year and fulfilled that important duty for my baby boy.

So, what changed?

My attitude towards birth and breastfeeding.

No longer do I see a hospital as the only place to give birth and no longer do I view breastfeeding as simply a means of feeding my baby the food nature intends.

Since the homebirth of our daughter, I view birth as a spiritual and sacred experience in which I can bring my children gently into this world as my body was so perfectly designed to do.

Now, I view breastfeeding as a special bond between mama and nursling. A way to nourish, protect from illness, comfort and snuggle all wrapped up in a neat, cheap and convenient package.

On the practical side, I appreciate not worrying about my daughter’s sensitivity to dairy and inability to drink cow’s milk. There is no worry about her not eating enough table food via BLW because my milk gives her everything her growing body needs. It is also good to know she is protected from illnesses due to the special antibodies my milk provides just for her.

And, of course, I love knowing that she is mine and I am the only one who can provide the love and comfort of her mother’s breast.

Why would I even consider weaning her in two short months when she turns a year old?

I can’t think of a single good reason.

Laura is a homebirthing, breastfeeding, cloth diaper washing mama to two small children. She blogs all about it at Our Messy Messy Life.

Comments

  1. says

    I could have written this post. My entire thought process changed from baby #1 to baby #2. Induced, epidural, the entire event with #1. Nothing with baby #2. Breastfed baby #1 for a while and gave up. Still going strong with baby #2. I just wish I would have been able to give my son all that I am giving my daughter.

    Great post, Laura.

  2. says

    I have been thinking along the exact same lines! While I was pregnant I decided I was going to breastfeed to a year and then stop. Now Kayleigh is 7 months old I don’t think *I* can make the decision to suddenly stop, I want it to be her choice. Why would I want to wean my daughter onto milk that nature designed for cows, when I can give her milk that is tailored exactly to her needs? Not only that but she gets so much comfort from it, sometimes it is the only thing that will calm her down when she is upset and how can I take that away from her when she is still so small?

  3. says

    Good for you!! It really is worth it. And just in case you begin to think otherwise, they really DO stop on their own eventually. ;) My eldest just weaned at 4.5 years…but the thing is, by that point she was only nursing *maybe* once every few days at the most. I’m still nursing my 3 year old and my 15 month old and plan to let them wean on their own, too.

    I didn’t plan on doing it this way, either. I think that at some point I decided I’d set an 18-month goal, but NEVER EVER EVER imagined myself nursing a preschooler. It just never even really crossed my mind. Now I see how natural it really is, and I feel ashamed at the stigmas that I placed (or agreed with) on breastfeeding back in the day.

  4. says

    Love this post, Laura! I remember feeling the same way when I was pregnant. I was going to nurse until 6 months, and then stop. Little did I know how things would change when baby boy #1 was born! :)

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