Ok so no post for a long time because life has been SUPER busy! So I have had a lot to catch up on.
This Saturday we went to an event called the Big Latch On where a bunch of moms from around the world gathered at the same time to breast feed their children hoping to set a world record for the most people nursing at the same time! Ellie was the oldest at the location we were at by two months.
Last week was world breast feeding week and I am SO glad we are still breast feeding at 11 months. I know people stop earlier for various reasons, or don’t bf at all for various reasons but we chose to extend breast feeding. I feel very good about this choice and am so glad I have a great group of moms who have also made this choice for their families who I can go to for support.
Now I understand we are coming out of the big “formula is best because it is made with science” generation. The last two generations of children (including me) were formula fed because that’s just what people did, or because people tried to breast feed and had no support and failed. Let me tell you though I AM SICK of people treating me like it is weird that I am still breast feeding my 11month old daughter. I am going to assume it is because people are miss informed and not because they are just idiotic pervs who only think breasts are there for sexy fun time and do not serve a functional purpose.
Let me note, I completely understand not all people are able to breastfeed for various reasons. Trying to breastfeed and being unable to is incredibly frustrating and causes the mother so much stress. There is no reason anyone should judge a bottle feeding mother. We don’t know her story. There are situations in which it isn’t possible for whatever reason. I am supportive of all moms, even if they don’t breastfeed, and this is not a judgement on any non breastfeeding moms.
SO here are some reasons as to why we have chosen to extend breastfeeding.
– Breast feeding a child past infancy is NORMAL
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child… Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother… There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.” (AAP 2005)
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that “As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement.
It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer.” They also note that “If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned.” (AAFP 2008)
A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)
The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1993, WHO 2002).
Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).
– Breastfeed children are better nourished
– Breastfeed children are sick less often
– Breastfeed children have fewer allergies
– Breastfeed children are smart
– Breastfeed children are socially well adjusted
– Breastfeeding reduces the mothers risk for breast cancer, and the longer you breast feed the lower your risk is! It also reduces your risk for ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancer.
– Breastfeeding increases the mothers bone density without the need of calcium supplements reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
– Breastfeeding moms lose weight easier (YAY)
So these are the reasons why we chose to extend breastfeeding. I hear those of you out there asking questions in the back of your head so here are a few I have heard and my answers:
Q: But she has teeth doesn’t that hurt?
A: Well it hurts but only if she bites and we have done some training with her so she does not bite that often. If she bites she gets the boob taken away and she does not like that.
Q: I heard breast feeding was only for comfort after the first 15 months.
A: See above statements from WHO and AAP
Q: Doesn’t it hurt your sex life?
A: Anyone with a child can tell you that a child puts a wrench in your sex life; I doubt any choices we have made make it any worse.
Q: Isn’t it a lot of work to breast feed all the time?
A: No. In fact I would say breast feeding is the lazy parents way out. When my baby is hungry in the middle of the night I grab her, lay her down next to me, boob her, she nurses in her sleep doze. When we are done she goes back to her mattress and sleeps and I roll over and go back to sleep. This is instead of waking up, getting the bottle (hopefully there is a clean one), measuring formula and putting it in the bottle, adding water and heating it and hoping that it is not too warm or cold. Then burning your child because you did not test the heat of the bottle, getting up and sitting in a chair to feed baby then burping baby then putting baby back to bed all over again before going to sleep. I will nurse a baby any day over that!
That all being said I do miss my freedom. It is so wonderful and sometimes kind of annoying to have someone so dependent on you. I am the center of her universe and although that is wonderful most of the time, sometimes I would love to do something without considering what effect it will have on my child, my milk, my milk production etc., etc. But these are sacrifices I am willing to make for the relatively short time that I am supporting the child with my body.
In a few years she will be weaned and off on her own and want nothing to do with me, so I will deal with the cling monster and the slight inconvenience and the love and cuddles and hugs and slobbery wet baby kisses for a little longer.
Thank you for reading and if you see a woman out there nourishing her child with her body smile and support her!
How did you celebrate world breastfeeding week?
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