Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Still nursing

I’m now, officially, an extended breastfeeder.

Baby Love is several weeks past one, and our nursing relationship is going strong. She still nurses around 4 times a day and 4 times a night (even though she eats crazy amounts of solids as well!).

When I started breastfeeding I didn’t have strong feelings about it. It seemed like less work than bottles, and I tend to prefer natural to artificial whenever practical, so I figured I’d try. If it didn’t work, no big deal. And I was definitely stopping when she got her first teeth!

Being 2 weeks late, she took to it like a champ. I was in awe at her skill at just minutes old.

Then I grew to resent her. If I was around, she wanted to nurse. ALWAYS. I felt like I didn’t even know what she looked like because I only ever saw the side of her face not blocked by my boob. I felt unloved, like she didn’t care about me, just my services. This continued for weeks. My mom told me to just give her a bottle and take a break, but breastfeeding was working and I didn’t want to mess up my supply if I could feed her. And after a few weeks it got better.

For months breastfeeding was no big deal. No longer a source of resentment, but not the big, bonding experience I’d been led to believe it would be, either. Functional and fine.

Slowly, though, I grew to love it. Being able to feed my child. To nourish her, body and soul, with my body. To be able to give her what no one else could. To feel the closeness. To know I was showing her love in the way she could best receive.

She got her first teeth at 5 1/2 months. I never even considered stopping. I didn’t even remember that had been the plan until months later, looking back. After all, by then breastfeeding was easy! We were both skilled and she needed it less frequently. Why would I stop and switch to bottles at that point? And that’s ignoring the love I was developing for it.

She began solids, following Baby Led Weaning. I never worried about how much she was eating. I’d been trusting her to feed herself appropriately for 6 months, and I continued to do so. I knew that no matter what she ate, almost all of her nutrition was coming from breastmilk, and so there was no need to worry about her solids intake. As more of her nutrition came from food, she ate more well balanced food of her own accord. No need for my intervention. And definitely no need to stop or reduce breastfeeding to force her to figure out what she was doing fine on her own.

And then she turned a year. Our nursing relationship is different now. She eats a RIDICULOUS amount of solid food for her size. But if she’s teething, or sick, and doesn’t feel like it, she can still get her nutrition from my milk. And even when she’s getting much of her nutrition from food, she’s still getting a perfectly balanced supplement from me. She nurses for comfort. When she’s sad or scared or needy, nursing makes her feel secure in my love. And she nurses for fun! She loves nursing! It makes her happy. And it makes me happy to make her happy.

No more is she the floppy little baby in my arms, being held to the breast. When we’re at home sometimes I’ll take my breast out and she’ll walk or crawl over, beaming, and crouch down or climb up to align herself and latch on. Once there she looks up into my eyes, hers filled with joy. She nurses laying down, but also sitting, standing, kneeling, crouching, and bending. Mornings when my husband is home he’ll often go get her when she’s up and bring her to me in bed and she’ll gleefully crawl across the bed, squealing, climb onto me, and plop herself down for snuggles. I take out my breast and she adjusts her snuggles to latch on, sighing contentedly.

Breastfeeding is such a huge part of our lives in so many ways. We both love it. I can’t imagine stopping, just because she hit an arbitrary age. And I can’t imagine her naturally stopping now. I imagine that as she grows she’ll nurse less and less until she no longer wants to. But until that time, I look forward to our nursing relationship continuing.

If you’d told me a year ago I’d still be nursing past one I’d have nodded, smiled, and then rolled my eyes behind your back. But here’s the thing: babies don’t turn one overnight. It’s a slow, gradual process. And while a one year old seemed huge and old a year ago, now she’s still just my baby, and neither of us is ready to be done.

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Breastfeeding in Public

I am such a sucky blogger. I give up on promising I’ll get better, because I’m enjoying spending time with my sweet baby love so much, and we all know the last three times I promised it didn’t happen anyway, but hopefully someone will stick around for the occasional post.

Topic for today: boobies!

Pre-baby I was very anti-breastfeeding-in-public-without-a-cover. Yes, I realized it’s natural, and yes, I realized that in other countries/cultures it’s normal to just pop it out and stick on the baby. But really, casual hugging and touching is also natural and prevalent in other cultures/countries, and it has even been scientifically shown that more casual touching is better for us. But it’s not acceptable in our culture/country, and just because I think it should be doesn’t mean I can walk around caressing everyone. I felt the same for popping out a boob. Whether or not they should be, in our culture/country they’re sexual objects and it’s not ok to show nipples publicly. I thought this seemed fairly self-evident.

Then I had a baby. And I still felt that way. I got a couple fantastic bebe au lait covers cheap second-hand, threw one over me and baby when she was hungry and we were out or people were over, and that was that. It was kind of a pain, especially in the summer heat, but not that big a deal.

Then my baby got older. And her limbs got longer. And she enjoyed flailing them around while eating. And she got bigger. And it was harder to fit her on my boob between me and the table at a restaurant, let alone have space to position a cover over us. And she enjoyed squirming while getting in place to be fed, which added another layer of difficulty to getting the cover arranged without dropping her. And I began to understand why people say covers are such a pain.

And as the months of sore nipples and a stranger’s giant, firm boobs on my chest and them being used as a food source every few hours by a crying, selfish creature and hooking them up to a milking machine daily went by, I stopped thinking of my breasts as sexual. At ALL. And I began to understand why people have no problem exposing their breasts in public, and even briefly exposing their nipples.

I still use a cover. I am very aware of how others feel, and from my past views I get how a woman exposing her nipple to latch a baby on is not socially acceptable. And to be quite honest, when I see other moms breastfeed without a cover, even now, it makes me uncomfortable.

But I get it. Oh boy, do I get it. And seeing it also makes me jealous.

So I won’t be one on the front lines, trying to normalize breastfeeding by doing it publicly exposed.

But now I will cheer those women on, and hope that maybe for one of my next kids, at least in my progressive area, it will become generally accepted to ditch the cover and breastfeed publicly.

Because, while we as a culture view breasts as nothing but sexual, breastfeeding really could not be farther from it.

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