A friend asked me this week, “How long did you breastfeed?” I paused and said, “Oh! I still am.” This response was met with a slight look of surprise. I went on, “Well, I mean, I’ve gone this long. I might as well go the full 12 months!” Charlotte will be 10 months old tomorrow. (::sniff:: ::sniff) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months. Another mom friend asked me, “How have you done it for so long?”
Honestly, I’m not really sure.
I had no idea I was so in the minority here, but apparently I am. I noticed most of the babies’ bottles in the fridge in Charlotte’s class were marked with “F” for Formula versus her bottles marked with “BM”. (That’s Breast Milk, not the other BM, but after I typed it I thought “eww”, and felt it needed further explanation.)
Then I read the latest US Breastfeeding Report Card
released last month by the CDC. It showed 28.3% of mothers were still breastfeeding at 12 months. So, yeah, I’m in the minority here.
If you didn’t read it, take a look at this post
on breastfeeding and formula. I got a lot of emails and Tweets about that one.
I’ve really been shocked at how well breastfeeding has worked for me. Make no mistake, my Medela pump owns me. Owns me. During a typical workday I’m lucky if I nurse Charlotte twice. Now that she want’s food, it may be even less. I pump three times on top of that. I’ve just now started cutting back a pump, so I’m wondering what that will mean for my supply. I’ve said before, I’m just lucky my bra cups runneth over. Most moms who stop nursing tell me it’s because they couldn’t keep up supply once they went back to work.
I’m really glad I chose to breastfeed. It’s been wonderful. I’ve heard from some that Charlotte didn’t suffer any crazy sicknesses these 10 months because she continued to get antibodies from breast milk. I don’t know how true that is. I’m no immunologist, but she seems healthy to me. Her pediatrician’s office promoted breastfeeding and had lactation consultants on their nursing staff. That was extremely helpful! Selfishly, I slipped back into my jeans pretty quickly postpartum thanks to the milk.
Eventually the boobs will go into retirement until Baby Version 2.0. I have several feelings about weaning…
- Sadness- “Oh! My baby is no longer a baby! She’s so big! Her babyhood has been too short!”
- Pride- “I’m a milk-making machine! I’ve done it for 10 months! I’ve never had to buy a single thing of formula, ol’ Bessie has nothing on me!”
- Happiness and Peace- “Okay, I’ll be ready to stop after she turns 1. It will be time. For almost two years my body has been working for her. Pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and nursing for a year. It’s all been for her. It will be hard to break that tie, but she’ll be ready. My body has helped make her body strong.”
- Excitement- “My body will become my own again. I’ll get back on a birth control pill that helps clear up the pimply disaster that is my skin instead of the one that helps ensure a good milk supply. Maybe I’ll have a few more martinis.”
I know groups like La Leche League
promote extended breastfeeding, but I don’t want to do that. Their book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
was excellent when I started nursing, but I didn’t find the chapter on weaning particularly helpful. I don’t think I want to be breastfeeding Charlotte at 2 or 3 years old. That’s just a bit much for me. If they can ask for a boob, it’s going on too long.
I need some advice blogosphere. Weaning. What are your opinions on it? How did it work for you?