(above was a video when bastian was 3.5 weeks old…my heart bursts watching it)
this week is national breastfeeding week, so i thought i would share a little bit about my extended journey in breastfeeding. before coming a mother, i knew i wanted to breastfeed but never really gave too much thought to how long. i didn’t set a goal for myself or feel one way or the other about the topic.
after having bastian, and having developed a successful breastfeeding relationship, it seemed like a no-brainer to nurse for a year. i remember the months leading up to his first birthday, it was so hard for me to wrap my head around quiting. it didn’t make sense to me how he could go from nursing 4-5 times a day to just stopping. was he going to like cow’s milk? how was he going to fill up? it became clearer the closer we got – there was no reason to stop at a year.
one thing i was ready to stop was pumping. i had talked to moms who continued to breastfeed their kids while at home but stopped having to pump at work. if you are a working (or part-timer like me) breastfeeding mom, you know exciting it is to not have to pump at work. i did get so used to spending that time with my trusty pump, but i was thrilled about not having to wash those damn pump parts every night. the week before his birthday, i went from pumping 3 times at work to 2, then the next week once, then to none. i was never engorged or uncomfortable. i continued to breastfeed like normal when i was home with bastian.
after a year, i didn’t plan on cutting down feedings, bastian did his own weening. i found i was the one who kept him on a breastfeeding schedule after his birthday. for the next month i would feed him before his naps, in the morning and at night. i would offer him my breast and sometimes he would refuse. after a month i decided i wouldn’t refuse him of nursing, but just not offer it at the times i normally would have. i realized bastian didn’t miss it. he didn’t need to nurse before naps (whaaa? was i in denial?). within a month and a half we were down to just two feedings a day, morning and night.
we have a great thing going, and although bastian isn’t getting his daily nutrition from the trickle that is left in my boobs, i know there’s more to it than that. we use that time to relax together. when you have an incredibly active toddler, getting more than 10 minutes of cuddles is like heaven – not to mention the time i can read texts and check social media. is there a part of me that is hanging on? emotionally, i don’t think so. habitually? maybe. again…am i in denial? i feel like when he is ready, he will let me know.
there is a part of me that is really proud that i am still a breastfeeding mother, but there is also a part that feels embarrassment when saying it out loud. i usually make a funny face while saying “yup, i still breastfeed” and then follow up that statement with a bunch of rambling mumbo jumbo, like i need to justify something. well, people, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
do some people think i am crazy? yes, probably. are some people grossed out? probably. do some people think i will end up on the next cover of time magazine nursing my 7 year old…maybe haha.
bastian is almost ready to give up the night feeding. i am going to let him run the show (don’t most kids do that anyways?). i wonder about the last time i feed bastian and how i will feel. i am sure it will be bitter-sweet. i haven’t felt much emotion so far in the weening process…well besides the hormones. while having your baby go from baby to toddler to teen to adult is sad, it’s also so exciting. i love seeing how bastian is turning into a little person with personality and opinions.
so whether you breastfeed for one day to 7 years, you shouldn’t be ashamed. our job as a mom is hard enough, we don’t need to add more guilt on top of it. my name is amalia, and i breastfeed a toddler.