Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Because there are not enough posts on breastfeeding in this world.

Sigh. Breastfeeding. I'm still at it. We're still at it. If you had told me when Eloise was born that I would still be nursing her at 14 months I would have said you clearly don't know me that well. Turns out I don't know me that well.

My plan was to go to 6 months. The disastrous Paris trip knocked back my confidence and I just couldn't bring myself to wean her. So I said we'll nurse until her 1st birthday. Then she can have cow's milk and I can have my boobs back. Or what's left of them.

Well 2 months on from her birthday and we are no closer to being weaned. I had a one week period where I offered her cow's milk more often and was going to take it from there, but I didn't really pursue it much more than that. She still gets a couple glasses of cow's milk a day (which she never finishes) and of course she's going without breast milk when she's at nursery twice a week.

But when she's with me and those little hands are furiously making the sign for milk! milk! milk! Dear GOD woman whip one out and FEED ME! with those big blue eyes I cave in nearly every time.

I don't breastfeed her in public anymore, because I'm slightly embarrassed by it now. Partly because we're not feeding as often so I'm more aware of it. At the beginning you're feeding your baby more often then you're not feeding her and if I hadn't nursed her in public back then I would have turned into a reclusive mole person who smells faintly of mildew and cream. And partly because I remember how I felt seeing a mother nurse a baby/child Eloise's age and it kinda creeped me out. I'm vain enough to care what others think of me and I just don't have the passion for breast feeding to back myself up. If I were a militant breast feeder who had read all the facts and chose to nurse my child until, what is it age 4? as recommended by the WHO? Then I would happily nurse in public and proudly explain my pro-breastfeeding stance to any naysayers. But I am not a militant breast feeder. Sure, I believe if you are able to, in the early stages, giving your baby milk created especially for him/her with your own friggin' body is the best option. But do you know what trumps that option? Making sure your baby does not go hungry and that you as a FAMILY are happy and healthy.

No, I am still breastfeeding my 14-month old baby because I am one lazy mother. I am feeding her with my own milk because I just can't face the week it would take to train her to nap without nursing. I am nursing her because on the nights when she wakes up at 4am, popping open my nursing bra and falling back to sleep in the chair next to her crib is the easiest option IN THE MOMENT. I am nursing her because on the rare occasions when she has a total freak out and is crying hysterically I know the quickest way to calm her down is to nourish her with my own body in the best way I know how. And if I am honest with myself, I am still nursing Eloise because I am afraid that if I stop I will no longer be as important to her as I am right now.

I know it needs to stop sometime. Sometime in the not so distant future. There is a long night at the pub with my name written in beer foam all over it. I want to take drugs again - no, not the fun bad kind, just some sudafed once in a while would be nice. I want to one day not be such an integral part of her bedtime routine. I want to know what other super powers as a mother I have up my sleeve. Powers that I have yet to discover because Eloise and I still can't get over the fact that my body? PRODUCES FOOD.


  1. PS. Is it me, or is my hair starting to look like Justin Beiber again?

  2. It does, indeed, have a Beiber thing going on there.

    Maybe your laziness is serving her anyway:

    A 5-yr-old walking up to his/her mom, lifting her shirt, and telling her about the day at preschool, between sips off the teat, a bit creepy. But El is only one. You're fine. :-)

  3. With both my kids, there came a point when I wondered if I'd ever actually wean them and then, one day, with both of them, it just happened really easily. With Penelope, I just woke up one morning (when she was about 13 months old) and realized she hadn't nursed for two days and so, I guessed that meant it was over. But I actually had to decide to wean Katherine because of some weird teething issues. I was surprised though because it wasn't as hard, or as upsetting, as I'd expected.

    So anyway, what I'm trying to say is: it sounds like you guys are totally on the right track. Do what feels comfortable and don't feel like you have to rush yourself (or Eloise) if you're not quite ready. Rest assured, all your other mommy-super-powers will still be there, waiting.

  4. I stopped nursing my daughter several months ago and about a month ago, I had a killer cold and that first morning when I woke up and realized I was quite sick, my next thought was "Hallelujah, I can take some meds for the first time in a year and a half!" I'm not going to lie, I went on a Neocitron binge!

    And I still have nights (like last night at about 2am) where I wish I could pop a boob in Annika's mouth to get some shut-eye. But for the most part, I'm so glad I'm done.

    You'll get there. And you'll still be the centre of her world, I promise! :)

  5. There is such a pull in all directions when it comes to weaning. I have to say, I nursed two of my children into their toddler years, and comparing it to weaning earlier I would go with extended nursing any day.

    You become important to your child in all kinds of ways as they grow older, but the ease of being able to comfort and put to sleep a child with the breast is irreplaceable. It's also a lot quicker: thirty seconds usually on the breasts calms the tears of a scraped knee, whereas otherwise you'd be holding and comforting for twenty minutes.

    Also, because less of her food is coming from you, you can take most meds without it being an issue.