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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Breastfeeding Musings

Two sides, two boobs, coincidence?

Ok, I was just trying to be funny and it is not really working.  I have a much harder time being serious, but this is a topic I have to give a reality check to.  There is always tons and tons of talk, dialogue, controversy and strong opinions about breastfeeding.  And there are certainly more than just two sides and two points of view when it comes to this conversation.  Big Dub and I have been going strong for 10 months now and it has been a topic as of late because he is coming up on his one year.
This entire 10 months I have struggled with breastfeeding, sometimes loving it and other times hating it.  I have struggled with being the only one who can soothe him, get him back to sleep, with him refusing a bottle and making it very difficult for me to leave him 2 1/2 days a week.  I have struggled with breast feeding in public and how, when, if we should even attempt to cover up (Dub has solved that one for us, he does not allow any discreet nursing).  I have felt too needed and too pawed at, too tired and too thirsty. 

And I have loved every second of being with my son, providing him with the nurturing that he needs.
When we started breastfeeding I was committed to the first year, hands down.  I’m cheap and I was not interested in buying formula.  After breastfeeding him for a few months, doing more research and really getting in the groove, I decided I was comfortable nursing him until he’s 2, if he decided he would continue that long. 
Now that we are coming up on the one year mark, I am starting to get the “oh, you are still breastfeeding?” and “how much longer are you going to nurse him?” etc.  I have not been prepared for those comments in the least and have not been prepared to have to defend my decision to continue breastfeeding.  I have been more interested in the topic as of late, thus  have come across more blogs, comments, research, etc. and all of it supports my want, and instinct, to continue breastfeeding him.
Recently, in the emotional height of the sleep struggle, I was told (very lovingly) by a family member that Big Dub is “taking advantage” of me because he wants to nurse every 45 minutes to two hours at night.  I was told that it is probably time for me to dry up.  I admit that I went home and cried, thinking that it was time to dry up, that we made it this long, but at some point mama has to sleep in order to be a good mama at all.  I told my husband tearfully that it was time to start weaning, then sniffled some more and told him “but I’m just not done yet, I’m not ready” and he said “but you got to for 10 months, think about so and so who wasn’t able to breast feed at all…” and then he said he just did not understand why I would be sad about weaning him. He did not say that in a negative sense, but in a “that’s just not something I will ever understand because I will never give birth to a child” kind of way.
It was at that moment that I came to my senses.  I am not done yet.  Big Dub IS NOT DONE YET.  That is for sure.  I realized that disassociating midnight nursings with sleeping has to happen (although we have been working on that for months and he just has not taken well to it), but that does not mean that I have to be done nursing him.  And I realized that weaning him would not make him sleep through the night, he will continue to wake up as often as he wishes and he will sleep through the night when he decides to, he has made that abundantly clear.
I read on a website that a well known author on sleep and baby (or parent) training says that breastfeeding after a year is for the mom, not for the baby.  I can say that there is a part of me that agrees with that; I am just starting to feel really comfortable with breastfeeding, with not covering up, with nursing anywhere and anytime and I feel strongly about continuing to be an advocate and that includes nursing my son past one.  Maybe it is just to prove a point, something I am a huge fan of and have a tendency to do in all areas of my life.
But more than proving a point, it’s because I simply can’t imagine weaning him.  If he self-weaned I’d be ok, for sure, and I would celebrate with a night out with the girls and one too many martini’s…  But I can tell you that he is not done and (maybe especially after the sleep struggles we have had) I am not going to fight him on this one.



I'm just and average mama who's not afraid to say all the things you know you are thinking.  Or just not smart enough to keep my mouth shut.

Follow me on twitter: @midnightfeeding / email me: / visit me:

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