Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wow, I suck

Well, it has been too long since I last posted on this blog! Shame on me. Abby and I are still nursing. She is almost 33 months old and we are down to nursing at bedtime and first thing in the morning. Sometimes she says there isn't any milk coming out. We are trying to get pregnant with #3 so I guess time will tell on when she will wean. I know that it hurts now when there isn't anything, or much coming out, I can't imagine how much worse that'll be when pregnant! I am open to the idea of tandem nursing so we'll see how it goes.

I know that a lot of people, including my husband, think Abby is too old to be still nursing. I have to disagree with them all. Historically, children were breastfed a minimum of 3 years. In fact, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was most likely nursed until he was 2 or 3. So, if it was good enough for Him, it's good enough for my children! I am actually quite proud that I am going to such lengths for the health and happiness of my child. I just love her so much and want the best for her.

Right now, our schedule is working out for us and that's all that matters. I know she won't be nursing when she going to junior high! She's already potty trained and is very much independent. Our nursing is pretty much my only time to lay with her and snuggle her and enjoy her. This time is fleeting and I'm trying to take advantage of it.

It is comforting to know that I will at least have a few more years of nursing ahead of me if and when baby #3 comes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

20 Months

Well, it's official, I suck at this blogging thing. I'm surprised I have any followers of this blog because there are never any updates. lol.

A lot has happened since my last entry. Actually, shortly after my last entry was Thanksgiving. We went for a family visit and had to spend a night in the hospital because my little rascal got into someone's medication. Thank goodness we are still nursing! She had to have her heel poked to check her blood sugar every hour and thanks to the magical comforting properties of mama's breasts and mama's milk she would seamlessly fall back asleep after the offending poke.

Christmas came and went as well as New Years Eve. I'm fondly looking back to where we were a year ago. She was just 9 months old and on the verge of doing some very fun things. I remember thinking that getting to a year of breastfeeding was the easy part. I kept thinking, "I've done this already." The interesting thing would be everything that followed because I had not in fact, done that.

My husband and I recently took a trip to Florida for five days and we left the kids behind with family. This was the first time we have ever done this and to be honest I was looking forward to it but was dreading it for our families. Abby is night-weaned but she still wakes quite a bit. How would she do without mommy? She actually did much better than we ever thought she would! I had five days with my husband and time to be by myself. I found myself remembering a little bit of who I used to be. Could I be her again? Did I want to be? I think I came to the conclusion that yes, I would like to get back a little of the old me but would never trade in the 'mommy me' either. When we came home, it wasn't the very first thing she asked to do but a few minutes in, she looks at me and says, "nurse" with all the hope and love and trust filled within her. I couldn't get home and get my shirt off fast enough. It was heaven to be able to sit on a beach in Miami but a completely different heaven to come home and hold my child in my arms and nurse her.

I'm still mostly loving nursing. I love the connection I have with her but it's tricky to find a balance of her needs and mine, but isn't that the great mystery of mothering, no matter the circumstance?

My favorite moment hands-down is when she was nursing happily one afternoon and came off briefly to say, "love you" and then returned to the comfort and nourishment of my breast. Who couldn't love that?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's official... we are nightweaned

I recently went to a La Leche League conference in Hutchinson, KS. It was a fabulous experience and the best part is that I got to go all by myself. My oldest had a birthday party to attend and my husband volunteered to stay with the kids. "Go on honey, you have a good time. We'll be fine." he said. So, that's what I did. I took my trusty Harmony hand pump and some storage bags and off I went.

He said the first night was rough. I guess she was up for a couple hours. But, the next night was better and she slept all night. The following night, I was back home and she slept all night then too! Now, it hasn't all been smooth sailing, she still wakes in the night but is just fine with a pat on the back and some reassuring words and she drifts back off to sleep. I haven't nursed her at night since before I left. She has of course, picked up her daytime nursing, which is fine! I don't intend to wean her completely but I needed something to change at night. I was miserable and that didn't make me the most patient mommy.

The whole purpose of nighttime parenting is for everyone to get the best sleep possible and that's what we have achieved for now. :D

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's been a long day

I did something today I don't normally get to do. I left the little one with a baby sitter and went to get my hair done! This meant that I would be gone from her for about 5 hours. She nursed a lot this morning and then took a good nap. She slept right up until it was time to go. I didn't nurse her until we got home tonight around 8:30! She was totally fine with playing all day and didn't have a hard time. I enjoyed myself and got some much-needed "me time". It was truly a win/win situation if I ever saw one!

Back when she was a newborn, I knew there would be days like this, that I would get a break but back then, I couldn't really see it. When you are in the immediate newborn/post-partum fog you can't see your way out. Everything looks overwhelming and you don't really think that there will come a day when you can go longer than 3 hours without nursing. But, that day does come! Don't get me wrong, I am loving nursing still but it's also nice to have the tiniest of breaks every now and again.

Let me tell you though... after a day of seperation, it was so very nice to snuggle into bed with her and feel her close and get to nurse her until she drifted peacefully off to sleep. There's no better way to end a busy and hectic day than like that, for me anyway.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Twiddler

My daughter, who is almost 17 months now, loves to twiddle when she nurses. Wondering what twiddling is? Check this out: Twiddling If I don't automatically undo both sides of the nursing tank, she will weasel her fingers in there to get at her goal. She takes such sweet joy in it. Some kids have a 'blankie', some have a 'lovie', she has her twiddling.

In a time when she is growing and maturing so quickly and is on the run constantly, nursing has become my break. It's my chance to sit down and snuggle with my little baby. It's nearly the only time she will snuggle in close and stay there for any length of time. I understand why, her life is fun and she has amazing new things to learn everyday. But, it's nice to know that she knows she always has me to come running to. She can nurse and get re-centered and then go back to her play. I can't imagine not having this time with her.

Weaning anytime soon? Nope.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nurse a Toddler! Why On Earth?

I'm starting this blog to capture the events of my daily life of nursing my youngest child who is now 15 months old.

I should first off say that I never dreamed I would be nursing a 15 month old. It never occurred to me that women breast feed beyond 1 year. But, since the birth of my first, I became much more educated and informed and explored the world's happenings in terms of child-rearing and all that it entails. I became friends with a whole new group of women and joined La Leche League and here I am.

You may be wondering, why on earth I would want to nurse my toddler? Here is an answer for that:

* Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
1. "Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant."
-- Mandel 2005

2. Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child's appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler's appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother's diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).

* Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
1. Per the World Health Organization, "a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness." [emphasis added]

* Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
1. * Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma is to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and continue breastfeeding long-term after that point.

Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:
1. reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
2. speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby's gut,
3. coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
4. providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers).

* Nursing toddlers are SMART
1. Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.

* Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
1. According to Sally Kneidel in "Nursing Beyond One Year" (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

"Research reports on the psychological aspects of nursing are scarce. One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers' and teachers' ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, 'There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.'"

* Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)

So, what kind of challenges am I facing today? Well, she has an obsession with twiddling
and while this drives me crazy, it's something I'm willing to put up with. Do I get tired of breastfeeding? Yes. Do I love it all the time? No. But, it's still what is best for my child so I continue. Now, I'm not saying I don't love it, because I do, it's just not that I love it all the time. It's a wonderful way to soothe her and heal her 'boo boo's' and calm her tantrums. It's something only I can do for her and I'll continue until she's ready to be done.

If you want more information on child-led weaning you can look here:

So for now, that's my first entry, I need to go nurse :D