Tuesday, August 7, 2012

World Wide Breastfeeding Week: One Year Later (and, Oh! Hello, again!)

For 14 months, 10 days, and 14 hours I've been a breastfeeder.  Much of how I feel about breastfeeding now is the same as it was one year ago:  I still believe in the optimal nutrition of breast milk, I believe in it's sheer convenience, I offer my child the chance to nurse whenever he wants it, I am thrilled when I see other Mamas nursing,  I nurse in public when necessary, and ultimately I truly love breastfeeding.  Some of these things I feel even more passionate about, and some of these notions are changing for Sly and I.  Before I highlight those thoughts though, I must really stress how much I just adore nursing my baby.  I see it as a life saving device, no exaggeration.  The flood of loving hormones I get from nursing, the loving, secure attachment between mother and babe ... it is a testament to evolution, that we women are truly made to breastfeed our babies, and our sanity benefits from doing it.  No matter how exhausting mothering can be at times, I am utterly grateful for the snuggles, the sweet looks, the arm stroking, the hand reaching up to be kissed that all come along with the gift of breastfeeding.  In our house these days, "Mama" means nursing as much as it means me, the Mama.

Nursing in public has a different look these days, meaning Sly is bouncing up and down, popping on and off, or just in general to distracted to focus on nursing.  He's becoming a toddler, and I am getting to know the nursing-acrobatics that toddler moms have told me about.  Tonight he was nursing a bit, then standing up, hugging me and kissing me, then sitting down to nurse again.  This was in our bedroom, but you can imagine how non-descreet it is to try and nurse this guy in public these days.  Thankfully he now can breastfeed really well inside of the Ergo, and that helps if I am out and just have to nurse and can't sit down in a quiet spot that exact moment.  He eats plenty of food and loves the social interaction more than breastfeeding at times, so it isn't like I have to nurse in public anytime I leave the house, like I did one year ago.

This may come as a bold statement, but I feel we (breastfeeding mothers) are doing a community service when we nurse our babies in public.  I think it should go with out saying here that I'm not talking about just hanging out topless, I'm talking about comfortably and politely feeding a baby.  A community service, people.  Yes!  We are reminding our community that breasts are for FOOD first and foremost.  Our society as a whole has mostly forgotten this fact.  I, the breastfeeding mom at the Farmer's Market, am just another part of the Local Foods movement.  Tis true!

What will soon be looking different in the realm of breastfeeding for us is that right now Sly gets to nurse when ever he wants to.  By "whenever he wants to" I mean, all night long if that's what he chooses, and it usually is.  Not today, and probably not tomorrow either, but very, very soon we will be changing this pattern by beginning the night-weaning process.  I wanted to wait until I felt he was ready, mature enough, healthy & securely attached to his parents, before I embarked on this journey.  And I wanted to wait until he was at least 1 year old.  He is well ready now, that is for sure.   We are going to maintain the comfort of our family bed, or at least that is the intention.  The plan as of now is to make a plan, most likely influenced by Dr. Jay Gordan from "Changing Patterns in the Family Bed".  A plan that defines limits, yet is within the scope of our parenting comfort levels.  A loving, consistent plan that allows Mama to get more sleep.  In the day time, nothing will change of our nursing habits, but at night time there will be a 5-7 hour window of No Nursing.  This will be big for all of us.  It will be hard.  It will require more nighttime involvement form Papa.  We are contemplating the right time to begin so as to be completely consistent.  Like I said, I love nursing my baby, and night nursing is by far the easiest way to put him back to sleep.  But I am also so, so ready to sleep my self.  To sleep for uninterrupted hours on end.  More sleep for Mama means more fun times for baby!  And a less-grouchy partner for Papa.

May the breastfeeding journey continue on!  And on, and on, for we have no plans to stop in the near future.  Right now I am quite comfortable letting Sly hold the reigns in that arena.  He seems content with that.  I know one day I will miss the sweet joy of a nursling, and that thought allows me to enjoy it all the more right now.

(Hello!  I do believe I'm back to blogging.  Join me here once a week if you please :) )

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