About four weeks ago Addison went awhile without breastfeeding. We were using breast milk in a bottle for when I was away and she began to prefer the bottle (flowed faster). As her front teeth started to grow in, we slowly removed the bottle... so I had four weeks of NO breastfeeding. I mourned a bit, because I love breastfeeding my kiddos (even when it is challenging and I bitch about it). This little lady soon realized as more and more sippy cups began to make their way to her that the bottle was NOT coming back. So, in an utterly intelligent act of rebellion she re-latched onto the breast. She is now breastfeeding all through the day. My pregnant body was happy to redirect all those nutrients to Tobias, (hooray we are almost done cooking him!) and my milk supply went down. Addison didn't care. She is back to nursing 15-30 mins. on each side and is determined to get more milk out. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, my body is working to rebuild a supply. So I am having the "Oh Good LORD I am starving and thirsty!" pangs that any of you breastfeeding mommas out that are sure to remember. On top of that I am starving since I am pregnant too. Although it can be challenging breastfeeding and being pregnant, I prefer child led breastfeeding. I think that child led breastfeeding is the best thing for our family... it is the best thing for Addison. I am still awed by the reality that after we bring a baby into the world our bodies continue the job of caring for them by producing the most perfect thing that they could ever consume. Astounding!! Lots of people express concerns about child led breastfeeding: Will the child EVER stop? Will I ever sleep through the night? Will their teeth hurt? Why breastfeed them when they are eating solids?
I don't think the answer is the same for every family, but these are the reasons I let Addison choose when and how she nurses:
Forced weaning puts unnecessary strain on our relationship
Breastfeeding is a bonding experience that a child uses to build on to establish their autonomy in the future. I don't think that forcing a child to stop (barring medical/mental health reasons) is a good choice for me because I can be interrupting a necessary bond that Addison is still developing with me and the world. She has input into our relationship just like I do... I HAVE to consider her feelings, even though she is a child. If she is showing CLEAR signs that she wants/needs to nurse for whatever reason, I need to respond to her cues. Our relationship teaches her about trusting others- if I ignore her when she needs something (that I can clearly give without any threat to my physical or mental health) I am acting out of my own selfishness.
Will the child EVER stop?
Children don't breastfeed forever... they just don't. Most global studies show that children, who are allowed child led breastfeeding, wean during the first three years with a higher rate of spontaneous weaning at four years of age. As Addison discovers food and gets busy exploring her world she'll need the connection of breastfeeding and the milk less and less...Child led breastfeeding/weaning reinforces my strong belief in seasons of life. There is a season to everything and I can look forward to summer without trying to fast forward through winter.
What about teeth?
Addison bit me just once... and when I screamed and bucked she was so freaked out... I don't think she'll ever try it again.
Not all moms can choose breastfeeding, but I hope all moms at least give it a try... it is worth while. Addison doesn't look like she is givin' up anytime soon, and I am okay with that. I know tandem breastfeeding will be a super dooper challenge, but I think I am up to it. Just remind me of that when I flood thebrokins.com with a slew of bitchy posts about how tired I am of having these little buggers hanging of my boobs ;)
It is almost Friday! Woot!