Sunday, January 11, 2009

Half a decade

In the nursing moms' room this morning, another mom recognized me from when I was nursing Joel in there nearly three years ago. We both smiled at having a new crop of kidlets nursing now, and I wondered if she would be surprised or even appalled if she knew that Joel was still breastfeeding. I remember when I was pregnant with Ariana and read an article about a mom nursing a five year old. I was shocked and totally weirded out by it. Now it seems perfectly normal to me. In a couple of weeks I will have been breastfeeding every day for five years, and tandeming nursing on an elimination diet for nearly three of those years. I expect to continue for at least a few more.

For awhile, I was extremely passionate about breastfeeding, and shined my lactivist badge at every opportunity. I even participated in a nurse-in once. I still believe in it strongly, but emotionally it isn't such a hot-button topic for me. It is just what I do. I think it is full of trade-offs that, in my case, make it an easy decision. I'm way too lazy to wash and prepare bottles all the time. I like it that my milk is always available, ready to drink, and perfectly suited for my kids. Carlos likes the containers pretty well, too. I am waaaaaaaaay too cheap to buy formula, particularly the special allergen-free stuff. Since we are both teachers, I feel relieved that the kids get all my antibodies. I am grateful that my risk for developing breast cancer is dramatically reduced. There are a ton of health benefits for both kids and moms that are constantly in the news. I like not getting a period until the baby is over 14 months. I like the hormone-high that makes me feel more peaceful and loving towards the whole family. I even like the milky smell that Elena has.

I do get tired of it somedays. I get tired of eliminating foods. I dislike waking up to damp, milky clothes and sheets. I hate leaking. But the drawbacks are so minor compared to the benefits. I do not breastfeed because I am a better mom, but breastfeeding makes it much easier for me to be a good mom. So, why blog about it? Simply because I still hear moms who are pressured to wean their 6 month old, who are given erroneous information, or who never even considered child-led weaning because they were unaware of any reason to keep nursing. There are still many moms and dads who have been told that if they are old enough to ask for it, they are too old to breastfeed. I want to be as open as I can to help make breastfeeding normal for our culture.

I don't have time now, but expect future posts on breastfeeding in the Bible (Samuel is a good example--Eli wasn't babysitting an infant!), and more links.


Elizabeth said...

I hopped over to your blog from the Brimms blog and I love this post. I am a fellow breastfeeding "fanatic" (in a good way) and I'm happy to find someone else who feels as strongly about it as I do. I am amazed at the stigma breastfeeding has still today. It's so sad. Anyway, you are amazing and I am so impressed at your stamina! Good job!

Ms. Burrows said...

I'm so impressed with women who manage to do and sacrifice so much in order to breastfeed. I had sort of a rough start nursing DD1 (latch issues) but once that was worked out after 2 months, it was smooth sailing from then on out. I never had another problem, and nursed her til 4.5 and nursed my second daughter for 3.5 years.

I must say, I hope I have it easy again this time around, as well.

My hat's off to you though! You are certainly not accomplishing a small feat! I often wonder if I'd have succeeded if more blocks had been put in my way.

dulce de leche said...

Thank you both so much for the kind words! I appreciate the encouragement so much. The truth is, though, that things have been pretty easy for me. The only hard part has been the food allergies, but I'm too lazy to make separate meals, so I would have been doing that most of the time, anyway. I am just so grateful for all the people who have helped me with good info and encouragement. :)