Friday, 28 June 2013

My future hopes #kbbf #bf2013

I hated breastfeeding my son.  I was adamant that I would do 6 months and then he was getting formula.  I had gone through split bleeding nipples, no sleep, the judgement of those around me, my own personal discomfort, having no life anymore...... and I hated it.

6 months arrived, and I suddenly realised that without noticing I had come to love breastfeeding.  We had overcome all of our issues and were now in this wonderful time where breastfeeding was a lovely, close lull in the daily hum of activity.  I was proud of our achievements, but more to the point I had come to value breastfeeding.  It's not just all the normal benefits that everyone harps on about.  Breastfeeding changed me.  It made me the person I always wanted to be.  That may sound over-zealous but its true.  For me, breastfeeding had become this whole new centre in my life that was this huge source of inspiration and passion.  It had taught me s much about myself and the value of the people who surround me.  It made me want to help other people to have a good experience.  At 6 months,  I was determined to do 2 years.

My son's first birthday arrived.  I was like the queen of breastfeeding.  Everyone new about it because I was always wittering on about it.  I was gonna breastfeed till my children were 30.

15 months came.  My son had lost interest.  He was bored at the breast.  I was basically having to force it down his throat in this massive battle of wills every night where I eventually gave in and just put him to bed.  It was a wrench, but I had to admit to myself that I no longer liked breastfeeding.  I supported it vehemently - but we had come to the end of the road. While I would have fed forever if my son wanted it, he didn't want it either.  I decided not to offer anymore.  There was no ceremonial last feed, which I have mixed feelings about.  I just stopped.  He stopped.  It was over.  I found this very sad, but I am so thankful that we 'self weaned'.  There were no tears (well, not from him), I gave him what he wanted for as long as he wanted.

So where does that leave me now? Nothing has changed.  I will feed my daughter until she doesn't want it anymore.  But I think that this time around I have nothing to prove.  I would love to feed into toddlerhood (although I look at my son who is nearly 3 and find it a bit odd to imagine still breastfeeding him).  I am glad that there was no battle with my son, I didn't upset him by taking his milk away.  It just fizzled out of its own accord. I hope I get that with my daughter.  But, I would like to experience feeding further into toddlerhood if that is what she wants.

Every stage has its beauty.  Even when I look back at feeding my son in the early days, there was a lot that was good about it.  I was just not in a position to recognise that then.  But I do remember the quiet snuggles and the pride as we overcame each barrier.  However, I was inordinately proud to be feeding past a year.   To experience feeding a fidgety active little toddler who keeps pulling off the breast to look at his toys.  Maybe I will get to feed past 2 this time?  To have a baby who has a name for breastfeeding and can talk to me about it.  I think I would like that.

So what is my point? 

Feelings change.  If somebody had said to me when my son was a week old that I would feed him for 15 months and then feel terribly sad when I gave it up, I would have raised my eyebrows in disbelief.  If you now suggested to me that I stopped breastfeeding my daughter before she was ready I would be furious at the suggestion.  As far as I see it, breastfeed your babies as long as you both want, whether that is a week or a year or a decade (OK, that may be going a little far).

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15 comments:

  1. As long as I can and baby wants to. 4 months and counting at the moment.

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  2. 9 months and still going strong. Not sure when I will stop.

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  3. I'm hoping like you to self-wean, but we'll see how it goes. So far at 19 months he still has days where he feeds like a newborn so I can't see him stopping for a fair while

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  4. I breastfed my daughter for 19 months, we're currently 18 months with no sing of stopping with my son.... we'll stop when we are both ready hopefully

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  5. we've just reached 6 months, I stopped feeding DD at 6 1/2 months when she just got too distracted to latch properly, and think we're heading the same direction.

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  6. I will stop when my daughter gives me up herself.

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  7. Still feeding my 34-m-o and starting to feel really touched out by it. I want to let him wean in his own time, but at the moment I'm hoping that's soon :( Or of course that my reaction is just a phase. I'm hoping that if it doesn't pass it's someting to do with tandem feeding, so I can truly let DD (7m) wean in her own time down the line.

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  8. There's some interesting research about the natural age of weaning here: http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

    My daughter is 27 months and will wean when she's ready.

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    1. Thank you for that link, that is fascinating stuff

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  9. feeding for 3 months and i am planning on self weaning

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  10. I breastfed my son until he was 25 months and plan on letting my daughter self-wean

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  11. Hopefully 6 months plus.

    @LaaMoii

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  12. As long as my son wants me to.

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  13. I breastfed my daughter for 26 months, and am five months and counting with my son. I'd like him to choose when to stop.

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  14. I've been breastfeeding my daughter for 22 months now and would like her to stop when she's ready. Expecting number 2 in November, and my IGT means I will have to be careful about how much she feeds to ensure the baby gets as much of my milk as possible.

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