So, you’re still nursing?
"When are you going to stop nursing?"I get this question often now that my daughter is one. I understand why people ask but I genuinely dislike the question. Here’s why...
Breastfeeding is one part science, two parts patience and perseverance, and three parts magic. For some women breastfeeding comes naturally and easily, for others it’s a painful and tiring process that usually leaves moms letting go of the task before they initially intended to. For me, it was both. I had some small challenges at first getting her to latch on and not knowing if she was getting enough milk, but with encouragement from my family and my doctor I was able to continue until it became like clockwork.
I read in an article that if you are solely nursing your baby in the beginning that it takes roughly 32-40 hours per week of your time. Ummm yea, that’s a full time job. For mothers who have to get back to work, this often presents an issue. Either you pump like an animal on any and every break you get at work, or you have to give up on breastfeeding all together. I was fortunate enough to not have to attend a 9-5 during the first year of my daughters life. But man! 40 hours a week nursing?! That info put things into perspective for me that I was giving my body, my time, and my nourishment to my little nugget. I had no qualms with this as I am devoted to her health and development, but it does have its strains.
I get tired EVERY TIME I nurse. And forget about feeling full and satisfied after a meal. Anytime I feed I empty my tank of nutrients and I am famished by the time she is finished. I eat more as a nursing mother than I did as a pregnant woman just to keep my strengths up.
Luckily my husband finds this cave woman appetite of mine sexy.
Then there is the balance of intake. The things I prefer to indulge in, like coffee, a glass of wine, and chocolate. Granted a small percentage of these things goes into my milk, still, everything in moderation. On the upside I lost my baby weight QUICK FAST!!
After I made it to the 6 month mark I started getting praise from other mothers who’s circumstances unfortunately didn’t allow them that sort of longevity. It felt good to be able to give my baby everything she needed through me, the natural way. Now that she is one she is able —and very willing, to let me know when she wants to nurse. She will tug at my shirt, she will coo with excitement if she sees me in a bra, and she’ll say “na-na” before bed as she likes to nurse to go to sleep. Her new quirk as of lately is nursing on one side and holding onto the other as if to say, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll get to you later.” Now, it’s not ideal to have my kid molesting me in public when she wants to nurse, but if I have what she needs, how can I possibly deny her?
I read a story once about a woman who saved the lives of her peers who were thrown overboard and stranded in the water, by breastfeeding them. She kept them alive for 7 days on her milk supply. It could’ve easily been b.s. but I chose to believe it. I found that inspiring.
Nursing is magical and can both build a life and save one.
There is so much consideration, thought, time, and physical sacrifice that goes into nursing that it befuddles me when people ask when I plan to stop. Every mother is different, every child is different, and circumstances can get in the way, but with all of the work it took and time I spent getting nursing to be a way of life and nourishment for my daughter I hardly think about when I plan to stop. Let’s just say I am going to nurse until she turns it down, until my patience runs thin, or until I am riddled with shame after I’m contacted by the TLC network for a special on kids who nurse in elementary school. Whichever comes first. Until then....free the nipple.
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