I've been wanting to write about this lately but haven't had the time. Now that Stinx is napping at the moment I will share some of the things I've been thinking about lately.
Back when Stinx still lived in my uterus, I thought I'd give breastfeeding a try. I was pretty determined but still thought if it didn't work out it wouldn't be a big deal. Turns out - Breastfeeding was one of the things that actually went as I hoped. I knew close friends who nursed their children over 1 year and thought "hey, if it works for them, fine but I don't think I'll be doing that, or if I do, it won't be in public". That was basically my thoughts on EBF (extended breastfeeding). Well, its funny how opinions change once you have your own baby.
For some, before the baby is born they swear they'd never co-sleep. What happens? They start the family bed.
Or some say they won't let their children use pacifiers. What happens? Their child is 2 years old and still uses a "paci".
Some say they wouldn't let their child drag their ratty tatty lovie around everywhere they go. What happens? Their child has the lovie at the grocery store.
Some say they'd never let their child eat McDonalds. What happens? Their kid eats McDonalds.
That's just what happens! Why? Because before you have your baby or before your put in that dilemma, you just have no clue!! NO CLUE!!!!!
Just as I have NO CLUE about what my future parenting will look like. I mean, sure, I have a little guess at how I want to parent, but really, I don't know what my parenting will look like in 2 years, 5 years or 10 years.
So back to my point! All of us, that includes me, say we'll do or won't do things a certain way. And of course that changes once baby comes along. And okay, I will admit that sure, some people will stick to their original plan, even though they feel it might be wrong. They don't want to be hypocrites. Or maybe some people just feel that their original plan works for their baby. (I'd be really surprised if that happens!).
So back to the topic. I told hubby back when Stinx was younger that I'd nurse him until he was walking and talking. Well since I decided that, I changed my mind that my goal would be to nurse Stinx until he was 18 months. And since Stinx doesn't really talk yet I guess that was OK with Dad. Now, I didn't say I would wean him at 18 months, I said it was my goal to continue nursing. I did say that I would try to start the gradual weaning process at 18 months.
Stinx is now 19 months. He still nurses the same amount as 18 months. Mind you, he is not dependant on nursing for bedtime so in away we are making progress. I just don't feel the need to cut him off. Why should I?
Breastfeeding should be a mutual agreement between a mother and child. As long as both are content with the arrangement, so be it. I don't mind nursing Stinx. And he certainly still wants to. So, so be it.
If I get to a point where I don't want to nurse him anymore, I will take a more pro-active stance. But for now, I am quite fine with using the "Don't offer, Don't refuse" approach to weaning.
Of course, for me, the ideal way for Stinx to wean would be fully self-led. Just gradually stops asking to nurse over a course of time. Will it happen that way? I don't know. That will depend on a few things.
I was in a bit of a fit for the last while thinking I needed to wean Stinx being trying to conceive (TTC). A friend had mentioned that her sister had miscarried because she was EBF'ing and had a high metabolism. I don't think my friend was trying to scare me, just warn me I guess. But it did scare me a bit. I don't know how I would handle a miscarriage. That is such a tough thing to go through. However, after talking to my friend again about this, she mentioned her sister was super underweight, didn't eat well, and was vegetarian. My friend thought she wasn't getting enough protein. Who knows.
But I have done the research now. And I have several friends who did conceive while EBF'ing. It is safe to TTC or be pregnant while breastfeeding as long as you don't have a history of miscarriage, or are malnourished, or are put on bed rest. As long as you are eating well and have enough calories, it's pretty harmless. That was a huge stress relief for me. HUGE. Now I don't feel like I HAVE to wean Stinx before TTC or while I am pregnant.
Now, and here's one of those "I would never" moments, I really don't think I'd be into the whole tandem nursing thing. So if I were to conceive while nursing Stinx, I would wean him by 7 or 8 months pregnant. But hopefully he would wean on his own once the milk changes.
I've also been weighing the pro's and con's. I won't list them all but the only con's I could really think of were 1. What people would think of me EBF'ing 2. Stinx asking to nurse in front of people
Well as for #1, I have nursed Stinx to 19 months already - so I am already dealing with people's opinions. Will it really change much? Once you nurse a baby over 1, people start judging. So why should I care now that he is 19 months? This is a poor reason to wean a child.
#2. Stinx does do this occasionally. It's usually when he's hungry, thirsty or tired. It just means I have to offer him lots of food and be on the ball. He generally only does this when we are at home anyway. And since I haven't nursed Stinx publicly since he was about 1, I don't need to worry about this too much. Stinx pretty much knows we only nurse at home.
Here are some of my pro's:
1. Nursing while teething is AWESOME!!! No better way to settle a super cranky toddler. It must make his gums feel so much better. And it's the comfort. Which is another pro:
2. Comfort! You see kids with pacifiers, bottles, lovies out in public? Well, Stinx nurses for comfort in the privacy of our home.
3. Nap time. Stinx nurses before his nap if we're at home. It has made my life soooo much simpler since he started to nurse to sleep at nap time. SO MUCH SIMPLER. I was such a stress case before. I don't think I no longer deserve the title "Nap Nazi".
4. Its great way to cuddle/bond with an really active toddler.
So I don't think weaning will happen anytime soon. And that's OK for now. And its OK that I don't care about what people think of me and my child. Because ya know what? I don't judge the moms at the mall with their 2.5 yr old drinking out of a bottle, or the mom of a toddler with a paci at the play date, or the mom with the toddler at the grocery store with her lovie doll. I don't! Because those are things the child needs for comfort. And it's OK!! IT"S OK!! And so it's OK for my son to nurse in the privacy of my home. And, it's OK for a toddler to nurse in public! It shouldn't be weird to people.
So yeah - Go on Mom's! Do what you need to do! And don't care what other people think. You are just responding to your child's need as best you can. Right?
PS - I also want to add that because I am EBF'ing does not make me a breastfeeding Nazi.. ok?