Archive for the ‘Carnival of breastfeeding’ Category

Planes, trains and automobiles – we’ve breastfed in them all

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I wrote this post as part of the June Carnival of Breastfeeding. You can read other great posts that discuss nursing in public by following the links at the end of the post.

Given the challenges we had establishing our breastfeeding relationship, no one was more surprised than me when I nursed Reid sitting in the front seat of the car in a parking lot when she was just days old. I hadn’t planned it but Reid was hungry and we were away from the house and so I nursed her. I can’t imagine having had to listen to her cry while we drove home before I could breastfeed her. I was so glad that I had what she needed, when she needed it. This is one of the best reasons to breastfeed, at home or in public – giving your children what they need, when they need it.

When Reid was 3 months old, we took flew to see my mom and siblings. I’d read that nursing on take-off and landing would help my baby. I hadn’t planned on the business men on either side of me but I decided they’d rather see a happy baby and (possibly) a bit of my skin than an unhappy baby and my total modesty. In the end, I doubt they saw any of my skin as I’d worn a great nursing t-shirt and Reid was a business-like nursling. When we were leaving the plane, people in adjacent rows were surprised to see my tiny girl. I smiled serenely, as all mamas do when people say their babies are great, and was glad that we were a breastfeeding pair. We took advantage many times of the “kids uner 2 fly free” offers of airlines and have flown a few more times since; each time Reid had the comfort of nursing when she needed it.

Once Reid could no longer fly at no additional cost, we took to the rails to visit my mom and siblings. Since extended nursing isn’t common, despite the World Health Organization and Canadian Association of Pediatricians’ recommendations of nursing to 2 years and beyond, I wasn’t sure what would be the reaction of our fellow travellers. But then I remembered that lesson I learned in that parking lot – give Reid what she needed, when she needed it. The only particular memory of nursing on a train that I have is holding a 3-year-old Reid while she nursed herself to sleep for a much-needed nap. The bunched-up coat that I’d been using to support the arm that was holding her head fell into the aisle. I’m quite sure that the twenty-something man who put the coat back had no idea that Reid was breastfeeding. Or maybe he did know and didn’t care and was just helping out a mom and her little one.

Reid started daycare when she was 11 ½ months old. She nursed just before Ken took her to daycare and then as soon as she came home. If I picked her up, we went straight to the car and she nursed. I was happy to reconnect with her as she was with me and relieved that my seat reclined. Occasionally, I’d have to explain the toe prints that I’d leave on the windshield but that was never a problem. Of course we nursed in parking lots on long trips – or short ones that coincided with hunger – and our car became our nursing room away from home.

Shortly after I returned to work, I had to work a lot of overtime and Ken would bring Reid to me so that I could nurse her before bed. I was pumping during the day but wasn’t willing to give up seeing my baby for so many hours at a stretch. At one point, a colleague knocked on my office door and I told her that she could come in but that I was breastfeeding. She stood in the doorway awkwardly, asked her question, and said something about me doing that “mothering thing.” I thought it was sad that she felt discomfort at being in the presence of something that should be considered normal but I liked that she equated breastfeeding and mothering.

Reid and I were never skilled at nursing with a covering blanket but as she got big enough, I told Reid that I wanted privacy for the parts of my body that were covered by my bathing suit and she needed to help me keep me covered. It was much easier to keep covered when Reid was an infant or a pre-schooler than when she was an acrobatic toddler but I never put the sensibilities of passers-by ahead of the needs of my child for nourishment or comfort. I used nursing rooms in malls, stores and museums – in Ottawa, we have many options and most are quite comfortable but some think a straight-backed chair in a glorified closet is acceptable – but also breastfed on benches in mall corridors, restaurants or wherever we were when the need arose.

One cold February day, Reid nursed while I sat on a bench along 5th Avenue in New York City and on a sunny March day at Coronado Island in San Diego. Whenever I nursed in public in the United States, I was a little worried since I’d heard of more women being confronted but I decided that I’d rely on my hyper-polite Canadianness if anything was ever said. Happily no one ever said anything.

For the most part, I tried to live up to Health Canada’s “Anywhere, Anytime” public service announcements. I’ve never checked against the Seuss-inspired poem but we have nursed in most places that we’ve ever been.

Wander over and hear what some other women have to say about nursing in public:

Lucy & Ethel Have a Baby: Nursing In Public (Boobs) Out and Proud
Chronicles of A Nursing Mom: Why Worry About NIP?
PhD in Parenting: Would You, Could You Nurse in Public?
Dirty Diaper Laundry: Breastfeeding in Public Talent – I Haz It
Kim through the Looking Glass: Here? At the Restaurant?
GrudgeMom: Nursing in a Room Full of People You Know
MumUnplugged: Aww, Is He Sleeping?
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives: Nursing in Public: Chinatown, the Subway, the Vatican, and More
Mother Mary’s Soapbox: Breastfeeding My Newborn in Public
Tiny Grass: Nursing in Public as an Immigrant
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: To Cover or Not to Cover
Mommy News and Views: Tips for Nursing in Public
Stork Stories: Little Old Men…& Nursing in PublicWarm Hearts Happy Family: Breastfeeding and the Summertime
BabyREADY: A wee NIP in the park!!
Mama Knows Breast: Products That Can Help You Breastfeed in Public
Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Nursing in Public: A Fresh Perspective on Nurse-Ins
Never A Dull Moment: Breastfeeding Hats? Yes! Covers? Not So Much….
Breastfeeding Mums Blog: Nursing in Public –What’s A Breastfeeding Mother to Do?
Hobo Mama: Easy, Discreet Way to Breastfeed A Toddler in Public

Hearsay from Grandma Joyce

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Grandma Joyce relayed a couple of stories from her last visit today. She and Reid spent quite a bit of time at the front of the house, to Reid’s delight. Reid likes to be around if R or V from next door or B from the next house over are outside.

Grandma Joyce offered to watch over R, who was asleep in the van, while his mom ran into her house because the baby was hungry. Grandma Joyce asked it the baby was still breastfeeding and the mom said that she’d stopped at 3.5 months. Once the mom had gone, Reid asked Grandma Joyce, “Did I have milkies longer than three-and-a-half months?” Grandma Joyce said, “Yes.” It’s a good thing I wasn’t expecting gratitude for the four-plus *years* I nursed Reid. She has forgotten them already, it would seem. (Umm, maybe I was subconsciously expecting she’d be grateful some day, or would at least remember.)

The woman next door has noticed how fascinated Reid is by R and V. (Pretty much anyone who is conscious would notice, in fact.) And so our neighbour asked Reid if she would like a brother or sister. Reid replied, “Mama says it ain’t gonna happen.” Grandma Joyce said that Reid mimicked by intonation perfectly. Doesn’t Miss Manners say that you’re not supposed to discuss other families’ family planning issues with kids? At least it wasn’t as awkward as the stranger/lady who brought her kids to trick-or-treat at my door and encouraged Reid to press for a little sibling.

Breastfeeding, poverty and Blog Action Day

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Today, October 15, is  Blog Action Day 2008 and the theme this year is poverty. Angela, at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 has proposed a focus on breastfeeding and I think that is a worthwhile link to make. Starting our children off on a good basis is surely one of the issues to be addressed when confronting poverty.

I remember that books that I read when I was pregnant revealed an inverse relationship between income and rates of breastfeeding, that is: that the less money that you had access to, the more likely you were to use formula to feed your child. It surprised me from a purely economic point of view. If money was tight, why wouldn’t you breastfeed to avoid the cost of formula? Of course, the issue is far from that simple. An Australian study from August 2008 explains the tendency not to breastfeed:

Women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to breastfeed for various reasons, including a lack of family support, less ability to seek help with breastfeeding problems, less flexibility with working arrangements, and concerns about breastfeeding in public.

A Canadian study breastfeeding from multicultural perspectives from 1997 explains that formula-feeding is perceived as the norm in Western society and thus a behaviour to be modeled in developing societies.

It is interesting to note that the adoption of commercially prepared infant formula in developing countries is so frequent that some anthropologists see the continuation of breastfeeding as an inverse indicator of acculturation to Western ways (Bader, 1979 as cited in Henderson & Brown, 1987). In other words, researchers suggest that the rate at which a particular cultural group adopts bottle-feeding and decreases breastfeeding can be used as a measure of the extent to which that culture has replaced its traditional beliefs and practices with those of the Western world.

Of all that the West could share with the developing world, it shames me that we have shared a propensity toward a less-healthful approach to infant feeding. It makes me think of the adoption of white bread, a nutritionally inferior product that was initially available only to those who could afford the costs of over-processing the flour but which soon became sought-after by all in society, to the detriment of their health.

According to a number of sources, James P. Grant (past Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)) stated, “Breastfeeding is a natural safety net against the worst effects of poverty”. This seems emininently logical but what are the concrete steps that must be taken to encourage higher rates of breastfeeding among those in poverty?

1. Increase the number of Baby-friendly hospitals, which includes: helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within 30 minutes of giving birth; showing mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants; giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated; giving no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants; and other criteria.

2. Increased breastfeeding help in the community, like Well-baby drop in sessions and La Leche League meetings but especially peer support programs.

3. Paid maternity leave to allow for the establishment of good breastfeeding routines.

4. Work with employers to establish locations and policies conducive to pumping breastmilk when the mother does return to work

5. On a personal level, and with no research to back me up, I think that breastfeeding mothers should breastfeed their babies in public because it is normal and important and should be seen. Those who are nursing or have done so in the past should talk about their experiences. Again normalizing the experience seems important and you establish yourself as a resource should the person have a question or need a bit of support.

6. Institute or continue public education campaigns that promote breastfeeding in culturally-sensitive terms for various communities. I would argue that this would include using humour to appeal to younger mothers.

More thoughts on breastfeeding and poverty will be shared through this month’s Carnival of Breastfeeding.

Click for La Leche League

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

I’m going to steal shamelessly from Breastfeeding 1-2-3 to point you to the Squidoo charity contest that will see money go to La Leche League:

Squidoo is giving away $80,000 to charity. In order to decide the mix of beneficiaries, Squidoo invites people to visit its website and vote for an organization to receive $2. That will continue until the entire $80,000 has been allocated or until October 15, 2008, whichever comes first. On the list of beneficiaries is La Leche League. It’s so easy and fast to vote — no registration is required, just the click of a button! So head on over to the $80,000 Squidoo Charity Giveaway

Milk supply and breastfeeding challenges – Breastfeeding carnival

Monday, April 21st, 2008

I wrote a couple months ago about the beginning of Reid’s and my nursing relationship and there were some bumps at the outset that we were able to resolve. Since the theme for this month’s Carnival of Breastfeeding is overcoming breastfeeding challenges and I hate to repeat myself, I thought I’d share my story about reduced milk supply. When Reid was about 8 weeks old, I went on the “mini pill” with my doctor’s assurance that it wouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding. The research that I could find online supported my doctor. It would seem that my breasts hadn’t read the material or listened to the doctor as I experienced an immediate drop in milk supply. After a couple of days – I waited because I thought I must be imagining it – I decided I needed to “fix” things because Reid was clearly hungry. I stopped taking the pills and started drinking nursing teas with Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek in them. I increased my intake of water, as well. Thanks to advice via email from Teresa Pitman (LLL leader, co-author of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, and Executive Director of LLL Canada (what an amazing woman!)) Reid and I also took to our bed to snuggle and nurse for a couple of days. I was fortunate that everything was back to normal in just a few days.

If milk supply is an issue that you are grappling with, these references may be useful:

There are many others who have written about their own challenges with breastfeeding and how they overcame them. You’ll also see links to useful books and Web sites. Check back throughout the day. I will be adding links as the others post their stories:

* Stephanie at Speech Act - plugged ducts;
* Half Pint Pixie – oversuppy, blocked ducts, mastitis, flat nipples and blebs;
* Jen at Mama’s Magic – breastfeeding after a C-section;
* Renata at Nurturing Notes – thrush;
* Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums – sore nipples, engorgement, blocked ducts, positioning, mastitis;
* Tanya at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog – tongue-tie;
Donna at Blessed Nest – mastitis, cracked nipples and low supply;
* Hobo Mama – finger feeding and baby hickeys;
* Angela at Breasteeding 123 – thrush, oversupply and plugged ducts

Have you got a story to share?

Love me, love my …

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

The following was written in response to Sarcastic Mom’s (Breast)feeding Carnival post.

I’m writing about my experience breastfeeding a three-and-a-half year old. If you’re nursing a baby, especially a newborn, it can be mind boggling to think of 3 years of round-the-clock, 3 hour feeds. It doesn’t stay that way, though, Reid nurses only a couple of times a day unless she is sick or upset. If the very idea of a preschooler who nurses bothers you, you may want to read another post – I fond of the ones in the language skills category.

I’ve written before about the early days of nursing Reid and the troubles we had. I’ve written also about nursing her when she started daycare, when the teachers said I should stop nursing in the daytime on the weekend. I don’t think I’ve talked much about the adventures of nursing a toddler who could easily have been a circus acrobat but perhaps I’ll get to that one day.

When I think of our nursing relationship of late, I think of how much Reid loves my breasts, which she calls eee-eees. I know this because she tells them so directly. She has even composed a song in their honour inspired, I believe, by the book Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton. It went something like this:

Eee-eee, eee-eee
Milkies, milkies
I drink them when I’m firsty
Firsty, fir-irsty

Milkies, milkies
Mama milkies
Mama milkies
Eee-eee, eee-eee

Eee-eee, eee-eee
I love who you are
I love everything about you
Eee-eee, eee-eee

Reid will ask for a hug and give my breasts their own special squeeze. It’s not sexual – nothing about breastfeeding is – but it does give us an opportunity to talk about appropriate touching. No one should touch you on the parts that are covered by your bathing suit, that sort of thing. Reid is also fairly proprietary about my breasts, as I’ve mentioned.

Reid is interested in seeing other children nursing. She knows that some other children never nursed, some did but no longer do and that others who do are the same age as her, although the first and last situations are more theoretical than first-hand knowledge. I don’t imagine that she discusses nursing at daycare, though.

Breastfeeding Beginnings – Carnival of Breastfeeding

Monday, January 28th, 2008

This month’s Breastfeeding Carnival is about  beginnings and endings. I’ve chosen the first topic to write about but there are some good posts about the end of the breastfeeding.

My breastfeeding relationship with Reid started about two months before she was born when I first attended a La Leche League meeting. I had already read  Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding but somehow that seems more like research than a relationship. I’m not the world’s most social person but I am a champion proactive worrier and so I made a point of finding a La Leche League group in my part of the city. And then I made myself go to a meeting. If you’ve not been to a La Leche League meeting, the women tend to be supportive and I was welcomed into the group. Our discussion topic for the first meeting was our favourite place to nurse. A couple of women answered “anywhere” and gave a range of examples. One woman said that she had recently nursed her toddler while sitting opposite the till where a cashier rang through her groceries. I was impressed at how they seemed to be living the “Any place. Any time.” slogan that Health Canada has put on it’s breastfeeding support posters. I wondered how long it would take for me to become that self-assured as a nursing mother. When it was my turn, I mentioned that we had a glider-rocker set up in Reid’s room that I imagined nursing in but I was nervous. I didn’t have family in the city and I couldn’t see asking my girlfriends for help, even though they’re wonderful people. One of the leaders came up to me after the guided discussion had wrapped up and said that she’d show me some nursing positions, that it was all about practice and confidence. She also said, “when you leave, you’ll have my number and the local help line.” And then she showed me how to hold a doll and gave me some phone numbers.

I also attended a presentation offered by the Lactation Consultants at the hospital where I was scheduled to deliver. While this didn’t have the feeling of community that the La Leche League meeting had offered, it armed me with “official” hospital information that I would need later:

1. There were Lactation Consultants on staff to assist.
2. The only way to come back to their (free) clinic after you and your baby are released is to see the Lactation Consultant during your stay. I decided to ask to see one, no matter what. I had no idea that the choice would be taken away from me.
3. Colostrum is all that the baby needs in the first day or two. I had read this but knowing that the hospital staff accepted it would be important.

At some point in the time leading up to Reid’s birth, I also read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding but have to admit that I liked Newman’s book more. I read the pamphlets and photocopies on breastfeeding we got at our prenatal class. I read the breastfeeding information in the Mother of all Pregnancy Books and the Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, not to mention the Girlfriend’s Guide to the First Year by Vicki Iovine. I had read, listened and imagined and then I settled in to wait for a baby to arrive.

Reid was born after an induced labour during which if had an epidural and other interventions that I had planned to avoid. The neonatal team was on hand to check her out when she finally arrived but I was determined to breastfeed Reid as soon as I was able. Once she was put on my chest, Reid did that impossible-seeming newborn wiggle and began to breastfeed. There was some chance that Reid had an infection and so she was taken to the nursery for observation.

At first, the nursery would call when Reid cried and I would hurry across from the other side of the hospital to breastfeed her in the family lounge attached to the neonatal nursery. We had the impression of interrupting the nurses’ work when we were there and, of course, Reid had been crying for a while before I could get to her. I finally had a nurse in the maternity wing who made arrangements with the neonatal nurses to allow us to bring Reid to my room to be breastfeed. While Reid still cried for the trip in her bassinet, at least my room was more relaxing and private than the family lounge.

Within 6 hours of Reid’s birth the nurses in the nursery were telling me that Reid needed to formula as a supplement. I refused and one nurse, who we dubbed “Mean Jean”, told me that colostrum was not enough. Reid was a healthy 8.5 pound baby who might have had an infection and I had attended those La Leche League meetings and done all that reading and so was determined in my refusal. But I was scared I might be making the wrong decision. At 9:00 the next morning, less than 24 hours after Reid was born, a neonatal nurse again was pressuring me to supplement and I refused until I’d spoken with a Lactation Consultant. Angrily, the nurse called the Lactation Consultant on shift. The Lactation Consultant arrived and said that Reid was nursing just fine and newborns simply sleep a lot. We continued bringing Reid to my room to breastfeed and visit for no more than hour at a time (according to the neonatal nurses’ rules) throughout the second day of her life. I was discharged in the afternoon but Reid had to wait until her blood tests came back – she had no infection – and then for the pediatrician to do a checkup. In the middle of the afternoon, one of the nurses said that she hoped Reid didn’t suffer kidney damage as they’d been giving her medication that could cause this and she needed lots of fluids. This was the first time the extra fluid requirement had been mentioned in the context of the medication. Reid was crying just before the pediatrician was scheduled to arrive and a nice nurse counselled us to give Reid a couple of ounces of formula through a tube to settle her down so that we could get her released. We did and I felt pretty awful but believed that we just needed to get home and be with our baby full time. We left the hospital about 8 pm with a couple small cans of formula.

I suppose about this time my milk came in and Reid was having trouble establishing a latch. We struggled through our first night and ended up giving Reid more formula. At 8 am I called a local Lactation Consultant who couldn’t see me until the afternoon but she did arrange for Ken to come over immediately and get a double-electric breast pump to rent. She came to our house when she was able and coached me through a nursing session. When she was there, we managed but when she left, Reid and I struggled. I ended up pumping and trying Reid at the breast before giving Reid a bottle of breastmilk. I called my mom, who I’d asked to wait a couple weeks to come until my husband was back at work, and asked her to contact my older sister who was on vacation to ask her to stop on her way home to help me. I felt so overwhelmed.

My sister did come. She arrived, looked at me and sent me straight for a hot bath with hot cloths to help with letdown. When I was done, she sat with me on my bed, handed me Reid and said to just feed her. I did. With Karin by my side for a long weekend, Reid and I learned to be a successful nursing couple.

Alone once more, we kept breastfeeding. When Reid seemed to have developed a preference for one side, I went back to the hospital’s Lactation Consultants. They reassured me that some babies nurse only on one side but also gave me some tips on how to encourage Reid to try both sides. When I described my experiences with being encouraged to supplement so early, being told colostrum was not adequate for a newborn and the threat of kidney damage, they said that I was a perfect case of how to interfere with breastfeeding and congratulated me for my determination to breastfeed. They also pointed out that since Reid was receiving antibiotics intravenously, it would have been easy to add the additional liquid to the IV if it were required. I was glad that I’d attended the meetings and done my reading and also that I was stubborn, I guess. I’m sure that some mothers with babies who were born prematurely or with significant health issues would have many good things to say about the neonatal nurses. I have no doubt that they thought they were justified in the directions they were giving to us.

My comfort level with breastfeeding any where and at anytime was quick coming since I’d fought to breastfeed in the first place. I felt traumatized when I was being told to supplement with formula and during the day or so when I had to supplement with formula or breastmilk but triumphant when we worked out the “kinks” and establish breastfeeding.

Edited to add links to the other contributors

The Best Gifts – Breastfeeding Carnival

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers.

I’ve written about The Best Gifts by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch before but when I read that the theme for this month’s Breastfeeding Carnival was a review of a book or video related to breastfeeding, parenting, or giving birth, it was the first that sprang to my mind. If I had to choose an advice book to take to a deserted island, I would take Dr Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding. It was the book that I opened in the dead of the night or whenever I had a question but the questions are all the more pressing in the middle of the night. I’m sure that someone else will cover Newman’s work, though, and I wanted to write about a book that simply presents breastfeeding as a normal part of childhood. The images and story in this book are those that are sorely lacking in most children’s story books.

Like many mothers, I am careful to choose books that depict people of different races and family situations, those in rural and urban neighbourhoods, kids with disabilities and those that live far away or near to us. What I was unable to find in the first two years of my daughter’s life was a book that depicted our nursing relationship. And then one day, I discovered The Best Gifts in the parenting section of my local library.

The Best Gifts tells the story of the life of a baby/girl/woman as she grows from a nursling to a nursing mother. The book describes a number of occasions for celebration and how presents received are cause for joy and gratitude but that the best gifts can’t be purchased. In the first example, visitors bring gifts for the newborn baby but it is as the baby is “wrapped in love and a light scent of lavender as the warmth of her mother’s milk swirled in her mouth and filled her tiny stomach…” that happiness deepens. As the girl grows older, her parents give gifts of time and history. The story ends with the main character now a nursing mother in her own right providing her own son with mother’s milk and love. On both occasions when breastfeeding is featured, the father is shown as an involved member of the family, cuddling the mother and child while the baby nurses.

The illustrator of The Best Gifts, Halina Below, uses watercolours and watercolour pencils to create soft images that convey a gentle love. They match well with the soft tone of the story and draw a child into a discussion of what is contained in the image.

A list of resources is provided at the end of the book, providing contact information for Canadian and international organizations that support breastfeeding.

Mothers-to-be and those in the midst of nursing a child need access to books that will answer their questions about the mechanics of nursing and provide solutions to the challenges that some will face. The Best Gifts should be on their bookshelves as well in celebration of the nursing relationship itself.

Children should have access to this and other books that depict breastfeeding relationships as part of childhood to instill a sense of the normalcy of nursing. The baby bottle has been the symbol of infancy for too long. Our children should not automatically reach for a bottle when they play with their dollies, they should reach for the hem of their shirts. And in the future books such as this one will be on the shelves with all of the other picture books and not segregated to the parenting section.

Does anyone have other stories for children that depict breastfeeding?

Check out the other participants’ reviews in the November Carnival of Breastfeeding. I’ll be updating this list throughout Monday and Tuesday as the entries are posted.

This I believe – Wean is a 4 letter word – Carnival of Breastfeeding

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I’m not the one who coined the phrase but I do believe that weaning is a 4 letter word. I think that it is the sort of word that shouldn’t be used in public and especially not in front of children. Before I had a child I admit that I thought breastfeeding was natural and right but it should end by a certain point. I listened and nodded when people said that if a child could ask to nurse or lift a shirt then they were too old to still be nursing. When we had trouble at first, I was too busy fighting to learn what I needed to do to feed my baby to plan for weaning. As time went on, I nursed on demand and trusted in my baby and myself to figure out what was needed next. At a year, Reid still needed to nurse and I went back to work. I continued to nurse when we were together and ignored the dictate from her daycare teachers to stop nursing during the day when we were together. It would make Reid’s day easier, they said. I tried for a while but I couldn’t figure out how Reid could understand why I denied her the comfort that she needed when I could offer it. At that point, I realized that I wouldn’t be weaning Reid because that would be a unilateral betrayal of us as a nursing pair.

At three, Reid doesn’t nurse nearly so much as she did as a newborn, of course, nor even as much as she did as a toddler. She nurses just as much as she needs, more when she is sick, and always at bedtime and when she first wakes. She has talked about being too big for “milkies” but has always changed her mind. I tell her that it will be her decision but I know I will be sad when she nurses for the last time.

I believe that wean is a word for people who don’t trust in the nursing pair. Children must be weaned or they will be spoiled. They will be dependent and they will not be normal. Never mind the centuries of humans nursing when and as needed as long as they need. We need to trust ourselves and our children. We don’t need to pick an arbitrary date or occasion to stop trusting and start weaning.

 I wrote this post as part of the October Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog.