4.24.2010

Breastfeeding My "Older Baby"

I don't know how anyone could wean at 6 months.

I mean, if you did and that's what worked for you I mean no offense at all, but I personally would be heartbroken if I had to stop breastfeeding now for any reason. Yet that seams to be the expected next step.

More and more in my reading I am coming across the term 'older baby', and while I do know on some level that to some people 7 months is 'getting a little old to still be nursing don't you think?', I was really shocked to notice that subtle message being thrown at me from every direction.

There has been a shift in the tactics being used to undermine my breastfeeding relationship with my son. I have made it 6 months without 'supplementing' or 'choosing to introduce infant formula' or 'picking a healthy alternative for my baby' despite the billions of dollars spent trying to convince me to do so.

Now that I have made it this far though, I start hearing things about my breast milk no longer having any immune benefits, not having enough iron, not enough vitamin D, not enough calories, not enough, not enough, not enough. Breast milk is no longer enough, but it just so happens that there are several products available to.... You get the idea.

Of coarse I have introduced solid foods, and understand that eating something other than breast milk is part of Oliver's development. But I also know that Oliver should continue to get a MAJORITY of his nutrients from me, and not from the cereals, biscuits, and convenience foods made and marketed by formula companies, until he is at least 1 year of age my milk has most, if not all of what he needs, and continues to have countless health benefits for him. (Food for fun until they're one!)

That is not the message I am getting from anyone BUT my doctor. The message I am getting from the world around me is that my breast milk is no longer suitable. What I am hearing from many of the books, the ads, the popular belief, is that breastfeeding is important for only the first six months, because nobody bothered to listen to the rest of the sentence.

According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding EXCLUSIVELY is important for the first 6 months, then with complementry foods for 2 years and beyond.

I love breastfeeding my 'older baby'. I love knowing that while these new and exciting solid foods are delicious (mostly) and even satisfying, only my milk has the power to calm and comfort. I love the heavy lidded milk-drunk look of pleasure on his face as he falls asleep every night. I love that he constantly smiles, pats, and coos while eating to tell me how much he appreciates nursing. I love that he has started testing his sense of humor and experimenting with movement while at the breast when he tries to nurse with his legs up over his head and then laughs at his own sillyness.

What so many fail to understand is that breastfeeding is so much more than just nutrition. Breastfeeding is comfort, bonding, and communication in their purest forms.

In our society, successful breastfeeding is not easy, establishing a breastfeeding relationship is an uphill battle. 43% of women who fully intend to breastfeed, fail to make it to their child’s 3rd month. Why would I give it up 6 months later after working so hard to breastfeed in the first place?

3 comments:

Tori said...

Because I had to get back to school (your brother still chews on pens ...)

Your sister on the other hand never had any solid food until a year and didn't completely wean until she was almost 3 years old ...

Amber Morrisey (@BirthRoutes) said...

Horray! Great for you.

Breastmilk doesn't turn to water at 6 months, our bodies are much more clever than that ;)

Kristin said...

I am so glad things are going so well for you and that you are able to continue to bf. My little man decided to quit cold turkey at about 5.5 months and I was shocked. He hated being tied to the boob so I wasn't going to force him... I also have to allow dad the bonding thing too I guess, but I really thought it would be the 2 of us for a little longer (like another 3 months at least!)

On another note, to do with another post you made, come on over! We have baby friendly evenings all the time. There's a playpen and a crib at our house amd about a zillion toys.

The farmer's market has been moved to McIntyre for the season, but we could do that again! (with breaks for feeding, changing etc...)

Also, Y's moms is becoming more and more welcoming lately ;) Or we could do the mommy movies....

So this 'comment' is rapidly turning into an e-mail.... and with that I will bid adieu with the closing comment

"Call me" :)

Kristin (Anderson)