Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beyond a Year

I never started out to breastfeed my daughter beyond a year.  My mom breastfed me and my sisters to a year and anything beyond that sounded ridiculous to me.  Even gross.  I could not wrap my head around why ANYONE would want to breastfeed past a year.  I wasn't even sure how someone could justify it.

But then we went through colic.  And I began breastfeeding on demand.  And we decided to do child-led solids which meant Little Miss wasn't getting many calories from eating regular food.  I read somewhere that a child's diet should be 80% breastmilk at a year.  80%!  How could I possibly wean my child off of 80% of her diet?  So as a year approached, I realized that neither of us were ready to wean.  I had been responding to her needs for the past year, and I couldn't imagine suddenly saying no to those needs.

Now many people say, well, you must not have struggled.  And in many ways, you're right.  I didn't struggle as much as other people, but we definitely had struggles.  We had the nurses in the hospital doing everything possible to sabotage my breastfeeding.  We had major difficulties with a good latch because of said nurses.  I suspect now that the colic was because I had an oversupply which caused her to get only fore milk which upset her stomach.  She didn't sleep through the night until 10 1/2 months.  She got her first 2 teeth rather early and bit me.  Hard.  Multiple times.  We went from 2 to 8 teeth in 2 weeks and spent the next 2-3 months trying to figure out better positions and getting a good latch.  I got mastitis a few times.  I had cuts in my nipples from her adjusting to her teeth.  She still nurses at least 8 times a day, but for short amounts of time. She's currently getting molars and has slept through the night twice in the last 2 months. And I'm sure we'll have more struggles.

But ya know what?  It's been worth it.  I love that she is getting the food that is designed for her.  I love when she kicks and smiles because she is that excited to nurse.  I love when she decides that nursing while standing on one leg would be fun to do.  I love when she has to stop to point out my belly button for me.  I love when she has to stop to point out her belly button for me.  I love how she has to investigate my mouth and teeth while nursing.  I love when she decides to give me a raspberry and giggles!  I love when she snuggles up next to me at night and falls asleep nursing.

I never thought I would love nursing a toddler.  I plain never thought it was even a possibility for me.  I have no idea how long we'll nurse.  Hopefully to 2 years, at least.  She doesn't show any signs of stopping now, which gives me hope that we'll reach that goal, but who knows?

I suppose I'll just have to let her take the lead.  Just like she's been doing for the past 16 months. 

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