This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. As August is Breastfeeding awareness month, our participants are writing about this exact subject! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Trying to begin this post while Butterfly (2.2) is standing by my side nursing (and trying to press the different keys on the keyboard, oh well we'll probably write the majority of the post once she's asleep..). I am so happy and proud to be (still) nursing as we had a very difficult start.
I always knew I would want to nurse and to nurse beyond the first year or two, so I did do a bit of reading about nursing while pregnant. But my focus was much more on birthing because I wanted to have a natural unmedicated birth. I was sure that nursing won't be a problem (because why should it? millions of women nurse...). Well somewhere on my blog (on a very old post) you can read about that birth that went wrong which may or may not be related to issues I had with nursing (a lactation counselor told me they are connnected). Anyway I read, but still had a lack of knowledge. Especially how often a baby can require the breast. It can't be she's hungry!! And with me not having enough milk and the lack of support, I totally did not believe in my ability to breastfeed my child. So I gave formula, mainly formula though never stopped breastfeeding, because while I did not believe in myself, I was going to fight it and have my child have some breastmilk. At five months (exactly!) I got a wake up call. She had a growing spurt and was on my breast for two whole nights. Hey girl, what are you doing? I don't have milk, remember? But still she nursed and nursed and nursed, and I was wow, maybe all is not los [nursing baby (a doll) now. lol] lost, maybe I do have some milk! Unfortunately it was too late to regain sole nursing and I still had to give formula but it was lovely to know that I can breastfeed :-). To any new mother who wants to breastfeed, I would say how important it is to have support. It is so difficult to maintain breastfeeding when everyone around you tells you you don't have enough milk and how it's not the end of the world to formula feed and all (it was for me). I would also like to tell you to believe in yourself!
Many times when she breastfeeds, I look at her in awe. It amazes me how she loves the breasts and to look at her nurse from them.. :-). I did try here and there to take a picture of her nursing, but they mostly came out as a not to show the public pictures, lol, but at least there'll be there for me and her for later in life.
As to how long I want to continue to breastfeed.. In an ideal world until she weens herself, and I'm aiming at that. But I am also trying to get pregnant again, which means fertility treatments and hormones. Not the best combination with breastfeeding. Luckily my first cycle is a FET, that is a transfer of a frozen embryo, which means no drugs.I know I am not doing the so called right thing by not telling the doctors I am still breastfeeding, but I have read enough on the subject [though I must say, there is little to be found about breastfeeding while going through fertility treatments] to honestly believe that it can be done. If this cycle doesn't work, I will try and see if I can have a natural IVF (again, no drugs), but if not, and the worse comes to the worse I will minimize the breastfeeding (and time the taking of the hormones so maximum time before the next time Butterfly nurses). I really do hope I can get pregnant without stopping to breastfeed (and that I can maintain breastfeeding while pregnant, I did hear it is not easy!). I did wait until around Butterfly's second birthday to get back on the wagon of trying to conceive again so that she will be old enough and if I do have to quit, at least I know I gave her two years of my milk.
Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Parenting Myth Busted: They Never Stop Breastfeeding - Laura at Authentic Parenting shares how her 4 year old effectively weans herself.
- 7 Tips for Breastfeeding In Public Stress Free - From baby wearing to using a scarf, Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection is sharing many helpful tips on how to breastfeed in public stress free.
- Breastfeeding has been Downhill - Jorje of Momma Jorje compares her nursing experiences and finds... it hasn't gotten easier with time and experience.
- A Heartfelt Tip for the Nursing Mamas - Margaux from Young Nesters gives her biggest piece of advice for all present and future breastfeeding Mamas.
- Breastfeeding Carnival - Billy at My Pathway To Motherhood writes about the past, present and future of nursing her daughter.
- Amy W. at Me, Mothering and Making it All Work describes why she loves to advocate for and help nurture breastfeeding relationships.
- To My Nursling - Stone Age Parent dedicates a breastfeeding poem to her child.
- My 3 ½ Year Old Breastfeeds As Much As A Newborn – And That Is Fine By Me - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama
- Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival of Breastfeeding: Our Sorta Sudden Gentle Weaning - Wolfmother Chronicles
- How to breastfeed while babywearing in a men tai - Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a video tutorial for easy, hands-free nursing on the go in a mei tai (Asian-style) baby carrier.
- My Boobs? Mighty Frickin' Spectacular, Thank You Very Much. - Rhianna from The Other Baby Book shares a post crediting breastfeeding with nurturing a connection not only with her son, but also with her breasts and her body's empowering ability to do its thing.