Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The unintentional "extended breastfeeder"

A friend shared this article "Weaning My Toddler" from the Science of Mom, and it got my mind gestating about how I am now in the class of women technically considered "extended breastfeeders," or women who breastfeed beyond the one-year mark.  The funny thing is that it wasn't a decision at all.  It was a natural progression.  

When Calvin was one year old, it would have felt entirely abrupt to discontinue nursing.  What is more, it would have taken me work.  Sure, I dropped a pumping session and went down to once a day when I'm away from him, which is now more like a relaxing break from school and a chance to watch more "RuPaul's Drag Race" than a burden.  If I had decided to wean, I'd have had to distract him and simultaneously deal with an upset baby and leaky boobs, and I just wasn't up for that.  I'm still not.  It's not right for me.  It feels right to continue to nurse.

If you've been following my blog at all, you might know that Calvin and I had a tumultuous nursing relationship before his lip tie was finally diagnosed and corrected at 6 months, after which point, I was overjoyed that the situation turned around.  Now, we have a wonderful nursing relationship.  Moreover, he is such an active toddler that I treasure those moments where he wants to just lie down and nurse for 15 minutes or so. It's a much-needed, relaxing break for both of us.  Before having his lip tie fixed, I never imagined that I'd be nursing for even 8 months, let alone 14 or more.  But here are the facts: I like it; he likes it; it's good for him; I'm not messing him up by breastfeeding this long; it's no one else's business.  

I have a couple of friends who weaned earlier or are planning to wean soon, and you know what? That's awesome, too! Breastfeeding is the mother's domain, and no one but the mother can determine how long is right for her, her baby, and her family.  And I'm not just saying that: I firmly believe.  I do think this is a feminist issue about women's choice, and we can be our worst enemies when it comes to that arena. So even though I'm technically what would be considered an "extended breastfeeder," please don't take that to mean that I expect any of you to be extended breastfeeders.  Breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, and bottle feeding have become highly politicized, when, at the heart of it, it's part of a family relationship that should not be interfered with by outsiders one way or the other.  


Melissa C. McCue, CPDT said...

"But here are the facts: I like it; he likes it; it's good for him; I'm not messing him up by breastfeeding this long; it's no one else's business."

Perfectly said :) I love that you're in this mindset and feel overall healthy about these things. It's nice to see compared to the frustrations you were dealing with for the first 6 months. This is the Lindz we all love.

Lindsay LeClair said...

:) Thanks, Melissa. That really does mean a lot to me. It took some time for me to get my feet under me with this whole motherhood thing, but I think I'm gettin' the hang of it. I hope I keep trusting my gut.