one year of breastfeeding

September 7, 2010

when we began our breastfeeding journey together i didn't have any particular goal in mind.  i just thought well, here we go.  and go we did and all was well.  we've been remarkably blessed (or LUCKY, as i prefer to call it) with a smooth-as-silk nursing journey and so, without too many bumps in the road, we finish our first year.

one year!  more than 3,300 meals: more than 700 office-y pumping sessions: more than 2,500 moments at mother's breast.  what's that, like 1,600 hours spent nursing maybe?  it's a full time job, yo.

it truly is a journey.  both jude and i had to learn what we were doing in the beginning.  we had to learn to work together- him learning how to eat the foods and telling me when; me learning to pick up on those cues and connect the dots.  he was sleepy at first and had to be stripped down to his skivvies to eat.  and eat he did– waaaaaaay more often than i was prepared for.  hours and hours spent on the couch with the boppy.  nights spent nursing on my side in bed.  i was shell shocked by the time-suck.  but slowly, after a few months, we we're both old pros.  and now, twelve months later, he can be in and out in a flash.  what used to take 40-50 minutes now takes 5.

the transition from fourth-trimester wiggly newborn to active boy happened so gradually that i wasn't even aware of all the little changes happening until one day... he no longer fits on my boppy, though he still likes to use it and just kicks his legs off the side; he points to my breast and squeals with joy; he crawls over of his own accord at eating time and waits to be picked up into my lap.

beyond our journey together it has been a pretty huge change in myself.  i've mentioned it here before that pre-pregnancy i was that girl, creeped out by a lady breastfeeding in public.  certainly grossed out by breastfeeding a toddler.  the more i learned, watched, and listened to the awesome women around me the more my mind grew and changed.  i wasn't wrong to feel that way before (well, yeah, i was)– but more just uneducated.  i got educated.  i've read more about breastfeeding than i'd care to admit.  a year later i truly feel experienced and knowledgeable.  definitely no longer "grossed out" and excited about continuing to breastfeed my baby/toddler.  (baddler? toddlby? we need a name for this stage.)

where do we go from here?  that i do know.  i don't see the point in introducing milk from a cow, made perfectly for a baby cow, when he has milk from a mama, perfect nutrition just for him.  (however he does eat dairy, through both cheese and yogurt.)  and this time, i do have a little bit of a goal: i want to continue to nurse until jude decides he's done, baby-led weaning style (as we've already begun introducing table foods to him), BUT– secretly, in my heart, i'd kinda like to make it to two years.  WHO recommended minimum.  at this point he's about 60% breastmilk 40% table foods.  man, he loves the foods.  i do fear a little bit that he'll wean earlier because he LOVES the FOODS so MUCH, but then other days he tucks in for a good ol' nursing session with mama and all is right with the world.  we'll find our balance.

we will continue until it no longer works for both of us, whether that is two more months or twenty.  and i'm very, very happy with that.

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