Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.
Thursday, March 29, 2007Wow. I cannot believe it's been six months already. I've made it to the 12% club.
What's the 12% club? That's the number of Ohio mothers that are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. (31% of Ohio moms are still breastfeeding at least occasionally at six months.)
It's been an amazing journey so far and I count myself as amazingly blessed to have been able to do this. My prayers go up that we'll make it through the next six months. (I'm taking it six months at a time...)
It's funny when I look back on things and see how my opinions have changed over time.
(cue background music and fuzzy outline of reality as we drift into flash back mode...)
When I was pregnant with Elnora, I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about breastfeeding. She was due two months before me and she commented on how she hoped to breastfeed until her child was three months old. Then she'd switch to formula, because nursing past three months was "strange." I told her that I was aiming for six months, but that after six months, I thought it was a little "strange" myself.
To be brutally honest...there was a part of me that wasn't sad when breastfeeding didn't work out with Elnora. Sure, I lamented the loss of the convenience factor, but the idea of another human being nursing from me sort of icked me out. I knew deep down that it was what was best for her, but it was still something that I planned to do reluctantly. When I ended up exclusively pumping, it seemed like the best of both worlds. I knew she was getting my breast milk, but I didn't have to deal with my own hang-ups about breastfeeding.
The good thing about that year I spent pumping is that I was learning more and more about breast milk and breastfeeding. I was also learning more about the issues facing breastfeeding moms.
For instance, when I had Elnora, I went out and bought a few ponchos so that I could "cover up" while nursing. When I had Emmitt, I bought a few nursing tops because I knew how hard most moms found it to nurse under a cover. (And besides, why should I use a cover?)
When I had Elnora, I thought that nursing past a year was "creepy." I think I even used the line "if they're old enough to ask...." And yet...before Elnora was a year old, I remember hearing a friend use that same line and I found that my opinion had already changed.
"You know, it's not like those moms wake up nursing a two year old. They nurse a baby and that baby gets older one day at a time. Why would you think that all of a sudden they'd wake up one morning and what was ok yesterday isn't ok today? Where do you cut them off?"
Looking back, I think that was the start of the Lactivist coming out in me.
Flashing back to the present, I find that my opinions have continued to change.
A few month before Emmitt was born, I decided to give nursing another try. What's shocking is that while I planned to try again, I was still thinking..."I'll nurse until he's six months, then I'll pump until he's a year." Why? Because despite being the Lactivist, despite being a proponent of child-led weaning, despite not being even remotely icked out by someone else nursing a toddler, it still creeped me out to think of doing it myself.
But here I am...six months later.
Give up the nursing and take up the pump?
Ha! Like that's going to happen.
Earlier today, I was sitting in the bedroom nursing Emmitt before putting him down for his nap. I was thinking about the fact that he's six months old...in another six months, he'll be walking...talking. I hope we'll still be nursing. It's really not much different nursing a six month old than it was nursing a newborn.
He's heavier now...20 pounds instead of nine and a half...
He's longer now...he used to fit in my lap and now he kind of hangs over both sides...
He's got a tooth....it just popped through this week.
But he's still my little guy. He still wants to snuggle up. He still falls asleep at the breast. He still gives me that goofy, milky grin. He still gets happy enough that even though I can't see his mouth, I notice his eyes crinkle and I know he's smiling. He still laughs when he gets squirted in the nose/eye/face with milk. He still holds on to my shirt for dear life and he drinks.
He's still my baby.
Nursing a six month old? Nope...not weird at all.