Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breastfeeding Adventures part 2

    Here is part two. I was so excited when my friend Amber said she would love to tell her story on my blog. Her story is so different from mine, and so amazing!! Her and her daughter are great together and they are growing to be quite the pair!! Feel free to leave any questions and comments and I am sure she would love to give you some answers as far as Full-Term Breastfeeding!

      My breastfeeding journey is a journey of open-mindedness and education. My daughter is 26-months old and our journey is still going, though if you had asked me 27 months ago I would have said (and did say) that we would be breastfeeding until 1-year of age. At that time, I knew nothing about “extended” breastfeeding, or as is better called, full-term breastfeeding. I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t know the benefits, heck, I didn’t even really know it existed!

    Our journey started out as a beautiful bonding experience for a new mother and her first baby. After attending a few Le Leche League meetings while still pregnant, I felt we were fully ready to embark on our journey. We didn’t have many bumps in the road; no discomfort (aside from minor nipple pain), no plugged ducts/mastitis, no food intolerances, etc. It was as easy as breastfeeding could be. My daughter was always a “booby baby” and was happiest on my chest and at my breast and this is where we spent the first few months adjusting to everything. She gained weight like a champ and it was amazing to see that not only was my body capable of growing this amazing human being in-utero but also sustaining life exclusively with my breast milk and I took great comfort in watching her thrive.
As our journey continued and we met other mothers who were breastfeeding children over the age of 1 it became natural and something I was okay with doing. I decided at some point that I would be okay with following the WHO’s (World Health Organization) recommendation of “at least 2 years or as long as mutually desired” and go until age 2. Somewhere in that second year after the age of 2 became a real and probably possibility as my “booby baby” is nowhere near the self-weaning phase as she still finds a lot of nutrition and comfort at my breast.

    There are some days when I’m more than ready for her to wean when I need some space or want to take a vacation alone with my husband but there are other days when I am thrilled we still have this advantage in our lives. One of the times I’m most grateful for this is when she is sick. It’s so easy to comfort her and hydrate her with my body versus trying to get her to suck down water when she wants nothing to do with it--this has kept her out of the hospital. It’s nice to be able to hold her and nurse her to sleep when she’s feeling awful and wants nothing else--this has kept me rested enough to keep us both going. It’s nice to give her my immunity and keep her from getting sick or if she does get sick, keep her from getting it as bad as us adults are getting it. Another amazing benefit we give each other is lessening each others risk of many different cancers. The longer I nurse her, the less chance I have of contracting different cancers--the longer she nurses, the less chance she has of contracting different cancers.

     Full-term breastfeeding isn’t for everyone but it has a lot of wonderful benefits and should be explored before being pushed aside for what is a better known American-cultural norm of “up to the age of 1”. America is one of the few countries that know of the wonderful benefits yet choose to ignore them and it saddens me. One day our journey will be done and I will take comfort in knowing I gave her the best I could give her as long as she wanted it.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 3

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