It you know me personally or have followed this blog for long you may already know that I’m an advocate for breastfeeding.
Of course I am.
Most everyone is.
Even if you don’t actually participate in the act of breastfeeding you still probably realize that “breast is best.”
It’s better for mommy and baby and I although I had a few bumps along the way with breastfeeding my babies, it’s been a magical experience.
You see, now for the first time in 3 years I am not breastfeeding any babies at all.
That’s right. My boobies have freedom.
Well, for about 4 weeks (give or take).
I know that 4 weeks doesn’t sound like long, but boy oh boy are we living it up while we can.
In fact, this weekend Zach and I are actually having an overnight date! We have only had one ever when Bitzy was 17 months and I wasn’t breastfeeding her overnight. Now that Brother is weaned at 19 months we can go again.
Are we wild and crazy or what? We will probably shake the town down with our craziness! (actually we’ll probably eat dinner at 6:00pm and be in bed at 9:00pm and sleep until 10:00am the next morning, but at least we’ll be alone!).
So just to break it down for you, I nursed Bitzy until she was a little over 3 years old and Brother until he was 19 months. I plan to nurse sweet baby Nonny (baby in belly) until she won’t let me anymore.
I am very proud that, together, we made it for as long as we did.
I have heard people say things like, “Oh gross! I can’t believe that you’re nursing your toddler!” And, “Will you nurse ’til she’s 12?” And my personal favorite, “You are doing them any favors by continuing to breastfeed. You’re doing it for you, not for them.”
Maybe you are one of these people.
And honestly, I ain’t mad at ya. When I hear people say things like this I immediately know that…
1. You have never experienced a similar breastfeeding relationship.
2. You have misinformation.
3. You are judging me based on what you do not understand.
I’m not the girl who is going to post articles on Facebook and Twitter about the benefits of extended breastfeeding. Why? Because just because it worked for my family doesn’t mean that I think you’re a bad person if you don’t do it. And I don’t expect you to “get it.”
In fact, I never planned to nurse Bitzy for 3 years. My goal was to never use formula (and by God’s grace formula has never touched the lips of my children) and to nurse them both for at least one year.
That’s it. That was my whole plan. I have no agenda. I’m not a member of the Le Leche League. Nope, I’m just a mommy who God has given a whole lotta milk to and I am able to feed my babies with it. I will never tell you that you’re a bad mommy if you don’t breastfeed. However, if you need support I will gladly help if I can.
Again, by God’s grace in addition to tandem nursing both Bitzy and Brother I was able to donate over 6,000 ounces of breastmilk to a national milk bank to help babies in the NICU.
Friends, that’s a lotta milk.
I’m proud of that. It wasn’t fun pumping like a mad woman. But I’m glad that I did and I hope to again.
Back to my original plan of nursing for only a year, when Bitzy was 9 months old, I got pregnant with Brother. I continued nursing and assumed that she would wean eventually in the pregnancy (like the other 75% of children do). Nope, as you know my girl isn’t a quitter!
Then when Brother was born my milk was like sweet nectar apparently and she was in milk drunk heaven. She was so excited to have good old full fat milk back in her belly (in case you don’t know, in pregnancy milk production decreases significantly in pregnancy and for most women, it completely depletes until the new baby is born).
So, I tandem breastfed. It was tricky sometimes, but overall, it was totally doable. I would recommend trying it to anyone.
While I’m thankful for the break, I was planning on and hoping to tandem feed baby Nonny and Brother, but my little wild man weaned himself at 19 months. He was done and it was easy peasy to wean him.
Weaning Bitzy was much more challenging. You see, she was an addict. Not just to the milk, but to Mama. So, weaning was a much longer process. I tried for over 6 months to gently wean her and finally it clicked. But again, it was very gradual.
I’m nervous that when Nonny comes Bitzy will want to rejoin in the milk fun. Again, an addict is an addict. I’m going to stay strong and not let her nurse if she wants to because weaning her was so long and dramatic!
So, that’s my journey in a nutshell.
I love breastfeeding. I love extended breastfeeding. I’m excited to do it all over again.
I’ve had many women privately ask me about my journey and I have tried to offer support and advice, and I am still very willing to! As I said, each breastfeeding relationship is different and requires different approaches, methods and techniques. It’s not a cookie cutter act. So, if you are struggling please let me know and I will try to help. I am only an expert for my own children though! And YOU are the expert of your child. Don’t forget that!