yep, still breastfeeding
I've been getting some judgey looks and questions lately when people find out that I'm still breastfeeding now that Holden is more than a year old. I get the sense that people think I might be turning into some hippy-dippy weirdo that's going to breastfeed my daughter until she's five. So even though no explanation is really necessary, let's go ahead and talk about my boobies, shall we?
I nursed Holden (or gave her expressed milk in a bottle) exclusively for the first seven months. Around that time, I gave up pumping at work. We had moved into a new office and I lost access to my private pumping space. I wasn't a big fan of having to hide in the bathroom to pump.
Additionally, in my line of work, it was getting tough to schedule meetings around my pumping times (which were 10am and 2pm). I found myself in meetings that went over schedule, sitting there in agony, unable to concentrate on what was going on as my boobs slowly inflated.
Despite all of those annoyances, it was a tough decision for me to give up pumping. I felt like I was "quitting" too easily, or being selfish. I remember the other women/moms in my office basically giving me permission to stop and to be okay with it.
So after seven months, our schedule was this:
- 7am: nurse
- 10am: bottle of formula (Enfamil)
- 2pm: bottle of formula
- 5:30pm: nurse when I got home from work
- 7:30pm: nurse before bed
Around 11.5 months, we started to give up the 5:30pm nursing when I got home from work. So now, at a year old, I've replaced formula with either organic whole milk or, because I'm lucky to have a relative who works for Enfamil, the Enfamil Enfagrow Older Toddler Vanilla Milk Drink. And I only nurse Holden in the morning and at night.
To be honest, she doesn't drink very much. I can tell by the fact that my boobs are now even smaller than they were before I was pregnant that I don't produce much milk. So why continue with it?
It's a few minutes for us to connect every day, and she seems to take comfort in it. In fact, she casually alternates back and forth between my boob and her Nuk, giving me a look like "deal with it."
There are, of course, the health benefits for her. KellyMom was my go-to resource for all my breastfeeding questions when Holden was a baby. It's a great site that provides evidence-based info on breastfeeding, sleep, feeding and parenting in general. KellyMom has lots of info on breastfeeding your child after the first year, including the benefits for the kid, like:
- Research shows that breastfeeding toddlers between the ages of one and three have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration.
- Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.
So, it's good for her. And it has benefits for me:
- Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
And, if we're being completely honest, breastfeeding is 100% the reason that I've lost weight after my pregnancy. So, yeah, I'd love to hang onto this for a bit longer... especially because I'm too lazy to actually exercise.
But when Holden loses interest, we'll give it up and I'll be okay with that. Until then, those people can... deal with it.