Posts Tagged ‘extended breastfeeding’

Oh, You’re STILL Nursing?

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

oh, you're still nursing?Breastfeeding is a beautiful, amazing gift. It’s not always easy. It can come with pain. I’ve gone through thrush, mastitis, nipple shields, and bite marks. Many moms desire to nurse but it doesn’t work out. So, I don’t take a moment I nurse my son for granted.

But lately, friends, family, and even medical professionals have asked me, “Oh, you’re still nursing?” It’s almost as like once your baby approaches age 1, they expect you to be done. It is normal to not be done, mommas.

For me, I am getting closer. Levi is almost 16 months old, and he is only nursing in the mornings. Is it a habit? Maybe. Do I care? No. I relish in the wee-morning hours when it’s just the two of us awake and he just wants mommy. He smacks his lips and looks up at me and says, “more” in his sweet little baby boy voice.

There are many benefits to nursing past one year for a toddler. Some of them are:

  • Nutrition and disease-fighting goodness
  • Great gains in cognitive development for toddlers who breastfed
  • Aids in social development of older infants and toddlers

And don’t forget about mom! Here are some of the benefits for us, ladies:

  • Delayed return of fertility
  • Decreased risks of certain cancers (breast and ovarian)
  • Aids in weight loss (for some)
  • Can reduce the likelihood you develop cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis

For me, those benefits are worth sticking it out for a little while longer. Some moms nurse babies well into toddlerhood, and I say, “You go girl!” While I wish I could do that with my Levi, I have a feeling we will be done in the next few months. I am just not sure he is my last baby.

So if someone gives you a hard time for nursing an older infant or toddler, just remember they aren’t your boss. Educate them on the benefits, if you feel up to it. Share the amazing stories of bonding and love you get to experience with your child. If some people in your life aren’t supportive of this choice, it’s your choice whether to engage with them on the subject or begin enforcing a boundary. You don’t owe anyone anything.

Remember, you are supermom. You decide what is best for you and your baby, and if “boobie milk” is part of your toddler plan, then let it be.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and nurses a 15 month old little boy with lots of teeth.

Benefits of Nursing Baby Past Six Months

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The Benefits of Nursing Past Six MonthsMany women start out on a nursing journey after their child is born but quit soon after. For some, it is a health reason or personal choice that stops nursing. According to breastfeedingbasics.com, 77 percent of mothers nurse at birth, but less than 47percent are still nursing at 6 months, and only 25 percent continue past 1 year. But what about those women who are still nursing when baby is older? There are many benefits to nursing baby past 6 months, even after they have started eating solids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”  While we all know breastfeeding is best for baby, what are some of the benefits baby’s receive the older they are from nursing?

  • Continued immune benefits from mother’s milk
  • Easy way to comfort an older infant and soothe to sleep if needed
  • Breast milk is best for children who may be allergic or have a low tolerance for formula or cow’s milk.
  • Positive influences have been shown on baby’s social and intellectual development in many studies.

Nursing past 6 months is beneficial for moms, too!

  • Delayed return of fertility
  • Lowers risks of breast and ovarian cancers
  • Lowers risks of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps moms who are still losing baby weight

The benefits outweigh any stigma you may feel about nursing a baby who can walk or talk. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states that “breastfeeding past infancy is the biological norm.” Around 6 to 9 months, getting my daughter to sleep at naptime was a struggle. It was so nice to have a way to soothe and comfort her while calming her down for naptime. During her first 13 months of life, she was never sick. After weaning, we had three ear infections at 15 months back to back.

The benefits of nursing are endless. Keep on nursing and keep on giving your baby their best start, whether it’s a start at life, a start at crawling, or a start into toddlerhood. You can do it!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to nurse her son!

Are You Still Nursing?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

 

“Are you still nursing?”

Are You Still Nursing?This question was a point of pride with my first baby, since nursing was a struggle. It was a question asked in solidarity: Are you still with us? Are you still hanging in there? Do you need support? The tone was hopeful; the smiles, adoring.

But now, it’s hard when people ask, “Are you STILL nursing?” Because now that word, in all caps even as it hangs in the air between us, means, “She’s too old,” “You’re babying her,” “She doesn’t need it anymore.”

Walking is not an indication of readiness to wean. Either is the development of speech, or the emergence of teeth. Do you know what is an indication? When mother and child are ready to move on. And they do, every single one of them. Because do you know any adults who have to nurse to sleep? Me either.

I never made it this far with my first two babies. I am so proud to be nursing still. But sometimes it’s hard, despite research and recommendations by the AAP and the WHO saying nursing is best well beyond 6 weeks or 6 months. It’s hard when a once-supportive family now disapproves, your husband asks when you’re “going to quit” like it’s a bad habit you can’t kick, and your baby is big and strong enough to do somersaults that twist your nipples around like Silly Putty.

I think we have discovered in our society that biggest isn’t always best. Mass-produced food isn’t the best. Mass-conceptualized education isn’t the best. Giant corporations aren’t the best. That’s because as people, we have a limited scope of knowing and understanding, and when something gets beyond the scope of what we can do well, we either have to fake quality or scale back in order to achieve it. In many of these areas, we’ve chosen to fake it, and now we are feeling the consequences of that decision.

Health care in this country is feeling that edge. Women have realized it, and that’s why many are shifting back to providers who use evidence-based practices when it comes to things like childbirth and infant care. We want someone to come in and really look, really listen, and then respond to us as individuals, not numbers on a bell curve.

That’s why there is no one age, one factor, one indicator of when someone should stop nursing, and there should never be one. We are still nursing because our baby needs to. When they don’t need to anymore, they won’t, and that will be that.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and still-nursing mother of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

 

 

 

 

Working Out and Breastfeeding

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Working out and BreastfeedingI really enjoy running; so much that I ran 1.5 miles three weeks after giving birth to my second child. This was a terrible idea, by the way. They tell you not to work out for six weeks after baby for a reason.

After having a baby I want my body back as soon as possible, but I have also found that if I want to breastfeed successfully I need to take it slowly.

There are many benefits of moderate exercise for mom; these include: higher level of cardiovascular fitness; improved blood lipid profiles and insulin response; improved energy; reduced stress; enhanced maternal-infant relationship and alleviation of depression symptoms in those with major depressive disorders. I truly see these benefits when I make time to exercise; not only am I a happier/better mom but I am also a better wife.

I breastfed my first for 18.5 months and my second is now 16 months old and still going strong. With both kids, I made breastfeeding a priority over working out for their first year. I still work out, just not as much as I may like. I have to be very careful with my calories while breastfeeding or my supply will tank. I eat lactation cookies anytime I feel my supply dropping. I also make sure I am consuming enough calories and drink enough fluids once I add exercise.

One other challenge I encounter is comfort–I am rather large while nursing and must find a supportive sports bra for any type of exercise. I have found I need a maximum support sports bra for comfort as well as confidence.

Once my kids hit a year old, I give myself a green light to exercise more without stressing about my milk supply. With both kids I began working out harder at this time and did not see much of a drop in supply; although I do keep my calorie intake high to insure that they still have milk. I treasure being pregnant and nursing, but after four years straight of being pregnant and/or nursing I am excited to work out without worrying about either.

Kristen Beggs is an active mom of a 3 year old and 16 month old.  On nice days she enjoys taking her kids out for a run in the double stroller.

Top 5 Reasons I Like Breastfeeding a Toddler

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Ah, toddlerhood. There are moments I thoroughly enjoy this age of discovery and playfulness. However more often than not I feel completely frazzled by the two second attention span, the constant need to touch, pull, climb, dump, etc. and the “hold me now! put me down! hold me now! put me down!” stage of toddlerhood. Inevitability the demand of “hold me now! put me down!” typically occurs in direct opposition of what is most convenient for mama.  For example at the library it would be much easier if my toddler would let me hold him/wear him so I could check out our books. Nope, not happening. Instead he squirms and screams in my arms until I eventually put him down and gently say “okay but you need to stay close to mama“.  HA! He runs away from me as fast as he can, pulling books off the shelf and giggling hysterically the entire chase. However when we are at home and I would gladly let him run around and pull all of our books off the shelf so I can do whatever, he of course wants to be held.

There are many aspects of toddler development that make this stage particularly challenging for parents. There are days where I actually cannot imagine surviving the intensity of toddlerhood without breastfeeding. Here are the top 5 reasons I like breastfeeding my toddler:

1. It’s the only time I get to sit down and they stop moving. Literally! Although this does backfire on me at times because on the rare occasion I do sit down (without the intention to breastfeed) he of course immediately comes running toward me signing ‘milk! milk!’. The association between “mama sitting” and “time to nurse” is incredibly strong in my little one almost to the point I have to be sneaky about sitting. I confess to periodically hiding in our pantry for a few minutes simply so I can sit down alone.

2. If they are sick and uninterested in foods/liquids….no worries! There have been several times when my little ones have been sick and I am so thankful we practice extended breastfeeding. I am certain it has helped us avoid what could have been serious episodes of dehydration because while they refused foods/liquids they were happily nourished with breastmilk.

3. Makes almost any task far more enjoyable for them. For example my son hates having his nails cut, but if I cut them while he is nursing, he hardly seems to notice. Same with having his hair combed. Actually the hair washing and combing thing got to be so difficult we recently decided it would be easier to buzz his long shaggy locks. About 3 seconds into the haircut, he decided he was done with it. Instead of letting him go around with a random patch of hair shaved off, I offered to nurse him and my hubby was able to finish cutting his hair in peace.

BEFORE

DURING

AFTER

4. I carry a magical, powerful sleep induction tool that is readily available anytime/anywhere! This is hands down my favorite part of nursing a toddler. When we are out and about and he’s tired and cranky, no sweat! Just latch him on and he’s in dreamland shortly thereafter.

5. It relaxes me and connects us. While this kind of goes along with my first reason, it is worthy of separate mention. Beyond the fact that I get to sit down randomly throughout the day, breastfeeding actually releases hormones (Oxytocin and Prolactin) that relax the mother. Nature’s design for breastfeeding is pretty cool, huh? Also the opportunity to positively re-connect with my toddler on a regular basis throughout the day is beneficial, if not necessary to our relationship; because in all honesty mothering a toddler is an intensely exhausting venture! I am exceptionally grateful to have breastfeeding in my bag of tricks!

What do you enjoy about nursing your toddler?

-Sarah