Saturday, July 19, 2008

Past a year?

When I was pregnant with Bria, I told myself that I would give breastfeeding another try. Things didn't go so smooth with Rowan. He was very squirmy and aggressive. I never enjoyed that time, and we were mutually finished with breastfeeding by 10 months. I'm surprised I made it that far.

Even though I was going to give it a shot, I was not very hopeful, and I figured I would end up using formula. But, taking it one day at a time, and making it through the first few weeks, I'm very happy to say that I'm still breastfeeding Bria. She will be 1 on the 3oth :)

So, we are very comfortable with the way things are right now (Bria and I). I nurse her usually 4 times a day, with a bottle of whole milk here and there. Right now I really have no intention of trying to wean her. I'm just wondering what other people think. I know I used to think that 6 months was great, and then maybe til a year.

I found this article, and thought it was very interesting. Let me know what you think.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR JUST A FEW DAYS,
he will have received your colostrum, or early milk. By
providing antibodies and the food his brand-new body
expects, nursing gives your baby his first - and
easiest - "immunization" and helps get his digestive
system going smoothly. Breastfeeding is how your baby
expects to start, and helps your own body recover from
the birth. Why not use your time in the hospital to
prepare your baby for life through the gift of nursing?

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS,
you will have eased him through the most critical part of his
infancy. Newborns who are not breastfed are much more
likely to get sick or be hospitalized, and have many
more digestive problems than breastfed babies. After 4
to 6 weeks, you'll probably have worked through any
early nursing concerns, too. Make a serious goal of
nursing for a month, call La Leche League or a
Lactation Consultant if you have any questions, and
you'll be in a better position to decide whether
continued breastfeeding is for you.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 3 OR 4 MONTHS,
her digestive system will have matured a great deal, and she will be
much better able to tolerate the foreign substances in
commercial formulas. If there is a family history of
allergies, though, you will greatly reduce her risk by
waiting a few more months before adding anything at all
to her diet of breastmilk. And giving nothing but your
milk for the first four months gives strong protection
against ear infections for a whole year.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 6 MONTHS,
she will be much less likely to suffer an allergic reaction to formula
or other foods. At this point, her body is probably
ready to tackle some other foods, whether or not you
wean. Nursing for at least 6 months helps ensure better
health throughout your baby's first year of life, and
reduces your own risk of breast cancer. Nursing for 6
months or more may greatly reduce your little one's
risk of ear infections and childhood cancers. And
exclusive, frequent breastfeeding during the first 6
months, if your periods have not returned, provides 98%
effective contraception.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 9 MONTHS,
you will have seen him through the fastest and most important brain and
body development of his life on the food that was
designed for him - your milk. You may even notice that
he is more alert and more active than babies who did
not have the benefit of their mother's milk. Weaning
may be fairly easy at this age... but then, so is
nursing! If you want to avoid weaning this early, be
sure you've been available to nurse for comfort as well
as just for food.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR A YEAR,
you can avoid the expense and bother of formula. Her one-year-old body
can probably handle most of the table foods your family
enjoys. Many of the health benefits this year of
nursing has given your child will last her whole life.
She will have a stronger immune system, for instance,
and will be much less likely to need orthodontia or
speech therapy. The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends nursing for at least a year, to help ensure
normal nutrition and health for your baby.

IF YOU NURSE YOUR BABY FOR 18 MONTHS,
you will have continued to provide your baby's normal nutrition and
protection against illness at a time when illness is
common in other babies. Your baby is probably well
started on table foods, too. He has had time to form a
solid bond with you - a healthy starting point for his
growing independence. And he is old enough that you and
he can work together on the weaning process, at a pace
that he can handle. A former U.S. Surgeon General said,
"it is the lucky baby... that nurses to age two."

IF YOUR CHILD WEANS WHEN SHE IS READY
,
you can feel confident that you have met your baby's physical and
emotional needs in a very normal, healthy way. In
cultures where there is no pressure to wean, children
tend to nurse for at least two years. The World Health
Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage
breastfeeding through toddlerhood: "Breastmilk is an
important source of energy and protein, and helps to
protect against disease during the child's second year
of life."* Our biology seems geared to a weaning age of
between 2 1/2 and 7 years**, and it just makes sense to
build our children's bones from the milk that was
designed to build them. Your milk provides antibodies
and other protective substances as long as you continue
nursing, and families of nursing toddlers often find
that their medical bills are lower than their
neighbors' for years to come. Mothers who have nursed
longterm have a still lower risk of developing breast
cancer. Children who were nursed longterm tend to be
very secure, and are less likely to suck their thumbs
or carry a blanket. Nursing can help ease both of you
through the tears, tantrums, and tumbles that come with
early childhood, and helps ensure that any illnesses
are milder and easier to deal with. It's an all-purpose
mothering tool you won't want to be without! Don't
worry that your child will nurse forever. All children
stop eventually, no matter what you do, and there are
more nursing toddlers around than you might guess.

WHETHER YOU NURSE FOR A DAY OR FOR SEVERAL YEARS,
the decision to nurse your child is one you need never
regret. And whenever weaning takes place, remember that
it is a big step for both of you. If you choose to wean
before your child is ready, be sure to do it gradually,
and with love.

*Facts for Life: A Communication Challenge, published
by UNICEF, WHO, and UNESCO, 1989
**K Dettwyler. A Time to Wean. Breastfeeding Abstracts
vol 14 no 1 1994

9 comments:

Wendy said...

That's awesome:) I nursed Lani until she was 17 months old. One night she just decided that she didn't want to be nursed before bed. I couldn't believe it and figured that she would change her mind. But she totally weaned her self. It was such a relief to have it this way...no stress:)

Andrea said...

That is super interesting!! I love that article! And way to go on nursing Bria this long! :) I am planning to nurse Emily for at least a year...like I did with Tate - I might nurse her longer than a year though...we will see!

sheila said...

This is a very touchy subject for me as I was unable to nurse all three of my kids, to this day, still don't know why my milk didn't come in. Of course nursing is the best option, but, there are some very good formulas out there. And i must argue the point that "nursed" babies end up usually being healthier children than their formula fed counterparts. I know many nursed babies who were constantly struggling with ear infections, colds, etc. I can honestly say my boys have been very healthy, considerably more so than a number of their breast fed counterparts.
Breast is definitely best if you can, however, I'm going to be very opinionated with this comment, but, I think it looks ridiculous when you see a 2 year old going up to it's mother in a public place, lifting up her shirt and sucking like a calf!

Drea said...

I think its great you are nursing so long. Wish I could of made it to atleast 6 mo!

Stacey said...

Sheila,

I appreciate your point of view, and I was hoping you would chime in here. I think just about anyone would agree that breastfeeding is the best choice, but there will always be women who struggle to breastfeed or can't at all due to medical reasons, or whatever.

I totally get that, and I know your kids are very healthy.

I also don't like the thought of seeing a 2 year old walk up and lift mommies shirt. That's kind of why I posted this topic. I'm wondering what other people think about this.

If I do nurse Bria much longer, it will mostly be at home. We'll see how it goes.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years old now.

Ellen said...

I think that's great that you could nurse for a year! I totally agree, I wouldn't like the look of a two year old nursing. I also agree that nursing=no sickness - there are a lot of other factors involved with kids getting sick. I think how long you nurse depends on your reasoning with why you are nursing and what you and your babies needs are. I decided to wean at 6 months because I wanted myself back (sounds selfish - but it's the truth). I'm sure everyone has their own reasons for when they wean.

ONTARIO THIESSENS said...

Breastfeeding isn't easy that's for sure -- it's hard and painful at the beginning no matter how much experience you've had and you constantly have to contend with shrinking and expanding, sensitive and leaky breasts. It's a lot of difficult things people don't often talk about. However I definitely promote breastfeeding. I breastfed all four of our kids but for different lengths of time depending. Each situation was different. With Rachelle I physically couldn't keep going after 9 months because I was pregnant with Sonja when Rachelle was only 6 months old. Had I known that Rachelle was going to have the food allergies that she has I (we) probably would have tried harder to avoid getting pregnant so soon (put it this way ... it wasn't planned, but it wasn't prevented). I breastfed Sonja for one year and then quit 'cold turkey' which was a rather silly thing to do for both of us. Jordan I breastfed the longest (18 months) but by that time it was just once a day for bed-time snack. Melissa I breastfed for one year. Anyway, I think breastfeeding is great if you can do it -- at least try even for a short time because it is so beneficial for the baby, but hey. A year is GREAT if you can swing it. 18 months was ok for me but much longer than that would have been pushing it (personally). I feel that anyone can do whatever they want though, it really doesn't bother me. And I totally understand if Moms don't breastfeed for whatever reason - it's not the end of the world. No one should beat themselves up over it. Plus I agree with Sheila, breastfeeding does not necessarily guarantee healthy kids. That doesn't mean it's not worth a try though. However, it's just one more thing for Moms to beat themselves up over if they "failed" to do what's "best" for their baby and there certainly is no point in that. ... So anyway, there's my 'two-cents' worth :)
~Brenda

Melissa said...

Hey Stacy, this is my story.

I breastfed Liam (#1) for only 10days. I got mastitas and didn't want to keep going, it was nasty. He was the fatest baby ever and he was formula fed. Connor (#2) was a terrible feeder. I breastfed him until he was 7months and couldn't believe I lasted that long. He had many re-occuring ear infections and terrible stomach cramps accompanied by colic. Aydan (#3) breastfed until almost 1year. She was the BEST EVER! I actually enjoyed it, she had a great latch right away and gained weight like crazy! She pretty much weaned herself, just didn't want to anymore. Although she still had a few ear infections when she was 4-5months old. So, I don't know if what they say is 100% fact... my kids nursed and still had ear infections, minus Liam -no ear probs at all. I think it has to do with the child.

I think you should try and breastfeed your child as long as you can but only to the degree that's comfortable for you! (I personally don't like the 2 year old pulling up the shirt, like Sheila said, and sucking away then it gets weird.)

You should feel free to nurse as long as you're comfortable, it's different for every mom and baby.

Erica Hildebrand said...

Stacy, I agree with you on this subject. Breast is best, and try and breatfeed your baby until at LEAST a year. I only made it to 9 months with Annika, but I was SO proud of myself for making it that far! I went through so many ups and downs with nursing - I hated it one day, loved it the other...but Annika was so squirmy and to me it wasn't worth fighting her at the breast to get 2-3 ounces in her tummy twice a day. Sure, 2-3 ounces is better than nothing...but it got very tiring. So, I say if its still working for you and Bria - GO FOR IT!