T & I attended our local La Leche League meeting last night and had a great time, as always. It left me with a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head, which I thought I would share with you all for Thoughtful Thursday!
The topic was weaning + nutrition, which ironically enough was what I had a million questions about at last month’s meeting. One of the great leaders directed me to this wonderful book then, which I immediately checked out from their lending library and had the entire month to read, ponder, and realize what is right for our family.
One of the other mamas there was extremely frustrated with night nursing and her 15 month old, and was sharing how she was determined to night wean ASAP. She was tired, needs to be up early for work often and just needed something to change big time. My heart went out to her, that is usually me, with my ongoing struggles of breastfeeding / being a mama in general.
I felt different this month though; lately I have been trying to accept the present for what it is, just the present. Not a product of what we have done in the past or a foreshadowing of what things will be like in the future, just what it is, today. When I start thinking that by nursing all day and all night and sharing a bed with T since birth it has made him a light/difficult sleeper, or that by nursing so frequently at 17 months I am hindering T’s socializing, or that if I am still nursing on demand now T may not wean until 4 or 5 years old, I can start to drive myself CRAZY.
Nursing is so controversial; there is so much information, so many opinions, and even more so when it comes to nursing + sleep or nursing + toddlers. Maybe that is why I am always struggling, always analyzing our breastfeeding relationship to try and change behaviors?
Breastfeeding is without a doubt a lifestyle choice; just like choosing to be a responsive or positive or empathetic or attachment parent. It takes work, dedication, sacrifice, and it will not always be easy. But it is a tool, a tool to provide nourishment and comfort. Sometimes T needs a hug in the middle of his play, sometimes he just wants to be picked up, sometimes he wants to read books, and sometimes he wants to nurse. I don’t question when he will stop “needing” hugs from me, and I am no longer questioning when he will stop needing to nurse. I do not always want to read “Oh The Thinks You Can Think” or “Put Me In The Zoo” or “If You Give A Moose A Muffin” 27 times in a row, but if I can, I do, and that is the same way I have been thinking about breastfeeding. If I can, I do. If we need to make a change, we do, until we are in a better place. If we have a bad night, we stick close to home the next day and just take it easy, and try again the next night. If T needs to nurse 12 times throughout the night, he must be going through something. If he is nursing 12 times every night for quite awhile, then it must be something that nursing isn’t solving, so we will try some other things.
Everything changes so quickly with small children I have realized, and although this would have seemed crazy and overwhelming to me when I had an infant, up until even a few months ago, the present is all I ever needed to be concerned with. T will need things today that he may not have needed yesterday and may not need tomorrow. I am here to meet those needs as best I can, breastfeeding is just one of many tools I have to do so.
Focusing on the present day and the dynamics and workings of my & T’s relationship right now has made a world of difference in my outstanding questions, worries, and frustrations surrounding breastfeeding. It definitely lends itself well to other parenting challenges too and I hope to be able to keep these thoughts and “accepting the present” mantra handy for all kinds of situations.
Did anyone else struggle with breastfeeding “decisions”? When to wean, night wean, stop nursing on demand, etc? Do people ever tell you your son or daughter’s sleep/social/eating habits are because of breastfeeding or extended breastfeeding? We would love to hear your thoughts and stories!