Attachment parenting, Breastfeeding

But there’s nothing in there! Breastfeeding at 11 months.

10 October, 2011

I was at the park this week and had the following conversation:

Lady: “You’re still breastfeeding?”

Me: “Yep, you know, every 2-3 hours, day and night.” (Ah, so innocent and forthcoming!)

Lady: “And she is how old?”

Me: “Nearly eleven months”

Lady: “Ummm. You know there’s nothing in there right?”

Me: Chokes on a Wotsit.  “They are full, bursting with milk!  I could actually take your eye out with a stream of this cream or clear up your conjunctivitus from the other side of this swing if you got it one day!” (Okay, not that last bit.)

Lady: “Well, nutritionally. Nothing. Nothing from 6 months.”

Me: “Actually, it is packed with protein, all the vitamins…”

Lady: “But they need IRON!”

I gave in at this point and feebly said “Well, she does eat solids too” (although no doubt she would be appalled at the little amount Ramona does consume.) I truly wish I was armed with the fact that breastmilk is high in iron too AND one of the easiest ways for babes to absorb it.

I was just completely baffled. I had heard some of the myths surrounding breastfeeding but I didn’t actually think anyone believed them- let alone professed them in the playground.

I’d have been embaressed if I wasn’t so stoked with it all. I am so happy breastfeeding Ramona at eleven months, I absoutely LOVE it. Before having Ramona I assumed I would get to 6 months then wean, but as they say that just made an ass out of Umed.

Now I am pretty sure I will keep going until she doesn’t need it anymore, nutritionally or emotionally. And that could be some time…

Here’s why I love it:

I still get a HUGE rush of endorphins from nursing, they flood through me making me feel super relaxed and happy.

It provides a lovely rest as we snuggle down together at various points through the day.

It eases her off into dreamland calmly and consistently.

If we are out and about and late for tea I can feed her something a gazillion times more nutritous than a breadstick (though God love ’em.)

Some days she just doesn’t fancy her olives, pasta and brocoli, I don’t have to fret as I know she’ll just nurse more to make it up.

And, I’m not obsessed with weight, but it is pretty cool eating anything and still losing weight.

I am sure it makes her less fractious, a quick nurse seems to fill her love cup right up and give her a contented little peaceful glow.

Plus it provides endless giggles as she nurses and claps, nurses and sings, nurses and sucks her toes, nurses and Nipple Gripples the other (this last one- not so funny.)

There are loads of benefits to breastfeeding, for mum and baby, and it is bizarre that people seem to think these just stop at 6 months. In lots of countries, like Mongolia (this article completely rocks) and Sweden (yeah, I saw the video at the NHS breastfeeding workshop with all those nakey Swedes and their big chubby, latched on toddlers) extended nursing is the norm. Now that Ramona is getting so big I am beginning to see how abnormal it is here in the UK and how different it is feeding an older one. I really better start reading up so I can bust some myths in the playground.

On a boat on green water.

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  • Abbey Cross 10 October, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I love this! Thanks for sharing.
    Wow it has completely baffled me that the lady in the park came up with all that and still had the confidence to say it to your face too!
    I absolutely love feeding my baby girl. It is so precious and she is 10months now and I don’t know when I will try to ween her as it is all and more then what you said in your post Lucy.

    Keep on doing what works for you cause your right..breast feeding our babies does make them and us calm and content and it’s just the most beautiful thing i’ve ever experienced!
    It’s so great to be needed by our special little people too!

    • lulastic 11 October, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Conpletely lovely to hear of your experience too. I would agree with you – breastfeeding is up there with some of the best things I have done. Something so meaningful and ethereal about it.

  • eliminationcommunication 11 October, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I wonder how she would have reacted to my 2 year old nursing… Might have made her eyes bug out. LOL

    • lulastic 12 October, 2011 at 9:13 am

      I love seeing mums nursing their toddlers, I find it really encouraging. So, yep, you might make some eyeballs pop but you’ll make other eyes smile so keep going!! xx

  • naturallymum 11 October, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I cannot believe someone actually said that! I’ve had pointed looks but never something like that.

    • lulastic 12 October, 2011 at 9:09 am

      I know, she is pretty forthright on the whole. Yesterday though I read about the lady who got chucked out of Debenhams for breastfeeding, but it was the comments that were shocking. Everyone saying “BF in public is disgusting” etc. I honestly didn’t think opinions were this strong! So sad.

  • Heather, Thrifty Mummy 13 October, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I breastfed my wee girl until she was 22 months and I STILL get comments about how long I nursed her for (she’s 5 and a half!!). People are weird about breastfeeding in this country and seem to think that there’s something wrong in it and why wouldn’t you give the bottle as soon as you possibly can? Particularly after the magical 6 month mark. I can’t get over how rude people are about other people’s childcare choices – I don’t agree with the way some people do things but I wouldn’t actually waltz over and tell them that – it’s their life after all!

    • lulastic 13 October, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Totally, totally. Actually I did mean to add that I’m not a nursing Nazi – some mothers don’t do it for various reasons and to be honest I think the most important thing for babies is to have a sane mother, not one going mad trying to nurse when she hates it etc.
      I feel very lucky to cherish it so much.

  • Summersday 18 October, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Well interestingly a pediatrician at St Thomas’ hospital said to me during an appointment that my 12 month old son was ‘just’ feeding for comfort and that she would have gone crazy still feeding every 1-2 hours and I won’t be able to keep it up much longer. This was whilst she knew that my son was, thank God, well above average weight despite having a necessarily very restricted diet. And it was obvious that his constant supply of nutrients from me was what was keeping his weight up when all medical professionals expected him to be under-weight and suffering.

    Also, when it comes to mothers going insane breastfeeding-I think its not a simple issue as societal norms (that other posters have referred to) really play into this. If mum’s feel pressured to quit breastfeeding early to go to work full time, to be more available for night’s out, for their husbands/partners etc, or if they feel pressured to get more housework done (frequent breastfeeding can cut into your time quite significantly!) then they will feel like they’re going crazy from breastfeeding but its mainly to do with letting all this mind-chatter affect their choices and their relationship with their babies.

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  • Jenna 14 April, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    As my first child (now 4 years old) wouldn’t breastfeed I was determined that my son (18 weeks) was going to get the best possible chance at it. I am so happy that he has taken to it. I have to say I was a little shocked as nothing I had ever read prepared me for what it’s actually like. Feeding every hour to begin with, having 5 hour cluster feeding sessions every evening. The possibility that my son would refuse a bottle when we did give him one (personally I was very happy at this until I realised that I have to return to an evening shift at work and how is my little booby grub going to settle himself off to sleep now?) Even the people at the LLL group didn’t tell me the possible downsides!

    I do think that any con is far outweighed by the bond that me and my son have ,one I am ashamed to say that me and my daughter didn’t have when she was so little (I blame all the recommendations of “don’t pick her up for too long”, “put her down to sleep”, “if you let her fall asleep on you everynight she’ll never learn to settle herself” etc etc).

    I love feeding him to sleep, what is nicer than to know that your child has gone to bed having the best cuddle in the world and they were happy when they fell asleep. I love feeding him when he cries, what is nicer than knowing you have magic boobies that can end all (well most) woes. I even like that he is going through a hungry phase and wants to feed every hour and half. Fooey to you Mrs Health Visitor who told me that he should be going at least 3 hours between feeds. You didn’t look like you were abstaining from snacks when you felt a bit peckish so why should my booby grub?

    I did however find it really saddening to discover that I would be considered the odd one out when going to child orientated places (jangos/kidzplay etc) and I had to feed my child from my breast because bottle feeding is the norm nowadays. Even sadder is the fact that I am sometimes made to feel that I should time my outing around feeding my bubba indoors so as not to make other people feel uncomfortable by my son having his dinner……….

    I love how my daughter thinks it is perfectly normal to feed a baby by your breasts (even thought she wouldn’t breastfeed from me!). She often asks me when she will be able to feed her baby (when she has one in many many years to come). I have caught her trying to feed numerous stuffed animals by shoving them up her t-shirt and she is always asking to do the pump thingy when i express milk not to mention trying to adjust my nipple so that my son can latch back on when he’s come off (I might have had my mobile in my hand…………..checking twitter or a blog or something…….)

    I haven’t really thought about when I’m going to stop breastfeeding. Actually I lie, I’ve thought about mothers who feed their toddlers and I have to admit that when seeing a close friend feed her 2 year old daughter in a restaurant I felt slightly uneasy, I can’t fully explain why. I remember watching a tv program a while back about mothers who still breastfeed their children of 4,7 even 11 years. To me that was just weird and it made me feel that the mothers were just wanting attention of some sort and it was their need to the childs that they were trying to fulfill. I always thought I would just stop at 6 months (you know, 6……its the magic number) but I honestly love feeding my booby grub. I love that I can give him everything he needs, I love that he now stares up at me taking in every detail whilst he’s feeding. I can’t imagine not doing it. I can’t imagine how 6 months could possibly be old enough to take this precious gift and bonding time away from him, or even a year…………I just hope that I am brave enough to ignore other peoples views on any of it and just do what is best for my son and for me, whatever that may be.

    • lulastic 15 April, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Maybe there is a little conspiracy about keeping the cluster feeding under wraps until mothers get chance to experience all the amazing benefits!

      Wonderful that it has gone so brilliantly this time round. And bizarre that your HV recommended 3 hours, didn’t think any one did that any more 🙁