So all three of the TGL toddlers are receiving breastmilk. Mother Hen is tandem nursing, Mama Christa is giving Olivia pumped milk and HOPING she'll go back to the tap when Ella gets home, and I am giving Aiden pumped milk daily. But why do our toddlers get breastmilk? Why are Mama Christa and I going to the trouble to give our big kids breastmilk when they don't take it from the tap? Well, breastmilk is awesome...why else?! 2 year olds still benefit from the perfect human milk proteins, the over 200 amazing substances that have been identified in human milk, the purity, and most of all THE ANTIBODIES! It is, afterall, cold and flu season...now all three of our households have been ransacked by stomach flus and head colds over the last two weeks or so.
As a mommy I feel the need to protect my child from severe illness in any way possible...did you know that if you are breastfeeding and someone in your house gets sick, within ONE HOUR your body has developed antibodies to the virus/bacteria and those antibodies are already in your milk? This protects your nursling(s) from getting the illness. It doesn't mean your child will never get sick, but it does mean your child will get sick less often and the illnesses will be less severe. In humans, one of the top ways that viruses and bacteria get into our bodies is through the digestive tract. This is why exclusive breastfeeding protects infants from serious illness, it coats their virgin gut with the good stuff, antibodies, good bacteria, healthy mucous. What is the Virgin Gut?
"When babies are born, they have sterile gastrointestinal tracts. If babies are exclusively breastfed, they develop a natural healthy gut flora. (When I speak of the gut, I mean Baby's insides where the food goes until it hits the diaper.) This means that the major flora in breastfed babies has reduced numbers of bad types of bacteria and increased numbers of good bacteria. Formula-fed babies have increased numbers of bad bacteria, leaving them at more risk for illness"
Additionally, it's interesting to know that the introduction of formula, even just one little 2oz bottle not only interferes with the establishment of a good, solid milk supply (we'll talk about this delicate balance later on) it can change the pH levels of the baby's gut, and it takes 6 weeks for those levels to return to normal! This pH and Virgin Gut theory are the primary reasons behind why formula fed babies are at a higher risk for illness, especially severe illnesses. This is why breastmilk saves lives.
But that's BABIES right? Well, sure it is, but doesn't it stand to reason that an older child would benefit from the antibodies and the more than 200 substances found in that liquid gold? Not to mention, it's even being used to treat and CURE cancer in adults...won't our toddlers benefit from whatever it is that is killing cancer cells? This isn't in cow's milk, or goat's milk, or soy, rice, almond milks. It's in HUMAN milk...substances in HUMAN milk protect human infants and children from illness. Amazing.
Olivia receives almost exclusively pumped milk every day. For one thing, Mama Christa has an abundance of milk to give Olivia...for another, she's a petite child, was premature herself, and needs to stay healthy and strong when Ella comes home. Additionally, have you ever thought about how EXPENSIVE milk is these days?! I know our DHA fortified, organic milk costs more than a gallon of gas...so why not save some cash and give the kids some breast milk?
Aiden gets breast milk daily as well, but it is about half and half compared to cow's milk, but he's getting it. Today he's ONLY getting breast milk because he had a nasty stomach flu yesterday and I'm trying to give him the easiest to digest stuff and take good care of his tummy.
Are you into organic? What's more organic that unprocessed BREAST milk ladies?! Nothing. That's what.
NOW, on to why I prefer that Aiden NOT get his breast milk from the tap. I fully support Mother Hen and Mama Christa in their tandem nursing, not just because they are my friends and I support them no matter what (yes, I would support them even if they were bottle feeding or formula feeding) but because I think that it's good for young children to continue to receive breast milk for the reasons listed above. Personally, however, I get overstimulated and "touched out" as it is by dealing with both boys...especially when Chase is nursing. I do great if Chase is nursing and that's all that's going on, but more often than not, Aiden is also climbing all over me and it would blow your mind the level of anxiety all this clamoring and touching causes me. If I had two children breastfeeding, I'm pretty sure I would LOSE MY MIND. Is this weird? To some, probably, but I'm an abuse survivor...I get touched out, and overcooked in A LOT of different situations. Part of me, the emotional, I know tandem nursing is a good thing part, would really like Aiden to take up a liking for nursing so I could nurse them both...BUT...1: Aiden is a BIG kid, 30lbs and 3 feet tall, he doesn't need to be on me ok? and 2: that's too much touch for me...my breast would constantly be in SOMEONE's mouth and I"m not cool with that.
Many people wonder why you would nurse a toddler, and why you would tandem. I think the reasons are plain as day when you look at all the wonderful things in and about breastmilk, it really is easier to get it from the tap, so just do it that way. Many people say "I think it's great you tandem nurse/nurse an older child but I would never do it" but what's their reason...usually it's because it actually skeeves them out. Seriously, let's be honest, if you aren't an extended/tandem nurser...deep down, is it because it skeeves you out?! that's usually what's behind that statement, and often people only say the "I think it's great" part because they don't want to make the mom feel bad. Guess what, I'm on to this...it skeeves you out, and you know what...THAT'S OK TOO!! The fact is, around infant feeding/toddler feeding, we need to be supportive of other moms, even when they are not supportive or are skeeved out by what we do. The fact is, you don't know most people's motivations, even if you think you do! Part of the reason Aiden and I ended our nursing relationship early was because I didn't know how to/couldn't handle feeling exposed, used, and WAY overtouched when he started getting screwy at the breast...I couldn't handle it with a toddler for sure. :)