Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Only Twelve Months?
Being on the other side of the coin now nursing a 38 month old and a 12 month old... weaning just seems like the unintelligent misinformed thing for any mother to do. It is hard for me to take a step back and realize that not all paths are the same, and that ANY amount of time a woman is breastfeeding should be celebrated.
Three years ago when I was a new nursing mom I thought that 12 months was an eternity. The longest I had heard anyone nursing was to 11 months. Weaning at a year seems almost automatic in our society, it's assumed by pediatricians and an accepted practice among mothers. A rare few sneak through to 15-18 month range, but then usually outside pressures from family cause them to question their stance and force wean. Then there's bitches like me... I didn't listen to anyone other than myself and my son, and now my daughter. I just might end up tandem nursing a 7 and 5 year old.
Take Megz for example, she nursed her first to 8 months old and thought he self weaned. She knows now that it was nursing strikes and has now worked through those same issues with her second son and is coming up on 11 months of nursing. That is AWESOME! I am so proud of her every day for learning from the past and persevering through complicated nursing strikes and challenging times.
These other mothers I speak of might be in the place that Megz was two years ago. Unsupported, uninformed, and unsure. I never know if I'm going to sound like an elitist nursing snob, crazy crunchy hippie, or all around whack job if I try to talk someone into nursing past a year. Most of the time I'm hearing people after the fact... so then my informing them of extended nursing probably comes down as a judgement on their parenting choices. I want everyone to know how normal and beneficial it is to continue nursing past a year, but I know not everyone cares as much as I do.
It's easy to think that your 1 year old is a "big" kid now, no longer a baby. The fact of the matter is, and all three of us have noticed this with our second, a 1 year old is still just a baby. Chicklett BARELY takes in any solids and if she were weaning right now, it would not be in her best interest. I refuse to force her to eat solids, she will eat in her own time when SHE is ready. Until then, she gets her nutrition, comfort, and security at the breast. Afterall, she is JUST a baby at 12 months. She can't talk, doesn't walk, and is learning new things each day. She needs the important support that breastfeeding provides her. If, as a society, we stop thinking of 1 year olds as "big kids" we can collectively wrap our brains around nursing past a year. Afterall, it's more accepted to nurse a "baby" than to nurse a "big kid."