I am five days away from my goal of nursing Charlotte for an entire year. To me, this is a monumental occasion. I remember when I first got pregnant and I made the decision to breastfeed my child come hell or high water. I did not want to pay for formula, I read that it is the healthiest choice and I felt it would be right for our family. I read books, articles, lactation websites. I armed myself with information and prepared as best I could. And then she was here. And she was attached to me night and day. And I panicked that first night home from the hospital and held the sample formula cans that were sent to me in the mail and was this close to popping that bottle and ending my breast feeding journey 3 short days after 9 months of hording information and preparing myself. Thank God my husband and my mother told me to put down the formula and take it minute by minute. Thank God for a coworkers daughter, a labor and delivery nurse and lactation specialist extraordinaire, a person I have never met, but helped me in more ways that she knows. I remember sitting on the glider in Charlotte’s room, weeping like I’ve never wept before, researching for people to come into my home and teach me how to nurse my baby without wanting to die every time I did it. This girl let me text her any time, day or night. She told me what to do and how to do it. She was my boob angel, if you will. If you are reading this (I won’t name names, but hopefully you know who you are) thank you for helping me through my darkest days. I truly believe you are one of the biggest reasons I’ve made it this far. You are the reason nurses deserve infinite thanks and praise.
Fast forward through that first month of nonstop feedings and sleepless nights, and here we are almost 365 days later. Nursing Charlotte has been a bigger joy than I ever thought possible. And not just because I am SKINNY AS FUCK. Breastfeeding doesn’t help all moms lose the baby weight, but by God it helped me and I am honestly thinner than I have ever been and I can eat pretty much anything I want. I am bragging right now, but let me be, because I’m sure once I stop I’m going to gain it all back and then some. But really, nursing her has helped me become a more patient and understanding person. Especially in the beginning, when I was her only source of food and nourishment. It was so easy to freak out whenever she had a growth spurt and wanted to eat every hour on the hour, but by reminding myself that this is what I’m here for, it was much easier to constantly be a 24 hour buffet. Even now, when she is eating all sorts of yummy food and trying new things all the time, the moments when she wants to nurse are so special. It is relaxing and wonderful for the both of us.
But now I am left with the question, to wean or not to wean? I feel like society is becoming much more accepting of breastfeeding, but only for so long. Once a kid hits a certain age then it’s not supported as much. You’re supposed to breastfeed for a year and then stop that shit because when the kid can ask for it then it’s weird. I thought we’d get to that year mark and I would be ready and done. But I AM NOT READY. I am not done! Charlotte isn’t ready either. So this whole situation is giving me all sorts of anxiety. Will I be viewed as a hippie mom who doesn’t know when to quit it? Will people look at me and click their tongues in disgust? I don’t want to let society’s perceptions of breastfeeding a toddler to cloud my judgment, but it’s so hard. But ultimately, I want to make the right decision for me and Charlotte, because really, we are the only two people that matter in this entire equation. It shouldn’t matter what anyone else says or what anyone else thinks, because nobody else is involved in nursing except the two of us. Do I want to stop nursing her while I walk through Macy’s in the Roosevelt Field Mall? Yes, yes I fucking do. That’s annoying and she is heavy! But do I want to stop nursing her before bed? Absolutely NOT. After being away from her for so many hours 5 days a week, that’s our special time together! And if nobody else is in the room except the two of us, then why should I worry about what anyone else thinks?
So I think after her one year checkup next Monday (!!) and I get all of the information about introducing whole milk, I’ll figure out the best way to wean her from day time nursing. And then once we figure that shit out, I’ll make the decision whether or not to wean her from night time nursing. But I really think I’m going to take the hippie mom approach on this one and just let her figure out when she doesn’t want it anymore and reassess the situation at 18 months if she’s still dependent on me. We’re both comfortable with it, so that’s just the way it’s going to be.
And I’m still skinny as fuck. So there.