Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why I Breastfeed (and wean at 1 year)

Before I had Gehrig, I was kind of ambivalent about breastfeeding. I planned to breastfeed him because my mom had told me I should and because we were BROKE and I didn't want to spend money on formula. If I'd known WIC pays for formula, I might have decided not to breastfeed. Thankfully I didn't know that!
Once I started nursing Gehrig, however, I knew I could never do anything else. It was hard at first, and definitely painful, but every time I nursed him, I would just feel this rush of overwhelming love for him. And it's the same way for Logan. I truly believe you'll never feel closer to your baby than when you're nursing him. I also like the fact that no matter where we are, what we're doing, or who we're with, when it's time for my baby to eat, he's all mine. I give him something no one else can.
After I had already fallen in love with breastfeeding, I started reading up on it. And breast milk is truly amazing! It gives the mother's antibodies to the baby so if the mother gets a virus, the baby will probably not get it because he already has his mommy's antibodies. It changes as the baby's stomach matures, starting out being completely easy to digest and getting more complex as the baby grows. I even read an article that said studies are showing it can help prevent cancers like leukemia! But then why am I surprised that God-made milk is better than man-made milk?
I know some mothers try as hard as they can and just are not able to breastfeed (I know a mom who pumped for seven months just so her baby could have breast milk since he couldn't nurse), and they have my complete sympathy. I'm definitely not saying if you can't nurse your baby you're not a good mother! But I do think if mothers who aren't even interested in breastfeeding their babies understood how amazing nursing is, they'd reconsider.
I was so sad to wean Gehrig at 13 months, but I knew it was better for him. He had started cow's milk and was mostly eating solids anyway. And he was ready to wean--I thought he'd miss nursing, but he acted like he didn't remember at all. And that's the way it's supposed to be. I feel like it would have been harder on him to wean any later. Now I'm thoroughly enjoying nursing Logan, and I'm dreading next year when I'll begin weaning him.
My boys are huge (both of them are consistently in the 90-95th percentile for both height and weight), and neither of them have ever had an ear infection and they rarely get sick. I believe that's because they were and are breastfed babies. Feel free to share your ideas about breastfeeding (even if they're contrary to mine)!


1 comment:

  1. I agree - although I only nurse until around 9 - 10 months (that's how old Leila was when I got pregnant with Libby!). What I tell people is that I believe everyone mommy should at least TRY to breastfeed - especially that first week. That first milk is so, so, so good for the baby! So I tell them to at least give it a try. It is painful at first, and not necessarily "fun" to begin with, but very rewarding and such a special bonding time! It sure does save a lot of money, too!
    I think it is good to wean before the child can remember. I only think it would make it harder the older they are, as well as a little wierd if they remember it, especially if it is a boy (I know a mom who nursed her son until he was 4. Wow, I could NOT imagine still breastfeeding Liam!)