Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Woman to Woman: Breastfeeding, Pt. 1

Having nursed four babies to toddlerhood and currently nursing another wee one, I have received multiple  questions from multiple women via e-mail regarding breastfeeding.  I love to share what I've learned through my eight years of mothering.  (Eight years exactly, today.) Instead of relying on magazines and books and doctors, how wonderful when mothers can seek help from other mothers. 

This is my humble attempt at answering some of the questions I have received.  I'm breaking it into three separate posts, in an effort to keep it simple and organized.  Please, if you have a question, consider leaving it in the comments or tuck it into my inbox and I will gladly add the answer to one of my posts.

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Nursing the Older Baby  
  1. How do you breastfeed in public?  

    I've never had problems nursing my children while out and about.  When Gavin was a tiny infant, I tried covering up with a blanket to nurse, but that seemed to draw unnecessary attention to what I was doing.  He usually pulled the blanket down or got agitated and I would get flustered and he would pull I decided to learn to nurse discreetly without a cover-up. There are times, though, when it is easier or more comfortable to find a secluded place to nurse. 

    I know there are women who think it is indecent to breastfeed in public and there are other women who think they should breastfeed in public to show the nursing is a natural relationship between mother and child.  I don't have a point to prove either way.  I just do what is right for the situation.  Alaine is not one of those every-hour frequent nursers  (I have had a few of those babies, though!) so I've not had the opportunity to nurse her in many places other than the car between stores or friends' homes, but when the need arises (like when we were at a 2-hour performance of the Nutcracker ballet), if I act nonchalant and continue conversation with my husband and other kids', the casual observer thinks I'm simply snuggling my baby.

  2. When do you start solids?

    I have chosen to follow these general guidelines: 
    • wait until Baby is at least 6 months old
    • wait until Baby can sit unsupported
    • wait until Baby is interested in food  (not only in putting things in his mouth)
    That being said, my children have begun solid foods anywhere between 7 and 10 months old.  It is a no-pressure, fun affair. Breast milk contains all the nutrients they need until past a year old so if Baby is happy, I am happy.  (For a more extensive post on how I handle solids, click here.)

  3. What do you do when (s)he turns 1?

    Just keep nursing!  Formula-fed babies switch to whole milk around the year mark, but my breastfed babies are free to nurse as long as we both are happy.  In fact, though my 2-year-old weaned around 19 months,  he only drinks cow's milk on occasion.  When my babes turn 1, we simply continue on as before, gradually introducing solids and nursing when needed.  

    Maybe because I'm usually pregnant by then...or maybe just because...somewhere around 18 months, I prefer to night-wean and teach my babies to sleep all the way through the night without the comfort snacking.  I've found that, though it is a struggle for a night or two, they are more easily weaned and trained at this age than when they are younger.


  1. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth! My answers would have been VERY similar. I love breastfeeding. It really is amazing. I've had different struggles at times with almost all 5 of my babies but have worked through them and nursed them all for many many months! Kylie nursed the longest even though I was pregnant and she didn't wean until 20 months.

  2. Great post! Looking forward to upcoming posts! I really hope I can nurse no. 4 passed a year... thats the longest I've been able to keep my babes going, but I am thankful for any amount of time to be able to nurse my kiddos! Its a wonderful experience and I am so thankful that I've been able to do it with 2 of my 3 kiddos!

  3. Found your blog through Lu's. I have nursed all three of my kids. My oldest I nursed until he was 8 months. He weaned himself and about that time I found out I was already 2 months pregnant with #2. I nursed #2 until about 7 weeks b/c I was TOTALLY stressed out with basically raising 2 babies. It wasn't doing anyone any good, so I decided to stop. :( Now with #3 here, I actually have made it passed the 12 month mark! He is 13 months old and we both seem to be trucking happily along. I have been thinking about weaning. I'm glad I read this post...I feel better about continuing on. He doesn't like the taste of cow's milk and I don't feel like pushing it. So, all that to say thanks for the encouragement!! :)


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