I feel so thankful that this week will mark 23 months of my breastfeeding relationship with my son.
If you would have told me when my son was born I would be doing it this long I would have called you crazy. I had gallbladder attacks beginning at 37 weeks and couldn’t have surgery until after baby was born. I had horrible attacks that my husband had to hold the trash can for me so I could feed my son. I was sick and learning to nurse a newborn, it was ROUGH. I couldn’t get more than 2 oz out each time I pumped and I knew my surgery to remove my gallbladder was coming up. I didn’t have enough milk stored up and I found out I wouldn’t be able to feed my son for at least two days after surgery thanks to the pain meds that were to be given to me during surgery.
milk coma at 16 weeks
Five weeks after my precious son was born I was scheduled for surgery at 10am. I couldn’t eat or drink for 12 hours before surgery(which to a breastfeeding mother is pure torture.) my surgery didn’t happen until 4:30 in the afternoon. I fed my son who was going through cluster feeding all the way up until surgery time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to.
My anesthesiologist came in and saw my son, he mentioned how cute he was. Through conversing we found out his wife just had a baby the same day. We then found out we both had the same doctor and gave birth at same hospital. He was about to leave for the day I was his last patient and he told me that he knows how difficult it can be breastfeeding. He told me he would leave precise instructions on what to give me so I would be able to breastfeed right after surgery. That was an answer to my prayer. Surgery went great and I was able to nurse my son when I got home(I did have enough milk pumped for at least two bottles so that was great)
Fast forward and the more I read about the benefits of breastfeeding pass the age of one I became determined to nurse until my son naturally weans. That can be anywhere between the age of 2-7-yrs.
breastfeeding on top of the rock in NYC
And here I am almost two years later. I have learned so so much! This post isn’t to bash anyone that supplements part time or full time with formula. We as mothers do what we have to do. There is no problem when you’re in public and you feed you child from a bottle. That is more acceptable in our society.
Many may ask Why do we need a breastfeeding week? I see it everywhere now, so many people are ok with posting pics of it in social media. Well the truth is , in the U.S. The average age that women wean their child is 3 months(coincidence that the time frame coincides with the U.S. Maternity leave? that is a whole other subject for a different day) for the rest of the world the average age of weaning is four years.
There is also the stigma that comes with nursing your child after one. Many feel if a child can ask for it they are too old. I’m sorry but how does your child ask for food? I know my son quickly will ask for a bapple(apple) as clear as he would ask for “milk milk”. So should we stop giving our children snacks or dinner because they ask for? NO that would be ludicrious. Many mothers like the fact that their children can ask for milk, that way they know exactly what they want. It;s also a great tantrum stopper for those terrible twos.
The heath benefits alone are great.My son has only been sick three times and he was born during flu season, we’ve traveled by plane three time and he goes to a gymnastics class weekly and the library. I’m thankful that my breastmilk contains the antibiotics needed to help develop my sons immune system and helps shorten his colds IF he does get sick.
The fact is that when it comes to extended breastfeeding many women are shamed. Don’t believe me just look at the comment section under anything that features a mother breastfeeding a toddler, look at the many random post on social media from people shamming mothers for nursing in public uncovered.
This week is needed to encourage mothers to keep going, to encourage those on the fence about breastfeeding. This week helps them see they aren’t alone.