Time Magazine, May 2012
This magazine cover sparked a lot of controversy over breastfeeding and where mom’s should “draw the line” when it comes to nursing your child …
They (medical professionals, health organizations, people in general) say that “breast is best” (B.I.B.) when it comes to feeding your baby. As soon as possible, after your baby is born you’re encouraged to breastfeed your baby. Lactation consultants are brought in to make sure your baby is “latching on” correctly and getting the nutrients it needs.
It’s recommended that you breastfeed for a minimum of six months. After that, I’m guessing you can do what you want – Transition to formula, switch to milk, whatever.
I’ve noticed recently that there has been some discussion on how long you should breastfeed your child for. I’m no nutritionist, so I have no idea how long is “long enough,” but I wonder if there’s a certain age where you should draw the line. I’ve heard of 3-year-olds still being breastfed, which I find a little strange, but if that’s what the mother wants to do, then that’s fine.
Breastfeeding Isla until she’s old enough to tell me she’s hungry (and not just in the “crying because she’s hungry” way) isn’t something that I plan to do. To be honest, I don’t know when I’m going to ween her off of the boob, but I don’t think I’ll keep doing it once she’s a year old. At her doctor appointment the other day, the doctor asked if I was still nursing her and if I had given her any solid food yet. I told him I was and that I hadn’t given her any solids yet. (I’m afraid of the diapers, to be completely honest, and how it will affect her tummy.) Because she’s gaining weight wonderfully, he told me to just keep giving her breast milk, so I will. I digress …
Quite a few mom’s I know have breastfed for a year or longer. Like I said, I don’t know if I want to do it for more than a year. Yes, I’m aware of all the “goodness” that’s in breast milk, but I was only breastfed for about 3 months and I turned out just fine, as do babies who are given formula from Day 1. I personally don’t think I’m going to depriving my daughter of anything if I choose to ween her after a year. I’m sure other mom’s will be all judgey if I stop breastfeeding earlier than a year, but I never claimed to be some kind of Super Mom with magical powers to breast feed forever. I’d like to get a little bit of my freedom back and not have to rely on my boobs to feed Isla every 3-4 hours. Yeah, I could pump, but I do enjoy the bonding time we have while I’m nursing her. Plus – pumps are CRAZY expensive and I’m not willing to dish out the dough just yet.
I miss eating spicy food and strawberries. I miss having the occasional boozy drink and not having to worry about whether or not the alcohol has passed through my system before nursing Isla. But – I won’t stop nursing her just because I want a spicy burrito or Caesar at the pub. I know that “breast is best” and that Isla needs the goodness from breast milk, but I know I can’t – and won’t – breast feed her forever.
I apologize for the disorganization of this post, but it’s something that’s it’s been on my mind and I just needed to do a “brain dump.”
What are your thoughts on “prolonged” breast feeding? How long do you think is “long enough?”