I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, mostly because after this article came out, I realized that I am extended breastfeeding. It sort of snuck up on me. The one year mark has passed, and we are still going strong on the boob. When I was pregnant with twins, and when they were newborn, the message I got was loud and clear: It is very very difficult to breastfeed two babies exclusively or for a long period of time. I didn’t set out to prove it wrong. In fact, my breastfeeding success is mostly due to the fact that I am lazy. In the beginning, the thought of preparing formula, or pumping seemed like so much work, that I just decided to go for it. It definitely wasn’t easy, and now that Thea’s teeth have come in, it’s pretty obvious that she has an undiagnosed upper lip tie, which probably led to a lot of the problems I had. I was sore for months. MONTHS. Couldn’t stand under the shower, sore. Couldn’t lie on my stomach to sleep, sore. Took a lot of Tylenol sore. But slowly, we all figured it out, and now that we have it down, I don’t want to give it up!
I never imagined I would be nursing toddlers, but here we are. I’m slated to head back to work in February, so I’m hoping by then we’re down to only nursing before bed, but that seems unlikely given my little girl booby-monster.
Jude feeds less, really just before nap and bed…and 2 or 3 times during the night.
As a believer in Attachment Parenting, I’m trying to find the balance right now – basically of how to un-attach myself a bit. Extended breastfeeding definitely makes that more difficult. I can’t leave Dad in charge of bedtime or nap time, because they need boob to go down. And with two, I’m still really feeding every 3 or 4 hours. So that’s not a lot of alone time. But all that said, here’s my list of why extended breastfeeding rocks:
1. Instant soother – bumps, scrapes, fingers caught in doors, teething, colds, you name it, booby fixes it!
2. Cuddle time – Jude is just too busy for much cuddling, but when it’s booby time, he nuzzles in and I get my cuddle fix from him.
3. Nutrition – They pretty much eat everything now, but sometimes I worry that I’m getting all their nutrition in. At least I know they are still getting breast milk, so I don’t stress too much…yet!
4. Weight loss – I know, it’s pretty vain, but I’m burning 1000 calories a day breastfeeding these two! So I can enjoy guilt-free Starbucks lattes! (Mmm…peppermint mocha…)
5. Breastfeeding Embassador – I had NO idea how to breastfeed. I hadn’t really seen anyone else doing it. Now that it’s so easy and natural, I like showing other new moms how great it is, especially mom’s of multiples, since as I said, we aren’t given much hope that it will go well.
I know that not everyone can breastfeed, and that formula or pumping or a combination is a great option for some. Breastfeeding has been such an unexpected part of my parenting experience. I hadn’t really given it much thought, other than knowing that I wanted to try it. Looking ahead, I’m not sure how long we’ll go. I would love it if they self-weaned when they were ready, but I know that they need to be able to go all day without me when I’m back at work, so my goal right now is to make it to 18 months. And maybe I’ll be able to fit back into my old bras one day!