Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm one of those people (an extended nurser - gulp!)

I went to Bakersfield last week to go through a bunch of my old stuff at my mom's house because she is moving to San Luis very soon.

I hadn't intended to stay the night, but Phoebe wasn't keen to my plans and cried and didn't nap all day long so I didn't get much accomplished. That meant we would have to (have to!) make a trip to Target to buy necessities, like a toothbrush, diapers (I only brought a few cloth) and clothes.

The Target in Bakersfield is a Target Greatlands, so that means they carry EVERYTHING I could ever dream about owning. My mom, Phoebe and I had a fun time shopping.

While in the underwear section, I noticed nursing bras on sale. Now, Target doesn't carry my size, but I've discovered I can make them fit if I cut out the part that stays on while the baby is nursing -- like the inner "holder" part.

I grabbed one of the bras and my mom said "Well why would you get one?" and I said "They're on SALE!" and she said "Yeah, but how much longer are you going to be nursing?"

And I felt defensive. I told her "I don't know -- Phoebe doesn't seem to want to stop yet".

And she said "Well you stopped at 11 months".

And that was that.

I ended up buying the nursing bra, but then taking it back the next day with a shirt I'd also purchased that didn't look so good on me. I figured Geoff would be more forgiving of the crazy Target expense if it wasn't quite so huge.

But it made me realize something: I don't think Phoebe and I are gonna stop nursing anytime soon. And then I realized: Oh my gosh, I'm one of THOSE PEOPLE.

An extended nurser.

I don't understand why it'd be so strange to continue to nurse Phoebe after she turns 1 year old. One year just seems like such an arbitrary date to me.

While I'd love to go back to wearing supportive (read: underwire) bras, I like that nursing Phoebe comforts her and it's convenient and free! Why would I switch to whole milk just because she's a year old?

It just doesn't make sense.

I never set a timetable of when I'd stop nursing her (although I'm thinking high school might be an awkward time to wean) because I just always figured she'd stop when she was ready to stop. And so far -- it doesn't look like she's ready to stop.

And I'm okay with that.

She hasn't so much as gotten a cold yet and I believe that's due to nursing AND my vigilance about not leaving her with other kids (day care, church nursery, etc.). I mean, they're ... you know ... GERMY.

Since her surgery she's been nursing more than usual and I think it's because she had something pretty major happen to her and she wants to be comforted and probably needs the additional nutrients supplied by breastmilk. Also, the anesthesia she was under could cause nausea (she never threw up so I don't know if she did or now) but while she didn't want any solid foods for almost 2 days, she exclusively nursed and that meant she was still getting nutrition. If I had weaned her, what would she have eaten? Cow's milk? Why?

It just doesn't make sense.

Am I going to become totally defensive about it and display pictures of her nursing on my blog? Probably not. But ... why is it so strange to nurse after 1 year? Who decided that one year was enough? Isn't this just the way babies eat? And if it is (it is), what's so wrong about it?

Meanwhile, extended nursers of the world, I'd like to welcome myself to your club.


robyn :) said...

in other countries, they nurse for 3-4 years. to each his own....i mean HER own. i'm in the club that pumps (3-4 times per day) more than actually nurses and i get nose wrinkles from the other moms. whatever... formula, breast, breast/bottle, babies need to eat and it's okay to choose whatever works for mommy and baby :) just don't ever try to put sprite in a bottle like my dad tried when lily was a no no!

Anonymous said...

With my first, my Mum asked me sometime toward the end of his first year "are you still nursing that child?" I replied yes, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend nursing the first year and beyond that as mutually desired, and that according to the WHO the average weaning age was closer to 4.

She never said another word. That little guy weaned himself at 19 months. His younger brother is still going after age 2 (although truthfully we're down to only one session a day since the gastro told me to wean and I compromised by cutting out one of our two remaining sessions.)

whew, long response! My word verification is "priden" Proud of nursing? Why yes, yes I am.