Why Are You Still Breastfeeding That Child?

Since my daughter turned 2 recently, I have had many question why I am still nursing her. No one can understand why I am happy that she resumed nursing after almost weaning herself. I am never really able to answer, and I think it's time for me to address this.

"She is filling up on breastmilk and does not eat enough solids." This is not supported by science, and directly contradicted by my personal experience. Kaylee does not eat more solid food on days she doesn't nurse. She often eats her largest meal of the day right after her longest nursing session of the day, which is when she wakes up from her nap. Our pediatrician has told me that as a picky eater, she is lucky to still be breastfeeding, because the nutrition she gets from my milk fills in the gaps when she does not eat enough of a variety of foods. Kaylee is happy and healthy, so why fix something if it ain't broke?

"She does not get enough calcium." There IS calcium in breastmilk. She also gets calcium fortified almond and rice milk. There is calcium in her daily vitamin. My pediatrician is satisfied than she is getting enough calcium, so I am, too. There is no need to drink cow's milk. I never did and I am perfectly healthy.

"It's weird to nurse when the child is walking and talking." Society is very judgmental. Does that mean we should conform to fit in? Should I base a parenting decision on what other people think? Should I jump off a bridge just because everyone else is? NO! Definitely not. The truth is, breastfeeding in general is seen as weird. It's sad fact that we have moved away from something that is a normal, human act. All other mammals feed their babies their own milk until they start to get adult teeth. This, and other studies, show that the weaning age for humans should be up to 7 years old. (Source.)

"You are spoiling her." I am very strict with my daughter and do not spoil her. I have clear guidelines. If anyone spoils her, it is her father. She is a daddy's girl and runs to him to get her way.

In conclusion, I don't see a single benefit to weaning, and neither does my pediatrician. Everything I can find online supports breastfeeding as long as possible. The health benefits are endless. It protects against sickness; Kaylee has only been sick 3 times in her life, and has never been sick enough to need medication. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the less likely she is to get breast cancer. Then there is the unmeasurable emotional benefit. When Kaylee wakes up from her nap, she will nurse for a good long while, sometimes an hour. In that time, I often watch tv with my husband. Life is busy and it's hard to spend quality time together! When Kaylee is sick, cranky, or hurt, we do not have to hear her cry and whine for long amounts of time, which would cause us a lot of stress. I just pop her on the boob and 9 times out of 10, when she is done nursing her mood is completely turned around. Honestly, I feel that breastfeeding is a gift. It's like the wonderful, all-purpose parenting tool. Why would I want to give that up for no good reason?

So, when will I finally wean her? I don't know. When it seems like the right time for both of us. Probably when she outgrows it naturally. I know it's too much to hope for to expect people to understand, respect, and support me in this. But oh well, the only choice anyone has is to accept it, because I have made up my mind. =)


3 comments :

Mama Bear said...

Good for you Mama!! My son is 10 months old now, and he is still breastfeeding, and I plan to continue till at LEAST 2 years, the AAP even states that they recommend a child be breastfed until 2 years of age, and then after that, as long as mutually desired. I am proud of you that in a society where the act of even breastfeeding your newborn is just now beginning to become somewhat accepted again. You stand as a shining example!

Camilleta said...

Thanks. =) Yeah, I know, with the WHO and the AAP saying how beneficial breastfeeding is, why would I want to quit just because people think it looks weird?! It's crazy.

Melissa Ryan said...

Good for you. Just checking out your blog and wanted to say hi. I love that your daughter touches her hair as she nurses. My son does that too.

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