And as she sighed softly she gripped my finger in her little fist and finally succumbed to sleep. And that’s just how it’s been for the last 12 months. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I was a lot younger when The Big One was born and I only decided at the last minute that I would breastfeed her. It was literally the moment they handed her to me and asked me if I was breastfeeding I thought, why not? I hadn’t really questioned the decision; it was just the most natural thing to do. We breastfed for seven months and I still remember the day she stopped. It was abrupt and upsetting but it was her choice.
My son’s arrival into the world has been well documented on this blog and our breastfeeding journey was so different to his sister’s. Reflux and general ill health (his, and mine) meant that we were forced to stop breastfeeding at just four months. I was devasted. I was a failure. I was unable to keep my son nourished. Breastfeeding was one of the very few ways that I was bonding with my son after a traumatic birth and all of a sudden, I was having to stop. It was rough. But it opened my eyes.
When the baby was born, I knew I would breastfeed her, but I didn’t want to presume anything. I would just do it for as long as I could. And 12 months on, we are still breastfeeding.
She’s fairly attached me to me, this one. She started out tentatively- we had to wake her the morning after she was born to feed her via a syringe- but soon got into the swing of things. We pretty much fed every two hours day and night for the first six months. I wrote this post about doing it everywhere. I honestly found it liberating to be able to comfort her and snuggle with her wherever and whenever I wanted to.
We co-slept until she was around 10 months old, which meant she had milk literally on tap, whenever she wanted it. Such a far cry from my previous experiences. And one night she slept through the night. And two days later I was in agony. My body struggled to settle down to the fact that she was growing up, away from me. I have to admit that I found this so bittersweet- I was ready for her to sleep in her own bed a little more and I craved a few more hours sleep a night. But I missed her so much. So much.
These days we tend to feed only at bedtime, which has posed a few problems now and then. If we have visitors, she gets distracted easily and wants to stay up to play. If we want to go out, I have to wait until she is in bed before I can get ready because going out clothes don’t offer easy access to a breastfeeding baby and it has to be ME that gets her to bed each night. But I don’t mind. I am still feeding my baby and I am still loving it.
Today I asked on Twitter what age people considered babies to be when breastfeeding is described as ‘extended’. Answers ranged from 12 months to 4 years. It was also pointed out that society deems extended breastfeeding as past the recommended 6 months. So am I now an extended breastfeeder? Or am I simply breastfeeding? I prefer the latter. I don’t really want a label.
So we are still breastfeeding and we are doing well. I have been recommended to take Vitamin D for my bones and the baby should take multi vitamins because she isn’t on formula. It’s a shame that this advice is being given out in my area, since (as was rightly pointed out by @plus2point4) my breastmilk contains ALL the nutrients my daughter needs right now. And that’s all I need to know. My daughter needs me and yes, I need her just as much.
I’m linking this up to The Boy and Me’s linky.