Monday, November 23, 2009

milk mama! milk!

It's been over a week now since I taught L'il B the sign language for "milk" and he took to it like a monkey signs banana. He never EVER used to ask for milk. He never pulled at my shirt, he never even glanced in that area. He just drank when I offered and that was it. But the past two weeks, he has been frantically signing "milk, milk, MILK!!!". If I tell him "not now, we're having dinner" or something along those lines he gets agitated and upset, as if the world is totally unjust. Both of his top molars just popped through and the bottom ones are just starting to make an appearance, and I have never been one to point to "teething" as the problem-of-the-week, but I really do think they are causing him considerable grief. Perhaps part of the need to breastfeed so much is his desire for comfort and the little hit of natural pain-relief that breastmilk gives. All of that said, I was feeding 3 times a day (morning, before nap and before bed) and now, even though I deny him milk half the time he asks for it, we are back up to 4-5 feeds a day PLUS a night feed which he has gone without for a long time.

The hippy ecoMILF in me says "go with the flow", "trust his instincts", "he obviously needs the added nutrition/psychological comfort- (his solid meals haven't changed at all ie. he is not eating any less)", "he might be getting sick and trying to boost his immune system", "don't succumb to societal 'norms' "

The socially conditioned, brainwashed side of me says "he's only asking for it because you are giving in and giving it to him", "he is forming bad habits", "he doesn't need it that much- he's not a baby anymore"

You can tell which side of myself I like better.

My biggest issues with this change of breastfeeding-pace are

1. I have to feed him once a night around 4:30 and I truly AM worried that this will start bad night-waking habits

2. This means that if he gets more demanding I will have to start feeding him more often in public, which means being under scrutiny more often and feeling the eyes of people judging me for my unwholesome acts (The photos I post take more guts than you think, but I think it is important for western women to share these images in order to associate the sight as normal, beautiful, natural and above all publicly accepted, so that people like me don't feel self-conscious when we choose to breastfeed in public)

3. I don't want him to think he can get whatever he wants when he wants and I don't want him to get territorial over MY body, as he seems to be feeling now when I tell him it's not time for mama's milk.

Does anyone who has experienced 'extended' breastfeeding (L'il B is 15 months in case you were wondering) have any advice, suggestions or ideas? I have a hunch that this is all another phase in the breastfeeding journey and as soon as I hit "publish" L'il B will settle into a less frequent feeding pattern, but just in case, what are your thoughts on this matter?

I am joining Jodi from Che and Fidel (one of my bloggy inspirations) in the weekly theme: "summer snap mondays". The photos of L'il B and I feeding today will be my first contributions to this meme.


Tammy James said...

Look at those Zucchinis!! They are zucchinis I see over on your left aren't they?
I am no help with this one Sorry My DD self weaned at 14 months and we were down to one bedtime feed by then. DS abruptly and rudely rejected me at 8 months. All I can say is do what feels right for you both, if you deny him too much it will create problems, just as it could if you gave in to everything he asks for ...

Gina said...

These are tough things to think through aren't they? I'm passionate about breastfeeding (social acceptance, education, help with it) because I struggled for 3 months with my first before we really got feeding. Yet we weaned (naturally) by 12 months, and my second has just finished at 14. With no2 it was definitely my choice and direction to pull back, even though it was very special for us. Ultimately I weighed up the benefits for continuing (for both of us) with the benefits for stopping. It seems that beyond the 12 month mark (in our country, where nutrition is beyond adequate and water supplies are safe) it really is a personal choice that needs to take both mother and child into account. I say go for it and go confidently! But don't forget about your own needs too - there are other ways to comfort, bond with and nourish a child apart from the boob, so if it's getting too much don't be afraid to say no sometimes. Some kids will just drink all day if they get the chance.

A lovely serene picture of you both :-)

My Love is..... said...

Awesome pix thanx for sharing. I say follow your heart and your baby will willingly follow.

Lola Nova said...

As soon as you think you have it figured out, it all changes again. I nursed longer than I anticipated. We went through all sorts of ebbs and flows and crazy times too. When my heart felt she needed it, I went with it. When I felt like things were unbalanced, I struggled. A few days before she turned two, I was breast feeding and she grabbed on and yelled, "MINE!" and I stopped and thought, "No, actually,they're mine and I think I'll take these back now." There were a couple of rough days but, I think she knew I meant business :)

ecoMILF Meagan said...

@tammy- yes they are zucchinis I've already picked about 12 of them and there are more to be had!! I originally bought three little seedlings but they all just love the weather we've been having.

@gina- agree on all fronts. i am fairly certain i will have to be the one who initiates weaning and i think it will really be when i feel like we're both ready. i do agree comfort comes from more than the boob. that's why Dada is often sent to the rescue in the middle of the night (teehee).

@my love is thanks for the support

@lola nova- too true they always throw you a bone just when you don't think you can take it another second.

thanks for everyone's comments and kind words. xo m.

Home Girl said...

hello ecoMILF (hysterical name!), have enjoyed poking around your blog and think you are very inspiring with your wholesome consciencious approach to parenting and living. i think you sound like you have exctally the right approach to this issue. you are being compassionate and intuitive with the big picture in mind. its important to know where to draw boundaries and these things will unfold with time, trust yourself, you are doing a great job. if you had himsleeping through the night without feeds before then it will be much quicker to undo any new habbits the next time when the teething is resloved (night waking goes through cycles in my experience if you are breastfeeding or not there is always bottles and dummies and patting and bedsharing etc to be offered by desperate parents!). goodluck with the extended breastfeeding it sounds like its an important part of you relationship with your bub xx ps love the pics they are beautiful

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