With National Breastfeeding Week upon us, I wanted to find a mom that breastfed for longer than the typical six months to a year. This is where Adrienne came in. She is a preemie mom (which is even more impressive!) and is currently still breastfeeding her former 24 weeker Parker who will be two years old on October 12th.
Being a preemie, Parker obviously did not breastfeed from birth. However Adrienne pumped her milk for him. By seven months old she had him weaned off of the formula and the bottles.
As a the mom of a 24 weeker, I know the difficulties that are thrown our way when it comes to feeding issues alone. Ashton did breastfeed a few times, but he did very poorly and unfortunately we had to turn to tube feeds for him.
Adrienne is inspiring to me and I know that she will be to other moms as well.
1. How long did you breastfeed your child?
I’ve been nursing Parker for 24 months. I plan to continue to nurse him until he self-weans.
2. Why did you choose to breastfeed for this long?
Breastfeeding is so important in so many ways. There are the obvious health benefits to the baby, the cost (free!), the benefits to the mother (natural weight loss), and probably most importantly the bond between mother and baby that occurs. I believe that not only is breast milk vital for my baby’s health and growth, but also the sheer act of nursing has helped him developmentally. I also believe that his immune system needs all the reinforcements it can get, and breast milk is helping him stay healthy and get over sickness faster. Also, when he is sick, I don’t worry as much about dehydration because he continues to constantly nurse. And it’s so easy! Nothing to heat up or measure or buy, etc. I have a food supply with me at all times.
3. With all of the controversy over breastfeeding were you uncomfortable doing this for longer than most mothers do?
No. I am however disturbed when I get negative reactions from other mothers. I don’t understand why some of my friends have chosen not to breastfeed (not because of difficulties, just thought formula would be easier).
4. Was your spouse/family supportive?
Extremely. Nursing can stop all crying, so my husband appreciates it the most! Also, my sister is still nursing her 27 month old. My sister actually helped me to continue nursing in the beginning after I brought Parker home. I had been pumping every three hours around the clock for 7 months and I continued to nurse and pump another 3 months. I could have owned the pumped I rented based on the rental fees alone! It was rough. I also had a lot of resistance from Parker not using a nipple shield (nipple shield eventually made my milk supply decrease temporarily). It took a good 3 weeks to get him off the nipple shield and bottles all together. He is a fabulous nurser now!
5. Do you believe this was beneficial to your child? If so, why?
Absolutely! I can’t prove it, but I think Parker’s eating habits now are directly related to the fact that he has been breastfed. In the NICU and at home, he would gulp too much milk from his bottle and it would cause him to stop breathing, choke, etc. He NEVER had that problem with nursing. With bottles, the flow is too fast (even with slow flow nipples), it’s not natural. Babies aren’t meant to know how to sip slowly from a bottle. They are meant to breastfeed. Because of my perseverance, Parker is not only an excellent nurser, he also has no other food aversions. He’ll eat anything and everything. He doesn’t have a tremendous appetite, and he’s still a little guy (just over 22 lbs), but he is willing to try new foods and eat anything he can put in his mouth.
6. Breastfeeding a baby does not seem to be as big a deal as breastfeeding a toddler with the public. What are you thoughts on this?
I just laugh to myself when people stare or look away because I’m nursing a toddler. They are the ones who are ignorant. They have no idea what I and my baby have been through. If Parker
wants to keep nursing at two years old, then I’m going to oblige. He did me the honor of living.
7. What are your thoughts on people not agreeing with breastfeeding in public?
Too bad. I’m feeding my baby. I have nursing in public down to a science these days, and I can usually be quite discreet. People have a right to their opinions, but I’m not going to stop feeding my baby in public. I usually have Parker in an Ergo baby carrier, so when he’s nursing, most people can’t even tell.
8. Has anyone ever say anything to you when you were breastfeeding in public?
No, but I’ve gotten some looks of surprise.
9. Were you aware that this is national breastfeeding week?
Yes, I read Mothering Magazine which is incredibly supportive of nursing mothers everywhere.
What are your thoughts on breastfeeding past a year old?