Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Breastfeeding Past Six Months
My baby is now seven months old and I had the question the other day- "Are you still nursing?"
Well of course I am! I have been committed to the one year mark with all of my kids (two years with the first, 15 months with the second, and still going with number three).
After overcoming the obstacles in the beginning with my first I did not understand why somebody would quit nursing before a year- all problems solved if you get past the first month or so, right?
I was to find out that there can be problems later on that can make continued breastfeeding a challenge. This is not a judgment of any mother who is not able to make it to that magical one year mark- just some things I have found that help me and other mothers if you still wish to continue your nursing relationship.
Pay Attention Baby!
Often around 6 to 8 months babies start to get more interested in the world around them. All of a sudden, mom is not everything! It is not uncommon for women to quit around this time because they think that the baby is no longer interested.
First- all babies go through this- even bottle fed babies. They start to notice the world and start to participate in it. A bottle fed baby will throw or drop a new bottle, the breastfed baby will start to nurse, then turn away, bite or fuss.
This does not mean they want to wean- it just means they are learning about their world. If you are there when they are ready they will come back to you.
Pay Attention Mom!
Sometimes baby is just trying to tell you to pay attention to them. Yes- they need attention just like you do!
I found this to be the case with my second. Every time I sat down to nurse she would bite me (yes bite) if I wasn't staring right at her. No more watching TV, no reading, no talking, just looking at my little baby. This can seem like an annoyance for a busy multi-tasking mother, but spending a few minutes each day just focusing on baby is more of a blessing than a burden.
I think of labor, birth and mothering as a dance with your baby. Everything is a give and take. Everything you do and feel communicates back and forth with each other. Our babies talk to us and communicate their needs. When they want more attention- they tell us but not with words. Everything we do with them is an opportunity not just to teach but to learn from them also.
Every step in motherhood is an opportunity to learn (usually a hard lesson for me) and be humbled by our children. That is why I call this mama birth- because we become mothers through the journey.