Friday, July 5, 2013

We'll Stop When He Wants to Stop

I have to say that a lot these days since it's my go to response to the ever popular question, "when are you gonna stop breastfeeding W?"  But, it isn't a completely honest answer.

W and I still go to La Leche League every month.  I like it there.  I like the other moms there.  I like the other babies there.  I like that I started going while I was still pregnant with W and I was eager to learn as much as possible from these more experienced moms in the hopes that I could have a great breastfeeding relationship with my children and now I'm one of the more experienced moms sharing advice and stories with the new moms.  When our La Leche League leader describes the ideal length of time to breastfeed you baby she says as long as it is a "mutually beneficial relationship."  Now that I've made it well past our initial goal of breastfeeding for a year, that really is my plan.  As long as both W and I are happy, I will continue to nurse him.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to two years or more:
Breastfeeding is an unequaled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers.  As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.  Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
If I make it to two years with W, that means I'll be tandem breastfeeding for about 2 months.

At my OB appointment this past week, the doctor mentioned that I'll have to stop breastfeeding around 22 to 24 weeks because when you breastfeed it makes your uterus contract, and by then the baby will be big enough that it could be damaging or send me into pre-term labor.  W literally looked like he was trying to fry her brains with his eyes while she was saying this.

Lucky for W, I've done my own research, and I see absolutely no reason to stop nursing him.

From La Leche League:
Although uterine contractions are experienced during breastfeeding, they are a normal part of pregnancy...Uterine contractions also occur during sexual activity, which most couples continue during pregnancy.
From The Mayo Clinic:
Generally, it's safe to continue breastfeeding while pregnant - as long as you're careful about eating a healthy diet and diligently drinking plenty of fluids.  There's an important caveat, however.  Breastfeeding can trigger mild uterine contractions.  Although these contractions aren't a concern during an uncomplicated pregnancy, your health care provider might discourage breastfeeding while pregnant if you have a history of preterm labor or you're experiencing uterine pain or bleeding.

So, as long as I'm having another healthy pregnancy, I see no reason to stop nursing W...unless he decides to stop.  During pregnancy it's completely normal for your supply to dramatically decrease at about month 4 to 5 or the taste of my milk might change.  Either of these factors might trigger W to wean on his own, and honestly that will break my heart a little bit.  Until he reaches 2 (or until something changes and I can't safely nurse him) I will continue to offer him breast-milk.

In an ideal world I'll have another healthy pregnancy and be able to nurse W until at least his second birthday and some point after that he'll decide to stop breastfeeding on his own.  I won't ever have to deal with figuring out how to wean him - he'll just stop when he feels ready to stop.

How long did you breastfeed your baby?  Would you ever consider tandem nursing?


  1. I'm going to have to pump when I go back to work (probably around 6-8 weeks), but am still hoping to breastfeed a little bit (mornings/nights) for a while, but I really want DH to be able to bond by feeding too, and for baby to allow others to feed it, so I'm not going to push it too much if it doesn't mind the bottle, I'll just continue to pump. I don't have a real plan yet, since I don't really know what is going to happen.

    1. I've never really understood the whole husband bonding by bottle feeding; my husband has maybe TRIED to give W a bottle 5 times and they have bonded just fine, lol!

  2. I find this so encouraging! I breastfeed my 2 and a half year old stil 3-4 times daily. We are now expecting #2 and I am hoping to be able to tandem nurse. I love the idea of it making the transition for my older son easier as well as forming a bond with his new sibling! I will let him self wean and I know the day will come and I will be sad it is over.


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