Sunday, July 25, 2010

To wean or not to wean that shouldn't be the question!

I have not posted in over a year. Not because I haven't wanted to but my life has been busy with being a full time mom, full time wife and and most importantly a full time breastfeeding mother of twins.
My twins are now 19 months and are not showing signs of weaning. When I first started breastfeeding I wasn't sure I would make it to a year. But I was very sure that I would stop nursing the twins at one year. I made plans for going on an overnight getaway with my hubby of 12+ years, anticipating the arrival of the one year mark. I even thought about what I would do with all of my free time, not confined to the rocking chair nursing two growing babies.
However, when the year mark came the twins Andrew and Ammon, were still eagerly attached to me every three to four hours and I found myself wondering why ending our nursing relationship at a year was so important to me. I began looking at the struggles and the joys in a different light. I focused on every minute that we nursed together and realized how much I would miss our time together. I would miss the soft scratching of Ammon's fingernails as he slipped his hands under the sleeve of my shirt. This comforting gesture that is so unique for Ammon. Also, I would miss Andrew's special way of wrapping the bottom of my shirt around his two first fingers. Plus, how could I go a day without the twins looking up into my eyes, smiling and holding hands with each other. Nursing twins is definitely a miraculous and amazing adventure in its own right.

With how the world is zooming by at what seems like the speed of light, why am I in such a hurry to be done with this beautiful bonding time with my toddlers? I don't know. Maybe it is pressure from society, or the weird looks I get from friends, family and even strangers, when they find out that I am still nursing my boys. Or maybe it is the looks of "you're crazy, don't you want a life".
Whatever it is that has made me even contemplate weaning Andrew and Ammon, when it is very clear that they are not ready and neither am I, I am choosing to ignore it. The world would be a better, more peaceful place, if we took more time to enjoy the quiet moments with our children when all we focus on is selflessness and love. Because when it comes right down to it, what is more selfless than literally giving of yourself to your children.
When my children grow strong and healthy on my breast milk alone, it makes me feel empowered and confident because I am giving my babies the best. I know I might offend some people with this post but I can not deny the truth anymore just to spare other people's feelings. In the past, I have tried to make mothers feel that bottle feeding isn't that bad because I am just that type of person, not wanting to rock the boat, so to speak. But, barring some few and rare extenuating circumstances, virtually every mother CAN breastfeed their babies if and only if they are truly willing to sacrifice for their little ones. Hey, I am all about the woman's right to choose. But the choice is between whether you want to give your child the best start in life or not. Which one will you choose?
It's not easy and it can seem like there is no support for breastfeeding mothers out there but there is! Please don't feel like you are alone. Breastfeeding is the best start for your baby. It is more important than shopping at the mall and bringing a bottle of formula along "just in case". It is more important than slipping a binkie into your baby's mouth to quiet them at church, when they are probably hungry. It is more important than going out with friends or your husband at least for the first few months.
Nursing is a work in progress, it doesn't come naturally to a lot of us and it doesn't make you a bad mom if you can't do it. I just want to see more of us women try it and give it a fighting chance before we decide "it's too hard". Wait until six months, get extra help if needed and don't be afraid to ask for it. The rewards are immeasurable!
I don't know when Ammon and Andrew will be done nursing. I don't even want to guess or think about it. Because in the great scheme of life, this time with Andrew and Ammon, is such a short time. Before I know it they will be in Kindergarten. I will never have this time back. So for now, I am reveling in the joys of being a nursing mother of twins, taking it moment by moment. I feel blessed and relieved that I am still able to soothe and comfort my baby boys through my cuddles, kisses and breastfeeding. Life with a newborn/toddler is so much easier because of breastfeeding and you can quote me on that!


  1. I'm glad you're enjoying it. It's great that you're going with what is important to you and not to others.

    And I have to say, I'm glad I did't have to worry about making the choice of when to wean, since we were blessed through the miracle of adoption! ;)

  2. I saw your link on FB so I read your post. I applaud your efforts with nursing. I've been there, done that with nursing and have learned that not every situation lends itself to a successful breastfeeding relationship (health issues, postpartum complications, labor complications, etc.). I've had babies that have done great nursing; others not so much. I've worked with lactation consultants, read the books, and have just learned that breastfeeding may be the best but it is not the end of the world if it is not pursued.

    I'm so glad you don't judge mothers like me who offer bottles and binkies because I supplement nursing all the time with both. It's hard to nurse full-time with other children (and a husband) to care for and other responsibilities to attend to. I admit I'm one of those mothers who has offered a bottle at a grocery store simply so I didn't have to feed my baby in the restroom (yuck) while trying to entertain and keep under control four other children (all under the age of 8). Thank goodness for understanding bystanders who withhold judgment!

    I also distinguish my babies cries so I know when he is hungry and when he simply wants to pacify. I feel no guilt whatsoever offering a binky to my baby. Many times a binky pacifies him until I can get in position to attend to his needs.

    I avoid the mothers lounge at church with a passion--it usually is busy or it stinks so I pump milk before church to feed my baby throughout the meetings without having to miss them (best of both worlds, eh?). To each their own, I guess.

    I think it is very admirable that you are doing what you are doing. But I am content and have no regrets of supplementing nursing with occassional bottles (formula or pumped milk)because it has given me a much-needed break (I can leave the baby with Grandma for a night out with the hubby). My baby does not feel neglected and I guarantee the love is still there when I return.

    You should pursue a career in lactation consulting. I have dealt with some excellent ones and it's amazing the difference their help makes.

  3. Yeah for you. Good to go with your gut instinct as a mom. I'm still going with Camaira too. Seems like she needs it right now even though 2 months ago she was basically done. Good to be in tune with your kids...just as long as they aren't 4 I"m good with nursing until you feel its right. Oooh, and as long as you don't just doing right in front of everyone at the store with no cover! I'm good if someone chooses a cover (I admit that sometimes I've had too) in public and glad that women feel they can (although my mother feels otherwise!).

  4. I think the important part is doing what works best for you and your baby, and then setting aside guilt or what have you and being comfortable with your decision. When Zach was born I worked with a nurse who was a lactation consultant and even with all the info she gave me on the actual mechanics of it, I still felt very unprepared for the emotional aspects and social stigmas of breastfeeding.
    I'm so glad your new job is going good. My advice would be to advocate advocate advocate to women even those who think they don't need it. They're the ones who need it the most!
    PS Don't make me wait another year for a post!