Sunday, November 18, 2007
Breast milk. I have it. I lactate, and have been doing so for over a year. It doesn't gross me out but I know that it grosses other people out. My kids love it. They are attached to it. I'm not sure if they are attached to nursing (the act of sucking) or to the milk itself. Incidentally, they do not like Cow's milk. They don't drink it and when someone refers to 'milk' they think of my milk, which, has to be better than the average cow's.
I know that my nursing 17 month old babies is a debate. I know people have strong feelings about it. I know that it surprises some, perhaps it disgusts others, I know that people do not understand why I continue. They have told me this.
Let me tell you.
I worked hard to lactate efficiently for my babies. I worked hard to get them to latch on and have breast milk be their sole source of nutrition. In fact, it was probably one of the most important things I did while my babes were infants. Now that I have it I don't know how to take it away nor do I think it is important for me to do so.
When the babies were born they were rushed to the NICU. They received my milk or colostrum mixed with preemie formula. They had to have formula in order to grow, to become stronger. We couldn't afford for them to lose weight in the few days they waited for my milk to come in.
I nursed Madeleine first. She was four days old. She latched on beautifully and sucked like she knew how to (and of course she did, really). I have to say that I was scared to breast feed. I didn't know if I would like it, if it would feel weird or make me uncomfortable. I didn't mind it and thought it was amazing that I could produce nutrition for my babies just as I had done when they were in utero. I was proud of my body for doing what it was suppose to do as it had failed me many times over throughout my life.
Maxy didn't nurse until he was 10 days old. He didn't know how and didn't seem to want to. He had a poor suck reflex. He had a hard time getting the milk out and seemed to root constantly. In addition, he had a hard time getting enough milk in the bottle. He would fall asleep and refuse to take in the entire 70 cc's required for him to grow.
I cannot remember how it all transpired, sleep deprived that I was/am, but I do know that by the time the babies were 8-9 weeks old they were fully and completely on the breast. This was after we saw a feeding specialist/lactation consultant twice. I took the medication reglan and Fenugreek to make enough milk. I was able to exclusively breastfeed my twins. An accomplishment than many are not able to do.
I'm proud of this.
Our breast feeding relationship is a special one; one that I will not always have. No, I do not plan on breastfeeding until they are in kindergarten. But, if I did it really is none of your business. Sometimes my milk seems to be the only thing that calms my babies. Sometimes they need to nurse more than anything else. Why would I deny them that?
Of course they eat food just like other children. They have nearly all their teeth and do not require pureed foods. They also eat dairy in the form of yogurt and cheese. So, I guess the question "do they need breast milk" is a tricky one. Do they require it to grow in body? No. Do they require it to stave off diseases? Maybe. Do they need it to be comforted? Sometimes. Does it hurt them? No. Does it help them? Yes. Does it hurt me? Sometimes. Does it help me? Yes.
Why would I stop now?
I will discontinue our breast feeding relationship when it makes the most sense to do so.
Great Breast Milk Websites:
Reasons to Breast Feed
at 12:50 PM