Saturday, January 17, 2009

Breastfeeding Questions

I've been answering a lot of questions lately about breastfeeding and co-sleeping, supply issues and more, so I am going to go back to writing about these things. Really, the emails and messages reminded me that there is NOT a great support system out there for women on many of these issues, and it really is too bad. 
Here are some the questions answered for everyone who might be asking themselves wishing they had someone to ask. Keep in mind that this is based on my experiences-- personal and through research/reading. I am not a medical professional and I am not you. :)
Nursing a toddler... how often?

At two, we nurse before bed, once around 2-5 am, and once as he is waking up in the morning. On weekends, when I'm not working, we also nurse before nap time. Around one, I nursed on demand, which was when I picked him up from daycare, between dinner/bath, bedtime, once or twice at night (I forget, because we co-sleep and I don't really wake up), and when he woke up in the morning.  
We co-sleep, so the one night nursing these days doesn't bother me at all. I've also been noticing that my son talks in his sleep, so this past week when he asks to nurse more often (menstruation causes a dip in my supply, btw), I first make sure that he is really asking and not dream-asking. If I can snuggle him and he doesn't ask again, we drift back to sleep like that. If he asks repeatedly, he nurses.
 I'm pregnant. Do I have to stop nursing?

Some women don't have to stop nursing to get pregnant, nor do you have to stop nursing while pregnant. Many women become fertile again once the child night weans, and many women ovulate prior to menstruation returning! Also, some women nurse through their entire pregnancy and then tandem nurse once the second baby arrives.  You need to do what works for you and your nursling, and if you want to nurse through pregnancy and your child wants to continue to nurse, enjoy the time together! You might find that you need to alter your nursing patterns. My friend, Kyle, is pregnant and nursing, so if you are or are considering it, check out her blog!

Do you have any tips on how to continue past the standard 12mos?

The best tips to get through nursing to and beyond one is to find support-- online, friends, wherever-- become immune to criticism, and find what works for you and your family. Also, for me, it helped knowing that international health organizations, such as WHO and UNICEF, recommend nursing until at least two years of age, and the American Academy of Family Physicans said that children weaned before age two are at risk for increased illnesses. 
Do you have questions you want answered? Is there something on your mind?  You don't have to ask publicly. My email is available through my profile. 


Rebecca said...

So, here's my question. (Glad you opened the door by the way.) He wants to nurse every hour on the weekends. I assume it's because we don't see each other much during the week. He's 1 1/2. Did you find that you were breastfeeding this often when The Boy was 1 1/2?

Rachel said...

Wow...breastfeeding while pregnant, then juggling the needs of a nursing toddler with those of a nursing infant. Fascinating! I become so much more socially aware every time I stop by your blog. :)

Blacktating said...

Your son is a serious nurser! My son at 13 months nurses every morning and when I return home from work. We have cut out the nursing session before bed, which has been replaced with a cup of warm milk. On the weekends, we nurse before naps, too. It was easy to end the nursing session before bed because once milk came into the equation, he stopped asking to nurse. I don't think he'll give up the morning session any time soon. My son now sleeps through the night in his crib, so there is no more night nursing. I can't say I miss that.

Bethany said...

We have stopped co-sleeping. I had been going in his room A LOT. I had to stop, I need sleep. It is selfish, but he still nurses before bed, in the morning, and before/after/during nap when we are home together. It really is a special time for us, he calms down and we just hang out--just the two of us!

Maria said...

@Blacktating-- We still do not give The Boy milk, and honestly, we do not drink milk in our family, so that is not really an option. It might be interesting to see how it would change the nursing patterns though.

Trannyhead said...

My son is 17 months and still breastfeeding though only twice a day, now. It's sort of tricky, though, because hubby and I want to start working on Baby #2 and it's impossible for us to know when I'm ovulating since I'm not getting periods. I DID get periods for about 5 or 6 months, but then it stopped. Anyway, it's a challenge for sure when you want to get pregnant again. We're going to have to cut him off!

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