Saturday, August 9, 2008

Freaky #2: Breastfeeding (ecological and tandem)

FYI: if you are not a breastfeeder, I DON’T CARE. After all, the host of The Kerrie Show was never breastfed, and look how she turned out!!! (you may draw your own conclusions here). I am not here to judge you, only to tell my own story.

When Joel was born I had trouble nursing. I won’t go into detail, in case my poor dad decides to visit the show again after storming out on the episode about the family bed. Let’s just say there were many tears and contraptions, and I almost gave up. Once we got home and he DID latch on, I was in pain. He ate every 2 hours, and I would sit with my Boppy pillow and read and try not to fall asleep. After a couple of weeks I got the hang of it and have been breastfeeding ever since (7 + years).

After Michael was born, I was still nursing Joel to get him to sleep for his naps and bedtime and couldn’t imagine booting him off the boob. Like they say on Project Runway, we “made it work,” a.k.a. tandem nursing. Actually, Joel made it work. He wasn’t even 2 years old and figured out ways to nurse while Michael did. Eventually they were holding hands and grinning at each other while they nursed to sleep.

Michael, however, was not going to share at almost 2 years of age. When Callie was born he wouldn’t nurse with her, so he weaned himself quickly and angrily. I’ve told him I’ll pay half of his therapy bills someday.

We purposely put an extra year in between the girls, so Callie was almost 3 when Eva was born and was mostly weaned, except for at bedtime. The day after Eva was born, Callie tried to nurse, giggled and hasn’t nursed again.

Ecological breastfeeding means a few things to me:
-- Human Pacifier. I nursed the babies when they were hungry or sleepy. I’m with my babies all the time and rarely leave them, and I do that with no resentments, most of the time!
-- Birth control. There’s only a very slim chance I’ll get pregnant soon after delivering a baby. I’ve gone an entire year between each kid without a period. If you get pregnant while breastfeeding soon after giving birth, it’s probably because you are supplementing with bottles, pumping (your body is not stupid; it knows the difference between a machine and your baby), or feeding baby food or cereal.
-- Extended nursing. The longest I’ve nursed was almost 3 years. I’ve heard that in Jesus’ time, weaning at age 3 was the norm. Interesting.

These days I’m all tricked out in a nursing swimsuit courtesy of my friend Ellen. It’s nice not toting bottles and formula around; I always have Eva’s food ready. And it’s FREE. I figure I’ve saved our family thousands of dollars, which I happily spend on … chocolate.