Before I started the weaning process, I thought it would be tougher on me than for her to give it up because of the nurturing/bonding time I got to spend with her during each feeding - sounds backwards, doesn't it?! We took the weaning process step-by-step together, slowly eliminating one feeding at a time until we got to the "right before bed" milk. I slowly introduced the cup during this time and often got refusal. Naomi would point to my chest and whine - sometimes pulling on my shirt. IMHO, when a little one starts to pull on the shirt, it's time to give it up for good. Once they are old enough to understand, they are old enough for a cup. Not a bottle, not a breast, but a cup.
Naomi started with many different sippy cups at around five or six months old, and out of all of them, the NUK learner cup was the winner. We would give her anything to drink out of it - just so she would get used to the feel of a cup and it wouldn't be so foreign later on. To this day, she still prefers this NUK cup, and I like it because it is spill-proof and she can easily hold it herself. There are many great ones on the market though! It's best to buy a small assortment and see what your child likes the best.
I am so pleased that Omi is gaining more independence from me, but I am also sad as this marks a major milestone in both of our lives. She is growing up and coming into her own, and I am at the end of having my baby stage! She will always be my baby, and this milestone is not sad, but joyous, and maybe bittersweet. I have thoroughly enjoyed every single aspect of this breastfeeding and nurturing experience - and in essence - keeping my child alive.
So, as I look back, even though it was just moments ago, I weigh the pros and cons and would do it again in a heartbeat. Just when she's ready for the cup, I have to let go!
|This pic says it all!|
The pros definitely outweigh the cons, obviously, but I'll give it a shot as to why:
The Health Benefits to Baby!
Availabilty & Convenience
Being a SAHM (stay-at-home mama), it is so convenient to have milk supply available 24/7, on demand. On Demand, I sound like our cable company! :) ha. I'm sure it would get trickier if I had to go back to work, but being home with her, fixing a bottle and warming milk is simply not on my long to-do list, and for that, I am grateful! It's also easy to feed her ANYWHERE - the park, airplane, dressing room in stores, beach, restaurants, you name it. Ain't no shame in my game. Baby Girl's got to eat, right?
This topic is discussed in a previous post, but breast feeding can burn 500 calories a day. I associate much of my weight loss with breastfeeding.
Breast milk can be stored in a deep freezer for up to a year! Health benefits that keep on givin'!
All-Natural/No Expensive Formulas
Breast milk is as primitive as it gets, and it's because mother's milk is intended for baby. Supplements in the market these days are not only expensive, but they can get contaminated (just as Similac did less than a year ago). They recalled over 5 million containers for contamination with beetles or larvae. It is scary to think about but it could happen. I understand that many moms have to work or produce little or no milk and need to use formula, and I definitely would too in similar situations, but all I'm saying is if you can, breastfeed.
|this smiling face is as close as you're getting to a shot of me breastfeeding!|
In the very early stages and at the very end, things were, let's just say, uncomfortable! No one wants to associate with words like engorgement, leaking, mastitis, blisters. Enough said.
Nursing just anywhere can be uncomfortable for mama and the general public. Let's face it. No one wants to see your ta-tas. Seriously. Even before getting pregnant, I would become rather uncomfortable with a nursing mother in the room. It's just not everyday you see that, so that, I guess, is what makes it uncomfortable for me. It's a simple fix though - take a blanket with you and you're set. I would much rather see a blanket covering a baby's head than breast. Plus, I've noticed men, generally older, that STARE. Now that's just weird. For my own comfort and for Naomi's, a blanket solved many privacy issues!
This one was the kicker. As Omi got older, she wanted to nurse in the middle of the night, often times more than twice, just for comfort. I know this because she had been sleeping through the night and then stopped. Certainly mama will come in and put me back to sleep, and surely I did. The slightest little whimper would come from her room and I would run in there and nurse for less than 5 minutes. That's not hunger, that's a pacifier!
It was also more than difficult to leave on vacations without my exclusively breastfed baby. She learned to use a cup early on because of this concern. I did not want her to not know how to use a cup, but I did not want her to use a bottle either (I already knew I would need to wean her from the breast - why would I want to wean her from breast and bottle?). It was easier for us to introduce the cup straight from the breast - another suggestion from the ped's office. I heart Dr. Ramon Ramos!!
Lots of pumping!
Breast pumps are for the birds. I can't stand my pump, and maybe I have such strong distaste after having to had pumped over 100oz for my mom's freezer when I went on vacation back in January (for only five days)! In order to keep producing while I was away, I had to lug that thing through security checkpoints all the way to MX and back - and interrupting my vacation at least three times a day to pump. Garsh, I'm getting hives just thinking about it!
|I got a great price on a used Medela pump on eBay. New tubing and sanitizing makes it just like new for a fraction of the price!|
It's hard to keep up
I thought for sure after our little vacation that that was the end for me, but Naomi was resilient and very patient, and she knew she was not done. I was happy about that because 1: I wasn't ready either 2. I did not want to pay for expensive formulas if I did not have to. If I had to return to work, I am 90% sure that I would not have lasted this long. It is just too hard to keep the pump alive during a busy day-to-day schedule. My hat is off to you ladies that pump during your work day. My pump has been retired for some time now!
Well, I think I've bored you enough with my personal pros and cons of breastfeeding NGL, and I'm sure every baby will be different, just as they say every pregnancy is different. Situations change, life changes, "you never know what you're gonna get." Breastfeeding has been one of the coolest and most exciting things I have ever experienced in my life, and if you have the opportunity, I would say definitely give it a go even if only for a little while. I'll end you with another classic Forrest Gump quote: "You have to do the best with what God gave you." Ain't that the truth?? :)