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Confessions of a Nursing Mama

Your son still uses a bottle? She isn’t sleeping through the night yet? How are you going to help him give up that binky? My daughter was potty trained at 18 months .  .  .

May 2013 080 2

He’ll have his cake and his breast milk, too!

We have all heard them. The casual comments at playgroup, daycare pickup, or mom’s night out. Those harmless little mentions that seem to scream “I”M A BETTER MOMMY THAN YOU!” They eat away at us at night, and make us question the choices we make with our children. They sometimes cause us to live a double life –  presenting ourselves as Mommy Know It-All as we desperately try to hide our secret (never share on Facebook)  survival strategies.

My trusty sidekick – the pump. Glad to say goodbye to this piece of baby gear!

I have a confession to make. My son is 14 months old, and I still nurse.  Why is that so hard to admit? In the world of mommy hood, it seems like someone always has an opinion. I recall my best friend saying to me when my son turned 1, “Now you can stop breastfeeding!” I quietly murmured that I would let him decide when to wean, and quickly changed the subject. All the while, I wondered to myself why did I feel so ashamed to admit that I am not planning to stop nursing anytime soon?

Here is a quick background of my feeding history with my two children. Another confession: both my children never had a drop of formula. Ever. It wasn’t an easy feat as a working mom, and I recognize that I am very fortunate it worked out for me because it was important to me.  Important for all the typical reasons people make that choice. But also, I felt very heartbroken having to be away from my babies during the work day. Nursing and pumping helped me feel more connected to them all day long. It’s really a special gift I felt blessed to give. I also feel like I can help other mamas that want to give it a try, because I used every trick in the book to fill those bottles each day! (As Liz mentioned in her post, the breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding is a whole other challenging topic amongst us mums).

Now here I am with a 14 month old who is far from ready to let go and am on new ground. My daughter weaned herself at 13 months. She shook her head at me and pointed to a Sippy cup.  My son, on the other hand, tries to dive into my shirt at any given moment, and I have had to set some limits. I  no longer pump since I’m home for the summer, and he eats three meals a day.  A start of a gradual weaning, but nowhere near being dunzo.  I actually googled this very topic of “nursing beyond a year” because I was feeling so awkward about it. Thankfully, I stumbled upon some really great articles and posts that encourage my decision and helped me feel like I can confidently share what I am doing. I might even share this post on my Facebook page. Maybe.

As a mother of a soon-to-be Kindergartner, I have realized how fast the baby and toddler years go by. We shouldn’t be ashamed if our baby sometimes naps on our chest or that our toddler won’t go anywhere without his lovey. Or in my little guy’s case, that he loves our morning nursing sessions. They will eventually let go of these things and when they do, we will wish we weren’t so worried about it. And perhaps,  let them be babies for a little bit longer.

So, what’s your Mommy confession?




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9 Responses to Confessions of a Nursing Mama

  1. Elysa July 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM #

    Great post Shannon! I couldn’t believe how many “opinions” people gave me about nursing (I was also SOO psyched not to use the pump anymore though it sure was helpful) Doing what feels right for you and your baby is always the right answer:
    As for Mommy confessions, goodness I have SO many but I don’t think I am ready for them not to be anonymous just yet! I’ll get there……Anyone else want to get us started?

  2. Alicia B July 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM #

    For what it’s worth, I know quite a few breastfeeding moms who continued way after the first year. You’re in good company! I only had the chance to breastfeed while in the hospital with Ellie, so I’ve never really experienced that bond you get with your child while doing it. To me, it’s exactly like you described– a really special gift.

    As for the I-can-top-that mamas out there, nothing gives me more satisfaction than to retort with, “Oh, well my kid is just average.” The looks on their faces is hilarious. I don’t need my kid (or me for that matter) to be better than anyone else. I just need us to be true to who we are, nothing more.

    Great post, Shannon.

  3. greer July 17, 2013 at 2:22 PM #

    I had a lot of issues with breastfeeding and wound up weaning my son at about 8 weeks. But if that hadn’t been the case, I’d probably still be nursing him now! So you go, Mama!

  4. Abby
    Abby July 17, 2013 at 9:12 PM #

    I have a million mom confessions….I totally bribed my 3 year old to bed tonight by letting him choose a toy that he will get in the morning if he goes to bed with no fuss tonight. And it worked. My one year old son has a pacifier that I think he will go to college with, and I am just too tired to fight it. I often wonder if what I am doing as a mom is the right thing or not – I feel like common sense can get me far but there is still always a certain level of doubt. It’s not easy being Mom!

    And, I am envious that you got to nurse for so long. I had trouble as well and pumping never worked for me either. My boys each got about 8 or 9 weeks and that was all we could do. I’m fine with it, although I would have loved to do it longer and save money on the formula!

  5. Amy
    Amy July 18, 2013 at 1:50 PM #

    My confession is that I send my kid to daycare three days a week, even though I’m home for the summer. I tell myself that it’s good for his socialization and he won’t be a mess when I go back to work in September, but really, it’s more for me!

  6. Danielle July 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM #

    Shannon, great post. Last week was my first week back to work, and I’m exclusively breastfeeding Luna. The pumping feels constant! Last night was my first 24 hour shift after being back, and I pumped 8 times. It’s certainly a labor of love. But there was nothing more special as comig home to my sweet girl and nursing her. It’s what I waited >24 hours for!

    My mom confession is that it’s been hard having a “fussy kid”, who literally cries the minute you have her in a position she doesn’t like. But the confession is that I like that she’s that way- I think it’s super clear to see her personality. I hope she’ll be as opinionated and forthcoming as she grows into a girl, then a woman. When you hear from family, “Oh, what’s wrong with her?” My response: “She’s not hurt. That’s just her.”

  7. Audra July 18, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

    Hi Shannon! I can’t believe he’s over a year old already! That is awesome that you were successful with breastfeeding them both! I had breastfeeding issues with all 3 of my kids and had to supplement them all with formula (Jordan the formula fed one was perfectly healthy, Eli the mostly breastfed one had asthma so we killed any myths of who’s healthier lol) After fighting a good fight to get Jess and Eli breastfeeding I had no desire to wean at 1 and neither did they, I went almost to 2 with both. I actually found it easier after age 1, it was mostly morning and night and I rarely needed to nurse in public since they ate food. The important thing I learned about feeding our kids is to make sure we are doing what works for us, not worry what everyone else thinks, I had friends on all extremes, some who breastfed for years until the ages of 4 or 5 and some who had no desire to try at all and I think supporting each other no matter the choice is SO important! This blog is great in that respect!

    Danielle, my oldest was very much like your daughter and she is a great teenager now!

  8. Shannon
    Shannon July 19, 2013 at 2:30 PM #

    Thanks, ladies. We all do our best, and it is nice to be able to share with each other. Abby, my daughter loved her pacifier and I thought we’d never get rid of it! Danielle, my son and I would sigh in relief when I would nurse him after work – such a sweet reunion. Audra, I am amazed at anyone that has more than two children and still has all their wits about them!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ann March 29, 2016 at 10:07 AM #

    You’re doing a great job. I nursed for years. Research is unequivocal about the benefits and many health agencies recommend well past 1 or even 2 years.

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