Welcome to the August edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Breastfeeding.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. As August is Breastfeeding awareness month, our participants are writing about this exact subject! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Newborns breastfeed frequently. Most of them can be found contentedly feeding every hour or two during those first few months of life. As babies grow and develop, the frequency of feedings will often taper off and by the time toddlerhood hits, most children are breastfeeding only a handful of times in a 24 hour period.
And then there is Tiny…
Since she was born, Tiny has enjoyed frequent yet efficient feeds. As a newborn, you could find her searching for my breast every 45 minutes to an hour. But she was in and out in under 8 minutes.
During the first year of her life, I was waiting for Tiny to develop the ability to go longer stretches without the need for breastmilk. Especially at night. Oh how I longed to get a little shut eye.
This never happened. It wasn't until she was around 14 months that I saw a decrease in the number of times per day and night that Tiny would seek out her “mama milkies.” In a 24 hour period, she would breastfeed an average of 8 times. If you do the math, I was basically breastfeeding every two hours ‘round the clock. Sometimes more, rarely less.
Tiny is almost 3 ½ and guess what? She breastfeeds an average of 11 times in a 24 hour period. No, I am not kidding. Here's what it looks like and please note that all times are approximate:
- 5:30am – breastfeed and wake up for the day
- 7:00am – milkie break during breakfast
- 10:00am – milkie break after playtime at the park (this has a 50/50 chance of happening)
- 12:00pm – breastfeed and nap
- 1:15pm – mid-nap milkies (this has a 50/50 chance of happening)
- 2:30pm – breastfeed and wake up from nap
- 5:30pm – mid-dinner milkie break
- 7:30pm – breastfeed and settle into bed for the night
- 9:45pm – milkie break to get back to sleep
- 11:30pm – milkie break to get back to sleep
- 1:15am – milkie break to get back to sleep
- 3:00am – milkie break to get back to sleep
- 4:40am – milkie break to get back to sleep
Pretty intense right? Well, Tiny is a pretty intense child.
I have mentioned Tiny's sleep issues before. She process her day at night and wakes up frequently trying to make sense of it all. When she was younger and non-verbal, I had no clue what was going on for her at night. I knew she was dealing with her emotions, her stresses, and her joys but I wasn't sure exactly what was going on. Now that Tiny talks up a storm, she is able to articulate things to me at night about what is going on in her little body. The poor girl deals with a lot of heavy stuff at night. That is just who she is and how she operates.
I have had many, many people tell me to night wean Tiny. I won't do that. I have tried to reduce the number of night time feeds (and yes, she is breastfeeding not just comfort nursing) but this is met with unpleasantries such as throwing up, choking, hyperventilating, and the like. I would much rather roll over, give her a cuddle and a kiss, and meet her needs through milk than be awake for an hour with a hysterical child who will still want milk anyway.
I am quite sure that Tiny will not be a teenager still needed “milkies.” While she will still be dealing with life through a rather intense lens, I will have other ways of supporting her at that time. Right now, Tiny needs me. She needs mama's milk. I am more than happy to give that to her. After all, this is part of who I need to be as a mother to Tiny. It wouldn't work for everyone and yes, sometimes I long for sleep. But right now, I am doing what my mama heart knows is right. And guess what – Tiny is better for it.
What challenges do you deal with when it comes to breastfeeding more frequently than you might like? Any gentle tips for managing the high frequency older nursling?
Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Parenting Myth Busted: They Never Stop Breastfeeding – Laura at Authentic Parenting shares how her 4 year old effectively weans herself.
- 7 Tips for Breastfeeding In Public Stress Free – From baby wearing to using a scarf, Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection is sharing many helpful tips on how to breastfeed in public stress free.
- Breastfeeding has been Downhill – Jorje of Momma Jorje compares her nursing experiences and finds… it hasn't gotten easier with time and experience.
- A Heartfelt Tip for the Nursing Mamas – Margaux from Young Nesters gives her biggest piece of advice for all present and future breastfeeding Mamas.
- Breastfeeding Carnival – Billy at My Pathway To Motherhood writes about the past, present and future of nursing her daughter.
- Amy W. at Me, Mothering and Making it All Work describes why she loves to advocate for and help nurture breastfeeding relationships.
- To My Nursling – Stone Age Parent dedicates a breastfeeding poem to her child.
- My 3 ½ Year Old Breastfeeds As Much As A Newborn – And That Is Fine By Me – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama
- Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival of Breastfeeding: Our Sorta Sudden Gentle Weaning – Wolfmother Chronicles
- How to breastfeed while babywearing in a men tai – Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a video tutorial for easy, hands-free nursing on the go in a mei tai (Asian-style) baby carrier.
- My Boobs? Mighty Frickin' Spectacular, Thank You Very Much. – Rhianna from The Other Baby Book shares a post crediting breastfeeding with nurturing a connection not only with her son, but also with her breasts and her body's empowering ability to do its thing.