Friday, August 06, 2010

Got milk?

I guess it's sort of poetic that I choose (though not consciously) World Breastfeeding Week to start thinking about weaning Sophie off breastmilk. With her first birthday approaching, it's something I had to contemplate sooner or later anyway. We've been fortunate (and grateful) that my supply's kept up with Sophie's needs and we're now at a pretty consistent four feeds a day (after she wakes-up, late morning, afternoon, and before bed). I express whenever she's at daycare and pack the milk with her when she goes. Pumping hasn't been that big a deal for me- I've been doing it since Sophie started daycare in January so I've become quite used to it. Besides, the reams of research behind how beneficial breastmilk is make whatever trouble it is worthwhile. On a more selfish note, breastfeeding zaps so many calories that I've actually managed to maintain a pretty healthy post-Sophie weight. Also, after reading this article in the the NYT yesterday, there's probably also an element of mommy martyrdom-

Dr. German sees (breast)milk as “an astonishing product of evolution,” one which has been vigorously shaped by natural selection because it is so critical to the survival of both mother and child. “Everything in milk costs the mother — she is literally dissolving her own tissues to make it,” he said.
- "Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat", New York Times

And now that it's time to think about weaning, I'm feeling a little sad, I guess. I genuinely enjoy nursing her and it's been a very special and deeply elemental thing that we share. It's going to be a profound transition-- for both Sophie and I-- and I want to do it in a way that respects her need for both sustenance as well as comfort. Her allergy to cow's milk doesn't make the decision any easier. I suppose when we do eventually wean her, we'd move to soy formula first before trying regular whole milk.

Right now, even though many people suggest weaning at a year, I'm probably going to keep it up for as long as Sophie wants to nurse and/or when she outgrows her cow's milk allergy. I'm in no hurry to stop breastfeeding and Sophie seems to be a contended breastfed baby. So at least for now, there's no need to bust out the sippy cups. Yet...

1 comment:

e said...

The AAP suggests a year, but WHO suggests 2 years, if I remember right. It's longer than I would do it, but I have friends who are still nursing at 3. I think you should do what you want and what's best for Sophie and you and Jude.

I didn't wean Katie until she was 2 (when I wanted to start working on the next baby), and then it was just that I never wanted her to feel Callum cheated her out of nursing. (Mind you she wasn't nursing *much* after 18 months...)