Prior to doing Jacob’s 12 month update, I decided I wanted to do a breastfeeding “check-in” with you all. I just wanted to share my experience with breastfeeding this past year. Jacob has been exclusively breastfed since birth. The decision to breastfeed for me wasn’t an easy one. It was a decision that I was going back and forth about from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I am one of those people who puts a lot of pressure on themselves. I knew that if I committed to breastfeeding before Jacob was born and then it didn’t work out for some reason, I would be devastated.
Like I said before throughout my pregnancy, I never really made a decision on what I was going to do. I went as far as to pack formula in the hospital and diaper bags. I even asked for formula on our way out of the hospital, just in case. When Jacob was born and I got to hold him for the first time in the recovery room, my mind was made up. I just had this bare bones instinct to breastfeed. Without thinking, I put him up to my breast and he latched on and that was that.
Even leaving the hospital, I don’t know that I could say I was 100% sold on the idea of breastfeeding. I was happy because my milk had come in almost immediately, so I knew I wasn’t starving him. Jacob also was back up to his birth weight by the time we left the hospital, which was a relief. But in the back of my head I was concerned — what will people think? Breastfeeding, though it is natural and it is the sole purpose of our breasts, is somehow still seen as this taboo thing. I was worried to say that I was breastfeeding. I’d heard the horror stories of family and friends telling new mothers that they’re starving their babies. That breastmilk just “isn’t enough” that not supplementing with formula is wrong.
I have been very lucky that most of my family and friends have been very supportive. For my family in particular most of the questions and curiosity seemed to revolve around the fact that not a lot of people in my family breasted. I am the only one in my family that I am aware of that has exclusively breastfed. Which I think is amazing. I had a conversation with my nana one day and she said, “you know, it really makes me sad that doctors weren’t aware of the huge benefits of breastfeeding when I was having kids. They were pushing formula because it was believed that it was more nutritious for the baby.” It makes me so sad to think at one point doctors actually believed that milk that was made from our body that is formulated and ever-changing for your child could be nutritionally deficient.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am well-aware of circumstances that don’t allow mothers to breastfeed or mothers having issues with low fat breastmilk. Breastfeeding is not a one-size-fits-all situation. I am one hundred percent aware of that and pass no judgment. I think that how you feed your child is your own business; unless you’re depriving them of food purposefully, no one has any business chiming in.
As Jacob has grown his feedings have gradually dropped. For a long while he ate every 2 to 3 hours. By the time he was 6 months old he was finally going a bit longer, hitting the 3 to 4 hour window. As he has grown his feedings have continued to go longer spans. Now that he is a year old, he is very finicky about his feedings. There have been days where he only breastfeeds two times a day; once in the morning when he wakes and once at night. Other times he is having three feedings a day, once in the morning, once between his two naps, and once at night. Every once in a while he has four feeding sessions a day. It’s not often but when he does, it’s a pretty good indicator he isn’t feeling well for one reason or another.
Now that we are at the one year mark, I have gotten a lot of questions on whether or not Jacob will be weaning soon. Honestly, I don’t have an answer for that. Since Jacob was born his feeding schedule has been dictated by him. That’s now his expectation and I don’t currently have a problem with fulfilling that. When Jacob is ready to wean, he will. I have heard many horror stories about moms trying to wean before baby is ready. I do not want to have one of those stories. So for the time being, we will continue to breastfeed until Jacob is ready to stop. We are following a “don’t offer, don’t refuse” outline of “weaning”. Which means that I do not offer the breast without Jacob asking for it first. It also means that when he does ask to breastfeed, I do not refuse him that right.
Now that I have seen the frequency of Jacob’s feedings gradually decreasing, I know it’s only a matter of time. With the exception of the first few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed our nursing experience. I am in absolutely no rush for Jacob to stop nursing. I believe it is such a beautiful bond for mother and baby and I feel so thankful to have been able to breastfed for this long.
If you have any other questions about our breastfeeding journey, please feel free to ask them below or send me an e-mail. I’m not an expert but I would be happy to lend an ear during a frustrating time. I plan on doing another update when Jacob does decide to fully wean, whenever that may be. I hope you all enjoyed this update!
Until next time!