My 4 Year Journey Breastfeeding My Daughter- She Will Wean On Her Terms, Not Mine…

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By: Sara Waldhorn 

My breastfeeding Journey is by far the most miraculous journey I have experienced. I never planned on even being a mother who exclusively breastfed her child. I organically fell into it. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning of my daughters life almost 4 1/2 years ago.

From the moment Layla Rose was born her favorite place to rest, sleep, play and relax was on my breasts. It is her comfort zone, it is where we both feel the most safe in this big crazy world. It is our special time where we are in our own little bubble. 
I was very fortunate in not experiencing any difficulties with nursing. Layla Rose had no problem latching on, and thankfully I never got any infections or had low milk supply. Nursing, for me, was easy. I enjoyed nursing. Nursing in the beginning bonded us closer and closer. I started reading forums on breastfeeding mothers which led me to discover the world of attachment parenting. I read in one attachment parenting article that we are the only mammal that puts our baby in jail (a crib) to sleep (baby Cubs and lions sleep nuzzled up on there moms, that to me made me feel so uneasy on how most of American mothers raise there kids. For once in the early months of motherhood I finally felt I had a parenting method I agreed and identified with. Also, at the time I started to feel angry at some of the most popular parenting advice and methods us American mothers are molded to believe. I felt so very taken advantage of by all the baby registry checklists on making me believe I would need everything from a bouncer to a swing to 3 different strollers to 4 more other vibrating, musical bouncer products that advertise a happy well rested newborn. Hey as a new mother the 1st thing everyone warns you about is no sleep!!! Here’s the secret, they’re right…. If you rely on the walker, bouncer, crib, jumper ect. Layla Rose hated them all, we were unhappy, I almost felt I was expected to use these things, but all she wanted was me. And guess what that’s healthy and normal and okay and normal. I got a carrier and called it a day.

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Once I got over that hump in the road I focused on my breastfeeding. According to the media again, my breast milk was not enough. She now needed rice cereal ect. My daughter hated it. I unnecessarily worried. I would get advice from mothers to top her off with formula, now I know she never would need that. What I had was enough. I guess what I’m trying to say is I second guessed everything I did the 1st year, because what felt right to me was not the norm here in America. The crib, the bottles wasn’t for us. I identified with the attachment and gentle parenting world. I felt like it was where I best fit in or what would best describe my parenting ways. I only wish sooner I found more advice, support and information about the parenting philosophy I felt best identified with me. Because then I would of never had to go through the 5 minutes I let my daughter cry it out the night I  hired a sleep trainer (advisor) come to our house. (I was influenced by my peers). I realized then what the hell is wrong with letting her fall asleep on my boob? What’s the big deal. This is what works for us. Yes I still nurse my 4 1/2 year old on demand. On demand these days is much different to what was on demand when she was a newborn. I never understood the whole schedule thing when it came to nursing. When I’m thirsty I drink water, not because it’s 3 pm. I felt I would do the same for my daughter.

The point of this is I just wish someone told me, there is no magic product that will keep baby sleeping or fuller longer. The magic is the bond between you and your baby when they are suckling away (or bottle if boob is not an option for you). The magic is your warm skin against there’s. When people ask me how long am I going to nurse for I feel like asking them when is the next time you plan on having sex. It’s my business. I don’t cover when I nurse, do you eat with a blanket over your head?

I’m finally 100% confident on the methods I choose to use when it comes to raising my kid. I’m not worried about when she will decide to stop. I know she’s not going off to college still drinking boobie or getting one last sip of boobie right before she says “I do”
She Also most likely won’t have any right before she goes off to prom (my sarcasm gets the best of me). It’s already gradually stopping on her own terms. She announces daily that she stopped boobie! I say everyday that’s great honey! You’re such a big girl. Then later on when she’s tired after a long day of activities at preschool she announces I’m not stopping I tricked you! It’s her way of slowly parting with what was the center of her baby years…The boobie!!! On the days I feel she will never stop, and yes I get those feelings, I think back to potty training and walking. We parents can’t rush those milestones, why rush breastfeeding and sleeping through the night. Why rush babyhood?
What’s the race/rush for? 
I love being a mother! Being a mom is so fun, so rewarding! I think my daughter is the best most incredible  human being, just like the rest of the mothers out there feel about their off springs. I don’t think I’m better by any means for parenting the way I do. I just feel that the way I parent is not advertised or talked about enough. Basically, we need to promote it more. It’s okay to let your kid go at his or her own pace when it comes
To nursing, the potty, sleeping by themselves ect. My daughter is bright and intelligent and does not have separation anxiety. People sometimes suggest I’m doing her a disfavor for not “being the parent” and making her stop just because I said so. This little girl turned my world upside down and I seriously never wanna come down!

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