Last week I visited the community nurse for my kids’ one and three year checks. I know a lot of people don’t continue to go after the first few months, but I find the milestone checks useful and enjoy the opportunity to talk about any concerns I have.
As I think I’ve mentioned before in a round about way, I’m not into attachment parenting. However as I strongly believe that breast milk is the best nourishment for a baby (and was able breastfeed rather effortlessly), I have breastfed my children to the age of one.
When I expressed my desire to wean my son off his remaining morning feed (I recently stopped his bedtime one) the nurse asked me if I was aware that the WHO recommends continuing breastfeeding until 2 years. Yes I am aware (I’ve been to enough ABA meetings to know), but I feel that I’ve just about had enough.
I guess it was not so much her intention behind the question, but the way it was put. If I didn’t know about the WHO recommendation would I be excused? Am I an even worse mother because I know and choose to ignore it?
After this unexpected questioning, I told her that I was confident that Xavier was getting more than enough nutrients throughout the day and that he has become much less interested in feeding – constantly fussing and squirming to get away. I was plainly reminded that breastfeeding was not only for nutrition but for it’s importance in immune system development.
This really hit a nerve with me since Xavier had just failed to recover from a throat infection and had to resume the antibiotics he had been on. Would he have recovered faster (or not been sick at all) had I been giving him breastmilk three times a day? I don’t actually know (and I prefer to blame childcare bugs), but I sure could have done without that weight on my shoulders.
Having said all that I am still giving Xavier an early morning feed. This is mostly because he usually wakes at 4:30 or 5am and instead of fighting with him he just comes into bed with me (a very recent change brought on by the chilly winter mornings and me being too lazy to go into his room) for a quick drink and is back in his cot 15 minutes later for often several hours more.
Gisele Bundchen recently came under scrutiny for her comments that breastfeeding should be forced on all mothers for the good of their baby. I believe in every woman’s right to choose, including my right to choose when to wean my child.