Sunday, 31 August 2014

10 things that surprised me about breastfeeding *this* one-year-old

1. That it's an entirely different experience to breastfeeding my older daughter, who I weaned at nine months. Hence this is ten things that have surprised me about breastfeeding *this* one-year-old not *a* one-year-old. Because every child is different.

2. There are no thought processes involved at all. I don't think about how much she feeds, when she feeds or why she feeds.

3. I have no idea how often she feeds. Somebody asked me this a couple of weeks ago and I was genuinely completely stumped. This is because, as per point number two, I give it no thought whatsoever. She asks, I feed. She doesn't ask, I might offer. I have no idea when, or how often, or for how long, or how much she takes.

4. It's not about 'giving her milk'. Breastfeeding Violet isn't an act. It's a relationship. It's a two-way thing. At her one-year review the HV asked 'does Violet drink milk at all?' and I immediately said 'no', because she drinks water or occasionally juice. Then I understood what I was actually being asked!

5. It doesn't 'interfere' with my life in any way, shape or form. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say I have readjusted my life, and myself, so as not to interfere with breastfeeding a one-year-old. I don't drink alcohol any more so that's not an issue. We co-sleep most nights so night feeds aren't an issue. I can be away from her for hours on end and my breasts will feel full, but I think this has happened twice in the last year. It's just not an issue because I have chosen not to separate myself from my children for any length of time other than on very rare occasions. This comes back to breastfeeding being a relationship not an isolated act. It's part of the whole.

6. She has eight teeth and has bitten me frequently, usually when another tooth is coming. And yes, it hurts! Cherry had no teeth when I weaned her so the experience is completely new, that said, V cut her first tooth at four months so I've had plenty of time to get used to it.

7. Having done it before with another child doesn't necessarily make it 'easier' second time around. I've had more issues to overcome feeding Violet (blistered, cracked nipples at the start due to incorrect latch, nursing strike due to thrush, those teeth!) than I had with Cherry.

8. I have no idea for how long I will continue to breastfeed. As long as we both want to, is my stock answer.

9. I loved breastfeeding Cherry and expected to love breastfeeding Violet too. But when I think about it 'love' isn't really the right way of putting it, because that implies breastfeeding is something of a 'bonus' or a 'treat'. I think lovely Adele at Circus Queen really sums it up in her post here when she says that breastfeeding is 'our joint right'. It's our right too. Do you love your rights? They're more fundamental than that.

10. Nobody else seems to think it's 'weird' that I'm breastfeeding a one-year-old. Even if they did, I probably wouldn't notice. You don't tend to pay much attention to what others think of your rights.

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