Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Before my son, Bug, was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed for one year. I had planned on weaning after Bug’s first birthday, though. I was going to live the APA standard; no solids until six months, nursing to a year. My mother did not breastfeed any of her children longer than six months. My mother-in-law, too, had less than satisfactory experiences with nursing. My only shining example was a friend from church. She had nursed one of her children for around five years. At the time I heard about that particular non-conformity, I thought she was a little strange. Loveable, and a good example, but strange! I thought to myself that I would never nurse that long!
Over time, my personal views about breastfeeding have changed significantly. Breastfeeding became important. Necessary. I was bound to that relationship. I knew I would nurse my little one for as long as his little heart desired. I was changing a lot in other ways, too. I was growing up. I was no longer an ignorant teenager that could perform exemplary babysitting. I was a woman. A mother. I needed to have ideas and make choices for my family; choices that would affect us all for the remainder of our lives. As I studied unorthodox parenting styles, I found myself drifting farther and farther away from the mainstream parenting and closer to this “attachment parenting” and “natural parenting”. I like to refer to it as “self-sufficient parenting”.
I read books and prepared myself for this new adventure of responsibility. I was going to be a mom. I was going to breastfeed. It was like the amount of studying I did resulted in the length I was planning on breastfeeding. Finally, I had settled on child led weaning. I was going to let my child decide when he was ready to wean. And hopefully, we would come to the decision together. We were going to have to work hard at this relationship, we were going to have to respect each other’s desires and strive to get along well. At times, I seriously felt that the relationship was doomed. Even from the beginning, I struggled. I fought against my stubborn self. I cried. I wondered how I would feel if I just gave up. And I stood resolutely behind myself as I told myself that I was doing this for my son. It was, and still is sometimes, a never ending battle.