Monday, March 17, 2008

Breastfeeding into the Second Year

When I want to see what I look like, I have to go into the elevator. I don’t have any mirrors in my Tel Aviv apartment except a small one above the bathroom sink. The elevator has a floor-to-ceiling mirror. And it was to the elevator I went yesterday after noticing that every time my baby glanced over at me, she would hesitate, as if debating something, then crawl over and lift up my shirt.

In the elevator I realized that the pretty blouse I was wearing, and which was perfectly modest before baby, now showed a healthy bit of rather nice cleavage. Advantage #1 of nursing into the second year: your baby will tell you if your clothing isn’t modest enough.

Advantage #2—an excuse to leave early. As in, “Gee, I would love to stay for the conclusion of this interminable ulpan lesson in which I have learned quite a few new Russian words, but no new Hebrew ones for the last 30 minutes, but I forgot my breast pump, and I really have to go.

Advantage #3—the seat next to you on the bus or train is free. There are people who sit beside a mother and child, but no one sits beside a breastfeeding woman and child unless there is absolutely no other option.

Advantage #4—I never have to think about whether or not I really can afford that piece of dessert. I’ll have two.

Advantage #5—Baby threw her sippy cup out the bus window? No problem.

Advantage #6—I can shut people up. “You mean you STILL breastfeed?” Why yes. I know that here the pediatricians recommend only six months…(in a tone that suggests you don’t want to go on so as not to embarrass anyone). This is usually answered with a rush to show that not ALL women stop at six months.

Advantage #7—a couple of sips of wine makes you happy.

Advantage #8—several minutes of a relaxed, eyelids-half-closed, sweet-smelling, rosy-cheeked little one in your arms.

Advantage #9—counteracts all the new germs baby is exposed to.

The plan now is to stop after one of two events happens:
1. Baby turns two or
2. Baby discusses the taste and quality of my breast milk with me: “Mama, can you please eat some strawberries today? I love the taste of the milk after you have eaten strawberries, but not so much after asparagus.” When something like that happens, we're done.

Still, I’m looking forward to weaning. I have already decided what I’ll do to celebrate:
1. buy a nice bra
2. wear a floor-length dress
3. buy a bottle of antihistamines and enjoy breath again
4. drink a dry vodka martini, or two. But who am I kidding? I’ll probably be too giggly to stand after about half of one


lsw said...

I'm soooooo jealous! All mine were done by a year. The last one used me as a chew toy at nine months. I was devastated for all the reasons you listed and more. I'm ready to have another just so I can eat two desserts again!

Give her sweet rosy cheeks a big kiss for us!

Maya said...

Ouch, I've just turned into a chew toy as well. Don't know how long I can keep this up!

Ima Shalom said...

the best advice i got was not to give myself a deadline (be it 12 months or 24 or 36) but just see how things went. though i had originally planned on going to 18 months at 15 months we both seemed ready and i went for it, without guilt. i have to say, barring those first few difficult days, it's been pretty easy for us both, thank god.

Maya said...

You're absolutely right, Ima shalom. I should have said I'll stop nursing when one of three things happens, and the third (or the first) should have been, "when she wants to stop." My goal was a year. I'm so glad the weaning has been good and easy for you!

Michelle Nevada ( said...

I'm tandem nursing a just-turned-three year old and a 6 month old.

Either ween now, or expect to nurse both until the new baby weens.

There is just too much jealously to ween after the new one.

Maya said...

still nursing at 18 months. I'll try to start cutting back now...but it seems that babygirl wants to nurse now more than ever.

Józefina said...

Shalom! Great blog. I've just stopped breastfeeding my 2 year old, which was the original plan, but I was actually forced to since I'm pregnant again - he had no problem with it, just needs more cuddling now and drinks milk from a cup. Jozefina from Warsaw, Poland.